Steve Worland, author of Combustion, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

‘A brilliant rollercoaster ride of a novel. I couldn’t put it down.’
Hugh Jackman

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Steve Worland

author of Combustion and Velocity

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 Sydney, raised for the early part of my life in Tokyo, then came back to Australia to attend Knox Grammar School. After that I studied Film Production at North Sydney TAFE part time, then completed a Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television & Radio School.

I’ve written two action-adventure novels, Velocity and Combustion and I’m currently writing a third, set in the world of Formula One. Also, a movie I co-wrote is shooting at the end of this year. It’s an Aussie kids adventure, in the vein of Stand By Me, called ‘Paper Planes’. Robert Connolly (‘The Bank’, ‘Balibo’, Tim Winton’s ‘The Turning’) is directing. We don’t make many kid’s movies in this country so I’m thrilled Screen Australia decided to fund this one.

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The Counselor by Cormac McCarthy: Read It, Then Watch It

GREED is greatly overrated… BUT FEAR ISN’T

In early 2012 it was announced that Cormac McCarthy had written his first original screenplay – news which provoked huge excitement, a swift deal and the appointment of Ridley Scott to direct.

But this is no ordinary screenplay. This is a work of extraordinary imagination which draws on many of the themes of McCarthy’s work as well as taking it to new dark places. It is also written with great descriptive passages counteracting the dialogue, so the reader is given the full experience of the McCarthy prose.

It is the story of a lawyer, the Counselor, a man who is so seduced by the desire to get rich, to impress his fiancee Laura, that he becomes involved in a drug-smuggling venture that quickly takes him way out of his depth. His contacts in this are the mysterious and probably corrupt Reiner and the seductive Malkina, so exotic her pets of choice are two cheetahs. As the action crosses the Mexican border, things become darker, more violent and more sexually disturbing than the Counselor has ever imagined.

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy is the author of eleven acclaimed novels. Among his honours are the National Book Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Click here to buy The Counselor from Booktopia
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Click here to buy The Counselor from Booktopia
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

crazy-rich-asiansThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kevin Kwan

author of Crazy Rich Asians

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 Singapore and enjoyed a blissful childhood climbing trees, taunting neighbourhood dogs and eating five meals a day. I went to a private school where I was taught the Queen’s English and drilled in all subjects, including a class called “Moral Education.” When I was eleven, I was dragged (kicking and screaming) to Houston, Texas, where I was put in a suburban public school. I learned to get rid of my Queen’s English accent FAST. After surviving high school and then college at the University of Houston, where I majored in Media Studies and Creative Writing, I moved to New York and enrolled in Parsons School of Design to study photography. (Of course, that was just an excuse to remain in New York forever.)

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The Incompetent Cook Road Tests… Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger

Every couple of weeks Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach reviews a cookbook. He is an Incompetent cook. He is The Incompetent Cook.

Bill’s Italian Food
by Bill Granger

The meals:

Mozzarella, Roasted Capsicum and Caper Pizza

Artichoke and Ham Lasagne

Pistachio and Orange Loaf Cake

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First Official Full-Length Trailer For Tim Winton’s The Turning Released

The first full length trailer for the film adaptation of Tim Winton’s 2005 short story collection, The Turning, has been released. Have a peek below.

Doesn’t it look fantastic! A huge production across all facets of the Australian arts community featuring acclaimed writers, directors, actors and cinematographers, along with the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page, and Shaun Gladwell, one of Australia’s most acclaimed video artists.

Check out the list of directors for each chapter of the film.

  • Jonathan auf der Heide (“Fog”)
  • Tony Ayres (“Cockleshell”)
  • Cate Blanchett (“Reunion”)
  • Jub Clerc (“Abbreviation”)
  • Robert Connolly (“Aquifer”)
  • Shaun Gladwell (“Family”)
  • Rhys Graham (“Small Mercies”)
  • Justin Kurzel (“Boner McPharlin’s Moll”)
  • Yaron Lifschitz (“Immunity”)
  • Anthony Lucas (“Damaged Goods”)
  • Claire McCarthy (“The Turning”)
  • Ian Meadows (“Defender”)
  • Ashlee Page (“On Her Knees”)
  • Stephen Page (“Sand”)
  • Warwick Thornton (“Big World”)
  • Marieka Walsh (“Ash Wednesday”)
  • Mia Wasikowska (“Long, Clear View”)
  • David Wenham (“Commission”)

Click here to buy The Turning from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Romance at Booktopia’s Saucy Six with Beth Kery

Booktopia’s Romance Specialist, Haylee Nash pins down bestselling erotic author Beth Kery for the Saucy Six…and gets all hot and bothered in the process

 1.       When do you feel your most beautiful?
Probably on a day when I actually take care of myself and think about how I look. Unfortunately, that’s too rare these days due to work, which is a shame. I am a huge spa-lover. I adore pampering myself, not just because I’m into self-indulgence, but because it’s a reminder that I need to relax and focus on myself for a precious moment. A big favourite thing is to do a spa day with my friends or sisters, think healthy, drink lots of water, get a treatment, do hair and make-up there and then go out on the town. I feel like I’ve checked in with myself on a day like that, had fun. And yes, it makes me feel beautiful. :) Continue reading

Never Go Back by Lee Child: Jack Reacher Returns In 2013

‘It’s said that a Jack Reacher novel is bought every four seconds somewhere in the world… Lee Child’s genius has been to create a tough guy hero that men will envy and women will adore’ Daily Express.

By addictive bestseller Lee Child, the brand new, action-packed, high-tension Jack Reacher thriller, which sees Reacher, at the end of his long journey, honing in on his target in Virginia at last…

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP.

It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Read an excerpt of
Never Go Back

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind Reacher’s old desk isn’t a woman.

Why is Susan Turner not there?

What Reacher doesn’t expect is what comes next. He himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide.

And he certainly doesn’t expect to hear these words:

‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

Click here to buy Never Go Back from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Election Collection: Books To Make Voting Easier #ausvotes

All Australians over the age of eighteen must vote in the Federal Election on 7th September, 2013. Surprisingly, there are many voters who have yet to decide who they will vote for. Some seem completely perplexed.

Never fear, The Election Collection is here. A fail-safe guide to the election using one of humankind’s greatest achievements – the book. Yes, the book.

Who knew the humble book could help you make a decision?

Chris BowenThe Labor Party



Further reading: Change We Can Believe In: Barak Obama’s Plan To Renew America’s Promise by Barack Obama, A Journey : Tony Blair, Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton.

Tony AbbottThe Liberals


Tony SpeaksCons:

Further reading: Decision Points by George W. Bush, When Things Went Right: The Dawn of the Reagan-Bush Administration by Chase Untermeyer,  Not for Turning : The Life of Margaret Thatcher by Robin Harris.

Gone but not forgotten

The Greens



Further reading: The Rabbits by John Marsden & Shaun Tan, Watership Down by Richard Adams

Julian AssangeWikiLeaks Party



Further reading: Dreaming Too Loud From Arthur Philip to Julian Assange by Geoffrey Robertson

an-incredible-race-of-peopleKatter’s Australian Party



Further reading: They’re a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta

Clive PalmerPalmer United Party



Further reading: Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler




  • The Outsider  by Albert Camus
    Further reading: Independent People by Halldor Laxness

    The Donkey Vote

    The Pros and Cons in One Song

Cahill’s Choice: Top 10 Great Film and Television Fathers

This year Booktopia’s Christopher Cahill celebrates Father’s Day with a look back at some of film and television’s greatest (and most notorious) father figures, leaving aside some obvious ones (Atticus Finch etc). Screen dads have a habit of setting the bar incredibly high when it comes to being a father but they’re a wonderful guide of what to do, and what not to do, in a variety of parenting situations.

Mike Brady

The Brady Bunch

Mike Brady is nothing short of a benchmark for fathers everywhere. He’s loving and supportive of his six children but can also deliver tough love all without the use of his belt. Not only does he have an endless supply of wisdom and patience he also manages to keep his children and adopted children from forming relationships that can only be described as unnatural.
While Robert Reed is the original Mike Brady we all know and love, it is Garry Cole’s take (read as impression) on the legendary father figure that should not be overlooked. An honourable mention must also go to Garry Cole for his delightful (read as psychotic) father figure Sheriff Buck in American Gothic.

Click here to buy The Brady Bunch from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Bryan Mills


Bryan Mills has a very particular set of skills and I’m not talking about buying lame gifts for his estranged daughter. If you ever had the extreme misfortune of being kidnapped then Bryan Mills is your father of choice. He may be the world’s most overprotective dad but his ability to deliver an ass-whooping on your behalf is second to none. Ironically, Bryan takes away many fathers and sons in the process of saving his kidnapped daughter. But that’s okay, they were bad people anyway and it’s not like it was ever going to come back and bite him in the ass in Taken 2. Or would it?

Click here to buy Taken from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Tywin Lannister

Game of Thrones

It takes a great father to start a war that will engulf a whole realm. Tywin (father to Tyrion, Jamie and Cersi Lannister) may be more concerned with House Lannister’s legacy than his actual children but he sure does step up when both his sons are captured by the Starks. What really makes Tywin Lannister stand out from the list is his ability to start and (almost) end a war by post. This is a man who is not afraid to send an angry letter. Please be warned that this great father and son moment is rather spoiler heavy and not appropriate for children.

Click here to buy Game of Thrones from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Darth Vader

Star Wars

Perhaps great is not a word that should be used to describe Darth Vader. Not only does he Force choke his pregnant wife, torture his daughter ‘Princess’ Leia, he also cuts off his son Luke’s hand. Apparently the Dark Side of the Force and being a good dad don’t go hand in hand. But Daddy Darth makes up for it when he finally gets tired of watching his adopted father Emperor Palpatine electrocute his son, turns his back on the Dark Side of the Force, screams ‘Nooooooooo!’ and throws his boss down a big hole. Sadly Palpatine was more than likely Darth Vader’s father (read the original draft for Revenge of the Sith) so not only is Darth a poor father figure he’s also a pretty lousy son.

Click here to buy Star Wars from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Nigel Powers

Austin Powers: Goldmember

He may have given his son Austin daddy issues (being an absent father does that) but the ultra hip and charming Nigel Powers clearly didn’t fall short when it came to sex ed. Michael Caine’s performance as Nigel Powers puts James Bond to shame and makes his son Austin Powers look like a needy dork. The fact that he stops Doctor Evil’s insidious plans for world domination just by telling him he loves him is nothing short of inspiring.

Click here to buy Goldmember from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

the-focker-family-collection-meet-the-parents-meet-the-fockers-little-fockers-Jack Byrnes

Meet the Parents

The posterboy (man) for suspicious father-in-laws everywhere. Having Robert De Niro for a father, or father-in-law, would be truly terrifying but once you’re in the “circle of trust” it’s all pretty sweet. The ex CIA Operative is highly protective of his family so when all round clown Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) decides he want to marry his daughter Pam, he busts out the lie detector and puts him through his paces. Jack even sees through Gaylord’s clever story about milking a cat. What a guy. Jack’s undying love for his cat Jinxy only adds to his creditability as a father figure to both humans and felines alike.

Click here to buy Meet The Parents from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Don Vito Corleone

The Godfather

Many come for his garbled words of wisdom, all come to pay their respects. Not only is the Don a father to his children and adopted son Tom Hagen, he’s the father figure to a whole community. Marlon Brando’s fine performance as the aging mob boss has become one of popular culture’s biggest influences and a how-to guide for dad’s everywhere. What dad wouldn’t like to make someone ‘an offer they can’t refuse’? Don Corleone’s stand out dad moment is really when he gives his godson Johnny Fontane some fatherly advice and a little bit of tough love.

Click here to buy The Godfather Trilogy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Professor Henry Jones

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones has only two weaknesses, a fear of snakes and his lingering daddy issues. There was really only one man who could have played the father of the world’s toughest archeologist and that’s James Bond himself.

Professor Henry Jones Senior might lack his son’s fists of fury but can more than hold his own while charming the ladies and fighting off Nazis with an umbrella, a flock of seagulls and a pen. While his son may view him as an absent father, Jones Senior was really just trying to give Indiana his independence and teach him a bit of self-reliance. More dads should follow his fine example by just taking a step back and allowing their sons to become famous archeologists who fight evil in their spare time.

Click here to buy The Indiana Jones Trilogy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Walter White

Breaking Bad

Fathers who are willing to make and sell crystal meth for the sake of their families are few and far between. When all round great Dad Walter White is diagnosed with terminal cancer that’s exactly what he does to make sure his family is provided for after his passing.

The man who knocks has many great father moments, not only with his own son Walt Junior, but also with his sort-of-adopted son Jesse Pinkman to whom he offers no end of fatherly advice. It’s the pseudo (no pun intended) father and son relationship that makes this show a masterpiece of modern television. While Walter White has many great moments the stand out would have to be the knock-knock joke he tells his wife Skyler.

Click here to buy Breaking Bad from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store



It may seem an odd pick but Odin displays some excellent parenting skills when he banishes his arrogant, long-haired lout of a son Thor. It’s this valuable time away from home that helps Thor grow up and shed his angry young man syndrome. While Odin does spend most of the movie having a nap (Odin sleep, not to be confused with regular sleep apparently) he does come to his son’s rescue when Thor goes and picks a fight with the neighbours. And really isn’t that what fathers are for? Oh, he’s also Loki’s adopted father but that’s another story…

Click here to buy Thor from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local DVD Store

Honourable mentions
Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable (The Cosby show)
Al Bundy (Married….with Children)
Phil Dunphy (Modern Family)
William ‘Bill’ Adama (Battlestar Galactica)

Animated Dads…
Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)
Fred Flinstone (The Flinstones)
Peter Griffin (Family Guy)
Sparkplug Witwicky (The Transformers)
George J. Jetson (The Jetsons)
Ned Flanders (The Simpsons)

Can you think of any memorable Film and TV Father’s that didn’t make the list. Let us know by leaving your comments below.

Dianne Blacklock answers Romance at Booktopia’s ‘Firsts’

Australian author of contemporary women’s fiction, and of new release The Best Man, Dianne Blacklock answers Romance at Booktopia’s ‘firsts’.

1. Who was your first crush?
Hutch, the blond one from the TV show, Starsky and Hutch. I was almost debilitatingly obsessed. Is there anything more overwhelming than those adolescent crushes? Continue reading


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