Kathy Reichs talks to John Purcell about her latest book Bones of the Lost

Bones of the Lost

by Kathy Reichs

The gripping new Temperance Brennan novel from the world-class forensic anthropologist and Number 1 bestselling author

The body of a teenage girl is discovered along a desolate highway on the outskirts of Charlotte. Inside her purse is the ID card of a local businessman who died in a fire months earlier.

This is no ordinary hit-and-run. Who was the girl? And was she murdered?

Dr Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist, must find the answers. She soon learns that a Gulf War veteran stands accused of smuggling artefacts into the country. Could there be a sinister connection between the two cases?

Convinced that the girl’s death was no accident, Tempe takes courageous action to find justice for the dead. But her search throws her to the centre of a conspiracy that extends from South America to Afghanistan – and places her in terrible danger.

Click here to buy Bones of the Lost from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize winning author of The Luminaries, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

Earlier this year we interviewed a young New Zealand writer we believed was destined for great things.

That writer was Eleanor Catton, the newly crowned Man Booker Prize Winner for 2013. Sit back and enjoy our chat with her, highlights of which were featured recently in the LA Times.

the-luminariesThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Eleanor Catton

Man Booker Prize winning author of The Luminaries

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 London, Ontario, Canada, while my dad was studying at the University of Western Ontario. (My birth was a bit of an accident: nobody else in my family is Canadian.) The family moved back to New Zealand when I was six, and I grew up in Christchurch.

Continue reading

Kerry Greenwood, creator of Phryne Fisher – Why I Write

Why do I write?


Oh, all right. I write because I can’t not write. I’ve been a story teller since I could speak and I get uncomfortable if I can’t write. It’s a form of benign possession. I wake up in the middle of the night with a story insisting on immediate attention and I write and write and write until I fall exhausted from the chair three weeks later and I have a book. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen and have been writing what I would like to read ever since.

Fortunately my learned colleague the beautiful David is there to feed me and remind me to sleep occasionally, and the cats bite me when I have left something unattended on the stove for more than about an hour. Also my feline Muse, Belladonna, hits the Caps Lock if I have been writing for more than two hours. It gets her cat treats and it preserves my wrists.

Currently I am thinking about a childrens’ book called The Princess of Cats, a fantasy novel, working on a biography from tapes, and a new Corinna. I am also currently researching folk songs and reminding myself firmly that I might still be working for the public service writing opinions on Section 9 (1) (h) (a) of the Land Tax Act and that I am very, very, very lucky.

Kerry Greenwood’s Murder and Meldelssohn: A Phryne Fisher Mystery is a Booktoberfest title. Buy it now to go in the draw to win Booktopia’s weekly giveaway – a $250 Booktopia voucher – AND order by 31st October 2013 to go in the draw to win the fantastic publisher prize.

Click here for prize details and to see the full Allen & Unwin Showcase

Murder and Meldelssohn: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

by Kerry Greenwood

The divine and fearless Miss Phryne Fisher returns in her 20th adventure in a vastly entertaining tale of murder, spies, mathematics and music.

To the accompaniment of heavenly choirs singing, the fearless Miss Phryne Fisher returns in her 20th adventure with musical score in hand.

An orchestral conductor has been found dead and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson needs the delightfully incisive and sophisticated Miss Fisher’s assistance to enter a world in which he is at sea. Hugh Tregennis, not much liked by anyone, has been murdered in a most flamboyant mode by a killer with a point to prove. But how many killers is Phryne really stalking?

At the same time, the dark curls, disdainful air and the lavender eyes of mathematician and code-breaker Rupert Sheffield are taking Melbourne by storm. They’ve certainly taken the heart of Phryne’s old friend from the trenches of WW1, John Wilson. Phryne recognises Sheffield as a man who attracts danger and is determined to protect John from harm.

Even with the faithful Dot, Mr and Mrs Butler, and all in her household ready to pull their weight, Phryne’s task is complex. While Mendelssohn’s Elijah, memories of the Great War, and the science of deduction ring in her head, Phryne’s past must also play its part as MI6 become involved in the tangled web of murders.

A vastly entertaining tale of murder, spies, mathematics and music.

Click here to buy Murder and Meldelssohn from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Anna Romer, author of Thornwood House, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Anna Romer

author of Thornwood House

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 Sydney, and spent much of my childhood in the gorgeous little village of Sawtell on the NSW north coast. I grew up in Queanbeyan where we lived in a wonderful house (complete with secret rooms and passageways) on the edge of town.

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be a vet. When I was a kid Granny used to read me books about ‘animal doctors’ in Africa, and I was always daydreaming about having a pet lion and rescuing elephants from poachers. By eighteen I had decided to be an artist – which was again inspired by Granny as she was a wonderful painter and I thought the world of her. When I got to thirty, my lifelong reading obsession had evolved into a yearning to write stories of my own.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

At eighteen I believed very strongly in my own limitations. I thought that if you weren’t born with a particular talent, then too bad! Now I believe that if you set your heart and mind to what you want, and resolutely close your ears to negativity (both your own and that of others) – then you will definitely succeed.

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?

1) The poem Kublai Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I loved this mysterious poem about a ‘stately pleasure dome’ (whatever that was!), and was intrigued to learn it had been inspired by an opium dream. I did a painting of it once, and still carry the image in my mind of an idyllic palace hidden in the hills near a river (a bit like where I live now, except in a bungalow instead of a palace). The undercurrent of threat I perceived in the poem stayed with me all my life, and one of my favourite themes to explore even today is the concept of menace lurking unseen beneath a beautiful facade.

2) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As a teenager I identified with the poor monster – so misunderstood, so alone! I was always drawn to stories of darkness and mystery, and this book’s themes – relationships and loss, death and the frailty of life, and our emotional connection to the natural world – all really resonated with me. I can still pick up this gothic masterpiece today and find within its pages the echoes of themes I’m exploring now in my own novels.

3) Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. I loved this story for its untameable passions and wild windswept setting, and for the notion that love is not always rosy and goodhearted, but can also be cruel and self-serving. My teenage enthrallment with this novel probably explains why I’m still so drawn to explore obsession and other dark interpretations of love.

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

Even when painting was my main creative outlet, I was still telling stories. My pictures were full of images I’d brazenly stolen from one fairytale or another – modern Rapunzels trailing their long hair through windows, or sleeping beauties clutching books, or white rabbits darting through shadowy landscapes. Eventually I came to realise that no matter how many stories I depicted, I was only ever scratching the surface of the more complex tale I wanted to tell. Writing a novel has allowed me to dig deeper and explore the story from all angles and through many layers, as well as delving deeply into the psyches of my characters.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Thornwood House is set in rural Queensland, in the fictional town of Magpie Creek. Audrey has inherited a beautiful old homestead where she finds, in a dusty back room, the photo of a handsome World War Two serviceman. She quickly becomes obsessed with him, only to learn that he was accused of murdering a young woman on his return from war.

Driven by her unwillingness to live in the shadow of a murderer, Audrey goes on a quest to understand what really happened that night in 1946. Her fixation with the past stirs up trouble, and she soon realises she’s given the killer good reason to come after her.

Click here to buy Thornwood House from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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

My favourite stories are the ones that leave me pondering and savouring the journey they’ve just taken me on; sometimes there’s even a sense of wonder and revelation and renewed excitement about life. I guess that’s the kind of enjoyment I’d really love readers to take away from my stories.

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

I’m a devoted fan of Australian fiction; there are so many wonderful home grown authors and I love the freshness and originality of the Australian voice. . . so I’d have to say the person I admire most is my agent Selwa Anthony. She’s a champion for Australian authors and is tireless, fearless, and dedicated. She stuck by me for 10 years, had faith in me (despite the avalanche of rejection letters I got), and always gave me the wisest advice. She knows when to be tough, and when to be kind (both of which I’ve experienced over the years!), and I admire her greatly.

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

Seeing as it took me more than a decade to get published, I’ve got a swag of embryonic novels that I’m itching to write. If I could write a novel every year, while continuing to improve my storytelling skills, then I’d be a very happy little camper indeed.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Find a theme that gives you the tingles: Reincarnation, forbidden love, sacrifice, a life burdened by guilt etc. Explore this theme by collecting images and newspaper articles that grab you, watching movies, reading. Keep following the trail of your excitement and fascination, keep listening and watching and exploring. . .and pretty soon your story will surface. Then just go for it – immerse yourself, enjoy the process, and write what you love.

Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow your bliss,’ and that’s probably the best advice for life as well as for art.

Anna, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Thornwood House from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Romance at Booktopia’s Saucy Six with Beth Kery

Booktopia’s Romance Specialist, Haylee Nash pins down bestselling erotic author Beth Kery for the Saucy Six…and gets all hot and bothered in the process

 1.       When do you feel your most beautiful?
Probably on a day when I actually take care of myself and think about how I look. Unfortunately, that’s too rare these days due to work, which is a shame. I am a huge spa-lover. I adore pampering myself, not just because I’m into self-indulgence, but because it’s a reminder that I need to relax and focus on myself for a precious moment. A big favourite thing is to do a spa day with my friends or sisters, think healthy, drink lots of water, get a treatment, do hair and make-up there and then go out on the town. I feel like I’ve checked in with myself on a day like that, had fun. And yes, it makes me feel beautiful. :) Continue reading

Fiona McFarlane, author of The Night Guest, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

the-night-guestThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Fiona McFarlane

author of The Night Guest

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 and raised in Sydney, in a house with a long garden and a palm tree that looked exactly like a pineapple. I went to my local primary school and then to MLC School Burwood; when I finished school, I did an Arts degree at Sydney University. After working in magazines for a few years, I moved to England to study for a PhD at Cambridge University and later still did a Master of Fine Arts in fiction at the University of Texas. I moved back to Sydney in December 2012.

Continue reading

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – a review by Haylee Nash

Booktopia’s Romance Specialist Haylee Nash reads The Bone Season… and finds a new obsession

A couple of months ago, I received a press release for an upcoming book from Bloomsbury, care of Allen & Unwin. It was a young adult dystopian, written by a 22 year old,  and Bloomsbury were going to be putting a huge marketing effort behind it. They thought it was going to be big.  When the publishers of Harry Potter ask you to read a review copy of a young adult book that they think is going to be big, you read it.

Despite it being a rather large book (I’m used to quick romance reads, and not a particularly fast reader) I opened the first page on the bus after work and soon found myself at home, seemingly without noticing the hour and a half journey. It took me many more trips home, and sessions on the couch, to finish the book, but not for lack of interest – I loved the book so much I wanted to savour each and every character and scene. I quickly scouted out another review copy for my 21 year old sister, who devoured it in a quarter of the time (and urged me, daily, to hurry up and finish so we could discuss it). Continue reading

‘The Returned’ by Jason Mott – a sneak peek

Romance Specialist Haylee Nash steps a little outside her genre to give us a sneak peak at the Next Big Thing, The Returned by Jason Mott.

Eighteen months ago I received an urgent email from a chief editor from the New York office asking me and my publishing colleagues to quickly read a manuscript that they were considering bidding on. By quickly, they meant overnight. They had to make their bid by morning. Despite having dinner plans, I read what I could. I was amazed. And excited – very excited. This debut novelist had managed to grab me from the first, not just with his unique concept and plot, but with the sheer beauty of his writing. I emailed back with ‘Make the bid, we’ll publish it’.

Fast forward and I’m now on the other side of the side of the fence, selling books rather than publishing them, and I’m even more excited about the book I read then. That book was The Returned by Jason Mott, and since it was bought at auction, the TV rights have been bought and The Returned will be gracing our TV screens in 2014 as ‘Resurrection’, starring Omar Epps and Kurtwood Smith.

Rather than write a review, I’m going to let Jason Mott himself tell you about it. Other than that, all I’ll say is read it. You’ll be glad you did.



Puurfect Writing – Writers And Their Cats

Cats are curious, cuddly, and sometimes cantankerous. So it should come as no surprise that they have been the companion of choice for countless writers over the years.

Samuel Johnson

Once described as “the most distinguished man of letters in English history”, Johnson’s devotion to felines caused a falling out with his friend and biographer James Boswell, who was a big cat hater. Needless to say, the biography was heavily edited upon  submission.

Click here for more by Samuel Johnson

Edward Lear

The father of the limerick, Lear was so concerned with the sensitivities of his tomcat Foss that, when he changed house one time, he modelled his new abode exactly on the old one so that Foss wouldn’t feel out of place.

Click here for more by Edward Lear

Edgar Allan Poe

The first American writer to successfully earn a living through writing alone, Poe was so devoted to Catarina, his favourite cat, that when he was away he would often write to her. She went off her food at such times, out of loneliness, but when he came back her excitement knew no bounds. (She also used to sit on his shoulder as he wrote.)

Click here for more by Edgar Allan Poe


The French author of Gigi and the first woman given a state funeral in France was so besotted with cats that she had up to twenty of them living with her at any one time. She also took in strays and neighbours’ cats when they were on vacation.

Click here for more by Colette

Raymond Chandler

The author of The Big Sleep had a black Persian called Taki, whom he referred to as his secretary. The cat stayed loyally beside him when he was writing – usually sitting on his growing manuscript waiting for the next page.

Click here for more by Raymond Chandler

Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Nicole Alexander

nicolealexanderAs part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Rural Romance author Nicole Alexander to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Winter in the outback means a crackling fire, a glass of merlot and my man by my side. Continue reading


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