Alex Hammond, author of The Unbroken Line, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Alex Hammond

author of The Unbroken Line

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Johannesburg. Raised in Melbourne. Studied Arts/Law at Melbourne University.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

To be a writer. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.

Author: Alex Hammond

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Naively, that law was the best career for me. I spent too much time watching gripping courtroom scenes on film and TV. It was only after I spent time working in law firms that I realised the reality was very dry and monotonous. In many ways my books are a wish fulfilment – exciting cases, challenging clients, cherry-picked drama.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – such a viseral, well relaised world. The library tower of the Superme Court of Victoria – its light-filled bookstacks planted the first seed for what became by first novel, Blood Witness. The Cure’s fourth album Pornography – a template for the kind of dark, emotional richness I aspire to in my writing.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

They were never innumerable. I dabbled in theatre directing when I was younger, but nothing quite captured my imagination like writing. To have created a world, to have crafted a engaging story, is both the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The Unbroken Line is a crime thriller. Melbourne lawyer Will Harris begins to uncover a dark legacy from Australia’s founding and the violent shadow it casts today. It deals with corruption and the misuse of power, the lengths that people will go to when driven by revenge.

Grab a copy of Alex’s new book The Unbroken Line here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

To have readers is a privilege. I hope to give them a gripping story that gets their hearts racing but also asks bigger questions about the law and our preconceptions of justice.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Other Australian genre writers. Not only do the have to compete with international books with bigger marketing budgets but the cultural elitism that dismisses all but ‘literary’ fiction as trivial.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

In the current climate very few authors can make a living off their writing. This is my ambition.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Hone your tenacity. There will always be distractions and set backs. You will have some very dark days. Push on. Push on.

Alex, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Unbroken Line here


The Unbroken Line

by Alex Hammond

The violence of the past casts a long shadow – a dark legacy with lethal consequences.

When defence lawyer Will Harris is attacked by masked men with a clear message to back off, he has no choice but to listen. If only he knew what they were talking about.

Under siege as his fledgling law firm struggles to get off the ground, Will agrees to defend the troubled son of a family friend. But the case is far from clear-cut, and the ethical boundaries murky. Instead of clawing his way out of trouble, Will finds he’s sinking ever deeper.

At the same time, his search for his attackers unearths an unexpected source that points him towards Melbourne’s corridors of power. But motives, let alone proofs, are hard to find. It is only when those close to him are threatened that Will realises how near he is to the deadly truth.

Gripping, sophisticated and strikingly atmospheric, The Unbroken Line creates a remarkable portrait of power, revenge and corruption, rooted in a vivid and unmistakably Australian setting.

About the Author

Alex Hammond was born in South Africa and emigrated to Australia with his family as a child. He graduated with an Arts/Law degree from the University of Melbourne and worked for several Melbourne law firms. His first novel, Blood Witness, was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing.

Grab a copy of The Unbroken Line here

Go Set a Watchman Already Breaking Records Before Release

The release of Go Set a Watchman next week is already shaping as the literary event of the century. The sequel (or ‘parent’ as Harper Lee calls it) to her seminal 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, exploring racial injustice in the American Deep South, will demand a two million copy initial print run in the US, numbers which have never been seen before.

The release of the novel hasn’t been without controversy, with media outlets reporting that Lee, who is 89 years old and living in assisted living in Alabama, was not capable of giving proper consent to the publishers.

The reports were challenged when longtime friend Wayne Flynt, who visiting Lee the day before news broke about Go Set a Watchman, said in a recent interview “This narrative of senility, exploitation of this helpless little old lady is just hogwash. It’s just complete bunk.”

One thing is for certain, any reader who fell in love with To Kill a Mockingbird will have their lives changed forever by reading Go Set a Watchman. This is the novel a handful of people ever knew existed, and next week it will be here.

The literary world will never be the same.

Pre-order your copy of Go Set a Watchman here

go-set-a-watchmanGo Set a Watchman

by Harper Lee

Set during the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later.

Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus.

She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

An instant classic.

Pre-order your copy of Go Set a Watchman here

The Best Books of 2015…so far

Voracious reader and office loudmouth Andrew Cattanach lifts the lid on his favourite books of the year, so far!


quicksandQuicksand by Steve Toltz

I had my doubts about Steve Toltz even attempting to write a follow up to A Fraction of the Whole. Not only did he write it, he might have a Miles Franklin winner on his hands. Savagely witty and chaotically brilliant.

Aldo has been so relentlessly unlucky – in business, in love, in life – that the universe seems to have taken against him personally. Even Liam, his best friend, describes him as ‘a well-known parasite and failure’. Aldo has always faced the future with optimism and despair in equal measure, but this last twist of fate may finally have brought him undone…more


the-first-bad-manThe First Bad Man by Miranda July

Sad, funny, gorgeously self deprecating in a kind of ‘this character isn’t me but she kind of is’ way. I loved The First Bad Man from the very first line.

Here is Cheryl, a tightly wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other peoples’ babies.

Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women’s self-defense nonprofit organisation where she works. She believes they’ve been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate it in this one…more


the-other-side-of-the-worldThe Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

The arrival of a confident, assured and frighteningly talented new voice in Australian Fiction. The Other Side of the World consumed me, it was all I could think about from start to finish. To be quite honest, I’m still reeling from it. Remarkable.

Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’…more


when-there-s-nowhere-else-to-run-vogel-winner-2015When There’s Nowhere Else to Run by Murray Middleton

One gets the feeling that Murray Middleton is a real student of the craft of writing. When There’s Nowhere Else to Run is tight, confident, brave and precise. Another very worthy recipient of The Vogel’s Literary Award.

A survivor of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires takes asylum with old friends in the Dandenong Ranges. An editor-in-chief drives his sister halfway around the country to an east-coast rehabilitation clinic. A single mother flies to Perth with her autistic son for one last holiday. A father at the end of his tether tries to survive the chaos of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A group of young friends hire a luxury beach house in the final weeks of one of their lives. A postman hits a pedestrian and drives off into the night…more


finders-keepersFinders Keepers by Stephen King

I was never a huge King fan growing up, but I can’t get enough of this new series. King writes with so much energy, combining hard-boiled crime with bookish obsession. I couldn’t put it down.

John Rothstein, a Salinger-like icon who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel. Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime…more


a-god-in-ruinsA God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson could write a pamphlet about soil and I would be enthralled. A God in Ruins is a wonderful accompaniment to her breathtaking 2013 novel Life After Life. A brilliant, effortless storyteller at the top of her game.

Kate Atkinson’s dazzling Life After Life, the bestselling adult book this year to date in the UK, explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have…more


so-you-ve-been-publicly-shamedSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

A mesmerising journey down the rabbit hole and into the world of public shaming with Jon Ronson. Touching in parts, hilarious in others, another thought provoking effort from the acclaimed writer.

How big a transgression really justifies someone losing their job? What about the people who become global targets for doing nothing more than making a bad joke on Twitter, do they deserve to have their lives ruined? How is this renaissance of shaming changing the world and what is the true reason behind it? Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and our very scary part in it…more


hot-little-handsHot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman

One of the best collections of short stories of the year, Ulman has announced herself as one of Australia’s bravest and most inquisitive writers of fiction.

This exceptional collection of stories is about young women of different ages, from their early teens to their late twenties, coming to terms with what it means to desire, and be desired, with funny, surprising and sometimes confronting results. Ulman first made her mark with the story Chagall’s Wife in Meanjin; this collection shows that she’s a young Australian writer to put alongside Ceridwen Dovey, Nam Le and Fiona McFarlane…more


the-most-good-you-can-doThe Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer

It’s always nice to read a book that you know will change your life forever. Peter Singer does it again.

Peter Singer, often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher, presents a challenging new movement in the search for an ethical life, one that has emerged from his own work on some of the world’s most pressing problems. Effective altruism involves doing the most good possible. It requires a rigorously unsentimental view of charitable giving, urging that a substantial proportion of our money or time, should be donated to the organisations that will do the most good with those resources, rather than to those that tug the heartstrings…more


mr-huffMr. Huff by Anna Walker

I nearly cried reading this picture book. A gorgeous story that will hopefully find its way into the hands of every child in this strange, and often overwhelming, world.

Award-winning and much-loved author and illustrator Anna Walker gives us a gentle, poignant, affirming and wise picture book sure to delight all ages. Mr. Huff is a story about the clouds and the sunshine in each of our lives.

Bill is having a bad day. Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult. Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger! Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens…more


Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

You can follow his ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat

Are you the new owner of a James Patterson signed pack?

James Patterson has been at the top of bestseller lists for over 20 years, with more than 305 million copies of his books still in print. It’s no wonder that, when we ran our competition to win a signed James Patterson pack, Booktopians got a little excited.

All you had to do to enter was order any title from our James Patterson Book Guides by June 30th.

JamesPattersonbanners-Children-rotatinghomepagebanner720x200-v1


truth-or-dieTRUTH OR DIE

by James Patterson, Howard Roughan

The truth will set you free – if it doesn’t kill you first. New York attorney Trevor Mann’s world shatters when he receives a phone call telling him his girlfriend has been shot dead in a mugging. But the circumstances point to something more calculated than a random attack. Claire was a New York Times journalist and Trevor is convinced she had unearthed a secret so shocking that she was murdered to keep it from coming to light. Chasing Claire’s leads, Trevor will more…

…and the winners are:

D.Bowden, Jerrabomberra, NSW
F.George, Greensborough, VIC
R.Smith, Mildura, VIC
B.Taylor, Wollstonecraft, NSW
K.Davis, Davistown, NSW

Grab a copy of Truth or Die here


Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Don’t sweat it, there’s so much more up for grabs, as well as limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

The Homestead Girls by Fiona McArthur (Reviewed by Hayley Shephard)

I decided to give Fiona McArthur’s new book, The Homestead Girls, a whirl to challenge myself as I’m currently addicted to non-stop, passionate romance and shirtless men. It’s a departure I’m glad I took. I’ve always loved strong female characters who don’t let their predicaments define them.

The Homestead Girls follows five women who come to live at Blue Hills Station on the outskirts of Mica Ridge, a small country town in the middle of a crippling drought with a trustworthy and life-saving Flying Doctor Service. Two of these women, Daphne and Billie, are part of the medical team, treating injured farmers and the town’s residents. When not working hard, Billie looks after her wayward teenage daughter Mia. We also have Soretta, whose grandfather owns Blue Hills Station, and Lorna, an 80 year-old housemate with the energy of a teenager.

These five women rely on each other to push away from issues in their lives. Some issues lie in the field of romance (the men who also serve with the Mica Ridge FDS have a certain presence), while others are more complicated. As a group, they grow stronger, and give each other support and strength.

Lorna’s companionship with Soretta’s grandfather is beautiful; a lovely side story. They make each other laugh and are observed by the others to be in better spirits. It was one of my favourite things about the book.

Even though it is not all romance, it does have a happy ending – one that feels well deserved for all the characters. But if you want to know exactly how it ends, you’ll have to read it yourself!

This certainly won’t be the last Fiona McArthur I read.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls


The Homestead Girls

by Fiona McArthur

After her teenage daughter Mia falls in with the wrong crowd, Dr Billie Green decides it’s time to leave the city and return home to far western NSW. When an opportunity to pursue her childhood dream of joining the Flying Doctor Service comes along, she jumps at the chance. Flight nurse Daphne Prince – who is thrilled to have another woman join the otherwise male crew – and their handsome new boss, Morgan Blake, instantly make her feel welcome.

Just out of town, drought-stricken grazier Soretta Byrnes has been more…

About the Author

Fiona McArthur has worked as a rural midwife for many years. She is a clinical midwifery educator, mentors midwifery students, and is involved with obstetric emergency education for midwives and doctors from all over Australia. Fiona’s love of writing has seen her sell over two million books in twelve languages. She’s been a midwifery expert for Mother&Baby magazine and is the author of the nonfiction works The Don’t Panic Guide to Birth and Breech Baby: A Guide for Parents. She lives on an often swampy farm in northern New South Wales with her husband, some livestock, and a blue heeler named Reg. She’s constantly taking photographs of sunrise and sunset and loves that researching her books allows her to travel to remote places.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls

The Intervention: An Anthology – Introduced by Co-editor Dr Rosie Scott

Anita Heiss and I decided to publish an anthology gathering together some of Australia’s best writers and thinkers to analyse and illuminate one of the most invasive, puzzling and unprecedented actions by a government in Australian history – the 2007 Intervention by the Howard Government.

nt-assimilationWe think that these writers and Indigenous leaders will bring anew perspective and urgency to an issue that has remained largely outside the public radar.

We believe that the basic premises of this intervention are deeply flawed, resulting in a serious breach of human rights.

It has never been fully debated nationally nor has there been significant consultation with the Indigenous communities most affected.

In June 2007 Prime Minister John Howard announced after the tabling of the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report, ‘It is a disgrace that a section of the Australian population, those little children should be the subject of serious sexual abuse.’

A week or so later the Howard government staged a massive military and police Emergency Response costing $587 million, as outlined in the NT Emergency Response Act.

This Act prescribed a number of drastic measures which appeared strangely irrelevant to their stated aim of combating child abuse. Some of these measures contravened the Racial Discrimination Act and several revolved around land use. Nowhere in this very extensive legislation was there a significant mention of a child or children.

Since then there has been little or no change in the figures of child sexual offending in the Northern Territory.

This extraordinary, costly and largely unexplained action has had immense and long-reaching effects on the very cornerstones of Indigenous community and identity. There has now been substantial evidence gathered that much of this change has been negative. As the Intervention has morphed into Stronger Futures for another ten years in a disgraceful bipartisan agreement, many commentators have been asking what the justification for this continuation is, given the alarming figures of increasing suicide rates, child health problems and unemployment.

Editor Dr Rosie Scott

The fact is the real motives of this intervention have never been fully explained or justified and in spite of constant opposition by Indigenous communities, most significant Elders, peak human rights organisations as well as other Australians across a broad spectrum, the situation remains the same with only a few cosmetic touches.

We have published the voices of the Elders and other Northern Territory Indigenous community leaders in their many communiqués, media releases and statements issued throughout the period. As time goes on, the tone of these statements becomes angrier, more despairing and anguished as their very reasonable requests are simply ignored by the authorities and the Intervention is kept in place.

We believe this collection of essays, fiction, poetry, and memoir by leading Australian writers and statements by the Elders will give a new perspective, power and clarity to an issue that will continue to be highly controversial. And most importantly, we believe the role of the writer in this instance is to make Australian readers think about the plight of other largely voiceless Australians.

Many voices both Indigenous and non-Indigenous have been raised in eloquent protest against the Intervention ever since its first announcement by John Howard. Contrary to the carefully managed spin that there is deep disagreement within the Indigenous community, the fact is there is strong consensus about the Northern Territory Intervention amongst most experts, people on the ground and organisations.

Editor Anita Heiss

Editor Dr Anita Heiss

Most importantly, the majority of Elders and community leaders in the Northern Territory oppose it, some of whom have petitioned the United Nations. These include Rosalie Kunoth- Monks of Utopia, Djiniyini Gondarra of Galiwin’ku, Harry Nelson of Yuendumu, Djapirri Mununggirritj from Yirrikala, Yananymul Mununggurr from the Laynhapuy Homelands, Diane Stokes at Muckatty Station, Maurie Ryan and John Leemans at Kalkarindji, Reggie Wurridjal and Helen Williams at Maningrida, Joy White with the Larrakia mob in Darwin, Barbara and Walter Shaw in the Alice Springs Town Camps, Harry Nelson at Yuendumu, Dhanggal Gurruwiwi from Wallaby Beach and Matthew Dhulumburrk Gaykambayu from Ramingining, Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann of Nauiyu, Rachel Willika,Yalmay Yunupingu and George Gaymarani Pascoe of Milingimbi.

Local groups like Stop the Intervention Collective, Sydney and Intervention Rollback Action Group, Alice Springs which have worked so hard to publicise the facts, organisations representative of local Indigenous people like Yolŋuw Makarr Dhuni, eminent Indigenous and non-Indigenous figures like Tom Calma, LowitjaO’Donoghue, the late Malcolm Fraser, Alastair Nicholson, Chris Graham and Olga Havnen as well as international organisations like the UN, Amnesty and church groups have all stated their strong opposition.

One dissenting voice had a particularly powerful effect on me personally. Rachel Willika, a Jaowyn Elder from the remote community of Manyallaluk spoke at a protest meeting we at Women for Wik convened in 2007 in Sydney when news of the Intervention had broken. This meeting was chaired by Dr Anita Heiss and addressed by eminent Indigenous women we’d invited from the Territory. These women included Olga Havnen, the then national Indigenous leader from the newly formed Combined Aboriginal Organisations, Eileen Cummings, and former advisor to the Chief Minister of NT on Aboriginal and Women’s Affairs,her daughter Raylene Rosas and Rachel Willika. An emotional and attentive audience packed the hall and spilled out into the foyer.

Rachel Willika had never been on a plane before, or to Sydney but she stood in front of us with quiet dignity and grace. Her speech was one of the most eloquent and powerful I’ve ever heard and moved many of the audience to tears. And, in my case anyway, to action. Her description of the fear in their community when the soldiers came has stayed with me permanently and so in part inspired this anthology.

In a statement to The Guardian at around the same time she said,

That John Howard has no heart. This intervention is hurting Aboriginal families.

It is no coincidence that eloquent speech has the power to spur people to political action.And as always, writers, film makers, painters and other artists have been major players in this history of analysis and dissent.

There are some towering examples of this; The Swan Book by Alexis Wright and the movies Charlie’s Country by David Gulpilil, Our Generation, a superb documentary film by Sinem Saban and Damien Curtis, and John Pilger’s Utopia. All of these have received serious recognition, mostly internationally. David Gulpilil received a standing ovation and the prestigious prize for best actor in Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes, also winning best lead actor for the Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts awards. Charlie’s Country won best film and best director at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards. It’s safe to say this film will receive more awards.Stoptheinterventionrally21Jun2015

Our Generation was voted Best Campaign Film in the London International Documentary Festival, and Pilger’s Utopia was voted by the London Film Review as one of the five best films of the year. Alexis Wright’s critically acclaimed book, which I believe will become an Australian if not international classic, was shortlisted for all the major prizes including the Miles Franklin, the NSW Premiers, the Stella and the Voss. A review in the Sydney Morning Herald described The Swan Book as possibly ‘one of the most important Australian novels yet,’ another in the Sydney Review of Books ‘… and perhaps the first truly planetary novel.’

Other more direct examples of eloquent voices raised are those of people like Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Djiniyini Gondarra, Pat Dodson, Jeff McMullen, Tom Calma, Jon Altman, Judy Gurruwiwi, Barbara Shaw, Paddy Gibson, and many others. Their passionate speeches around Australia are a powerful example of inspiring oratory when all too often dumbed down, evasive, clichéd and impenetrable bureaucratic language is the norm for the authorities defending the Intervention. These people are true Australian heroes. They spend many hours travelling around Australia speaking and campaigning about what the Intervention actually means to the people who are suffering through it.

When we decided to compile this anthology we were delighted with the calibre of writers who agreed to contribute and felt very confident about putting our proposal forward to publishers. Six months later not one publisher took the project on, though most said it was a great project with an excellent list. But thanks to heart-warming support from the community –a dedicated group of women, who called themselves Women Inspired to Action, or WITA for short, raised funds for us through crowd-funding – with generous contributions from people all over Australia; a generous grant from the CAL Cultural fund; keen interest and support from Michele Harris and the members of ‘concerned Australians’, an extraordinarily generous offer by Graeme Jones and Tracey Kirby of Kirby Jones to do our typesetting and design free, the committed work of Tara Wynn of Curtis Brown and people like Pamela Hewitt and Danny Vendramini who have donated their time and expertise; we have been able to continue with our plans to publish this book in 2015.

So this is our hope for the anthology – that our distinguished list of Australian writers and Elders will join in with these other artists, supporters and community leaders to provide an in depth, eloquent and thoughtful dimension to this urgent debate, so long neglected by mainstream Australia.

We believe that the truthfulness, clarity and passion of their language will provide an inspiring antidote to the spin and disinformation which has been the official language of the Intervention up until now.

Above all we intend this anthology of eloquent Australian voices to take the debate to a wider audience and through this unique compilation prove that the abuse of human rights by the Northern Territory Intervention has no place in this country.

Grab your copy of The Intervention: An Anthology here

the-intervention-an-anthologyThe Intervention

An Anthology

The Intervention: an Anthology is an extraordinary document –deeply moving, impassioned, spiritual, angry and authoritative –it’s essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what lies behind this passionate opposition.

In this historic anthology, award-winning writers Rosie Scott and Dr Anita Heiss have gathered together the work of twenty of Australian’s finest writers both Indigenous and non-Indigenous together with powerful statements from Northern Territory Elders to bring a new dimension and urgency to an issue that has remained largely outside the public radar.

One of the most invasive, puzzling and unprecedented actions by a government in Australian history – the 2007 NT Intervention by the Howard Government- has resulted in an ongoing and flagrant breach of human rights. The introduction of this racist legislation has never been fully debated nationally nor has there ever been any significant consultation with the Indigenous communities most affected.

In compelling fiction, memoir, essays, poetry and communiqués, the dramatic story of the Intervention and the despair, anguish and anger of the First Nations people of the Territory comes alive.

The Intervention: an Anthology is an extraordinary document – deeply moving, impassioned, spiritual, angry and authoritative –it’s essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this passionate opposition.

Grab your copy of The Intervention: An Anthology here

Nicole Trope, author of Hush, Little Bird, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Nicole Trope

author of Hush, Little Bird

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in South Africa. I came to Australia at eighteen and went through university here. I have a Master’s Degree in children’s literature and I was a high school teacher before I had my first child. I originally went to university to study Law but gave that up after writing my first essay. I was more interested in the drama of ancient Greece and less interested in what that all meant for the study of Law. While trying to figure out what to do I wrote a short story for the university magazine and flippantly thought, ‘If this gets published I’ll switch to an English degree.’ It did and I did.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I always wanted to be a writer. Even when I couldn’t even conceive of writing a novel I knew that immersed in a book was my favourite place to be. At eighteen I wanted to write children’s literature and I think I stuck with that idea until I came up with the plot for my first published novel.

At thirty I wanted to be able to say that I was a published writer, not just an aspiring author. It took many years after that for my dream to be realised.

Author: Nicole Trope

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I believed that there would be a time when I truly felt like an adult and where I was in control of all aspects of my life. Now I know that maturity brings with it the realisation that this will never really be the case. Very few things in life are clear cut and absolute control of anything is really just an illusion.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

I am, as most writers are, a great reader. Because I have read so widely I can’t really say that any novel in particular has had a great effect on my writing but rather that certain novelists have taught me some things about the craft. I love Fay Weldon and Terry Pratchett for their dark humour and Joanna Trollope for her light touch when it comes to domestic drama. I love the music in Alice Hoffman’s language and the spare prose of Australian writers like Olga Masters. Over time I have read everything from romance novels to crime series. Now when I read and am struck by a sentence or an idea I will take time to look at how the author has been able to create that feeling and learn from that.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

Stories have always been my preferred form of expression. It never occurred to me to try anything else.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Hush, Little Bird is the story of two very different women; Rose who has lived her life in the spotlight and Birdy who has lived her whole life hiding from the truth. It takes an act of violence for Birdy’s secrets to overwhelm her and then fate steps in and brings the two women together. The novel unfolds through the eyes of each woman and the reader gradually learns what connects them and why Birdy is determined to have her revenge.

Grab a copy of Nicole’s new book Hush, Little Bird here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I always hope that readers wish they didn’t have to put the book down and that perhaps they have been able to think about something in a different way.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Just a few of the authors I admire are: Fay Weldon, Terry Pratchett, Elizabeth Berg, Alice Hoffman, Peter Goldsworthy, Douglas Adams, Alice Walker and Margaret Atwood. Every couple of weeks I pick a letter of the alphabet at the library and try to find a new author to admire.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I just want to keep writing and keep getting published and hopefully have readers say that each book is better than the last.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The obvious ones-which are to read all the time and to write all the time, even when you don’t want to or are feeling despondent about your latest rejection. Also there are a lot of organisations you can join and competitions you can enter that will get your novel or short story in front of someone who can see the potential in a writer’s work. Give everything a go!

Nicole, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Hush, Little Bird here


Hush, Little Bird

by Nicole Trope

A celebrity wife. A damaged young woman. How did they both end up in prison and what is the secret they share? White-knuckle reading from the queen of domestic suspense.

Birdy thought she would have to wait until she was free again to see Rose, but now Rose has been convicted of a shocking crime and she and Birdy will be together. Birdy has been saving all her anger for Rose. It is Rose who should have protected her and kept her safe. Birdy was little but Rose was big and she knows Rose could have saved her.

This is a story about monsters who hide in plain sight and about the secrets we keep from ourselves. It is about children who are betrayed and adults who fail them. This is the story of Birdy who was hurt and Rose who must be made to pay.

A provocative and compassionate read from the queen of white-knuckle suspense and searing family drama. You won’t be able to put it down.

About the Author

Nicole Trope is a former high school teacher with a Masters Degree in Children’s Literature. In 2005 she was one of the winners of the Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development. In 2009 her young adult novel titled I Ran Away First was shortlisted for the Text Publishing Prize. The Secrets in Silence is Nicole’s third novel. Her previous titles include the acclaimed The Boy Under The Table and Three Hours Late.

 Grab a copy of Hush, Little Bird here

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