The Biggest Loser’s Commando Steve puts Booktopia’s John Purcell through his paces

When Commando Steve came to Booktopia to chat about his new book Get Commando Fit, John explained why he can’t stay in shape.

But as John found out, with Commando, there are no excuses…

Grab your copy of Get Commando Fit here

get-commando-fitGet Commando Fit

by Steve Willis

If you want to look good and feel great, there are NO EXCUSES, you must Get Commando Fit – and Commando Steve is here to show you how!

Steve ‘Commando’ Willis put contestants through their paces as a trainer on Channel Ten’s top rating show Australia’s Biggest Loser. Let him do the same for you!

Steve believes that mental strength is the key to staying fit and leading a healthy, happy and low stress lifestyle and Get Commando Fit is where it all starts.

Whether you’re a desk jockey, a busy mum or managing a company, in these pages, Commando Steve provides you with the building blocks you need to kickstart you on your fitness journey – and gives you the motivation you need to keep going.

Combining fully illustrated functional exercises, a fitness program that will get you moving, and delicious, balanced recipes to fuel you to optimum health, this is the book you need to get into top shape.

There are no excuses, Get Commando Fit today!

Grab your copy of Get Commando Fit here

Janella Purcell visits Booktopia – Signed copies available!

Janella Purcell lives the life we all want to lead. Healthy, happy and full of food!

She made a special trip from the Mid-North Coast to Booktopia to sign some copies of her bestselling new book Janella’s Super Natural Foods and teach our Incompetent Cook a thing or two about the most important meal of the day, Breakfast!

Janella is all about making food that is healthy AND easy, with over 150 recipes and countless variations for vegetarians, vegans and even plain old omnivores.

Kickstart your New Year with Janella’s Super Natural Foods, we certainly will be!


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janella-s-super-natural-foods-signed-copies-available-Janella’s Super Natural Foods

Keeping it deliciously simple is Janella’s healthy food philosophy. Using many superfoods and grains, she has created over 150 fantastic recipes that the whole family will love.

Superfoods. Food as medicine. Supergrains. Fermented foods. Wholefoods. Keep it simple.

In Janella’s Super Natural Foods every recipe will help you to achieve better health and beauty.

With over 150 delicious recipes for healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, snacks, drinks and sauces, Janella uses wholefoods to satisfy everyone. A dynamic mix of superfoods and a good old-fashioned plant-based diet, Janella’s philosophy of using food as medicine is simple and easy to follow.

Many of the recipes have been influenced by Janella’s travels to Italy, Japan, India, the Middle East and South East Asia – healthy food has never been so tantalising nor so easy to create in your kitchen. Clearly marked throughout with symbols for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, raw, soy-free, nut-free or grain-free, each recipe also contains alternative ingredient suggestions to please all your friends and family.

As a talented naturopath, nutritionist, wellness coach, herbalist and environmentalist, Janella Purcell is eager to share her wealth of knowledge and experience. Her passion for cooking and keeping things simple means that staying healthy has never been easier.

Grab your copy of Janella’s Super Natural Foods here

Janella Purcell, author of Janella’s Super Natural Foods, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Janella Purcell

author of Janella’s Super Natural Foods

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, raised and schooled in Brisbane. Moved to Sydney permanently at 23, after many years back and forth. I was desperate to get to Sydney from about age 12.

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

12yo – a social worker, so I could help people; 18yo – a fashion designer, so I could clothe people. (I did a fashion degree after I left school); 30yo – I had just graduated as a Naturopath and Nutritionist so my dream to be of service was taking shape. I had already got my chefs papers by ‘time on the job’ by then, so I was ready to unleash.

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

That ‘all good things come to those who wait’. Now I strongly believe good things happen to those who work their arse off, and ignore naysayers.

4. What were three big events in your life or the world around you that had a great effect on you and influenced your cooking?janella purcell image

One would be trying to deal with multiple food intolerances even before I hit my teens; going to Italy for the first time when I was 26; filming 4 seasons of ‘Good Chef Bad Chef’ – because I may not have not written those many hundreds of recipes that came out of this show.

5. What are some dishes you wouldn’t eat as a child that you love now?

It’s usually the other way around for me – things I ate then that I wouldn’t now. Red meat, chicken, cows dairy, tuna, farmed salmon, unsustainable seafood, wheat, sugar, ice cream, palm oil, trans-fats, GMO crops….

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It’s for everyone – vego’s, vegans, meat lovers and carb’ cravers, sugar  addicts– everyone. I have included many different variations for each recipe so you can easily adapt it to suit most people in your home. One may want veggies, the other meat  and the kids pasta. It’s all there in one dish – with a variation or two. Plus this books contains lots of ingredients we haven’t had a lot of access to before now. Super foods like raw cacao, chia and hemp seeds, maca, coconut, raw agave and different ancient grains.

Grab a copy of Janella’s new book Janella’s Super Natural Foods here

7. If you had to create one dish to show off your repertoire, what would it be?

Hmmm? Using what you have in the pantry and fridge to create something wonderful, balanced, healthy and whole at the last minute is a bit of a skill – so I’d say that – cooking without preparing anything ahead of time.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

There are many people that I admire. Generally those that have overcome adversity – my patients, kids born into poverty/disease/addiction who then grow up to be caring leaders; film makers showing us the importance of slowing down climate change and pretty much anyone who has put their own happiness second to be of service to the rest of us, and our planet.

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

Yes me included in the past. I had my birthday this week, and for the first time in my life, I felt I had achieved most of my goals. Time for new ones, and I have a feeling these will require less time travelling. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring chefs?

You’ve got to really want to do it. It’s a tough life, with little money, long hours, a hot kitchen and an unhealthy routine. And you’ll rarely seeing your friends, partner or kids. It’s tough. But if it’s a calling, then you’ll never work a day in your creative, satisfying, exciting, meaningful life. It’s a privilege and a joy.

Thank you for your time Janella!

Grab a copy of Janella’s Super Natural Foods


Janella’s Super Natural Foods

by Janella Purcell

Keeping it deliciously simple is Janella’s healthy food philosophy. Using many superfoods and grains, she has created over 150 fantastic recipes that the whole family will love.

Superfoods. Food as medicine. Supergrains. Fermented foods. Wholefoods. Keep it simple.

In Janella’s Super Natural Foods every recipe will help you to achieve better health and beauty.

With over 150 delicious recipes for healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, snacks, drinks and sauces, Janella uses wholefoods to satisfy everyone. A dynamic mix of superfoods and a good old-fashioned plant-based diet, Janella’s philosophy of using food as medicine is simple and easy to follow.

Many of the recipes have been influenced by Janella’s travels to Italy, Japan, India, the Middle East and South East Asia – healthy food has never been so tantalising nor so easy to create in your kitchen. Clearly marked throughout with symbols for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, raw, soy-free, nut-free or grain-free, each recipe also contains alternative ingredient suggestions to please all your friends and family.

As a talented naturopath, nutritionist, wellness coach, herbalist and environmentalist, Janella Purcell is eager to share her wealth of knowledge and experience. Her passion for cooking and keeping things simple means that staying healthy has never been easier.

About the Author

Janella Purcell is a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and iridologist. She’s also a vivacious and entertaining chef who has appeared regularly on Australian and overseas television for the past ten years, most recently co-hosting Good Chef, Bad Chef. Her first book was the award-winning Janella Purcell’s Elixir (2004) and her best-selling recipe book, Eating for the Seasons, was published in 2011. Janella also writes regularly for many magazines and newspapers.

 Grab a copy of Janella’s Super Natural Foods

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Sarah Wilson chats to John Purcell about her new book I Quit Sugar for Life

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

I Quit Sugar for Life

by Sarah Wilson

Quitting sugar is not a diet. Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed food and eating like our great-grandparents used to before the crap.

With her bestselling book, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson helped tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit. In I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah shows you how to be sugar-free forever. Drawing on extensive research and her own tried and tested methods, Sarah has designed a program to help families and singles:

  • banish cravings by eating good fats and protein
  • deal with lapses
  • maximise nutrition with vegies
  • exercise less for better results
  • detox safely make sustainable food choices
  • cook sugar-free: 128 desserts, cakes, kids’ stuff, comfort dinners and tote-able breakfast and lunches

I Quit Sugar for Life is not just about kicking a habit it; it’s a complete wellness philosophy for your healthiest, calmest, happiest self.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She’s now the host and program developer for Foxtel’s Lifestyle YOU, and is a commentator and fill-in host on Channel 7’s Sunday Night, The Morning Show and Sunrise and The Project.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

Haven’t even started quitting sugar yet?

Come on now, back to the start for you…

I Quit Sugar

by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson was a self-confessed sugar addict, eating over 30 teaspoons of sugar every day. She’d developed mood disorders, a weight issue, sleep problems and an overactive thyroid. She knew she had to make a change. In January 2011, she decided to quit sugar. What started as an experiment soon became a way of life, and she hasn’t looked back since.

This book outlines the dangers of sugar, provides a step-by-step guide to kicking the habit, and provides 80 delicious sugar-free recipes. Packed with great advice, fun tips, personal stories and gorgeous photography, this is a sensible, simple and accessible guide to losing weight and getting well.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar here

Sarah Wilson is back with I Quit Sugar for Life – Pre-order today

I Quit Sugar for Life

by Sarah Wilson

Quitting sugar is not a diet. Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed food and eating like our great-grandparents used to before the crap.

With her bestselling book, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson helped tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit.

In I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah shows you how to be sugar-free forever.

Drawing on extensive research and her own tried and tested methods, Sarah has designed a program to help families and singles:

  • Banish cravings by eating good fats and protein
  • Deal with lapses
  • Maximise nutrition with vegies
  • Exercise less for better results
  • Detox safely make sustainable food choices
  • Cook sugar-free: 128 desserts, cakes, kids’ stuff, comfort dinners and tote-able breakfast and lunches

I Quit Sugar for Life is not just about kicking a habit it; it’s a complete wellness philosophy for your healthiest, calmest, happiest self.

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She’s now the host and program developer for Foxtel’s Lifestyle YOU, and is a commentator and fill-in host on Channel 7’s Sunday Night, The Morning Show and Sunrise and The Project.

Sarah is an adept social commentator, following a career that’s spanned politics, health advocacy, restaurant reviewing, opinion writing and trend forecasting. She’s also a qualified health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

T.M.Clark, Author of My Brother-But-One, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

T.M.Clark

author of My Brother-But-One

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 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and although I spent my junior school years in boarding school and on a ranch in Zimbabwe, my Senior school years (Standard 6 – 10 or as they say in Australia – Year 8 – 12) were in a small South African town called Kokstad, which is in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains.

During my years in Zimbabwe, you could usually find me riding my horse around, exploring our ranch, usually armed and with our 2 killer dogs running near by protecting me. Yes, I grew up in a war zone so it was necessary. But I knew such freedom during that time that I have never experienced since.

At senior school I no longer had my own horse, but would ride any of my friends one whenever I could, I also played any and every sport (except swimming… I don’t like swimming, maybe because I was always taught  ‘if you can’t see the bottom don’t get in as there might be a crocodile there’ or ‘the water might have bilharzia snails in it’ – but honestly me and actually swimming in water just don’t mix…)  and I don’t ever remember being bored growing up despite living permanently in a school boarding establishment.

I used to be a reluctant reader , although I read a lot and fast, once I started to actually read. I think my poor English teachers deserve gold stars for putting up with my really bad spelling all those years – although my one English teacher Mr Hinchliff doubled as the computer teacher, and I think he was way-way before his time, in that he once told me not to worry too much about my bad spelling, as computers would fix that all one day… and he was right.

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

Twelve: When I was about 8 years old, a vet visited our farm when a bull gored one of our horses. He stitched up that horse and he was as good as new/ Yet that vet was so gentle and so caring with that horse, and so wanting it to live and be okay. I just knew I wanted to be a vet from then on. So I practiced  – on frogs, and removed their appendix and stitched them back up and put them back in the reservoir…I can’t say that they lived…( I know barbaric when I think back on it…)  Until when I was fifteen, I discovered that in South Africa the only Veterinary Science University at that time was in Pretoria at the Onderstepoort campus, and it was all done in Afrikaans. My Afrikaans was dismal and I knew then I would never get into that university – and never be a vet.

At eighteen I was already working to pay for my first year at university by correspondence to study for an Accounting Degree – why? Because I was good at it and it came naturally to me, but also one teacher at school had said to me I should be an accountant.  With no other direction to go – it seemed like a better place than joining the army where my aunt wanted me to be…

At thirty I just wanted to get through each day and not drop a child from sleep deprivation. Yes seriously! I was living in England, and although I had a live out au pair for our two boys while I was at work, life was hectic. I had just gone back to work to complete my last few months of my Internal Quality Auditing Certification, and then we decided to move countries – again. At thirty I could only think of getting through each week, not a career in the future, but, lucky, I had already started fiction writing, so my trajectory in life was already changing.T.M.Clark

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

At eighteen I strongly believed that I wouldn’t marry until I was at least 30 years old. And then I would adopt children, because there were so many in the world that needed homes already. Both theories blown out the water… I was married just after I turned 22 years old (and in two weeks it is our 22nd wedding anniversary!) And I had delivered two of our own children naturally, before I was thirty!

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?

Book : Jock of the Bushvelt – Sir James Percy FitzPatrick. I have somehow managed to hold onto my copy from when I was like 10 years old. I remember my dad reading it to me, and I loved the story. At the time I didn’t realize how much impact it had on me. But now years later I realize that now I want to write stories that inspire as well as entertain readers, and my love for an African stories goes way way back…

Music: Johnny Clegg/Juluka/Savuka  – all their music – but especially December Africa Rain. This song was one of my theme tunes for My Brother-But-One. This music touches me and makes me remember Africa, its people and the stuggles and yet the hope of those same people, and I find I write from a well deep inside – not from my head.

Painting: I am not a big art fanatic, I can’t tell a Picasso from a Van Gogh. But when I saw the round stained glass window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I was in awe and I can remember just staring at it feeling really tiny and insignificant. It was so hard to believe that one man could think of creating something so huge that it dominated so much of the cathedral, and yet it was so beautiful and so soothing to those who looked at it.

As a writer, I still feel like that: tiny and insignificant, but now I know that I have started to share my ‘own pieces of art’ out into the world. It will never compare to the glass window in Notre Dame, it doesn’t have to. But it will be my own small contribution to the world, through my eyes and my heart, just as the window once was to someone else.

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

I love sewing, and I love creating interesting clothing to wear, I don’t however want to be the next Dior designer.  I love gardening and seeing things grow, from seeds , propagating whatever, I am always giving away plants to people, creating new flower beds, yet I’m not the next Jamie Durie. But, I have always told stories.

When I was really young, I made up these characters and would tell my sisters these stories. As the years past, so did that phase in life, but it reemerged when I had my own children, and once again, I would make up bedtime stories. But it wasn’t until my husband influenced the writing down of them, that I actually thought about ‘telling stories’ for others to read. And its just grown from there.

Some of this story My Brother-But-One is based on a few real events in my life. But mostly its fictional.

True – My dad’s family’s ranches were taken in the land distribution program in Zimbabwe. Even miles away on the other side of the world, I was so effected by this immense loss and tragic event.

False – the scene depicting this in the book. I didn’t capture it as it happened exactly, I write fiction remember…

This book wanted to tell the story. If I didn’t write this story, it would drive me nuts as it would never shut up inside my head.  (No, I’m not schizophrenic or on medication for mental illness…) This story has been cooking for many years, its evolved sure, but once I was writing it, it wanted to be told, and there wasn’t much I could do to stop telling it. Even if it never got published, as long as the story was told, the characters were happy and I can move onto the next one that has been pushing to the front, waiting to be written…

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Scott Decker and Zol Ndhlovu are partners in a private game ranch in Zimbabwe. They have a friendship borne from Africa — a brotherhood that endures the generation gap — and crosses the colour barrier. Australian Ashley Twine is a thirty-something dynamic achiever and a confident businesswoman. When a gender mix-up secures her a position on a volunteer program in the Hwange National Park, Ashley gets a chance to take stock of her life and reassess her situation. But the chauvinistic Scott — who runs the operation — is adamant she isn’t cut out for the job.

After Ashley witnesses first-hand the devastation left behind by poachers, Scott finds himself torn between wanting to protect Ashley or force her to leave Africa for her own safety…and his sanity. However, nothing can prepare her for being ambushed and held captive by the psychopathic Rodney — an old enemy of Zol’s — from a war fought years ago. But now that their world has been threatened, circumstances take hold of their lives and begin to shape and change them forever.

Set against a magnificent backdrop of Africa across the decades, I explore both the challenges and the traditions between the white and black families of rural Africa.

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

A feeling of hope, and acceptance that a family unit isn’t necessarily made up of the traditional 1 man + 1 women + 2 kids = perfect family. I want readers to fall in love and want to visit Africa, but, mostly for just a moment, to feel rhythm of the African rhythm in their hearts too as they read. And if the reader can somehow help stop the slaughter of the wild life because of the new love they feel, all the better!

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

Jean M. Auel- The Children of the Earth Series. Her books are so real, so full of detail that you can almost feel that you are back in time in that period in history and its all tangible. Her intricate novels have captivated me for years.
Robin Hobb – All her books, but I was captivated by The Rain Wild Chronicles and her Liveship Traders Trilogy, again, it’s the details that get me, her world seems real and I lose myself in it while reading her books.

In my genre – Tony Park. Tony is an Australian who is living there six months of the year, and writing these amazing stories that pin-point exactly the pulse of Africa.  Again, his attention to details is amazing. Yet, he still has time to give to any charity that helps the people or animals in Africa. And Tony is encouraging to up coming writers, never brushing them aside. He sent me my cover quote when he was camping in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and he found he had cell coverage – that is dedication! I’m sure Nicola his wife will tell you he has fault, but to me Tony is the perfect colonial gentleman author.

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

Maybe a better word for that would be ‘dreams’ because some things that happen are out of an author’s control. My dream would be to sell world rights. I would so love to see my books in the USA, England, South Africa, Russia, China and all the territories, and see translations, that must be so neat, and I would ‘dream’ of visiting each place my book was published in to see it there, as I am a gypsy at heart and love an excuse to travel! Also, I have a cousin who doesn’t read, but if my book was an audio book, he would get to hear it, so the audio rights too…

Friends of mine have had their books turned into Manga. I think it would be so cool to have your book in a manga style… perhaps its that little bit in me that loves that an adult book can have pictures in it!!!

Dreams – Oh hell lets got the whole hog – would love to see this book as a movie – sitting next to Out Of Africa, Gorillas in the Mist and e-Lollipop as a classic one day….LOL

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

2 things…

1. Just write the book that you want to, make your dream happen.

2. There are so many avenues open to authors, don’t rush at the first opportunity that comes along. Stop, think with your business head, take your time and get it right if you are publishing anything.  Writing might be your passion, but it’s your business, so treat it with professional courtesy.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been interesting doing these questions. I thought at first glance they were not so terrifying as the six sexy ones I did with Haylee Nash at the RWA Conference in Perth in August – but I was wrong. They seriously are terrifying, but fun too!

Tina, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of My Brother-But-One here

Amanda Prowse, Author of A Little Love, Clover’s Child, What Have I Done and more answers Ten Terrifying Questions

a-little-loveThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Amanda Prowse

author of A Little Love, Clover’s Child, What Have I Done? and more…

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 East London (for anyone that hasn’t been there, think of the glamour of the West End, the shiny lobbies of smart hotels and the plush department stores – well, where I come from was the exact opposite, grubby, poor and cramped. But we was ‘appy!) I lived there surrounded by my loud extended family until my mid teens when my life ended.

My parents uprooted me from my friends, Saturday job at Camden Market and all that I held dear and moved me to North Yorkshire – the countryside aaaagh! Where I swapped make-up for wellington boots and live gigs for farmers markets, it was bliss. I have 3 brothers to whom I am very close. My parents had me when they were in their teens and my childhood was one of noise, laughter and the sense that we were all figuring it out as we went along, which was sometimes exciting, often a little scary.

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

When I was twelve I wanted to be Jennifer McCulloch, she was in my class and had big boobs and a big house, nuff said.

When I was eighteen I wanted to change the world, fight social injustice and make a difference (at 46 I still do!) I thought I would do it via journalism and raging against the machine.

At thirty I wanted to be eighteen again. amanda-prowse

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

At eighteen I genuinely believed that a movement based on ‘Niceness and Compassion’ could be so infectious that it might start the change the planet needed. ‘Enough For All’ if everyone played fair – be it with food, money, love… I now think there are some people with so much that the idea of sharing and ‘giving something up’ is so terrifying that it’s impossible. This makes me sad. (and won’t stop me trying!)

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 teenager I devoured music with passion, absorbing as much as I could. I still do, but am much more particular about what I listen to. It was not unusual in my teens to find me listening to Depeche Mode (Speak & Spell), Bowie (ChangesTwo) and then crying on the sofa at the magic of Etta James. One of my brothers would then punch me and tell me to snap out of it and normality would be restored.

I guess through my love of music, I learnt that what you love and what will shape you, is dependent on your mood and circumstance. It’s no different with writing – you have to keep it fluid and accessible.

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

I guess primarily because I am singularly useless at anything else! But also because I have a love of words, the way they look on a page, the way they can stay hovering in your mind long after that book is shut and because for me, it’s the easiest way to paint a picture.

a-little-love6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My latest novel is called A Little Love and has been described as a fairy-tale for the modern woman – which I love! It is the story of Pru Plum – a successful baker and businesswoman who falls in love for the first time at 66.

The backdrop is the rich, indulgent world of gourmet cakes and dough and I hope sends out the message that you never know what twist or turn your life is about to take – love and adventure can strike at any time if you are brave enough to let it!

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

I hope that I write tales that stimulate debate and discussion. What would you do in my heroine’s shoes? Did you approve of her choices? But mainly I hope to create stories that stop you from turning off the bedside lamp at night, no matter how early that alarm clock is set because you have to read one more chapter…

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

Phew – so many! I repeatedly return to the work of Isabel Allende and I learn something new every time I re-read her novels. I love her style, characters and the sensory feast that awaits me on every page. However, as I have stated before my favourite book of all time is The Book Thief . It moved me, it changed me and I know there is a movie out now, but if I’m being honest, I’m frightened to go and see it for fear of damaging the imagery in my head. It is a perfect novel and I can only throw clichéd statements at it a rollercoaster, a page-turner, it stayed with me. All however are absolutely true.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?what-have-i-done-

My goal is simply to continue writing as I consider what I do to be an absolute privilege. I don’t deserve accolades I’m not driving an ambulance or serving my country, I simply write stories, but to earn a living by doing something I love so dearly – now that’s really something.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I have this sign on my kitchen wall ‘Persevere – never, ever, ever give up.’ And I so I think it would be that.

It’s really tough to get your work read and I am sure that many wonderful novels never get to break through the surface. Every writer gets rejected; use that criticism and feedback as fuel and act on all the advice. Tenacity, luck and honing your craft can only help in your quest.

Also, you don’t need to be a bestseller to get an enormous amount of joy from writing – whether it’s keeping a journal or writing a letter, do what brings you joy!

Amanda, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of A Little Love here

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