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!

BOOK REVIEW: Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundReview by Sarah McDuling

Rebound is one of those super sneaky page-turners – the kind of book where you’re certain you’re going to put it down when you get to the end of the chapter, but then something happens that makes you want to keep reading. And so you read another chapter. And another, and another…

Packed full of red-herrings, surprise plot twists and complex characters with questionable morals, this tightly written psychological thriller is a sure bet to be one of the most popular crime reads of the year, not to mention an excellent choice for book clubs.

Protagonist Anna is a dynamic and very compelling main character. Recently single and enjoying her independence, she makes an impulsive decision that leads to an encounter with a strange man… and suddenly her life is drastically and irrevocably changed.

An engrossing debut from an impressive new talent, Rebound is the perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain and Mary Kubica.

Learn more about Rebound here!


Rebound

by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundLife is good for Anna Wright. She’s a successful media executive working for one of the UK’s largest TV corporations. She’s got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.

But Anna’s perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.

There’s a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna’s professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.

Learn more about Rebound here!

BOOK REVIEW: The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistReview by Sarah McDuling

Wow. Just … wow! Almost from the first page, The Poison Artist grabbed my attention and held it tight. I could not put this book down and honestly, there were moments so fraught with tension that I had to remind myself to keep breathing.

Unfolding like a feverish nightmare where the lines between reality and fantasy are constantly blurred, The Poison Artist is a story dealing with the dangers of obsession and the dark side of desire.

With it’s haunting prose and intensely creepy atmosphere, The Poison Artist boasts a cast of compelling characters and a fantastic plot that kept me in a state of almost frantic confusion until the mystery was solved.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!


The Poison Artist

by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistDr. Caleb Maddox is a crack San Francisco toxicologist leading a ground-breaking study of the human pain threshold based on minute analysis of chemical markers. He has also just broken up with his artist girlfriend after she discovered a shocking family secret in his past.

Seeking solace, Caleb finds a dark, old-fashioned saloon called House of Shields, and is mesmerised when a beautiful woman materialises out of the shadows, dressed like a 1940s movie star. The enigmatic Emmeline shares a pouring of absinthe with him, brushes his arm and vanishes.

As he pursues her through the brooding, night-time city, desperate to see her again, he simultaneously becomes entangled in a serial murder investigation that has … Learn More.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!

 

The debut psychological thriller from Fiona Barton that has crime & thriller writers raving

The WidowThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Fiona Barton

author of The Widow

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Cambridge, UK and raised in the Fenlands of East Anglia, in a village called Burwell. Caught the bus every day to school – St Mary’s Convent, Cambridge – where I was taught by some inspirational women. From there I went to the Unversity of Warwick to study for a BA Hons in French and Theatre Studies.

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

Journalist, journalist and journalist. It was all I wanted to do until I was 50 because it combined being able to ask questions of anyone, meeting people whose stories never leave you, travelling to unlikely places and writing. At 50 I was ready for something new and became a volunteer in Sri Lanka, working with reporters under threat.

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

I had one a day when I was 18. Too many to remember now.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on ySwallows and Amazonsou and influenced your own development as a writer?

This is such a difficult question – I love art, books, music, theatre and film and see, read and watch as much of them as I can. So, it is hard to pick out individual influences. However, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome was the first proper book I read for myself (on a long car journey across Europe when I was about seven). It pulled me into another world where I could not be reached by my parents, anxious to point out the sights we were passing. Perhaps that was the start of everything.

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

The worm of the story of The Widow ate away at me until I could no longer resist. And I couldn’t tell it any other way. Writing is what I do – I’ve earned my living from it since the day I joined the East Grinstead Observer in 1979 – and I am rubbish at painting.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Put simply, The Widow is a psychological thriller about a man accused of a terrible crime – the abduction of a child. But it isn’t that simple. The story is told by four people caught up in the drama.

Primarily, the narrative belongs to Jean, the widow of the accused, as she remembers her life and interprets the events that threaten everything –  and everyone – she believed in. Woven through are the stories of the desperate search for a two-year-old child, told by the police officer in charge, the mother of the victim, and the journalist covering the story.

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

A sense of having been there for the ride.

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

There are so many authors who have touched and influenced me—I’ve been reading for more than 50 years! But most recently: Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies) for the brilliance of her story-telling; Kate Atkinson (When Will There Be Good News? and Life After Life) for the characters and power of a story told by many; and John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany) for his sheer otherness.

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

If I’d been a child prodigy or young literary Turk, my list of ambitions would probably turn to a second page but, with age, come all the things you might have wished for – family, career, chances, experiences. My ambition now is to write the two other books I’ve signed up to and enjoy the brilliant new adventure of being an author.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Stop making excuses and start today.

widow reviews ed

The Widow

Fiona Barton

The Widow

Du Maurier’s Rebecca meets We Need to Talk About Kevin and Gone Girl in this intimate tale of a terrible crime.

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime. But what about the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs, the woman who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of … Read More

Grab your copy of The Widow here!

COMING SOON: Graham Potts, author of upcoming novel No Free Man answers our Ten Terrifying Questions

no-free-manThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Graham Potts

author of No Free Man

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Victoria, attended primary school in South Australia, high school in Queensland, TAFE in New South Wales, and university in Canberra.

What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. At eighteen, I had no idea what I wanted to be. At thirty, I just wanted to be left alone to write.

What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I believed answers were easy to come by.

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?
Dust and Ashes by Anatoly Rybakov 1994 – I read this book when I was sixteen and it was the first book that showed me what Graham Pottsgood writing could do.

The Pearl Earring by Dorothee Golz 2009 – a digital reinvention of Vermeer’s work; it’s easy to become convinced that everything has been done before until you see something that breathes new life into a masterpiece.

To Have and Have Not, the 1944 film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart alongside Lauren Bacall in her debut – I learned a lot about dialogue and character from great films like this.

Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I don’t think I chose to write at all. I’m pretty certain writing chose me. Sometimes I wish it hadn’t but, most of the time, I’m glad it did.

Please tell us about your latest novel…
No Free Man is about an assassin looking for a way out, a thief ready to kill for answers, a secret operative who thought he got away with it, a crime kingpin who wants it all, a president who will burn her country down to save it, and the agent who has to piece it all together before it’s too late.

What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I hope there is a little something for everyone.

Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Matthew Reilly: he persistentlThe Tournamenty pens fast-paced stories full of energy and adventure. I learned the hard way how difficult this is. Reilly gets criticised a lot for his writing, but doesn’t get praised enough for what he gets right – and he gets it right every time.

Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I won’t lie to you: I rarely plan ahead. In fact, I didn’t really plan to get this far.

What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Get good, get original, get it done, get it out there, get rejected, get over it, get better, and go all in.

Graham, thank you for playing!

 

Grab your copy of No Free Man here!


No Free Man

Graham Potts

no-free-manVolkov forfeited his future when he was paid to forget his past. Forced to adapt, he ultimately became the world’s most wanted killer – feared, vicious and brutal. A tool of the Organizatsiya, a Russian crime syndicate that forged him into ‘The Wolf’, he’s pursued by American spies and Australian agents, torn between his need to survive and his desire to be free.

When a shock encounter in Australia uncovers forgotten secrets and threatens uneasy allegiances, Volkov suddenly sees a choice – one he thought would never be his to make. With a billion-dollar international oil deal threatening to shift the global balance of power, will Volkov return to Moscow to wage war for the Organizatsiya … Read more.

Grab your copy of No Free Man here!

GUEST BLOG: Ben Sanders on his upcoming novel American Blood

Ben Sanders AuthorPhotoIn Ben Sanders’s American Blood, a former undercover cop now in witness protection finds himself pulled into the search for a missing woman; film rights sold to Warner Bros with Bradley Cooper attached to star and produce.

As the title no doubt implies, American Blood is an American novel, but the opportunity to write it came as something of a surprise. My first three books are police procedurals set in Auckland, and follow a detective called Sean Devereaux. I was interested in developing an ongoing series, and saw him as a long-term source of fiction. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might need a different protagonist or setting, at least for the next few years.

I’ve been published at home in New Zealand since 2010, but prior to American Blood, writing was just a hobby, a nice counterpoint to work and university. I knew a U.S. readership could be the difference between writing by day and writing by night, and I thought Devereaux would help me make the transition. My third novel with him at the helm was published in New Zealand in 2013, and I traveled to New York City in the hope of gaining a deal with a U.S. publisher. My approach was a bit unorthodox – in the interests of stampede prevention, editors don’t tend to accept meetings with prospective, unknown authors. I was lucky though: I was in New York for two weeks, and my agent found me a fifteen-minute window with my now-current editor Brendan Deneen. During a slightly lightheaded quarter-hour, I pitched to him my most recent effort, Only the Dead.american-blood

The good news took its sweet time. I flew home and kept my fingers crossed for six months, and then in October 2013 Brendan emailed to ask if I was interested in writing a U.S.-set mystery series. I’d have to put Devereaux on hold, but yes, I was definitely interested.

A two-book deal followed. American Blood is the first, with a follow-up due for publication toward the end of next year. My new protagonist is a former NYPD officer named Marshall Grade, who’s been put in witness protection in New Mexico after he botches an undercover operation. I love character-driven stories, so I was always going to have a hero cut from Marshall’s kind of cloth – a man capable of dealing with thugs in a very hands-on sense of the phrase. The recurring protagonists in my first three novels were a police detective and an ex-solider, and I wanted Marshall to have similar attributes. Broadly speaking, he does, but his point of difference is that he’s self-taught: a canny and intelligent guy afforded a violent repertoire as a result of undercover work with a New York crime family.

I started the book in January 2014. I didn’t have a plot outline. I operate on the principle that the characters come first, and their motivations in turn define the direction only-the-deadof the story.

My daily routine is to walk the dog for an hour in the morning, during which time I consider the previous day’s progress, and plan how to advance things in a logical manner. If I’m productive, I can write fifteen hundred words by five pm. Occasionally I hit a day when the ideas don’t flow, but with American Blood I was fortunate to never lose momentum. I was helped by the fact the film rights were optioned by Warner Bros. in February 2014, while the manuscript was only fifty pages long. The prospect of a blockbuster was a powerful incentive to get the story told, and I completed the first draft in four months.

American Blood is the first book I’ve been able to work on full-time, and it’s my first book to be published internationally. I’m writing the sequel at the moment, and hopefully I can bring Marshall back for more outings yet. He has a proclivity for violence, but he’s a killer with manners, and his quirks and humor and opinions make me want to spend more time with him. I hope you enjoy American Blood, and I hope you like Marshall as much as I do.

Grab your copy of American Blood here!


American Blood

Ben Sanders

american-bloodAfter a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall’s instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ra.

Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray’s whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall’s efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are … Read more.

Grab your copy of American Blood here!

Prefer your crime fiction with an archaeological twist? L.J.M Owen, author of upcoming archaeological mystery Olmec Obituary, answers our Ten Terrifying questions

 

The Booktopia Book Guru asksolmec obituary

L.J.M Owen

author of Olmec Obituary

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Growing up we moved around a fair bit, so I’ve lived on a dusty sheep farm, in a glittering city and amidst a beachside rainforest. The most honest answer I can give, though, is I was raised and schooled between the shelves of numerous libraries.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a palaeontologist or archaeologist; I was obsessed with history and prehistory.

At eighteen I envisioned being the head of a school of archaeology or biological anthropology in a quiet little university somewhere; it was my idea of order and peace in a painful and chaotic world.

By thirty I wanted to become someone who helped others in their journey of self-transformation, which eventually led to creative writing. I wanted to explore both the harsh realities of our existence and provide a haven from them; to open doors to alternative ways of thinking and being. The Dr Pimms series arose from that desire to create a place of escape.

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

At eighteen I placed a lot of weight on first impressions, believing they were a good indicator of whether I would become friends with someone or not. Since then I’ve learnt it’s definitely not a good idea to judge a book by its cover – but it’s also essential to follow your gut instinct if you sense something is off in someone’s behaviour. Taking time to get to know someone before forming an opinion about them is my approach now.

Olmec banner 1

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?

As a young teenager I escaped into the Eddings’ Belgariad series every chance I could. I loved the wide cast of characters and banter between them that exposed cultural differences. The comfort I found in this series fed my desire to create another story world for us to all run away to.

Reading Orwell’s 1984 was life changing. The idea that I could imagine an entire other world based on a set of underlying assumptions from my own society then extrapolating was a valuable lesson. It encouraged me to challenge self-satisfied dogma whenever I encountered it, much to the chagrin of those I questioned. But once armed with the idea that things can be other than they are I was irrepressible.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Witches series, which examined a variety of social truths and feminist issues in an incisive and entertaining way, gave me hope that I could find my own voice and explore social themes with similar subtlety one day.

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

I’m most comfortable communicating with people via writing. It allows me to think through what I’m trying to express. I love archaeological discoveries and processes and wanted to find a way to share the knowledge from my studies with people. Fiction made the most sense.

6. Please tell us olmec obituaryabout your novel, Olmec Obituary.

Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a new Australian crime fiction series: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. It’s the journey of an archaeologist/librarian who solves ancient mysteries from across the globe, with plenty of forensic science, culinary exploration and historic trivia along the way.

At the beginning of Olmec Obituary we meet a rather unhappy Dr Pimms who is yearning for her former life as an archaeologist and struggling with work and family. Elizabeth is quickly drawn into investigating evidence from a royal Olmec cemetery deep in the Mexican jungle. Her sense of elation is short-lived, however, as her position on the team is threatened by a volatile excavation director, contradictory evidence, and hostile colleagues. Elizabeth must strive to determine the cause of death of a 3000-year-old athlete before being fired.

So far readers of all ages, from teens to retirees, have provided very positive feedback, with an equal male/female split across all age groups. Those who enjoy archaeological, historic or forensic crime fiction – similar to Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series or Kathy Reichs’ TV series Bones – consume the book then demand the next one!

Younger women seem to identify with the main character, and men who are technically-minded or normally read sci-fi, fantasy or steampunk have been fascinated by the forensic detail in Dr Pimms’ investigation. The series is cosy crime fiction, so no swearing or sex scenes, but I do caution parents of younger readers that there are adult concepts.

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

The most important thing is a sense of relaxation and having escaped the everyday for a while. If they pick up an understanding of the myriad ways humans define culture, or an appreciation for the work of archaeologists or librarians, or question underlying assumptions in their own lives, then all the better. But the most important thing is for them to be entertained.

Dr Pimms 1

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

A year ago, as an avid reader and nascent writer, I would have given you the name of a specific novelist. Now, after experiencing the passion, inclusiveness and support of the Australian writing community, I have to say it is the community itself – the readers who post regular book reviews; the authors who rise at 5am to write before their families wake-up; the editors who reach out to encourage. The dedication and generosity of everyone inthe Australian literary scene has been unexpected and refreshing.

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

30 books, one a year, until they are complete. I’ve planned nine books for the Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series, along with a book of recipes and a compendium of archaeology from the series. I have plans for another recipe book that examines evolutionary aspects of human nutrition and the domestication of plants and animals across the planet; a dystopian political novel; a novel featuring a 17th century Cornish girl abducted by Barbary pirates; an historic trilogy examining the depth and breadth of the Celtic world; a young adult Elizabeth Pimms series of twelve instalments; and an autobiography.

I’ve also planned two series of short stories: one set in a steampunk Victorian England with historically accurate epidemiology; and one set in religious institutions around the world in the first half of the 20th century.

I don’t expect to get a full night’s sleep for quite some time!

Olmec banner 2

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read the books you love. Read the kind of books you want to write. Study the basics of storyworld, character, plot and theme. Sit down and write for at least an hour a day. Research how to improve your writing. Rinse and repeat.

And remember, you can do it.

Thank you for playing!

Grab your copy of Olmec Obituary here!
Read an extract of Olmec Obituary here!


Olmec Obituary

L.J.M Owen

olmec obituary

Yearning for her former life as an archaeologist, Australian librarian Dr. Elizabeth Pimms is struggling with a job she doesn’t want and a family she both loves and resents.

A royal Olmec cemetery is discovered deep in the Mexican jungle containing the earliest writing in all the Americas. Dr. Pimms is elated to join to team investigating the ancient skeletons found on site. Triumph is short-lived, however, as Elizabeth’s position is threatened by a volatile excavation director, contradictory evidence, and hostile colleagues. With everything working against her, will Dr. Pimms find the cause of deathfor a 3,000 year old athlete and those buried with her?

With the archaeological … Read more.

Grab your copy of Olmec Obituary here!
Read an extract of Olmec Obituary here!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,958 other followers

%d bloggers like this: