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Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Oct 17, 2023

Ashley reveals the inspiration behind the twists and turns in her bestselling psychological thriller, Dark Mode

Together with return guest Jacinta Dietrich and self-described enthusiastic reader Ali Thomas, Ashley and James delve into every scintillating Dark Mode detail they normally can’t discuss, including the novel's real-life inspirations.  

Jacinta Dietrich is the author of This Is Us Now, and co-hosts Differently Brained, a podcast focussed on neurodivergent celebration and mental health awareness. Ali Thomas is a former high school English teacher and featured as part of the inaugural Boorowa Literary Festival. 

Upcoming events:

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • The Reader by Bernard Schlink 
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon 
  • Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz 
  • The Tilt by Chris Hammer
  • A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
  • Troll Hunting by Ginger Gorman 
  • Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates
  • The Guest List by Lucky Foley 
  • Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Joy Thief by Penny Moodie
  • We Didn't Think It Through by Gary Lonesborough
  • This Is Us Now by Jacinta Dietrich 

Ashley's psychological thriller Dark Mode is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy.

James' novel Denizen is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy. 

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