GUEST BLOG: Robin Bowles, author of Smoke & Mirrors, on the murder of Stuart Rattle.

smoke-and-mirrorsIn December 2013 the whole of Melbourne was buzzing with the details of a most bizarre murder.  The people most intrigued, far from being the criminal element where murder is often discussed, were the bold and beautiful of the socialite set. Someone many of them knew, others who’d relied on the victim, renowned interior designer Stuart Rattle, to transform their houses into enviable homes, could not believe the gruesome story as it unfolded across the Melbourne media.

The details were scanty at first, some journalists believing there had been a ‘typo’ in police media releases. At first, everyone assumed that Stuart had died in bed in a fire in his apartment, whilst his partner of 16 years, Michael O’Neill and their three pet foxies had made a lucky escape.

But the autopsy didn’t support this scenario. Within days of the fire, police arrested Michael for murder. The charge sheet showed a five-day disparity between a date of probable death and the fire. Police confirmed it was not a ‘typo’, but refused to release more details.

Sorrow and support for Michael changed to anger and more grief, friends realising that they had lost two close friends inRobin Bowels one week instead of one. Clients and customers were incredulous, uncomprehending about how such an outwardly ideal couple could disintegrate into such a sad and sordid ending.

Gradually the bizarre details emerged. Stuart had been dead for 5 days before the fire. After bludgeoning him on the head with a heavy saucepan and then strangling him with a handy dog lead, Michael had wrapped Stuart’s body in a clear plastic sofa bag and brought him a cup of tea. He sat with him, brought him wine and take-away curry, ‘watched’ TV beside him, all the while carrying on a semblance of their normal lives at work downstairs, pretending to all that Stuart was sick in bed.

Eventually the summer heat and the normal biological process forced him to make a decision. He says he set the fire so that Stuart would not be found in the undignified state of advanced decomposition.

Michael pleaded guilty at his trial and is now serving an 18-year sentence for murder and arson.

People often ask me how I make the decision to write about a particular murder, after all many murder trials take place in all the courts around Australia every week. I like to look at a story with ‘layers’ and if possible some psychological or social significance, rather than the story of A kills B, A arrested, tried and sent to prison—The End. The story behind my latest, 11th  book, Smoke and Mirrors had all the elements of things not appearing as they seem. Even Stuart Rattle, the self-confessed smoke and mirrors design expert, was an enigma. Lots published about his public self, but little known about the ‘real’ Stuart Rattle. Michael O’Neill, for reasons that become apparent in the book, also created a web of fiction about himself, too insecure to tell the truth. Here were these two men, both of whom had spaces in their personalities that the other filled, living a life behind the smoke and mirrors of their counterfeit public personas, struggling emotionally, physically and financially in their every-day unseen lifestyle. It was a perfect storm.

This book was not an easy one to write. With every book I have to struggle with ethics—what to include and what to leave out; trying not to extend the pain of the living victims created by a tragedy such as murder; frustration from the police and in this case, the prison system; reluctance of people to share their hurt or inner feelings; and at times being almost overwhelmed myself by the sadness and waste of it all.

Smoke and Mirrors was not the easiest book I’ve written, but I am already being rewarded by the feedback that it’s a riveting read!

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here


smoke-and-mirrorsSmoke and Mirrors

by Robin Bowles

Stuart Rattle and Michael O’Neill were the perfect couple. Country boys from working-class backgrounds, they became bon vivants and lovers, the envy of all their friends – until tragedy struck.

Stuart Rattle was at the peak of his design career, feted and entertained by hosts whose invitations were gold. His ‘Rattle’ interiors were his ticket into this exclusive lifestyle.

Michael O’Neill, his loyal and loving partner, employee, dogsbody and whipping boy, was always three steps behind, never in the limelight. In the words of Paul Bangay, the international garden designer and Stuart’s former partner, ‘Michael really had to fit into Stuart’s way of life … Stuart had a more…

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here

Five of Five with Aurealis Award-winning author Mitchell Hogan

Mitchell_HoganWe play Five of Five with Aurealis Award-winning author Mitchell Hogan!

1) Name 5 books that inspire you…

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar 

Surprised? Don’t be, it’s a classic. There’s not just a hungry caterpillar, there’s a very hungry caterpillar and a twist at the end. Good stuff. It always reminds me of a joke which goes something like this — Author: I have a book about a hungry caterpillar, Publisher: Pass, Author: Wait…it’s a very hungry caterpillar, Publisher: Go on…

Stephen King’s The Stand

This book is essentially an epic fantasy adventure about good and evil set in a post apocalyptic America, and it has it all: imagery, great characters and plot, excellent world-building.

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? A gorgeous book, which makes the complexity of the universe comprehensible and palatable.

Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

Each time I read this book it tells me something different. Compared to today’s fantasy works it’s a short read, but what makes it great is its subtext. Read it early, and read it often.

Scott Bakker’s The Darkness That Comes Before

Exquisite world building, the best I’ve ever read. This is a dark, adult fantasy story, and Bakker masterfully combines many different POV’s, literary techniques, plots, religion, sorcery, and philosophy into a great read. An educated, intelligent and talented writer.

2) What are your picks for the 5 “best fantasy books of all time”?

Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice

A complex and action packed fantasy, with flesh and blood characters. Triumphs are bitter sweet and you’ll experience real emotion when reading this book.

Glen Cook’s The Black Company

A world where good and evil are not absolute, following characters who are dark and ugly and somehow likeable, who must navigate the best they can through shades of grey. It’s a little rough around the edges, and some would say it’s primitive, but it’s unique.

C.J. Cherryh’s Chronicles of Morgaine

Stargate meets epic fantasy! A fantastic female lead character who has her own faults, weaknesses and needs. With all of the action and issues the two characters have to face, you don’t realise until deep into reading it what the real story is: the relationship between Morgaine and Vanye.

R. Scott Bakker’s The Darkness That Comes Before

Everything I said above plus more.

David Gemmel’s Legend

Fantastic action scenes and an epic story about what it means to be a hero.

3) What are your picks for the “5 best sci-fi books of all time”?

Frank Herbert’s Dune

Complex and vast world building, and people fighting over money, planets and drugs.

Issac Asimov’s Foundation

Epic scope. The fall of the Roman Empire in space. A classic.

Dan Simmons’ Hyperion

Superbly written and crafted. Different tales from different characters, all with a part to play.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

It can be confusing, but with each re-read you understand more. This book coined the term “cyberspace”. A challenging but electrifying read.

Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Science-fiction-comedy phenomenon. Some find it “too silly”, but they probably put their babel fish in the wrong hole.

4) What are your 5 favourite movies?

Blade Runner

Dark, gritty, superb style and atmosphere.

Seven Samurai

The first of its kind, assemble a team to carry out a mission. Rain drenched action and violence, and yet the movie isn’t about violence, it’s about duty and societal roles.

The Princess Bride

Enchanting fantasy. Yes, it has a few flaws, but it has everything: action, romance, comedy. Heart warming and sardonic.

Sunshine

A sci-fi movie without aliens? What the?

Complex characters, amazing story, do yourself a favour and watch it.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

A great sci-fi adventure capturing the time in childhood when the world is filled with many mysterious possibilities. And E.T. was a jedi, so now you know.

5) What are 5 things about the art of writing that you didn’t know when you started?

– There is the art of writing, and the business of writing. You need to be good at both. It’s your intellectual property and you need to realise it has intrinsic value.

– Waiting for the “muse” to strike before you write is a good way to not get much writing done.

– There are many ways to learn something, and the best way is for someone more experienced to teach you. Find knowledgeable critiquers or professional editors and take their feedback on board. Strive to constantly improve your writing.

– You don’t need to be an expert, whether it is writing or the business of writing, you just need to have an appetite for learning and to work hard.

– Someone once said: Have the courage to write badly. I think that’s great advice.

Grab your copy of Mitchell Hogan’s A Crucible of Souls here

a-crucible-of-soulsA Crucible of Souls

by Mitchell Hogan

The Aurealis Award-winning e-book bestseller now in print.

An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

When young Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were violently killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.

But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction.

Soon, he must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.

Grab your copy of Mitchell Hogan’s A Crucible of Souls here

Joanna Courtney, author of The Chosen Queen, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

the-chosen-queen

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Joanna Courtney

author of The Chosen Queen

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 St Andrews in Scotland, so definitely consider myself a Scot at heart even though we moved to England when I was only a few months old. Bar lots of lovely visits to grandparents over the border, I’ve been in England ever since, growing up in a village in the Midlands with my parents, and my brother and sister.

I then headed off to Cambridge University to study English literature and from there took a sideways turn into factory management, helping to run an old-fashioned textile mill in Lancashire. In my spare time, though, I was always writing and when I met my husband and gave up full time work to have children, I turned to writing to keep me sane between nappies, as well as to fulfil a lifelong dream.

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

Easy – I wanted to be a writer, a writer and a writer! Why, I’m not so sure about – I just have this itch to shape the world into coherent narratives!

Joanna-Courtney-Barnden1-200x200-circle3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I think that, in common with many eighteen year olds, I believed it was possible to create a ‘perfect life’. I now know that there’s no such thing really and you just have to make the most of everything that you do have that’s good. Right now, for me, that’s a wonderful family, a lovely cosy house and the publication of my first novel.

Becoming ‘a writer’ has been my dream all the way, so whilst it’s crazy juggling being a wife and mother with my work, I’d still say that it’s pretty perfect in a messy, wonderfully bonkers sort of way!

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?

I am an avid reader and always have been so any number of books have had a strong influence on me, but my favourite is definitely Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbevilles for its rich sense of journey for poor, brave Tess.

I love music, though I’m no connoisseur and generally like it best for dancing to! One piece that did really inspire me, though, was the slightly obscure ‘Liar’s Bar’ by The Beautiful South from the 90s. I loved this song so much that I wrote a whole novel inspired by it. It hasn’t yet made the light of day but perhaps at some point I’ll be able to go back to it.

As far as art goes, I’m even less of a connoisseur than I am of music. I do, however, have this innate love of pictures with paths leading off into the horizon and as a writer that’s the way I approach my stories – as paths that are going to lead both me and, hopefully, the reader somewhere enticing.

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

I didn’t actually start out writing novels. For many years I published short stories. This was mainly because I was bringing up small children so only had the odd hour here and there in which to write but it was also a wonderful way to hone my writing, to find my voice, and to learn the vital skill of pleasing a targeted audience.

I’ve had over 200 short stories published in the English women’s magazines and have loved my time crafting shorter fiction but I’ve also always had a strong pull towards the novel as there is something deeply satisfying about the longer format. It gives you a chance to develop a character and really draw the reader into their world. It also offers so much scope for twists and turns and, when it comes to historical fiction, I love the space that it gives me to bring a period to life and to create a narrative that can lead a reader through a complicated set of events in a coherent and exciting way.

the-chosen-queen6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The Chosen Queen is not just my latest but my first ever full novel and I’m so very, very pleased to see it out on the shelves. It aims to tell the tale of the time leading up to 1066 from the women’s side – a long neglected and hopefully engaging way of looking at a year of battles that shaped England’s history forever.

It’s the story of Edyth of Mercia, granddaughter of Lady Godiva, whose family were exiled to the wild Welsh court where she was married to the charismatic King Griffin of Wales. This match catapulted her into a bitter feud with England in which(in my interpretation of her story) her only allies are Earl Harold Godwinson and his handfasted wife, Lady Svana. But as 1066 dawns and Harold is forced to take the throne of England, Edyth – now a young widow – is asked to make an impossible choice that has the power to change the future of England forever…

The Chosen Queen is the first in the Queens of the Conquest trilogy, with the next two following the same period but from the viewpoint of two others – Elizaveta of Kiev, wife of Harald Hardrada, the Viking king; and Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the eventual conqueror. They will come out in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Grab a copy of Joanna’s new book The Chosen Queen here

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

I really hope that my books will give readers a strong sense of the period leading up to 1066 and allow them to experience life back then through the pages. I also hope they might learn something that surprises them a little, but above all else, I hope that they are just able to get carried away by the heroine’s journey.

Getting the history right is very important to me and I do a lot of research to try and ensure that I do so, but above all else I want to write a good story that involves and satisfies the reader. If readers can come away feeling that they have known and loved Edyth I will be delighted.

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

the-king-s-curseMy contemporary writing heroines are Elizabeth Chadwick and Philippa Gregory as they both write such well-researched, lively and gripping novels.

If I can grab readers as those two writers do, I will consider myself successful.

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

I suppose I want to be a bestseller. I’d love above all else to be one of those writers whose next novel is eagerly anticipated by readers. I’d love them to rush out to buy it feeling that they can trust me to deliver a wonderful story and I intend to work very hard to achieve that.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just write. Courses can be good, ‘how to’ books can be good, market research and reading everything that’s out there can also be good, but at the end of the day you won’t be a writer unless you write and you won’t have a book to sell unless you put your head down and start the first chapter, then the next, then the next.

There’s nothing more frightening than a blank page, so just start filling them and enjoy it!

Joanna, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Chosen Queen here


the-chosen-queenThe Chosen Queen

by Joanna Courtney

As a young woman in England’s royal court, Edyth, granddaughter of Lady Godiva, dreams of marrying for love. But political matches are rife while King Edward is still without an heir and the future of England is uncertain.

When Edyth’s family are exiled to the wild Welsh court, she falls in love with the charismatic King of Wales – but their romance comes at a price and she is catapulted onto the opposing side of a bitter feud with England. Edyth’s only allies are Earl Harold Godwinson and his handfasted wife, Lady Svana.

As the years pass, Edyth finds herself elevated to a position beyond even her greatest expectations. She enjoys both power and wealth but as her star rises the lines of love and duty become more blurred than she could ever have imagined. As 1066 dawns, Edyth is asked to make an impossible choice.

Her decision is one that has the power to change the future of England forever . . .

The Chosen Queen is the perfect blend of history, fast-paced plot and sweeping romance with a cast of strong female characters – an unforgettable read.

About the Author

Joanna Courtney has wanted to be a writer ever since she could read. As a child she was rarely to be seen without her head in a book and she was also quick to pick up a pen. After spending endless hours entertaining her siblings with made up stories, it was no surprise when Joanna pursued her passion for books during her time at Cambridge University – where she combined her love of English and History by specialising in Medieval Literature.

 

 Grab a copy of The Chosen Queen here

Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

salt-creekThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lucy Treloar

author of Salt Creek

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 Malaysia, where my family lived for several years. My schooling was in Melbourne, England and Sweden, and I went to Melbourne University (Fine Arts) and RMIT (Prof Writing and Editing).

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

I realize now that I always wanted to be a writer (I can still recite a horrible poem in rhyming couplets that I wrote at seven or so, which I’ll spare you) but it took me years to find that out. In any job I held I always gravitated towards writing. I love words. How can you not?

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

At eighteen, I believed without even knowing it that the world would continue in much the same way as it always had, with a few technological developments. Life has become more precarious andLucy Treloar the world’s fragility better understood in the intervening years. I’m more fearful, I think, partly because I worry about the future for my children.

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?

The hardest question. Only three? The Emigrants – a gripping historical series by a Swedish writer, Vilhelm Moberg, the first really adult books I read; Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (the first time I saw that books could be about ideas, not only character and plot) and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (I felt as if I’d become a different person after I read it). These books were so much part of my growing up (read between the ages of 11 and 17) and my thinking that I can’t separate them from me. They and the universes of human existence that they contained were like explosions in my life. I longed to be able to do that.

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

I’m just not very good at other things. I would love to be an artist, but all I can do is appreciate art longingly, enviously from a distance.

6.    Please tell us about your latest novel

salt-creekSalt Creek is the story of Hester Finch, an educated, highly intelligent fifteen-year-old of the 1850s whose family moves from early Adelaide to a remote and spectacular part of South Australia where over several years her father tries (and fails) to improve the family’s fortunes, destroying the indigenous culture as he does it. It’s about love in its many forms, power, and civilization and its failings.

Grab your copy of Salt Creek here

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

For people to care and wonder about the world and the people of Salt Creek, even the ones who behaved badly.

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

It’s very hard for me to go past Marilynne Robinson. The scope of her fiction is apparently small, yet the range of human emotion and experience that she is able to explore, and the generosity of her understanding, is vast. Cormac McCarthy (especially his Border Trilogy and Blood Meridian) is another writer I read and reread. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is extraordinary. Among writers of historical fiction, Hilary Mantel, Kate Grenville and Geraldine Brooks are the benchmarks for me.

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

All I really want is an excuse to keep writing, for my skills to develop, and to continue to be published. That feels wildly ambitious to me.

10.    What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Getting negative feedback goes with the territory of being a writer. But don’t let that feedback stop you; don’t let anyone else decide for you that you’re not a writer. Let that be your decision. The other piece of advice is from Marilynne Robinson: ‘Forget definition, forget assumption, watch’.

Lucy, thank you for playing.

Barbara Hannay, author of The Secret Years, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

the-secret-yearsThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Barbara Hannay

author of The Secret Years

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 and at the age of four I moved Brisbane, where I attended The Gap State High School and the University of Queensland. I began a Bachelor of Arts degree, which I later completed in Townsville while I was teaching.

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

At 12, I wanted to be a star netballer. At 18, my focus was on becoming a high school teacher, although I was a closet poet and nursed secret longings to be a ‘real’ writer. At 30, I was immersed in motherhood and writing stories to entertain my small children, but the dream of publication was still there.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

At 18, I was convinced that people in the city led much more exciting lives than country folk. I had the nerve to feel sorry for people in regional or rural towns. I left Brisbane when I started teaching, and I soon realised how wrong I was. I had a lot to learn.

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?

Books, paintings, sculpture and music have provided inspirations throughout my life, and looking back, I can see that my preferences have always been romantic.

The impact of Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians, which I read at the age of seven, has been a lasting one. Judy’s death rocked me and taught me so much about emotional punch in writing.

As a teenager, I was fascinated by Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss, and by the paintings of the French Impressionists.

I love most classical music and I often listen to it while I’m writing. A standout for me is the Brahms’s violin concerto. There are sections in the first movement that literally stop me in my tracks. Every time.

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

I think this form chose me. When the time was right – and I’d been waiting a long time to fulfil my creative dreams – it finally felt inevitable.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

the-secret-yearsThe Secret Years is about three generations of one family. There’s Lucy, a female soldier who’s returned from Afghanistan and finds her life at a crossroads, Ro, her under-confident mum who feels she’s made a mess of her life, and Harry, Lucy’s grandfather, an outback cattleman and WW2 hero, who won the heart of a London debutante.

The story moves from the Aussie outback to England and also to New Guinea during the war, so there’s plenty of romance and heroism.

Grab your copy of The Secret Years here

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

A big happy sigh.

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

I admire so many published writers. The best thing about becoming a writer has been meeting wonderful and interesting people around the world who “get” my passion.

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

I’m happy if I can continue to publish a new book each year.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read widely and deeply until you find the right kind of story telling that suits your writing voice. Have fire in your belly and be prepared to work hard. It’s not easy, but don’t give up. Too many aspiring writers give up at the first rejection.

Barbara, thank you for playing.

VIDEO: Steve Toltz on his brilliant new novel Quicksand

Steve Toltz’s first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He chats to Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach.

Quicksand

by Steve Toltz

The literary event of 2015. Steve Toltz follows his extraordinary debut, the Booker-shortlisted A Fraction of the Whole, with a novel that’s just as edgy, hilarious and compelling: Quicksand, at once unmistakeably Toltzean and unlike anything that’s come before.

‘Why should I let you write about me?’

‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’

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.

There’s hope, but not for Aldo.

Liam hasn’t been doing much better himself: a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted. But something good may come out of Aldo’s lowest point. Liam may finally have found his inspiration. Together, maybe they can turn bad luck into an art form.

What begins as a document of Aldo’s disasters develops into a profound story of love lost, found and betrayed; of freedom and incarceration; of suffering and transcendence; of fate, faith and friendship; of taking risks – in art, work, love and life – and finding inspiration in all the wrong places.

Quicksand is a fearlessly funny, outrageously inventive dark comedy that looks contemporary life unblinkingly in the eye. It confirms Steve Toltz as one of our most original and insightful novelists.

Grab a copy of Quicksand here

VIDEO: Amy Bloom on her new book Lucky Us

Amy Bloom is the author of three collections of stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, and two novels: Away, Love Invents Us, and now, Lucky Us.

Lucky Us

by Amy Bloom

A thrilling and resonant novel from the author of Away, about loyalty, ambition, and the pleasures and perils of family, set in 1940s America.

When Eva’s mother abandons her on Iris’s front porch, the girls don’t seem to have much in common – except, they soon discover, a father. Thrown together with no mothers to care for them and a father who could not be considered a parent, Iris and Eva become one another’s family. Iris wants to be a movie star; Eva is her sidekick. Together, they journey across 1940s America from scandal in Hollywood to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island, stumbling, cheating and loving their way through a landscape of war, betrayals and big dreams.

Grab a copy of Lucky Us here

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