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-and-the-museum-of-fire
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

xhope-farm

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

the-world-without-us

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


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

Fiona PalmerHarvest has started over here in the West of Australia but the rain keeps coming and holding up the headers. I’ve been a bit busy with visits to Perth for Monster Jam (with the kids), Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network meetings and related work, then throw in kids’ sports, carnivals, hockey and golf AGM’s, housework, farm work, and writing my next book, which means I haven’t got much time left to read. It’s really sad, but I’ve only managed to read one book in the last month, Rachael John’s The Patterson Girls.

Rachael is a great friend of mine, we have done a few book tours together and support each other in our writing. But that isn’t why I read her work. I pick up Rach’s books because she writes easy to read stories and has an engaging storytelling ability that keeps you turning each page frantic in anticipation. Her books are always full of emotion and The Patterson Girls was definitely that! It follows four different sisters who come home to spend Christmas with their father, six months after their mother has passed away. Each sister has their own journey and while together they learn of a family curse.  Rachael’s stories are going from strength to strength and she’s making a big name for herself.

Even though I haven’t read this next book I’m still recommending it because my mum read it and loved it. Anything my mum has enjoyed I know I will too. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies is about Gwendolyn, who leaves her home at nineteen to travel across the world to Ceylon where her new husband Laurence owns a large and prosperous tea plantation. I’m keen to read this story because my grandfather was adopted when he came to Australia as a one-year-old from England. On his adoption papers it lists his father’s name, which states that he was in India working on a tea plantation and that is all we know of him. My mum said she couldn’t put it down, it had her intrigued and she said it was a beautifully written drama. I can’t wait to read it myself.

The Patterson Girls The Tea Planter's Wife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it, just two books from me this time. I am busy trying to write my next book set in Lake Grace, which follows on from The Saddler Boys and includes a Vietnam veteran.  I’m looking forward to including all the little stories I’ve gathered from the vet’s I’ve been talking to. In the meantime, I’ll be spending most of my time on Holly, the New Holland header, and working on my plot as I harvest.

Grab your copy of The Saddler Boys here!


The Saddler Boys

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

A Wuthering Heights inspired tale: Debra Adelaide, author of The Women’s Pages answers Six Sharp Questions

Debra AdelaideThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Debra Adelaide

author of The Women’s Pages

Six Sharp Questions

____________

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

My novel The Women’s Pages is based on a short story of mine that introduced two characters in a multilayered story about loss, silences, relationships between mothers and daughters, and above all about the power of the written word.

It’s based loosely on Wuthering Heights, which presents numerous themes big and small, but particularly for me is very much about storytelling, given the novel’s many intriguing narrative layers. I’ve not rewritten that extraordinary novel by any means, but simply responded to its elements and especially leapt into some of its most compelling imagined spaces, such as the unspoken, untold, age-old story of the mother and daughter dynamic. Wuthering Heights features only absent, silent, missing, dead or dying mothers: The Women’s Pages is partly about finding or restoring mothers to a narrative.

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

In the past year I have had two books published and as a writer with a full time job (at a university) I can’t hope for better than that. My last book was the collection The Simple Act of Reading, which was done in collaboration and for the Sydney Story Factory. Being able to present essays by authors on the topic of what reading means to them, and with the support of organisations like CA’s cultural fund and Random House publishers, all for the cause of fostering reading and writing in children, was a total pleasure and privilege. It’s been a very satisfying moment of my wDebra Adelaideriting life in every way.

Having a novel come next, especially one that’s so much about the act of reading – I must have a bit of a theme or obsession here! – only consolidates this pleasure. The day your publisher rings and says she loves your manuscript, the one you wrote in desperation, for yourself alone, and wants to publish it, is a unique joy, one you cherish forever.

The worst moments in recent times have involved the serious illness of two friends and the terrible swift death of one and the ongoing illness of one of my closest family members: not being able to help or heal someone you love is just devastating. But on that note, love always offers the very best moments, and I am blessed with an abundance of that in my life.

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

My home email address signature includes this quotation from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: ‘Human language is like a cracked kettledrum on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when what we long to do is make music that will move the stars to pity.’

I love this quotation because it reminds me almost every day what my job as a writer is, and how big the challenge is, that is, to take language that is tired and worn out, or lowly, cliched and undistinguished in every way, and turn it into something moving and beautiful and uniquely mine. I don’t achieve this all the time of course, but at least I am reminded to aspire to it.

MB quote

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

My writing life itself is messy, ad hoc, organic and irregular in every way. However once I am engaged in a writing project, a story, or a novel, once I am ‘in the zone’ I become very disciplined and write to a schedule that I set myself (and deadlines that I always meet).

Despite this I think I am supremely easy to live with! At least, I still do the household tasks and meet my family obligations and certainly never disappear into my study with bottles of whisky or boxes of chocolate biscuits, muttering or ranting when I do emerge. However I know I become distracted when I’m in the zone, and am really thinking deeply only about the work, so perhaps those I live with would differ on this.

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

The only time I have tried to think about and respond to the marketplace the writing has failed. The marketplace is a terrible distraction: if I were a genre writer, say of crime or speculative fiction, this probably wouldn’t be the case. But for me I have learned I cannot hope to second guess the market or my readers. I write for myself first: everything I write I have assumed no one else in the world would want to read (but of course at the same time have secretly hoped that millions would). the-household-guide-to-dying

When I completed my last novel, The Household Guide to Dying, I gave the manuscript to my agent and without a trace of irony told her that if she didn’t like it I would just go away and bury it because I had another novel underway. Perhaps I am always preparing myself for rejection: that might imply some bleakness in my background, but in fact I think this is healthy for a writer. You need rejection, and you need failure, so confronting it yourself right from the start is helpful.

The market is far too protean and slippery to grasp with confidence: it can make you unconsciously censor the work, or stop you from concentrating on what the story might need.

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?

Wuthering Heights, of course: this is a no-brainer given the context of my new book, but also because it is one of those novels that can bear endless re-readings, and one that for all its mysteries and even frustrations, has the capacity to speak across the generations. And then the characters are so bold and wild and wilful and out there, which I imagine might strike a chord. And finally because it can and should be read aloud, so I imagine sitting down reading this novel to commence the civilising process with some sense of community and even ritual.

The Little PrinWuthering Heightsce, because it is exquisitely beautiful and wise and clever and delightful, and would remind adolescents, who are always pretending to be so much more grown up than they are, of the importance of child-like wonder and imagination.

If the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is cheating (three novels) then definitely The Hobbit, mainly because I loved it when I was a child but have loved it and re-read it forever since; but also because it was a real breakthrough for so-called children’s literature, coming from that vast and intricate and complete fantasy world that Tolkien created.

Thea Astley’s A Descant for Gossips, which I have recently re-read, because it demonstrates the terrible consequences of prejudice and alienation in the way a vulnerable schoolgirl is picked on and ostracised. I think it would touch these readers in sensitive emotional spots. And because readers always learn a new word or two reading an Astley novel.

Definitely cheating, but The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which of course would be read aloud and performed with plenty of roles for the 20 adolescents; it would be marvellously civilising in every way. And they would also learn many new words.

Debra, thank you for playing!

Grab your copy of The Women’s Pages here!


The Women’s Pages

Debra Adelaide

Debra AdelaideEllis, 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 … Read More.

Grab your copy of The Women’s Pages here!

 

Nine naughty questions with… Trish Morey, author of upcoming Cherry Season

The Booktopia Book Guru asksCherry Season

Trish Morey

author of Cherry Season

Nine Naughty Questions
____________

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication

I think, maybe a bit of both. I came to writing like so many of my colleagues, via a totally unrelated career. I was a mild-mannered chartered accountant before the writing bug bit hard and wouldn’t let go.

However as a teen I always fancied myself a writer (until talk of the real world and needing a “proper” job intervened).

(PS: I was kind of kidding about the mild-mannered bit…)

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance Readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

A romance writer can’t just pay lip service to the emotions – romance readers will spot insincerity at fifty paces. So if you want to connect with your readers, you have to be prepared to pour yourself onto the page. Sure, sometimes it’s hard or confronting, but then, we’re not writing autobiography, we’re writing fiction. It’s about tapping into our experiences, our heartbreaks and highs, our joys and our grief, and putting the characters in that place instead.

Ultimately it’s not about you, the writer, and you have to be able to let that go.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Cherry Season is a story about what happens when polar opposites attract. Dan Faraday is a 37 year old uptight third generation cherry orchardist with both age and an overblown sense of responsibility weighing down on his shoulders.

Lucy Marino is a 24 year old California girl backpacking her way around Australia and who gets a job picking cherries on the orchard, and immediately the two are at loggerheads.

It’s a story about spark, finding home and finding love where you least expect it. And it’s a book about cherries too, of course :)

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

If ugg boots, too much coffee, screaming deadlines and mad hair 99% of the time is romantic, then sure.

But there are times you have to go to Santorini and watch a sunset, or visit a winery and learn how to dosage and disgorge a bottle of sparkling wine that you can later crack open and taste, all in the name of research.

So yeah, there are moments of sheer unadulterated romance that make up for that other mental 99% of the time.

5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

This is funny. Ever heard that expression “about as romantic as a road accident”? Well, that could have been coined for my hubby. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one amazing guy, but he’s not the most romantic man on the planet (which may or may not explain why I feel the need to make stuff up :) Then again, we’ve been married longer than twenty-seven years now and I’m crazier about him now than ever.

I figure if I can give my characters a taste of that kind of romance and a love that turns into a bone deep commitment, that means your characters are going to stick together whatever life hurls at them, then I’ve done my job.

Trish Morey6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can’t see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

Sex is one part, and often a very important part, of any romantic relationship. But in romance, it’s not about the sex per se – it’s about the emotion, for without that, the sex is nothing more than a physical act that comes as no surprise to anyone.

Intimacy is a huge, risky step and takes courage and trust, because when our characters take off their clothes, they’re not only baring their bodies, they’re often baring their souls. Now they’ve got nothing to hide behind, and all sorts of secrets and fears and hang ups can be exposed, exposing the characters to all kinds of grief in the process.

I like to put my characters through the wringer in all kinds of ways. Sex is just one way.

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance Novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

It was a box of Mills & Boons from my Granny’s nursing home that I devoured when I was fifteen that made me want to be and believe I could be a writer – I so wish I’d taken note of the author names (back then I do believe I was much more interested in some much needed sex ed:-))

When I caught the bug again, it was Emma Darcy (love love love her Holly Christmas!), Miranda Lee (fabulous sex!) and Alison Kelly’s strong sexy stories that I loved. All our fabulous Downunder Sexy authors really, because that strong, confident voice resonated with me.

And then I discovered Jennifer Crusie and her full length contemporaries, like Welcome to Temptation and that leapt out and smacked me over the head and said, it’s okay, you can do sexy *and* funny.

So here I am now, writing sexy and funny and having a ball.

Emma DarcyMiranda Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Erotic Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

Haha, could it be the sex, perchance? Writing has become much more graphic sexually over the last forty or fifty years, and men’s fiction has led the way. Women’s fiction is catching up. And now you can read on a Kindle or similar and nobody on the bus on the way to work knows what you’re reading – it’s liberating and discrete at the same time.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

To writers in general – just write. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And don’t believe it when people tell you that you have to write a certain way. Just write the story, and sort the rest out later.

To romance writers in particular – all of the above – and join Romance Writers of Australia if you are serious about pursuing a career in romance writing.

Trish, thank you for playing!

Pre-Order your copy of Cherry Season here!


Cherry Season

Trish Morey Cherry Season

Dan Faraday is too busy for love. With the long hours running the family orchard, he doesn’t have time to go on dates, and if he did, he would be looking for someone who fits into his ten-year plan. Someone traditional, reliable and dependable – someone just like him.

Someone the total opposite of beautiful drifter Lucy Marino. A free spirit who chases the moment, she’s in town for the fruit-picking season. The only certain thing in her life is constant change and while she’s tempted to see how cute Dan might be if only he smiled, she’s not the type of girl to wait around.

But as the cherry trees blossom, Lucy and Dan are increasingly drawn … Read more.

Pre-Order your copy of Cherry Season here!


Behind every strong woman is another…Cathy Kelly talks to Booktopia TV about her new book Between Sisters

Meet sisters Coco and Cassie who were abandoned by their mother when young. Meet grandmother Pearl who raised them. And meet Elsa, the polished face of daytime television who has some demons of her own. How she fits into the story … well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself!

From bestselling Irish author Cathy Kelly, Between Sisters is another enchanting read from this master storyteller, weaving the lives of these four women into one powerful narrative of love, family and redemption.

Grab your copy of Between Sisters here!


Between Sisters

Cathy Kelly

Meet the women of Delaney Square . . .Between Sisters

Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right – making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law. Although it’s left her so exhausted that ‘wine o’clock’ comes a little earlier each afternoon.

Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and has shied away from commitment over the years. Coco believes men complicate things, and she’s got enough to contend with. Until a face from her past returns.

Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square. But something … Read more.

 

Grab your copy of Between Sisters here!

It started in Paris The Honey Queen Homecoming

 

 


Visit Cathy Kelly’s Booktopia author page.

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

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

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

Grab your copy of Close to Home here


Close to Home

Pamela Cook

Close to Home

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

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

Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

 Grab your copy of Close to Home here 

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