Q&A with Owen Sheers

When we meet Michael in the first pages of the novel, there are many hints about his past and his future, but the novel keeps us in suspense about what exactly those events are. How much did you know about Michael and his life before you began the novel?

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Author: Owen Sheers

This book had several beginnings. Four, to be exact, in that I wrote the first 10,000 words three times over, before finally starting again on what would become the finished novel. I mention this as these false starts meant that my knowledge of Michael and his life repeatedly shifted, deepened and shallowed over those different beginnings. What I can say is that I always knew what he had done and what he would do. I knew he’d been an immersion journalist in the US and I knew the broad brushstrokes of his emotional hinterland – his relationship with Caroline and his grief in the wake of her loss. I also knew how he’d react to what happens inside the Nelsons’ house. But none of that is the same as knowing him. In terms of the man himself, I had to come to know Michael in the writing. Which is how it should be, I hope. This seems to me to be the most natural, and perhaps the most true, way for a character to develop – under the shaping influence of event and interaction with the world and others rather than through extensive planning in the abstract. In the small details of their movements, the junctions of their thoughts.

The hints about his past and future that you mention were a narrative intention from the outset, in that I wanted to try to create a two-way tension throughout the first half of the book. I didn’t just want a reader to be thinking about what would happen next, but also about what had happened before the opening page. I recognised this was something of a risk, in that a ‘push – me – pull – you’ approach to suspense in the story would require a complex temporal structure, but at the same time it was important to me that a reader feel absolutely centered on the action of Michael entering the Nelson’s house. His journey through that house forms the narrative spine for much of the novel, and for it to do so it needs to be sustained by a suggestive approach to his past, and a gradual release of information, rather than a reader have full knowledge of his psychological history from the start. In the other direction, looking beyond the events of ‘‘I Saw A Man’’, I wanted the narrative voice of the novel to have a strong sense of being rooted in the future – to be imbued not only with a retrospective knowledge of what happens in the book, but also of what happens long after its final page. Nearly all third person fiction carries this tone by association, but I did want to turn the volume up on this quality a little, with an eye towards the end of the book…

Can you describe how you came to write the novel – did you begin with a character, a scene, an event, something else?

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‘‘I Saw A Man’’ grew for me in a different way to anything else I’ve written before. And yet at the same time it grew from those pervious books too. My journey into fiction before this novel was primarily historical, and often interwoven with, or seeded in, an element of real event or experience. In the wake of those other books I knew I wanted to write something next that would take a deeper step towards a work of ‘purer’ imaginative fiction. Or to put it another way, I didn’t want an external trigger for the book; for it to be based upon, inspired or drawn from a true story. In this respect perhaps ‘I Saw A Man’ didn’t so much as grow from my previous books, as grow in reaction to them.

The truth is, however, that while you can have all the intentions and plans in the world, you often have little control over which story will take hold of you sufficiently for you to spend seven years of your life working with it. This was certainly the case with ‘I Saw A Man’, which entered my life as a single image. That of a man entering his neighbours’ house by the back door, thinking there is no one inside, when there is.

The rest of the story grew from that image and the questions it provoked. Who is this man? What is his relationship with his neighbours? Who are they, and what are their stories?

There were two other elements that were there from very early on. The first of these was the anticipatory draw of a reader knowing that someone was inside the house but not knowing, from a cast of several possible characters, who that person was. The second was more a personal literary challenge than an aspect of plot or story, in that I knew I wanted to try to manipulate a reader into a position where they don’t want Michael to confess to what he’s done. Given the nature of the event that happens, I always knew this would be very difficult to achieve, and I still don’t know to what extent I was successful in this aim or not.

Click here to grab a copy of I Saw a Man

The first line of the novel is immediately captivating – so much so that it was used on the book jacket! Was this always the first sentence of the novel?

No, and yes. The first sentence always carried the same sense, the same information and meaning. But how it carried that sense changed and altered constantly for many months, if not years. This was often a question of listening to cadence, or searching for more economy of phrasing, or playing with the temporal weight of the line.

The novel turns on several acts of violence, and depicts an intense love affair as well. Is it more difficult to write about love or violence?

Both are difficult to write about well, mostly because both have been written about so much to the extent that many of their truths have become clichés. I’m also reminded of what Auden said about sex in literature in his essay on Shakespeare’s sonnets, and how the same applies to violence too. He writes about how the central tension in any writing about sex is between the unconscious nature of the sexual act, and the highly conscious nature of writing about it. Although I suppose one of the things that interested me about the central act of violence in ‘I Saw A Man’ was the extent to which it is very conscious, planned, mediated.

If pushed to answer this question, though, I’d have to say love. Love is, you hope, experienced by more of your readers than extreme violence. As such there is a greater knowledge of its varieties, its shades and tones, and often a greater ownership too. Love (as opposed to sex) is also an emotion experienced over a span of time, in contrast to the sudden, and therefore naturally dramatic, nature of much violence. It’s harder to write authentically about the shifting patterns of a love over time, than it is to write about the ‘puncture point’ of a moment of violence.

I SAW A MAN’ explores the difference between how we tell the truth in fiction versus journalism. How do you feel about this, particularly as a writer who works across different spheres, from fiction to poetry to drama?

I enjoy reading quality non-fiction, reportage and journalism, and often do, but the very reason I choose to write in imaginative forms, even if the material is documentary based, is because I’m interested in the truths you can tell when you have a license to invent, to let go of pure ‘fact’ and imagine from it instead. It’s part of the ongoing alchemy of literature isn’t it? The deception that reveals, the lying that tells the truth. Unfettered by the bounds or chronologies of real events, the writer of fiction, poetry or drama is able to shape, omit, pace and juxtapose at will, answering only to the internal credibility and coherence of the story, poem or play. As such, if done properly, they’re able to evoke truths beyond fact that don’t only live, but also live on, resonating with a reader or an audience.

On one level it’s this question that drives Michael’s writing, and then Michael himself, in the novel. The concept that the facts alone, without their context or motivations, are incapable of telling a true story.

Much of your writing is concerned with war and its impact on soldiers, civilians and those on the homefront. Has this subject always been important to you, and can you talk about how you’ve done your research?

pink-mistI’m often asked about why I write about conflict and its aftermath so much. The first thing to say is that I never set out to do this. Rather, the subject has grown organically across a number of different books, poems and plays. The main reason for this is, I think, that my adult writing life has progressed in parallel with the post-9/11 conflicts. Ever since I’ve been writing seriously, they have been there. I knew boys from my school in Abergavenny who joined the army when they were 16, and watched from a distance as they went on multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. That in itself triggered an initial interest, which was further added to by the ongoing stories from those conflicts and their consequences throughout the first decade of the 21st century. Even if a work was historical, such as my novel ‘Resistance’ or a one man play about the WWII poet Keith Douglas, they were always prisms through which to refract contemporary issues about war and its aftermath too.

Then, in 2011, I was asked to write a play as part of a rehabilitation project. The idea was to create a piece of theatre based upon the experiences of around 30 recently wounded service personnel, many of whom would then perform in the cast. The finished play was called ‘The Two Worlds of Charlie F’ and it ended up being performed 125 times, touring in the UK and Canada. I also drew upon those interviews, and others, to write ‘Pink Mist’, a verse drama about three young friends who join the army and go on tour to Afghanistan in 2008/9. In this piece I was also interested in exploring the effects of either a psychological or physical wounding on the soldiers’ families too, the women in their lives who are often the people who have to pick up the pieces, who remain on the frontline of a wounding long after a conflict has come to an end. I’ve recently begun researching what I hope will be a cousin piece to Pink Mist’, another verse drama but this time based upon interviews with young Afghan boys who were trafficked to the UK when they were 11 or 12, and who have come into manhood as asylum seekers and refugees. The characters will, I suppose, make the reverse journey to the friends in ‘Pink Mist’ who travelled from the UK to Afghanistan. But both groups will be brothered too, in their sharing of the shadows of that war.

Moving away from the specific, however, I’d say the other reason I’ve found myself writing about conflict is that it is an anonymising force – men become ‘soldiers’, people ‘civilians’, families ‘refugees’. The public narratives of war tend to be blunt, broad and not particularly nuanced. Literature can provide vital countering narratives, I think. Stories, novels, poems and plays that pursue the specific, the human, the nuanced. Writing that re-humanizes not just the horror of it all, but also the full spectrum of its experience.

The novel is wonderful on London – how we do and don’t know our neighbours, the contrast between the wildness of Hampstead Heath and the tightly packed streets around it, how history has shaped the city and its buildings. Do you have any favourite novels about London?the-end-of-the-affair

Oddly I was reading mostly US fiction, rather than London novels when I wrote ‘I Saw A Man’. Going back a few years though, I greatly enjoyed and admired, Zoe Heller’s ‘Notes on a Scandal’, which is a book set in similar London territory. And of course even now back alleys at night in the city evoke the London of Dickens. Raymond Williams captures the growth of suburbia very well in his novel ‘Border Country’ and Michael Frayn does the same for the wartime suburbs in ‘Spies’. Probably my favorite London novel though, and again with a wartime setting, is Graham Greene’s ‘The End of the Affair’, the title of which is enough alone to send me back to a mist and rain-blurred, blacked-out Clapham Common.

You write fiction, poetry and plays. When you have an idea for a story, is it clear what form it will take?

Usually, yes, which I’m very relieved about. When I was younger I was often torn between an idea or story becoming a poem or a short story, and for a while toyed with the idea of a book half of which dealt with a set of subjects as poems, and the other half of which dealt with them as stories. I never even started it, which is probably a good thing. Now, though, on the whole an idea and its form seem to arrive at the same time. Martin Amis talks about the early intimations of a novel being like a ‘throb’ somewhere in the mind, and I find that throb rarely just carries suggestions of subject matter, but also of form, structure and voice.

Your first novel, RESISTANCE, was turned into a film. What was it like to see your novel on the screen?resistance

I didn’t. I saw a version of the screenplay, one which had been through the mill of an editing suite, on the screen. Which is just how it should be. I loved the experience of witnessing the translation of a story between media. There were many frustrations and regrets when elements of the original story couldn’t be achieved – either due to limits of the form, or the budget, or both – but there were just as many moments of pleasure at what you gain in a film too. The first day on set was especially strange. You feel as if you’re stepping into a version of your own imagination. Characters you’d gradually fleshed out across the pages of a manuscript were now there, standing before you, literally fleshed out in actors lending their nervous systems to a world you’d invented many years before.

Who are some of your favourite writers and/or books?

They tend to keep changing, which I hope is a good thing. But a few names that come to mind – James Salter, Richard Yates, Barbara Kingsolver, Louis MacNeice, Muriel Spark, Dannie Abse, Seamus Heaney, Graham Greene.

What are you reading at the moment?

Ben MacIntyre’s book about Kim Philby ‘A Spy Among Friends’, E. L. Doctrow’s ‘The Book of Daniel’, an anthology of Mexican short stories, ‘Sun, Stone and Shadows’ and ‘Ask the Moon’, the collected poems of Dannie Abse

What are you working on next?

I’m keen to get started on the next novel, but while that’s slowly coming into shape I’m also working on a few other projects including the verse drama I mentioned above, a poetry film for the BBC, some nature writing about the Gower coast and a three-hander play which I’m developing at the NT studio.


i-saw-a-manI Saw a Man

by Owen Sheers

The event that changed all of their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June, just minutes after Michael Turner – thinking the Nelsons’ house was empty – stepped through their back door…

After the sudden loss of his wife, Michael Turner moves to London and quickly develops a close friendship with the Nelson family next door. Josh, Samantha and their two young daughters seem to represent everything Michael fears he may now never have: intimacy, children, stability and a family home. Despite this, the new friendship at first seems to offer the prospect of healing, but then a catastrophic event changes everything. Michael is left bearing a burden of grief and a secret he must keep, but the truth can only be kept at bay for so long…

Moving from London and New York to the deserts of Nevada, I Saw a Man is a brilliant exploration of violence, guilt and attempted redemption, written with the pace and grip of a thriller. Owen Sheers takes the reader from close observation of the domestic sphere to some of the most important questions and dilemmas of the contemporary world.

Click here to grab a copy of I Saw a Man

Fiona McArthur, author of The Homestead Girls, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Fiona McArthur

author of The Homestead Girls

Six Sharp Questions

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

Five women, a sheep station in drought and the 22-year-old granddaughter’s last ditch measure to keep the farm after her grandad is seriously injured. A flying doctor, a flight nurse, an 80-year-old ex-bush nurse and 16-year-old diva meld into The Homestead Girls and become a family in the harshness of a desolately beautiful landscape.

2.    Time passes. Things change. What would be the best and worst moments you’ve experienced in the past year or so?

We’re talking books and writing here –right?
So the best had to be seeing Red Sand Sunrise up on the shelves and selling well. Crazy fabulous reviews, people telling me that was just how it was, and the fun of getting out there to research in an area I knew too little about.

My worst is nothing compared to some people. I’m just happy to be here.

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

It was raining in Adelaide, they’d called off the cricket, and that was only four hours away. It looked promising all day but the dry electrical storms set everyone’s teeth on edge.

An hour and half across the boarder they had a deluge. None at Blue Hills. The heat increased the pall of anxiety in the homestead and the air palpated with tension.

Soretta chewed her nails as she watched the sky because the house water tank was almost empty. Lachlan had gone into town to order another tank just in case the heavens opened and Klaus had started up the old bulldozer and scraped the empty dam another few feet deeper in case they had a downpour they could capture.

Billie had offered to pay the water carrier to bring a load for the house, but it wasn’t just the house that needed water. Soretta was praying the water table they were using from the bores to keep the stock alive would hold up. Everyone felt it so close to rain that the waiting was torture, made worse by hearing of rain everywhere else. It had passed them by before.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls

red-sand-sunrise4.    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…

I write when everyone else is asleep. So I get up at 4am to write before I get ready for work at 6. Nobody talks to me then. Please don’t talk to me when I’m writing. On writing-at-home days I’m vague, my eyes are constantly flicking from place to place as my brain lives in two worlds. My husband just shakes his head. I guess that would be interesting to live with – or not.

5.   Some writer’s 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 love writing stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things. It’s my theme. The upsurge of  interest in rural romance and rural comtempory fiction allowed me to write my medical version of the big books I put off writing. Current marketplace is an incredibly exciting time for someone like me so it influenced me to take a gamble, stop my three small books a year of steady income, and write one big book. Great satisfaction in that.

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?tomorrow-when-the-war-began

Tomorrow When The War Began. Because I want them to actually read and if they are ill-educated they probably need to be enticed into falling in love with reading. The Tomorrow series started one of my son’s reading.

Harry Potter for the same reason. And Harry was out of his comfort zone and had to make friends.

The Old Man and The Sea – because simple can be incredible.

Pride and Prejudice – because we don’t need that much civilising and other people had to do it harder.

Kings In Grass Castles – because some people did it really tough and we need to honour them. I think of the women in this book.

Fiona, thanks for playing!

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls


The Homestead Girls

by Fiona McArthur

After her teenage daughter Mia falls in with the wrong crowd, Dr Billie Green decides it’s time to leave the city and return home to far western NSW. When an opportunity to pursue her childhood dream of joining the Flying Doctor Service comes along, she jumps at the chance. Flight nurse Daphne Prince – who is thrilled to have another woman join the otherwise male crew – and their handsome new boss, Morgan Blake, instantly make her feel welcome.

Just out of town, drought-stricken grazier Soretta Byrnes has been struggling to make ends meet and in desperation has opened her station house to boarders. Tempted by its faded splendour and beautiful outback setting, Billie, Mia and Daphne decide to move in and the four of them are soon joined by eccentric eighty-year-old Lorna Lamerton.

The unlikely housemates are cautious at first, but soon they are offering each other frank advice and staunch support as they tackle medical emergencies, romantic adventures and the challenges of growing up and getting older. But when one of their lives is threatened, the strong friendship they have forged will face the ultimate test . . .

About the Author

Fiona McArthur has worked as a rural midwife for many years. She is a clinical midwifery educator, mentors midwifery students, and is involved with obstetric emergency education for midwives and doctors from all over Australia. Fiona’s love of writing has seen her sell over two million books in twelve languages. She’s been a midwifery expert for Mother&Baby magazine and is the author of the nonfiction works The Don’t Panic Guide to Birth and Breech Baby: A Guide for Parents. She lives on an often swampy farm in northern New South Wales with her husband, some livestock, and a blue heeler named Reg. She’s constantly taking photographs of sunrise and sunset and loves that researching her books allows her to travel to remote places.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls

 

Drum roll…. the winner of our Mark Billingham comp is…

May was our Month of Crime and we celebrated by giving customers the chance to win a book pack filled with awesome crime novels! All you had to do to enter was order Mark Billingham’s brilliant new book, Time of Death.

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time-of-death-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win- Time of Death

The Tom Thorne Series : Book 13

by Mark Billingham

The Missing

Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused

When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the more…

…and the winner is:

M.Nicholls, Boambee East, NSW

Grab a copy of Time of Death here


Congratulations to the winner!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

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Grey : Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian by E. L. James (Reviewed by Shikha Shah)

Shikha Shah, Booktopia’s biggest Fifty Shades fan, has been up all night reading E.L. James’ latest offering. The review we’ve all been waiting for is finally here!

Miss Shah will see you now…

greyTo all Fifty Shades Fans – the book that we have been waiting for is finally here!

In Grey we delve into the mind of Christian, what he thinks, how he thinks, how he feels (especially when he is physically touched) and what motivates him.

Let’s face it fans, we all want to know what makes Christian tick.

This is the kind of book that readers will devour as quickly as possible. Even though we already know the story, there is just something about reading it from a different perspective that adds a new dimension, giving us a clearer picture of this divisive character we have come to know so well.

When we read Anastasia’s point of view in the Fifty Shades trilogy, she is painted primarily as a character with low self-esteem. From Christian’s view, however, she is a beautiful and intelligent woman. After their initial meeting all he can do is think about her. It is here that Grey provides us with some real bonus material! We get to read the file that Christian keeps on Anastasia – as well as getting to peek into his mind and finally grasp the true depth of his jealousy and obsession. (Christian gives Edward Cullen some serious competition when it comes to stalking!)

fifty-shades-of-greyReaders are given more details of Christian’s traumatic childhood and how it still tortures him (manifested in his fixation on food and stunted emotional development). We also gain a better understanding of how Elena influenced the sexual lifestyle he is now accustomed to.

Unlike the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which was self-published, Grey has been professionally edited. While I really enjoyed the trilogy, I have to admit that the writing occasionally seemed a bit weak. Luckily this is not an issue with Grey. The writing is very fluid, which allows the story to flow smoothly.

Basically, this book everything fans of Fifty Shades would want.

Click here to grab your copy of Grey


Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian

by E. L. James

greySee the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Grab your copy of Grey here

Click here to see the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

 

Find out how you could win tickets to the Paper Towns Australian premiere!

Do you love John Green novels?

Do you love sweeping films about first loves and losses?

Do you love rubbing shoulders with celebrities?

Are you feeling lucky, punk?

After the runaway success of the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars another of his novels, Paper Towns, is about the hit the big screen.

To celebrate this, we have 2 double passes to the Australian Premiere on July 5th in Sydney!

For your chance to win one of them, just buy the stunning Paper Towns: Film Tie-in edition by June 28th!

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Film Tie-in Edition

John Green

The stunning film tie-in edition of Paper Towns, from the award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.

Quentin Jacobsen – Q to his friends – is eighteen and has always loved the edgy Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children, they’d discovered a dead body together. Now at high school, Q’s nerdy while Margo is uber-cool. One night, Q is basking in the predictable boringness of his life when Margo, dressed as a ninja, persuades him to partake in several hours of mayhem. then she vanishes.

While her family more…


We’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!
Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

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What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her May reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The FallsThe French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.


Lyrebird Hill

by Anna Romer

I thoroughly enjoyed Romer’s debut novel Thornwood House and her follow up, Lyrebird Hill, didn’t disappoint. The story unfolded beautifully, slipping between the present and colonial times, and held me captivated throughout. As with Thornwood house, the story had a wonderful gothic feel which made the suspense part of the novel even more intense, and Romer is a master at bringing the Australian bush to vivid life.

Lyrebird Hill unfolds with Ruby Cardel discovering that her sister Jamie’s death – an event she’s managed to blank from her memory – may have a sinister connection. When Ruby journeys back to her childhood home, the vault of her memory begins to open, bringing with it uncertainty and danger.

Highly recommended.

Grab a copy of Lyrebird Hill here


Already Dead 

by Jaye Ford

The suspense and action begin almost immediately in this gripping thriller from Jaye Ford and barely lets up until the final page. When an armed stranger jumps into her car, journalist Miranda Jack is forced on a terrifying ride. Her abductor, Brendan Walsh, seems a madman, but as her ordeal progresses and Miranda listens to his paranoid rants, Miranda is left with doubts. Doubts that force her to seek answers even when it appears doing so might place her in danger.

As with Jaye Ford’s previous novels, Already Dead was a page-turner so compelling all I wanted was to gobble it down in one sitting. I loved the thrill ride, loved the touch of romance and loved the landscape. She’s an auto-buy author. Next please!

 Grab a copy of Already Dead here


You’re Just Too Good To Be True

by Sofija Stefanovic

This short book looks at online romance scams, how they operate and the devastating impact they can have on those caught up in them. Triggered by her eighty-year-old friend Bill’s experiences, Stefanovic sympathetically reveals how Bill’s search for online love took him from hope to bankruptcy. It’s sad and frustrating and I feel desperately sorry for Bill and others caught up in these scams. To have the human need for love exploited so badly is horrible.

The story gets even more interesting when Stefanovic decides to lure a scammer into talking to her about their operations, and finds herself in turn being drawn into this morally murky world.

Fascinating. And an eye-opener on how easily people can be manipulated, regardless of background.

Grab a copy of You’re Just Too Good To Be True here


The Diabolical Miss Hyde

by Viola Carr

This book is brilliantly cross-genre, spanning romance, steampunk, horror and crime, and probably a few others, and, as the title indicates, takes more than a little bit of inspiration from classics such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and more. It’s dark, no question and certainly not a typical romance, but it worked thanks to an intriguing plot and great characters, and some seriously lush world building.

Crime scene investigator Eliza Jekyll is daughter of the famous Dr Henry Jekyll (from the classic novel) and suffers his same condition. Her “evil twin” is Lizzie, and she’s a blast compared to straight-laced Eliza, if a tad violent-minded. The two are in a constant battle for domination, a battle that becomes more fraught when the Royal Society’s enforcer, Captain Lafayette, comes to assist in the hunt for the bizarre new serial killer stalking London’s streets. For this is the man who could see Eliza’s career and life destroyed. Except Lafayette may not be all he seems either, and Lizzie is on the trail. So perhaps is someone even more dangerous.

Great fun!

Grab a copy of The Diabolical Miss Hyde here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

 Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The Falls

by Cathryn Hein

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Grab a copy of The Falls here

Last chance to win an awesome crime pack!

Do you love crime……fiction? Order Time of Death by Mark Billingham by midnight tonight and you could win an amazing crime prize pack!

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The Tom Thorne Series : Book 13

by Mark Billingham

The Missing

Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused

When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife – an old school friend of Helen’s – who is living under siege with two teenage children and more…


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