Blossom, author of Eat, Spray, Love, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks


author of Eat, Spray, Love

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

Born and raised in Sydney, I am an autodidact. In fact most of what I know I figured out for myself. I find that if you observe life and its inhabitants closely, you can learn a lot about the world, even if your world is a small one.

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

I’m now two and a bit so I can’t say, although at this point in my life I am exactly what I want to be: a perfectly satisfied house cat who has achieved enlightenment within the safe haven of my own apartment.

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

Well, at eighteen weeks I thought the secrets of the universe were only to be discovered in exotic climates and on foreign shores, and now I know we hold the great secrets within us.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

One was my first trip to the vet (was the thermometer up the bum really necessary?) and a close encounter with a shitzu (accent on the ‘shit’) which made me realise life on the outside isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Second was coming across Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence—the one that begins with the lines, ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wildflower’. He inspired me to embrace life’s simple pleasures and understand the large through the small.

Third was seeing my flatmate get a book published. I mean if she could do it, I certainly could. And I was right.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I’m an old fashioned feline and I actually like the smell of paper and the feel of Continue reading

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: Exclusive Booktopia content

Book 4 + letter

If you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments series, you are going to LOVE this.

In City of Glass, Book 3 of The Mortal Instruments series, Jace leaves a letter in Clary’s room before he leaves for a life-threatening mission. The content of this letter has been the subject of much speculation among Mortal Instruments fans, but it has never been revealed until now.

The only place in Australia where you can get a look at this exclusive letter is Booktopia. The letter to Clary will be enclosed in the book as a separate piece as if it were handwritten on stationery. It will be delivered to you with your copy of City of Fallen Angels.

City of Fallen Angels is releasing around the world on April 5. Pre-order it now at our discounted price of $22.95 (save 18%) and be one of the few people in Australia to get this precious piece of the puzzle for themselves.

We have limited stocks only of this presentation letter so get your order in quickly.

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Go here for an extract from City of Fallen Angels

Go here for the book trailer

Go here for Cassandra Clare’s answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions

About City of Fallen Angels:Love, blood, betrayal and revenge – the stakes are higher than ever in the fourth book in the bestselling Mortal Instruments sequence

Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter – and spending time with her new boyfriend, Jace. Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city – only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day – if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.

About the Author

Cassandra Clare lives in Brooklyn. She has worked as an entertainment journalist for The Hollywood Reporter, has published several short stories and is the author of the popular internet parody The Very Secret Diaries. The Infernal Devices is her second major series.

Wendy Harmer, author of Friends Like These, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Wendy Harmer

author of Friends Like These, The Pearlie Series, Farewell My Ovaries and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

For me it’s a very long-winded answer! I was born in Yarram, then raised in five little towns, schooled in five schools. All of them were in country Victoria.

My father, as a rural school headmaster, relocated every three years. At the age of 17, I began my independent life in Geelong then went on to live in Melbourne for 20 years. Now I live in Sydney.

If I were to answer what do I identify myself as? I would say, a very proud Victorian. Good public schools, wonderful teachers gave me a great start in life. I am also a proud advocate of State schools.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a hairdresser, a florist, a novelist or a journalist.

At eighteen I was a journalist and wanted to be a cabaret singer.

At thirty I was a cabaret singer, stand up comedian and wanted to be a radio broadcaster and a Continue reading

Author Kylie Ladd reviews Swallow the Air, a novel by Tara June Winch

I didn’t come across Swallow The Air, the début novel of indigenous author Tara June Winch, by accident. In 2010, my family and I left our Melbourne home to spend a year in Broome in the far northwest of Australia. It was an eye-opening experience. There was the sheer physical beauty of the region for a start, and the radically different lifestyle of the tropics, dictated as it is by the climate. Most of all though, I have to confess that it was the first time any of us- my husband, myself, our two primary-school aged children- had been confronted with the realities of indigenous Australia. Roughly 35 percent of the population of Broome identify themselves as of aboriginal descent, and at the school my children attended more than half the student body was indigenous. As a result, we all learned a lot about aboriginal culture and beliefs – but also, less pleasantly, about the ongoing discrepancy between black and white in housing, in education, in health, in employment, in life span and outlook and place in the community. Some of my frustration and despair at things I saw found their way into tweets, and after reading those tweets novelist Rebecca Sparrow sent me a copy of Swallow The Air.

I’m so glad she did. Swallow The Air is an aboriginal story, but it is not the Continue reading

Nicole Avery, author of Planning with Kids, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Nicole Avery

author of Planning with Kids

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

Born in Mildura, a country town 550km north west of Melbourne. I lived and went to school there until I was 17, when I moved to Melbourne to go Deakin University (Burwood). I studied a Bachelor of Business (Finance). I knew from the first year of study it wasn’t really my thing, but finished my degree anyway.

Spent most of my working life at a large Australian Telco, doing a variety of roles from Performance Manager to Call Centre Manager. Lived in the inner city of Melbourne, until our house was bursting with kids and toys and then we moved to a bigger house and big backyard in the inner east of Melbourne.

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

12 – Journalist. I loved news and current affairs. Loved reading and writing, so it seemed like a logical Continue reading

Wilbur Smith, author of Those in Peril, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks


author of Those in Peril, When the Lion Feeds, Elephant Song, River God, Assegai, Hungry as the Sea, Cry Wolf, Warlock and many, many more…

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 on the banks of the Zambesi River and roaring lions heralded my birth. I was raised in the bush and schooled by sadists wielding canes. Now go and read the truth on my website.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a matador because I had just read Death in the Afternoon. At eighteen I wanted to be a gigolo because girls smelt so good. At thirty I wanted to be a novelist so I was.

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

That it was obligatory to marry every girl who came to my bed.

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?

King Solomon’s Mines by Rider Haggard, Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin’s polynesian women, and Jungle drums beating in the African night.

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

For me there was only one avenue open. I couldn’t sing nor dance nor wield a paint brush worth a damn.. but I Continue reading

Elisabeth Holdsworth, author of Those Who Come After, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Elisabeth Holdsworth

author of Those Who Come After

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 a south-western province of The Netherlands, called Zeeland, not long after the end of the second world war. My parents and I arrived in Australia as migrants in 1959. My secondary schooling and university all took place in Melbourne.

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

I wanted to be a writer from the age of five. By the age of twelve I still wanted to be a writer but Continue reading

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos

In this exhilarating new book, Brian Greene explores our most current understanding of the universe, its deepest laws of nature, and our continuing quest to know more.

The Hidden Reality reveals how major developments in different branches of fundamental theoretical physics—relativistic, quantum, cosmological, unified, computational — have all led us to consider one or another variety of parallel universe. In some, they are separated from us by enormous stretches of space or time, in others they’re hovering millimetres away, in others still the very notion of their location proves to be a concept beyond our reach. Most extraordinarily, Greene shows how all of these parallel universe proposals emerge unbidden from the mathematics of theories developed to explain conventional data and observations of the cosmos.

This is a life-changing book that gives us a true sense of the astounding possibilities of modern scientific investigation.

Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate Continue reading

The Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist 2011

Congratulations to all of the longlisted authors!

Update: Click here for The 2011 Miles Franklin Award Shortlist

The longlisted authors are:

Jon Bauer – Rocks in the Belly

How far can you push a child before he snaps?

Rocks in the Belly tells the story of an eight-year-old boy and the adult he becomes. When he is young his mother fosters boys, despite the jealous turmoil it arouses in her son: jealousy that reaches unmanageable proportions when she fosters Robert, a child she can’t help bonding with. As the connection between them grows, the son’s envy triggers an event that profoundly changes everyone. Especially Robert.

At twenty-eight, still haunted by his childhood, the son returns to face his mother, who is now chronically ill. He hasn’t forgiven her for what happened to Robert, and yet she isn’t the same domineering woman anymore. Now she’s the dependent one and he the dominant force — a power he can’t help but abuse.

Written in two startlingly original voices, Rocks in the Belly is about the effortless destruction we wreak on one another in the simple pursuit of our own happiness, and a reminder that we never leave our childhood behind. A fast-paced, powerful, yet often beautiful and funny novel.

Order your copy of Rocks in the Belly here


Honey Brown – The Good Daughter

Rebecca Toyer and Zach Kincaid each live on the outskirts of town, but come from very different sides of the tracks. When Zach’s wealthy mother goes missing, Rebecca – the truckie’s daughter – is implicated in her disappearance.

In the weeks that follow, Rebecca and Zach are drawn into a treacherous, adult world. Eager to please, Rebecca finds herself in danger of living up to the schoolyard taunts she so hates, while Zach channels his feelings through the sights of his gun.

In the fading summer light, grudges are nursed and tempers fray, and as old lies unravel it seems nobody can be relied on. But beyond the fallout, the hard lessons in love and betrayal have not been wasted. Rebecca and Zach realise that judgements can be flawed – and that trust is better earnt than given.

Original, unsettling and compelling, The Good Daughter is the much-anticipated second novel from Continue reading

2011 Orange Prize for Fiction – The Longlist

Longlist in full

Leila Aboulela – Lyrics Alley

A lyrical and deeply moving novel by a twice Orange-listed rising star, set in pre-Independence Sudan, Egypt and post-war Britain.

With Mahmood Bey at its helm, the family can do no wrong. But when Mahmood’s son, Nur – the brilliant, charming heir to his business empire – suffers a near-fatal accident, his hopes of university and a glittering future are dashed. Subsequently, his betrothal to his cousin and sweetheart, Soraya is broken off, another tragedy that he is almost unable to bear.As British rule is coming to an end and the country is torn between modernising influences and the call of traditions past, the family is divided. Mahmood’s second wife, Nabilah, longs to return to Egypt and leave behind her the dust of ‘backward-looking’ Sudan. His first wife, Waheeba, lives traditionally behind veils and closed doors and resents Nabilah’s influence on Mahmood. Meanwhile, Nur must find a way to live again in the world and find peace. Moving from the villages of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated post-colonial Britain, this is a sweeping tale of loss, faith and reconciliation.

About The Author:  Leila Aboulela was born in 1964 in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. She came to England to study at the LSE and now lives between Doha and Aberdeen.

Order Lyrics Alley here


Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie

London, 1857: after surviving an encounter with an escaped tiger on the streets of Bermondsey, nine-year-old Jaffy stumbles into a job for its owner, the wild animal collector, Mr Jamrach.

Commissioned by Jamrach to find and collect a sea dragon, Jaf soon joins a ship bound for the South Seas, and so begins a wonder-filled voyage of discovery.

But when things start to go awry, Jaf’s journey becomes a fight for survival which will push faith, love and friendship to their outermost limits.

Brilliantly written and utterly compulsive, Carol Birch’s novel evokes the smells, sights and flavours of the nineteenth century from the squalor of London to the islands of the South Seas. This historical adventure is a major literary accomplishment and will Continue reading


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