Must a divorced man in possession of a good fortune be in need of a new wife? Susan Johnson talks to Booktopia TV about her newly released novel, The Landing

Susan Johnson talks to us about her wonderful new book, The Landing, whereby recently divorced Jonathan Lott discovers what truly matters in this world. Betrayal, disappointment, compromise and joy are all explored. This is a delightfully poignant novel, written with Johnson’s trademark wit and insight.

Order your copy of The Landing here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

The Landing

Susan Johnson

the landing

Jonathan Lott is confused. His wife has left him for a woman and he doesn’t like living alone. Is it true that an about-to-be-divorced man in possession of a good fortune is in need of a new wife? Would Penny Collins do, divorced herself, school teacher and frustrated artist? What about beautiful Anna, blown in from who knows where, trailing broken marriages behind her?

There’s a lot happening at The Landing, where Jonathan has his beach house, and he’s about to find out how much … Read more.

Order your copy of The Landing here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

Check out other books by Susan Johnson

A dysfunctional family, country town tension and a little romance with a park ranger … Pamela Cook talks to Booktopia TV about her new book, Close to Home

Australian rural fiction writer, Pamela Cook, talks to us about her new book Close to Home a heartwarming story about letting go of the past and embracing the future. There’s a dash of a dysfunctional family, a smidgeon of country town tension and a little romance with a park ranger …

Cook is also the author of Blackwattle Lake, an engaging novel of finding your place in the world and Essie’s Way, a captivating story of family and love

Grab your copy of Close to Home here

Close to Home

Pamela Cook

Close to Home

Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between the haunting memories of her past, her dedication to the job and her attraction to a handsome local.

Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backwards glance. But it also means relying on … Read more.

Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

 Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

Australia’s own Secret Garden … Janet Hawley, author of Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asksWendy Whiteley

Janet Hawley

author of Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden is about Wendy spending over 20 years turning a vast rubbish dump on unused railway land at Lavender Bay on northern Sydney Harbour, into a glorious public garden.

Wendy began the garden in 1992, grief-stricken when her artist husband Brett Whiteley died, followed by the death of their daughter Arkie. The garden, now almost a hectare, has grown into a joyous haven that Wendy has designed like a living painting.

I’ve watched Wendy transform a wasteland into a beautiful sanctuary, and along the way the garden transformed her into a woman with a newfound happiness and a wish to share. She’s paid for the entire garden, and works daily beside her gardeners – truly inspiring.

2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The sheer pleasure in getting off the grid, finding calm breathing space to be immersed in nature, and re-set your brain. Too long inside the grid is disastrous.

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

“Use your eyes. So many people look, but don’t see.” Wendy says this constantly, so did our late artist friend Jeffrey Smart.


4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

Writers spend so much time thinking deeply and widely, trying to get inside other people’s heads, understand people and events from every angle. We can get upset with others when we don’t have enough time to think, see issues in black and white, and cannot see the subtle greys.

I work best in daytime and find it useless struggling over the words at night. Better to sleep on it, and hope you wake up in the small hours, with your thoughts unscrambled. I write those flashes down the moment they arrive. Never go back to sleep and think you’ll remember the words in the morning, you never quite recapture it.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I’ve always thought that if you are genuinely curious about the subject – whether you’re exploring the life and world of an artist, or of a honey bee – you will take the reader along with you. I’m always thinking about trying to understand the topic/people, and giving a strong sense of person and place, so the reader feels they’re walking and seeing beside me. Hopefully, some readers will like this approach.


6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

A basic book on nutrition, which clearly explains food – calories, vitamins, minerals – what bodies need and don’t need. We are what we eat.

A beautifully illustrated book of great art works – to inspire creative thoughts in young minds.

A song book, maybe Beatles lyrics, or old fashioned hymns, to bond the twenty kids singing together and make them happy.

A dictionary – actually makes fascinating reading.

A blank page diary each – so they can draw and write their own thoughts.

Janet, thank you for playing.


Grab your copy of Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden here

About the Author

Janet Hawley enjoyed a wide readership in her thirty-year career as a senior feature writer on Good Weekend Magazine, published in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

She’s renowned for her intimate profiles of artists and creative people, and trusted by her interview subjects to explore their private worlds and mysteries of the creative process. She’s published two books on artists, Artists In Conversations and Encounters With Australian Artists. Her book, A Place on the Coast, co-authored … Read more.

Grab your copy of Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden here

Grab your copy of Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden here

Richard Glover talks to Booktopia TV about his memoir, Flesh Wounds

Richard Glover talks to us about his new book, Flesh Wounds – part family memoir, part rollicking venture into 1970s Australia. In this poignant read, Glover delves into his past, understanding that he must come to terms with it if he is ever to lay it to rest. That includes accepting his parents’ past indiscretions, from his mother running off with his Tolkien-obsessed English teacher to his alcoholic father …

Grab your copy of Flesh Wounds here.

Flesh Wounds

Richard Glover

Richard Glover

A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family.

Richard Glover’s favourite dinner party game is called ‘Who’s Got the Weirdest Parents?’. It’s a game he always thinks he’ll win. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard’s English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could … Read more.

Grab your copy of Flesh Wounds here.

Emma Hooper, author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Emma Hooper

author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James

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 Alberta, Canada. That’s right in the middle of Canada, where the long low prairies meet the rocky mountains. That’s where I was raised and schooled too. Saskatchewan, where Etta and Otto and Russell and James is set was right next door (it’s nothing but prairie), and my childhood holidays were spent out there visiting my mom’s family. Long hot empty days in that long hot empty place. Nothing but wheat fields and gophers…

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

I never gave the same answer twice. One day it was a vet, the next a lawyer. Once it was a choral conductor because I noticed they got a lot of flowers. An ice-hockey player, an actor, a palaeontologist … the only certain thing was my indecision.  And now that I’m all grown up with three jobs I still can’t decide…

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

I was fiercly, fiercly, independent at that age. Didn’t want to have to rely on anyone for anything ever… I still value independence and want to be able to always land on my own two feet, but I now also see the value, the potential, of needing other people sometimes. Of teaming up…

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?

A book: Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco

A painting: The collected works of Erin K Hooper (my sister) and Jeff Kulak (my friend)

A piece of music: ‘Heartland’ by Owen Pallet

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

I’ve always been fond of narrative, of story-telling, that folds in and out of itself, everything from Borges’ Labyrinths to Egger A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. We don’t experience life linearly, we’re always thinking about what happened yesterday, or where we’ll be tomorrow, or both at once, so I was striving for a form that could capture some of that fluidity. That, and I’ve got quite aLabyrinths fondness for puzzles… for taking a bunch of seemingly disparate pieces and figuring out how to fit them together into one beautiful whole… A novel seemed the only and best form for that.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My favourite is The Times’ (of London’s) description, so I’ll steal that: “a fantastical yet deeply human adventure story starring a wild, brave, outdoorsy heroine striding alone across the North American wilderness. A heroine who happens to be a little old woman…”

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

I hope they get the inspiration and impulse to do whatever it is they want to do. We all have goals and desires like Etta’s, that don’t always make sense to everyone else, or even to ourselves, sometimes. The “I’ve always wanted”s. If the book inspires one person who used to say, “I’ve always wanted to do X” to go ahead and do it, I’ll be happy. Swim with dolphins, living in Japan, making fudge, making a rocket, anything, everything.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?one-hundred-years-of-solitude

I admire writers who play with magic and reality, and who embrace joy as well as suffering in their books. Examples are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Karen Russell and Jonathan Safran Foer.

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

Never stop making. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Learn your grammar. Really. No one’s above the basics. And no one will take you seriously until you do.

Emma, thank you for playing.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

by Emma Hooper

‘I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.’

Etta’s greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two, she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to the water.

But Etta is starting to forget things. Her husband, Otto, remembers everything, and he loves … Read more

Grab a copy of Etta and Otto and Russell and James here

About the Author

Emma Hooper is a musician and writer. As a musician, her solo project ‘Waitress for the Bees’ tours internationally and has earned her a Finish Cultural Knighthood. Asan author, she has published short stories, non-fiction pieces, poetry and libretti as well as a number of academic papers. She is a research-lecturer at Bath Spa University, in the Commercial Music department, but goes home to cross-country ski in Canada as much as she can afford.

 Grab a copy of Etta and Otto and Russell and James here

Garth Nix talks to Booktopia TV about his new book, Newt’s Emerald

Australian bestselling author Garth Nix talks to us about his new book, Newt’s Emerald, an enchanting regency romance centred around an intrepid young lady, dashing young hero, French spies, a case of mistaken identity and an enchanted moustache. Yep, an enchanted moustache!

Order your copy of Newt’s Emerald here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

Newt’s Emerald

Garth Nix

Newt's emerald

After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen-year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London to search for the magical heirloom of her house. But as no well-bred young lady can hunt the metropolis for a stolen jewel, she has to disguise herself as a man, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation…and her heart.

Balancing twin roles as a young lady coming out in her first season and as an intrepid young man up against an evil sorceress isn’t easy, but Truthful has to manage it. Her father’s life and even the fate of England may depend upon her recovering the Newington Emerald!

Read Sarah McDuling’s review here.

Order your copy of Newt’s Emerald here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

Fiona Palmer talks to Booktopia TV about her new book, The Saddler Boys!

Bestselling Australian rural author Fiona Palmer talks to us about her new novel The Saddler Boys. And for the lucky that get in quick, they’ll receive a signed copy!

For a limited time only, order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Offer available while stocks last.

The Saddler Boys

Fiona Palmer

the-saddler-boysSchool teacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her society … Read more

For a limited time only, order The Saddler Boys and you will receive a signed copy. Offer available while stocks last.


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