COMING SOON: Kim Lock, author of upcoming Like I Can Love answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions

likeicanloveThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kim Lock

author of Like I Can 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?

I was born six days early, and this ambition to be more mature than I was persisted throughout my childhood. I was often elected as class leader or student representative for this or that. I grew up in a conservative country town in the south east of South Australia, and then moved to Darwin at 19.

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

Twelve: Before understanding the importance of good mathematics grades – a doctor, who also writes novels. Eighteen: Creative director of a magazine, who also writes novels. Thirty: Still no good at maths and now with a toddler and a baby – someone who gets more than 90 minutes sleep in a row, and also writes novels.

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

This is an embarrassing question, because I had so many. (I was a 90s teen: Salt-N-Pepa, high-tops and South Park.) What strikes me most, now, is how much I believed that what other people thought of me mattered. I had this belief that the perceptions of others were like a mirror, or were somehow legitimate judgements of who I was. If I could go back in time I’d whisper to that 18-year-old me: Be yourself, for yourself, because that is perfect.

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?

No singular piece, but rather collections of art en masse. Libraries and bookstores have always been my go-to places for influence and creative nourishment. If I could collect and bottle Essence of Bookstore, I would wear it on my skin. And I suspect I wouldn’t be alone. (You’d wear it too, wouldn’t you?)

If I could collect and bottle Essence of Bookstore, I would wear it on my skin.

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

Oh, I’m flattered by your suggestion that I could be skilled in innumerable artistic avenues. Is papier måché still a thing? I could probably give that a go. Although there’s a lot less spare newsprint laying around these days, what with the Internet and all.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel

Like I Can Love begins on a summer’s day in South Australia’s famous Coonawarra wine district, when a young woman draws a bath and slits her wrists. She leaves behind a two-year-old son, a husband, and her best friend with a key to a self-storage unit.

Coonawarra Wine District

Coonawarra Wine District

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

A feeling. Any feeling. Because to touch the emotions of a reader is to speak to them a little. The story no longer belongs to me – that novel has graduated and moved out of home. It belongs to the reader, and that it spoke to them in some way is all I can hope for.

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

I tend to fall deeply in love with writers as I’m reading their novels. Delicious prose, witty and flawed and delightful characters, storylines that make me think – when I read these books I have a mini-love affair with the author. I admire those writers whose voices are so engaging their work could be about the life cycle of a slug and it would be fascinating.Kim Lock

I admire writers who can handle self-promotion with confidence, who can read reviews about their work and keep writing, who can Tweet fabulous things with only 140 characters. So there’s probably far, far too many to list, but to narrow it down a little, I have had a lot of these love affairs with Australian women writers lately.

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

Can I say that I’d love to see a novel I wrote turned into a film? And also, to get more than 90 minutes sleep in a row.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Read more than you write. Read books you love and work out why. Read books you feel you can criticise and work out why. Read for the pleasure of it, because that reminds you why this love affair with the written word is worth pursuing.

Kim, thank you for playing!

Grab your copy of Like I Can Love here!

Like I Can Love

by Kim Lock

likeicanloveOn a hot January afternoon, Fairlie Winter receives a phone call. Her best friend has just taken her own life.

Jenna Rudolph, 26 years old, has left behind a devoted husband, an adorable young son and a stunning vineyard. But Fairlie knows she should have seen this coming. Yet Fairlie doesn’t know what Jenna’s husband Ark is hiding, nor does she know what Jenna’s mother Evelyn did to drive mother and daughter apart all those years ago.

Until Fairlie opens her mail and finds a letter. In Jenna’s handwriting. Along with a key. Driven to search for answers, Fairlie uncovers a horrifying past, a desperate mother, and a devastating secret … Read More

Grab your copy of Like I Can Love here!

GUEST BLOG: Bestselling author Fiona Palmer on what she’s been reading

fiona palmerBestselling Australian Rural author, Fiona Palmer, chats about what she read in January.

In January, I took my kids to the coastal town of Bremer Bay, south west of WA, where we crammed in 4×4 driving, snorkelling, sand surfing, boogie boarding and fishing. So the books I read during this month were chosen with an intentional theme – each book was set in WA and cantered around “fly in fly out”.

First up was Georgina Penney’s Fly In Fly Out. Jo Blaine works overseas on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean and finds a man in her house when she arrives home. Of course she knows this guy, Stephen Hardy and ends up letting him house-sit and look after her cranky cat while she’s away. Things get heated between them but Jo is keeping a dark secret from their past, which is linked to Stephen’s farm in Margaret River. It’s a great read and I powered through it.

Next was Loretta Hill’s book The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots. What a hoot this was! Loretta writes it like it is, you can tell she’s lived the FIFO life and has the swearing men down pat. Some may find that hard to read but for me it just made it all the more real, not a sugar-coated version. It follows Lena Todd, a city girl who is sent to the outback to join a construction team and prove herself in a male-dominated world. I love reading these kind of stories. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and great likeable characters.

Loretta’s next book The Girl in the Hard Hat is the follow-on book and continues with the same gang. This time Gavin is the lucky guy who gets the girl. Wendy goes to the Pilbara to search for her father, who left her at birth, and takes on a job as Safety Manager at the iron ore wharf. Nobody likes the safety person and she soon gets the nickname ‘The Sergeant’. Again Loretta delivers in another funny read with plenty of heart.

All books have a romantic thread and happy ending, just how I like my reads. I highly recommend all three. It’s great to get an insight into the FIFO lifestyle and working in the Pilbara. The descriptions of the landscapes were fabulous.

The Saddler Boys

by Fiona Palmer The Saddler Boys

School 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

Grab your copy of The Saddler Boys here!

Read an extract of The Saddler Boys

The 2016 Stella Prize Longlist announced!

The longlist for the 2016 Stella Prize has just been announced, and what an exciting list of Australian authors!

Named after one of Australia’s most important female authors, Stella Maria Miles Franklin, The Stella Prize celebrates Australian women’s contribution to literature, awarded last year to Emily Bitto for The Strays.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself with the help of Booktopia.

The Women’s Pages

by Debra Adelaide

xthe-women-s-pagesEllis, an ordinary suburban young woman of the 1960s, is troubled by secrets and gaps in her past that become more puzzling as her creator, Dove, writes her story fifty years later. Having read Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, Dove finds she cannot shake off the influence of that singular novel: it has infected her like a disease. Instead of returning to her normal life she follows the story it has inspired to discover more about Ellis, who has emerged from the pages of fiction herself – or has she? – to become a modern successful career woman.

The Women’s Pages is about the choices and compromises women must make, their griefs and losses, and their need to fill in the absent spaces where other women – especially those who become mothers – should have been. And it is about the mysterious process of creativity, about the way stories are shaped and fiction is formed. Right up to its astonishing conclusion, The Women’s Pages asserts the power of the reader’s imagination, which can make the deepest desires and strangest dreams come true.

About the Author

Debra AdelaideDebra Adelaide is the author or editor of over twelve books, including the best-selling Motherlove series (1996-98) and Acts of Dog (2003). Her novels include The Hotel Albatross (1995), Serpent Dust (1998) and the best-selling The Household Guide to Dying (2008), which was sold around the world. In 2013 she published her first collection of short stories, Letter to George Clooney, which was long- and short-listed for three literary awards. Her most recent book is the edited collection, The Simple Act of Reading (2015). She is an associate professor in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Learn more or grab your copy of The Women’s Pages here

Debra answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions

The Other Side of the World

by Stephanie Bishop

xthe-other-side-of-the-world.Cambridge, 1963: Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world. Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she’ll go to find her way home…

About the Author

Stephanie BishopStephanie Bishop’s first novel was The Singing, for which she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists. The Singing was also highly commended for the Kathleen Mitchell Award. Her second novel, The Other Side of the World, was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

Stephanie’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Southerly, Overland and Island and she is a frequent contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The Australian, The Sydney Review Of Books, The Australian Book Review and the Sydney Morning Herald. She is a recipient of an Australia Council New Work Grant, an Asialink Fellowship, an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship, a Varuna Mentorship Fellowship and Varuna Residency Fellowship. She holds a PhD from Cambridge and is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales.

Learn more or grab your copy of The Other Side of the World here

Panthers and the Museum of Fire

by Jen Craig

Panthers & the Museum of Fire
is a novella about walking, memory and writing.

The narrator walks from Glebe to a central Sydney cafe to return a manuscript by a recently-dead writer. While she walks, the reader enters the narrator’s entire world: life with family and neighbours, narrow misses with cars, her singular friendships, dinner conversations and work. We learn of her adolescent desire for maturity and acceptance through a brush with religion, her anorexia, the exercise of that power when she was powerless in every other aspect of her life.

About the Author

Jen CraigJen Craig is a fiction writer and a Doctoral candidate with the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney.

Her short stories have appeared in HEAT, Southerly, Redoubt and the Redress Press anthology Shrieks. In addition to short fiction, she has worked with composers Stephen Adams and Michael Schneider in the production of texts for music performances, including the chamber opera A Dictionary of Maladies. Her first novel, Since the Accident, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2009. She teaches English language skills and creative writing, and blogs micro fiction.

Learn more or grab your copy of Panthers and the Museum of Fire here

Six Bedrooms

by Tegan Bennett Daylight

six bedroomsSix Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Full of glorious angst, embarrassment and small achievements.

Hot afternoons on school ovals, the terrifying promise of losing your virginity, sneaking booze from your mother’s pantry, the painful sophistication and squalor of your first share house, cancer, losing a parent.

Tegan Bennett Daylight’s powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability.

Stunningly written, and shot through with humour and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerising collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.

Tegan Bennett Daylight 20 May 2014 Carrington Hotel, Katoomba NSW Australia

About the Author

Tegan Bennett Daylight is a critic, teacher and fiction writer. She is the author of several books for children and teenagers, the novels Bombora, What Falls Away and Safety. Her stories appear in a wide range of Australian journals, including Griffith Review, Meanjin and Best Australian Stories. She lives in the Blue Mountains with her husband and two children.


Learn more or grab your copy of Six Bedrooms here

Hope Farm

by Peggy Frew


It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver’s mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start.

At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and, at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world — and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.

Hope Farm is the masterful second novel from award-winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.Peggy Frew

About the Author

Peggy Frew’s debut novel, House of Sticks, won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her story Home Visit won The Age short story competition. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, and Meanjin. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting.

Learn more or grab your copy of Hope Farm here

A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories

by Elizabeth Harrower

a-few-days-in-the-country-and-other-storiesOne day, Alice said, ‘Eric Lane wants to take me to -‘

For the first time, her mother attended, standing still.

Eric was brought to the house, and Eric and Alice were married before there was time to say ‘knife’. How did it happen? She tried to trace it back. She was watching her mother performing for Eric, and then (she always paused here in her mind), somehow, she woke up married and in another house.

Internationally acclaimed for her five brilliant novels, Elizabeth Harrower is also the author of a small body of short fiction. A Few Days in the Country brings together for the first time her stories published in Australian journals in the 1960s and 1970s, along with those from her archives—including ‘Alice’, published for the first time earlier this year in the New Yorker.

Essential reading for Harrower fans, these finely turned pieces show a broader range than the novels, ranginElizabeth Harrowerg from caustic satires to gentler explorations of friendship.

About the Author

Elizabeth Harrower is the author of the novels Down in the City, The Long Prospect, The Catherine Wheel, The Watch Tower and In Certain Circles, which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2015. A Few Days in the Country is her first collection of short stories.

Learn more or grab your copy of A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories here

A Guide to Berlin

by Gail Jones

a-guide-to-berlinA Guide to Berlin is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.

A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone’s story.

Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.

About the Author

Gail JonesGail Jones is the author of two short-story collections, a critical monograph, and the novels Black Mirror, Sixty Lights, Dreams Of Speaking, Sorry and Five Bells. Three times shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, her prizes include the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction, the Nita B. Kibble Award, the Steele Rudd Award, The Age Book of the Year Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction and the ASAL Gold Medal. She has also been shortlisted for international awards, including the IMPAC and the Prix Femina. Her fiction has been translated into nine languages.

Learn more or grab your copy of A Guide to Berlin here

The World Without Us

by Mireille Juchau


Told from the perspective of six, interconnected characters, The World Without Us is a tale of love in all its forms, a mystery and an elegy for a denatured landscape. It is about the ways we become lost to ourselves, and the transformative joys of being found.

After a fire destroys her family’s commune home, Evangeline is forced to start afresh in the north coast rainforest town with her child, and partner, Stefan Muller.

Years later, while tending the bees on their farm, Stefan discovers a car wreck, and not far off, human remains. While the locals speculate on who has gone missing from the transient hinterland town, Stefan’s daughters Tess and Meg, have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning wet, muddy and disheveled?

Jim Parker, a Sydney teacher escaping his own troubles arrives in their clannish community. One morning he stumbles upon Evangeline, naked by a river with a hammer and some rope. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline’s past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

Meanwhile ten year old Tess, mute since the loss of her youngest sister, attempts to escape. Will getting lost help her discover where she belongs? As the rainy season descends, and each of the family are separated by flood, they realise nothing is what it seems.

About the Author

Mireille JuchauMireille Juchau is a Sydney-based writer of novels, short fiction, essays, scripts and reviews. The World Without Us is her third novel, and won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her first, Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award and the second, Burning In, was published by Giramondo Publishing in 2007. It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2008, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2008, the Age Book of the Year Award 2008 and the Nita B. Kibble Award 2008. She has a PhD in writing and literature and teaches at universities and in the community.

Learn more or grab your copy of The World Without Us here

Mireille answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions

A Short History of Richard Kline

by Amanda Lohrey

a-short-history-of-richard-klineAll his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which some people slip – seemingly unquestioningly – into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth.

As he moves into middle age, Richard grows increasingly angry. But then a strange event awakens him to a different way of living. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his own will, to resolve the ‘divine discontent’ he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to new age therapies and finding a guru, Richard’s journey dramatises the search for meaning in today’s world.

This moving and audacious novel is a pilgrim’s progress for the here and now. Suffused with yearning and a sense of the mystical, this extraordinary novel is one of Lohrey’s finest offerings yet.

About the Author

Amanda LohreyAmanda Lohrey is the author of the acclaimed novels The Morality of Gentlemen, Camille’s Bread and The Philosopher’s Doll; the novella Vertigo; as well as the award-winning short story collection Reading Madame Bovary. She has also written two Quarterly EssaysGroundswell and Voting for Jesus. In 2012 she was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award.



Learn more or grab your copy of A Short History of Richard Kline here

Watch Amanda talking about A Short History of Richard Kline here

Anchor Point

by Alice Robinson

anchor-pointAs her parents clash over unwashed dishes and unlit fires, ten-year-old Laura works hard to keep the household running. When her mother disappears into the bush, Laura finds a farewell note and makes an impulsive decision that alters the course of her family’s life. Despite her anger and grief, Laura helps her father clear their wild acreage to carve out a farm. But gradually they realise that while they may own the land, they cannot tame it – nor can they escape their past.

Anchor Point charts Laura’s life over the course of four decades as she tries to hold her family together and find her place in the world. Eventually, she has to confront the choices she has made and decide where she truly belongs. This is an eloquent, arresting and quintessentially Australian novel that no reader will easily forget.

About the Author

Alice RobinsonAlice Robinson is a lecturer in creative writing at Melbourne Polytechnic. She has a PhD in creative writing from Victoria University, and her work has appeared in publications including Kill Your Darlings, Overland, The Lifted Brow and Arena Magazine. Anchor Point is her debut novel.

Learn more or grab your copy of Anchor Point here

The Natural Way of Things

by Charlotte Wood

the-natural-way-of-thingsTwo women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a ‘nurse’.

The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world?

Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl’s past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue – but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves…charlotte-wood

The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.

About the Author

Charlotte Wood is the author of five novels and a book of non-fiction, and editor of The Writer’s Room Interviews magazine. Her last novel, Animal People, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and her other books have been shortlisted for many prizes including the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.


Learn more about The Natural Way of Things here

Read John Purcell’s review of The Natural Way of Things

Small Acts of Disappearance

by Fiona Wright

xsmall-acts-of-disappearance.jpg.pagespeed.ic.P6LX3_YIbeSmall Acts of Disappearance is a collection of ten essays that describes the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which begins in high school, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author’s own actions and motivations.

The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright’s life, at university, where she finds herself in a radically different social world to the one she grew up in, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney.

They combine research, travel writing, memoir, and literary discussions of how writers like Christina Stead, Carmel Bird, Tim Winton, John Berryman and Louise Glück deal with anorexia and addiction; together with accounts ofFiona Wright family life, and detailed and humorous views of hunger-induced situations of the kind that are so compelling in Wright’s poetry.

About the Author

Fiona Wright’s poetry book, Knuckled, won the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for a first collection. Her poems and essays have been published in the Australian, Meanjin, Island, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Seizure and HEAT.

Learn more or grab your copy of Small Acts of Disappearance here

Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things optioned for film

Australian author Charlotte Wood should be mighty pleased with herself.

Her most recent book, The Natural Way of Things, was this month shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, is the front-runner for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award and has now been optioned for a film by producers Katia Nizic and Emma Dockery.

Released last year, the book opens with two women awakening from a drug-induced sleep, only to find themselves imprisoned in a dilapidated property in the middle of the Australian outback. Their heads have been shaven and they’ve been placed in restrictive clothing. They have no idea where they are, how they came to be in their present state or what their connection is to the eight other woman facing the same situation. The women all have something in common, but what is it?


At its core, the book explores issues of misogyny and corporate control.

“We knew instantly this was a story that needed to be told,” said Nizic and Dockery. “It feels personal and specific, but also speaks to women the world over. It is incredible to be given this opportunity to feature so many women in prominent, meaningful roles, in front of and behind the camera.”

And Wood’s opinion of the female producers:

“One of the things they said in their pitch was that there hasn’t been an Australian film with an extensive young, female ensemble cast like this since Picnic at Hanging Rock – that stuck in my head and would not let go,” Wood’s told The Guardian. “I thought, imagine if this could be the next Picnic? I have total faith in these young women to make something astonishing.”

Learn more about The Natural Way of Things here!

The Top 20 Most Lied About Books

Let’s be honest, we’ve all lied about something – about how often we floss, how much we weigh, or how our partner really looks in that outfit. But lying about which books we’ve read? Seems like it’s a thing.

A study of 2000 Brits commissioned by the BBC Store found that one in four fibbed about reading a classic when a TV adaptation of it was shown on TV. Why? Because they didn’t want to miss out on the conversation …and because they wanted to appear more intelligent –  for 60% of Brits also admitted that a well-read person appeared more attractive.

Children’s favourite Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is the most fibbed about book, followed by George Orwell’s 1984 and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

alice pic

While the TV series War and Peace might be the UK’s most popular new drama, only 9% of people have read the novel – but plenty more have lied about it. That brings it to number 4 on our most lied about book list.

Here are the BBC Store’s top 20 most lied about books. Which ones have you read?

The Top 20 Lied About Books

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  2. 1984 – George Orwell
  3. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  5. Anna Karenina  – Leo Tolstoy
  6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  8. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  9. Crime and Punishment  – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  10. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  11. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  12. Harry Potter (series) – J.K. Rowling
  13. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  14. The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank
  15. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  16. Fifty Shades trilogy – E.L. James
  17. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  18. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  19. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  20. The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger

Nine Naughty Questions with… Maisey Yates, author of Hometown Heartbreaker

hometown-heartbreakerThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Maisey Yates

author of Hometown Heartbreaker

Nine Naughty Questions


Headless washboard abs, a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or the vaguely kinky object against a dark background – what’s your favourite type of romance cover and why?

I really like a clinch cover, personally. It’s classic romance to me. I like seeing the couple together, and I like how clinch covers often give you a sense of the story setting.

2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?

Basically a lot of coffee consumption, good friends available to answer my random texts when I’m having a story crisis and a lot of emailing, Facebooking and…yes, writing. That’s the most essential part!

3. At the heart of a romantic story is the way in which the main characters reveal their true natures to each other. How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?NewPic-967x1024

I think my own personal experiences definitely inform how I look at the situations in a story. None of us are neutral. I don’t write characters that I always agree with, and I work hard to empathize with them and their decisions, which for me is where the main personal stuff comes in. I may never have been a small town rancher trying to keep the family spread from going under, but I’ve been afraid. I’ve wanted things. I’ve lost things. And I think as a writer you need to draw on those honest, universal emotions because that’s what makes your story resonate with readers.

4. I’m interested in how you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn. Are romance readers getting naughtier?

I think romance fiction as a broad term is simply a story where the romantic relationship is at the center, and there is a happy ending. (Basically following the Romance Writers of America definition there.) Within that, there can be explicit sex, no sex and everything in between. Regardless, the story is the focus. The romantic journey is the focus – whether or not it includes love scenes. They’re simply part of it.

Erotic romance is more sexually focused, but still has a HEA. The emotional arc is tied to the sex scenes. The emotional journey of the characters still matters, it’s just that they’re working those emotions out through sex.

Erotica is different still in that it doesn’t necessarily require a happy ending (at least not of the traditional fairy tale sort…).

I think romance has always had a range of heat levels. I’m not fond of the term ‘not your mother’s romance’ mostly because…I hate to break it to you, but your mom’s romance was pretty hot too. Do I think the sexuality in romance is more front and center now as women feel more liberated to discuss it? Yes. That is probably true.

I feel like porn is one of those things…you really don’t have to question when you’ve seen it. You know. It exists purely for sexual gratification and no other reason. The emotional journey isn’t part of it.

I find it fascinating that a film like Shame for example can be sexually explicit and win awards, and not be accused of being pornography by most people, and yet the presence of sex in romance novels is this big talking point. Which I feel pertains to the fact that it is marketed to women, and is an extension of women being told that the things they enjoy are silly or fluffy or wrong in some way.

hometown-heartbreaker5. Please tell us about your latest novel!

Hometown Heartbreaker is a novella in my ongoing Copper Ridge Series, set in a small Oregon town. It’s the story of Aiden, a farmer’s son desperate to keep his alcoholic father from destroying the family business, and Casey, a woman who has spent her whole life moving from place to place.

It was fun to write the dynamic between the vulnerable bad girl who has never depended on anyone, never put down roots, and the solid, good guy who has really never been anywhere but his small town.

And it’s always fun for me to revisit Copper Ridge and give my readers glimpses of other favourite characters, like Eli from Part Time Cowboy and Ace from the upcoming One Night Charmer.

Buy your copy of Hometown Heartbreaker here

6. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve received after a friend or family member read one of your books?

One of my friends called it marriage therapy for under $5. I was okay with that.

7. Romance writers are sometimes denigrated and asked when they’ll write ‘real’ books – what do you tell the haters?

It’s hard not to just laugh at them. Because it’s such a ridiculous sentiment, and it stems from their lack of education, both about the genre and about the publishing industry as a whole.

But that aside, I’m very proud of what I do, and I believe strongly in my books. I have no trouble telling anyone that I love what I write. I feel good about writing books that focus on love, which is something our world desperately needs.

8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.9781250051783 (1)

So many books!

I’m cheating by recommending a series but… The Hathaway Series by Lisa Kleypas (alpha males, regency England, forbidden love…so good!)

Rebel Cowboy by Nicole Helm – Ex-hockey player turned llama rancher hero and the heroine he hires to help teach him how to handle his new land in Montana.

Edge of Obsession by Megan Crane – Erotic dystopian Vikings. What more do you need?

You Are Mine by Jackie Ashenden – A dark contemporary romance with a hint of suspense. The hero is to die for.

Castelli’s Virgin Widow by Caitlin Crews – I was lucky to read this M&B Sexy early, and it’s just fantastic high fantasy goodness.

9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it’s particularly delicious!

I think my favourite scene is when Casey realizes that Aiden’s family and home and security – all things she’s never had – aren’t really an asset to him because of the cost. That he has a deficit too because no one in his life really loves him. I love when the differences in characters become the catalyst that really affects change.

Maisey, thank you for playing.

hometown-heartbreakerHometown Heartbreaker

A Copper Ridge Novella

by Maisey Yates

He knows that Copper Ridge’s newest bartender is running from her past… but will he recognize that she’s his last chance at salvation before she leaves town?

Aiden Crawford knows all about responsibilities. He’s already shouldering more than his share when beautiful drifter Casey James cruises into town with a broken car, a chip on her shoulder, and enough secrets to have her ready to leave Copper Ridge the second she can afford the auto mechanic’s bill. Aiden has more…

Buy your copy of Hometown Heartbreaker here


The Booktopia Book Guru asks Emma Viskic Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Emma Viskic

author of Resurrection Bay,

Ten Terrifying Questions


Viskic, Emma - Resurrection Bay1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I’m a Frankston girl, but without the surfer chick cool or ability to tan. Frankston was blonde brick suburbia by the time I was a teenager, but in my primary school years it was a wonderland of building sites, bushland and swamps. I attended the local schools, and then went on to study classical clarinet at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Rotterdam Conservatorium in The Netherlands.

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

At twelve and eighteen it was an even split between being a writer and a clarinettist. Books and music have always been a way for me to make sense of this world, and escape it, but I’ve never been much of a spectator: once I could read, I wanted to write, once I could listen, I wanted to play.

Music consumed most of my time through my twenties. I played in anything from aged care homes, to the Phantom of the Opera, and concerts with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. But by the time I was thirty, I was missing writing with quiet desperation, so I began writing a book. It was like diving into a pool after years away from the water: it wasn’t pretty, but I was finally back in my element.

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

That happiness is boring. (Although I still hold that it is in books.)

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 cried the first time I heard Allegri’s Miserere, and I’ve cried every time since. It’s a sacred choral piece with a soaring soprano solo: quiet and sublime. It works because it sounds effortless, but of course it isn’t. Allegri agonised over every note and the singers have practised for hundreds of hours.

I love that same apparent effortlessness in Fred Williams’ landscapes. They’re so simple, but they transport you to the Pilbara. You can smell the eucalypts, feel the hot wind on your face. I admire Peter Temple’s writing for some of the same reasons: he captures so much with so few brushstrokes.

emma viskic 25. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Writing is wonderfully all consuming. When it’s going well, I fall into the story and emerge hours later, blinking and confused, but happy. The downside is that not all days are good ones.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Resurrection Bay

Resurrection Bay features Caleb Zelic, a profoundly deaf investigator who has always lived on the outside. When a close friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. The investigation takes him places he’s rather not go, including to his hometown and estranged family. As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself.

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

I hope they’re excited, exhausted and moved, but mainly that they carry a piece of Caleb with them. He’s very real to me and I hope he becomes real to them.

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

In no particularly order: Hilary Mantel for her wry wit and keen eye, Kate Atkinson for her subtleness. As well as Peter Temple, there is a long list of Australian writers I read and reread: PM Newton and Malla Nunn for their characters and depth of ideas, Kate Grenville for her liquid prose, Shane Maloney for his humour.

one-life the-big-ask












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

To make each book better than the last one.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Nothing you write is a waste of time. Some days you slog through a thousand soulless words and write one beautiful sentence. Don’t regret those thousand words – they led you to that sentence.

Emma, thank you for playing!

Grab your copy of Resurrection Bay here!

Resurrection Bay

Emma Viskic

Viskic, Emma - Resurrection BayCaleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up tell-tale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss.

When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always … Read more.

Grab your copy of Resurrection Bay here!


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