Kathryn Heyman, author of Floodline, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

floodlinesThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kathryn Heyman

author of Floodline

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

I grew up in New South Wales, mainly in Lake Macquarie, where I sailed, kayaked and swam – pleasures that continue to sustain me. I was the youngest child of five, in a single parent household and I was both the wild one and the precociously studious one, which must have been an infuriating combination for those around me.  As a student I headed off to the UK and stayed for well over a decade, studying, writing, falling in love, getting married and then, later, having babies. The wildness had been massaged out of me by then. Most of it, anyway.

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Meg Cabot, author of The Bride Wore Size 12, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Meg Cabot

author of The Bride Wore Size 12

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

I was born, raised, and educated in Bloomington, Indiana, known world wide as the “Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana.” Continue reading

Welcome to the world baby Kimye! A gift from your fans at Booktopia

KIM-KARDASHIAN-BARE-BABY-BUMP-570Like the little drummer boy, one can often feel at a loss as to what to buy the offspring of the world’s hottest couple. Fear not – Haylee Nash shares her recommendations on the best buys for baby (and entourage).

Oh joyous day! After six months of anxious waiting, the happy day is here at last!

That’s right, glamazon, enterpreneur and true north on our moral compass Kim Kardashian and rapper/lover of women/ultimate man-bag Kanye West have finally welcomed their little bundle of joy into the world and I could not be happier.

But what to give the couple and their precious package to celebrate this most blessed occasion? Books of course! We here at Booktopia have compiled a list especially for the new family, one that is sure to see them through any crisis, whether fashion-related or otherwise.

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Australia’s Favourite Novelist – The Shortlist and Final Vote

Nick Earls’ popularity was undeniable in the Heats

The people have spoken. We are very excited to present the 75 Favourite Australian Novelists, as voted on over the past week.

This is not in order, for the order will only be decided once you cast your final vote. Next week we’ll announce the Top 50 day by day, culminating in the Top 10 being announced on Friday the 25th of January.

A huge thanks must go to all the authors, without your gifts to us there simply wouldn’t be a poll to vote on. Don’t forget, if you see any novelists here you love don’t just vote, get in contact with them to let them know they’re here, and with some noise could be a big player next week when we announce the top 50.

Australia’s only winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Patrick White.

This poll will be up all week and will close at midday on Sunday. As before, you can vote for as many novelists as you like, but you can only vote once. Unlike the last polls, for the suspense, you won’t be able to see the results immediately. That will all be unveiled next week.

We also had feedback that some people didn’t vote for the big names in the heats, knowing that they’d go through without their vote. Well, this is the time the big names need your vote, this is the big one, the final, and every vote counts towards deciding who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!


The Last Chance Saloon – Take these Novelists off the cusp and into the shortlist

We here at Booktopia are a democratic lot so we thought we’d give you one last chance to mold your shortlist, which you will be voting for all next week. We’ve taken the first 12 from every heat and these are the top 60 (see the list on the pad below) who will go straight through to the final round of voting. Congratulations to all!

Top 60

But this weekend we’re deciding which of the next, wonderful, fantastic, lot of novelists will get to the final 75. Here’s the list of 25 below, the top 15 will get through to the final poll which will run all week right here.

And one final thing that we must stress. You can select as many novelists as you like with your vote. So you can vote for every person, all 25 of them, or just vote for one. The choice is yours.

So without further delay, here is the 25 that must become 15. A terribly difficult task we know, but it must be done.

Happy voting!


Australia’s Favourite Novelist – Heat 5

What method will you choose?

And then there was one.

One heat left before we have our shortlist. The top 12 from each heat will automatically go through to the final voting stage on Monday.

But for those that just missed out on the top list, by a whisker, there’s good news…..

…good news in the form of a Repechage!

The next five magnificent novelists in each heat that didn’t make it automatically through will all be put in a poll on Saturday at 9am. Here, only the top 15 will go through out of a list of 25. And by Monday we’ll have our short (kind of) list. The final 75 novelists, with the poll open all week for you to vote.

So in case you didn’t read the details for this huge event, or have been too swamped by extraordinary novelists over the last week to remember, here’s what’s happening until Australia Day. With week one finished and week two nearly behind us….

Time is running out, the last heat is on today.

Time is running out, the last heat is on today.

WEEK THREE – JAN 14-20 – Only the best of the best will make it through to the final poll. We’ll have this poll up all week. This will be the final chance to cheer for your favourite Australian Novelist. You won’t be able to see the results of this poll until we announce them in….

WEEK FOUR – A WEEK OF AUSTRALIAN STORY-TELLERS – Voting will close on Monday the 21st of January at 9am. From Monday we’ll tally up the top 50 and announce them in order, unveiling 10 every day, and then…..

Australia’s 10 favourite novelists will be announced on Friday the 25th of January. We’ll be profiling all of the top 10 authors and the books that have made them your favourites. We’ll also be launching our new proudly Australian initiative, the first in Australian Bookselling history. But that’s all we can tell you!


Pushing the Barriers of Food Porn… Fifty Shades of Chicken : A Parody in a Cookbook

A young, free-range chicken…

A dominating, ravenous chef…

Fifty recipes to make every dinner a turn-on…

Fifty Shades of Chicken is a cookbook serving up epicurean double entendres and 50 excellent chicken recipes all while telling the story of a young free-range and very fresh chicken who, like Anastasia Steele, finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man, in this case a kinky and very hungry chef.

Pitch-perfect and admiring, this send-up-in-a-cookbook of the ubiquitous trilogy is naughty, hysterical, and totally clever. Our narrator is an “unexplored” young chicken who is, as she writes, at the mercy of a demanding foodie’s trussing, carving, spatchcocking, and unbearably slow drizzling, among other bedroom, er, kitchen techniques. Before long, Miss Chicken discovers the sheer thrill of starring as the dish that is literally whipped up for dinner.

“I want you to see this. Then you’ll know everything. It’s a cookbook,” he says and opens to some recipes, with colour photos. “I want to prepare you, very much.”

This isn’t just about getting me hot till my juices run clear, and then a little rest. There’s pulling, jerking, stuffing, trussing. Fifty preparations. He promises we’ll start out slow, with wine and a good oiling . . . Holy crap.

“I will control everything that happens here,” he says. “You can leave anytime, but as long as you stay, you’re my ingredient.”

I’ll be transformed from a raw, organic bird into something—what? Something delicious.

With 50 excellent chicken recipes, such as “Sticky (Chicken) Fingers,” “Dripping Thighs,” and “Bound Wings,” our Fifty Shades serves the inexhuastible market of home cooks who just want great recipes for chicken. Let’s just say our author has a way of teaching kitchen techniques so you never forget them.

F.L. FOWLER is the alter ego of a well-known cookbook author. F.L. enjoys life in the country but occasionally relishes flying the coop.

Order your copy here

COMING SOON: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran, author of How To be a Woman


‘In How To be a Woman , I was limited to a single topic: women. Their hair, their shoes and their crushes on Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (which I KNOW to be universal).

‘However! In Moranthology – as the title suggests – I am set free to tackle THE REST OF THE WORLD: Ghostbusters, Twitter, caffeine, panic attacks, Michael Jackson’s memorial service, being a middle-class marijuana addict, Doctor Who, binge-drinking, Downton Abbey, pandas, my own tragically early death, and my repeated failure to get anyone to adopt the nickname I have chosen for myself: ‘Puffin’.

‘I go to a sex club with Lady Gaga, cry on Paul McCartney’s guitar, get drunk with Kylie, appear on Richard & Judy as a gnome, climb into the TARDIS, sniff Sherlock Holmes’s pillow at 221b Baker Street, write Amy Winehouse’s obituary, turn up late to Downing Street for Gordon Brown, and am rudely snubbed at a garden party by David Cameron – although that’s probably because I called him ‘a C-3PO made of ham’. Fair enough.

‘And, in my spare time – between hangovers – I rant about the welfare state, library closures and poverty; like a shit Dickens or Orwell, but with tits.’

Click here to order Moranthology from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Read Caitlin’s awesome answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions

Meg Mason, author of Say It Again in a Nice Voice, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Meg Mason

author of Say It Again in a Nice Voice

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

I was born in a tiny New Zealand town called Foxton. It was too small to have a hospital, but it did have its own ‘maternity home’ where, my mother tells me, you were allowed to smoke in bed right after giving birth. Nothing says quality postnatal care like a new mother chaining it beside her sleeping baby.

At 8, I moved to Palmerston North, where Janet Frame lived at the time. I didn’t know she was Janet Frame, the famous writer, I just knew her as the funny ginger lady from a few streets over.

I moved from there to Sydney at 17, London at 22 and back to Sydney at 27.

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

At 12, I’d just sent my first typed out article to British Vogue from the Palmerston North post office, so I must have wanted to be a writer already. At 18, I wanted to be Sylvia Plath and by 30 I had two small children and wrote very sad things while they slept, so I was actually feeling a lot like Sylvia Plath.

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

That 18 was old.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

A university history lecturer once wrote on my essay ‘you write so nicely, it hardly matters that you have nothing to say’ which made me realise that I cared about the writing part to the exclusion of everything else, including the Origins of the First World War.

Seeing my byline in a newspaper was beyond thrilling the first time and every other time it’s been an excellent opportunity to act jaded. But most inspiring of all, having babies, because it made me notice more, feel everything more and it finally gave me something to say.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Dude, you cannot use a blog as a coaster or chock a rattley window with online newspaper. Printed words are useful, beautiful and important and they always will be, which is why I went that way.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

My editor calls it a memoir, which is industry talk for ‘exercise in oversharing’. It’s my life from 25, when I quit working at The Times to become a housewife, to 32 when I finally figured out what I was doing. I tried to make it dark and sad, to match my mood at the time, but I missed and it turned out funny.

(From the publisher:

Mothers. Those women with purses the size of meat trays that hold an entire deck of school portrait photos and a chequebook, make a casserole without a recipe, make the tightest bed you’ll ever sleep in and only swear under extreme duress. How, how, would I go from me to that?

At 24, Meg Mason was newly married to a man ‘essentially indistinguishable from a young Matt Damon’ after landing her dream job, writing for The Times in London. What could possibly go wrong? A holiday in Greece, an accidental shortage of birth control, and eight months later she was sobbing on the side of a road over trading her career for something she knew zip about.

On October 8, 2003, she invented motherhood by Having A Baby. On October 9, she discovered a bunch of women had done that already. But still they couldn’t tell her how to do it.

Thanks to a helpful neighbour she knew that convincing a newborn to take a bottle by letting it lick a Dorito first to ‘get more thirsty’ didn’t always work, but not what to do when your child won’t sleep for roughly two years in London or in Sydney, or how to remove your hand from a stroller – after you’ve superglued it to the handle.

Hair-raising, terrifying and hilariously funny, along the way she discovers that being a mother, however disaster-prone, just might be the only thing that she is truly irreplaceable at.)

Click here to order Say It Again in a Nice Voice from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

The years that I wrote about were lonely. Really lonely. The loneliest. So I wrote a book for other lonely women, and I hope it makes them feel a teensy bit less lonely, for as long as possible.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Any woman who has ever lifted herself out of drudgery and awfulness by putting pen to paper. But then if she gets that writing published, I would stop admiring her and starting being jealous and threatened instead.

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

Those people are annoying though, don’t you think? My goal is to not get stuck talking to any of them at parties. And in between times, I would like to keep noticing, and keep writing down what I see.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. All the time, everything you can. ‘If you don’t read’, the same university lecturer once told me, ‘how can you expect to write?’

Meg, thank you for playing.

That’s ok. Those questions were terrifying though, you were not kidding with that title.

Click here to order Say It Again in a Nice Voice from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

I love Meg’s website

Let’s Play: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey will tickle your fancy, your funny bone and your pickle

Inspired by the overnight million-copy bestseller 50 Shades of Grey comes Fanny Merkin’s shrewd, laugh-out-loud funny and romantic parody Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.

Young, rich, and handsome tycoon Earl Grey has a dirty secret. He brings Anna, a naive college student, past the tacky waterbed, strobe light, and blacklight posters inside his Room of Doom, into his twisted world of, well, mostly naughty dialogue and light spanking.

Anna is enthralled – after all, hes rich, and he has a habit of buying every company shes ever worked for (including Walmart) in an attempt to get close to her. But on the flipside, he’s a moody bastard whose fifty shames constantly threaten to overwhelm her.

Can Earl Grey and Anna ever have a normal life together?

Or will his dark desires and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

About the Author

Andrew Shaffer is a frequent Huffington Post contributor and creative director of the irreverent greeting card publisher Order of St. Nick.

Click here to order Fifty Shames of Earl Grey from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

The parody brings to life all the arguments for and against 50 Shades, including the feminist concerns, portrayal of BDSM, roots in Twilight fan-fiction, and E.L. James’ writing style. Nor is contemporary culture safe- the parody lampoons everything from Brontes, to vodka-soaked tampons, to iPad’s ‘Words with Friends’. With a surprise twist at the end (Earl Grey is a sparkling vampire. Who knew?).


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