John Elder Robison, author of Be Different, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

John Elder Robison

author of Be Different and Look Me In The Eyes

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 Athens Georgia, while my parents attended the University of Georgia. I was raised on both coasts of the United States as my dad attended graduate school before settling as a Professor of Philosophy in Amherst, Massachusetts

I attended various schools before ending up in Amherst High School, from which I was ejected in the tenth grade. I remained a proud and defiant high school dropout until 2008, when the Monarch School of Houston, Texas, gave me an honorary diploma.

Beyond that, I pretty much schooled myself. I was lucky my father was a college professor, and I had the Continue reading

HBO brings George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones to the small screen

During 2011, the first volume of George R R Martin’s glorious high fantasy, A Song of Ice and Fire, will be aired in Australia as an HBO series on Foxtel.

It premièred on Sunday in the USA & UK and pulled in 4.2 million viewers

You have the chance to read the trilogy before it screens here in Australia…

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

A Game of Thrones : Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the centre of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come Continue reading

Eoin Colfer, author of Plugged and the enormously successful Artemis Fowl series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Eoin Colfer

author of Plugged
and the enormously successful Artemis Fowl series

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 the small town of Wexford in South East Ireland in 1965. Boringly enough I was also schooled there and schooled others there as a teacher, with a brief diversion to Dublin to get the qualifications to come home. I still live in Wexford if you hadn’t guessed.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and Continue reading

Stephen Dando-Collins, author of Crack Hardy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Stephen Dando-Collins

author of Crack Hardy: From Gallipoli to Flanders to the Somme, the True Story of Three Australian Brothers at War,

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 Tasmania. With a certificate of graphic design from the Launceston School of Art, I set off to conquer the world. Working as an art director in advertising in England I increasingly wrote copy for the ads, and on my return to Australia became an advertising agency copywriter. Many fellow authors, including Peter Carey and Peter Mayle, come from a similar advertising agency copywriting background. It’s a great training ground for writers, nurturing the creative process, breeding an appreciation for the effectiveness of an economy of words, and inculcating a writing discipline. Before I turned to Continue reading

James Lee Burke: 75 Years of an American Legend

This is a GREAT interview.

By the way, we can expect a new novel from James Lee Burke in September.

To browse Booktopia’s selection of James Lee Burke titles click here

Mardi McConnochie, author of The Voyagers: A Love Story, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Mardi McConnochie

author of The Voyagers: A Love Story and Coldwater

Ten Terrifying Questions

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Update: The Voyagers has won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Christina Stead Award 2011

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 Armidale, NSW, and grew up in Adelaide. I went to Blackwood Junior, Primary, and High School.

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

At twelve I still sort of wanted to be a ballerina, but since I was already taller than my mother, the penny was beginning to drop that maybe that wasn’t going to Continue reading

The 2011 Miles Franklin Award Shortlist

The three novels shortlisted
for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award are…


When Colts Ran by Roger McDonald

‘There was nothing more definite when it came to promise than the worn old earth.’

In this sweeping epic of friendship, toil, hope and failed promise, multi-award-winning author Roger McDonald follows the story of Kingsley Colts as he chases the ghost of himself through the decades, and in and out of the lives and affections of the citizens of ‘The Isabel’, a slice of Australia scattered with prospectors, artists, no-hopers and visionaries. Against this spacious backdrop of sheep stations, timeless landscapes and the Five Alls pub, men play out their fates, conduct their rivalries and hope for the best.

Major Dunc Buckler, ‘misplaced genius and authentic ratbag’, scours the country for machinery in a World War that will never find him. Wayne Hovell, slave to ‘moral duty’, carries the physical and emotional scars of Colts’s early rebellion, but also finds himself the keeper of his redemption. Normie Powell, son of a rugby-playing minister, finds his own mysticism as a naturalist, while warm-hearted stock dealer Alan Hooke longs for understanding in a house full of women. They are men shaped by the obligations and expectations of a previous generation, all striving to define themselves in their own language, on their own terms.

‘When Colts Ran’, written in Roger McDonald’s rich and piercingly observant style, in turns humorous and hard-bitten, charts the ebb and flow of human fortune, and our fraught desire to leave an indelible mark on society and those closest to us. It shows how loyalties shape us in the most unexpected ways. It is the story of how men ‘strike at beauty’ as they fall to the earth. Order a copy now.

Read Roger’s answers to my Ten Terrifying Questions here


That Deadman’s Dance by Kim Scott

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

The novel’s hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

But slowly – by design and by accident – things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are “accidents” and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby’s Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia… Order a copy now.

Read Kim’s answers to my Ten Terrifying Questions here


Bereft by Chris Womersley

It is 1919. The Great War has ended, but the Spanish flu epidemic is raging across Australia. Schools are closed, state borders are guarded by armed men, and train travel is severely restricted. There are rumours it is the end of the world.

In the town of Flint, Quinn Walker returns to the home he fled ten years earlier when he was accused of an unspeakable crime. Aware that his father and uncle would surely hang him, Quinn hides in the hills surrounding Flint. There, he meets the orphan Sadie Fox — a mysterious young girl who seems to know more about the crime than she should.

A searing gothic novel of love, longing and justice, Bereft is about the suffering endured by those who go to war and those who are forever left behind.

‘Bereft is a dark, brooding story of war, family secrets and a man’s search for justice.  Chris Womersley knows how to shine light into the darkest corners of rural Australia.’ – MICHAEL ROBOTHAM

‘Bereft is a beautiful novel . . . Womersley writes with such compelling power it is barely possible to put the book down.’ – DEBRA ADELAIDE Order a copy now.

To the three shortlisted authors…
Congratulations from Booktopia.

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