Booktopia TV: Caroline Baum interviews award-winning writer Ashley Hay

Booktopia’s Editorial Director Caroline Baum sat down with award-winner Ashley Hay to discuss her new book The Railwayman’s Wife.

In a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway’s library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank McKinnon is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It’s a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

Click here to buy The Railwayman’s Wife from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

About the Author

Ashley Hay is the author of four books of non-fiction – The Secret: The strange marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron, Gum: The story of eucalypts and their champions, and Herbarium and Museum with the visual artist Robyn Stacey. A former literary editor of The Bulletin, her essays and short stories have also appeared in anthologies and journals including Brothers and Sisters, The Monthly, Heat and The Griffith Review. Ashley’s first novel, The Body in the Clouds was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize ‘Best First Book’ (South-East Asia and Pacific region) and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Click here to buy The Railwayman’s Wife from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Incomparable Jackie Collins Answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jackie Collins

author of

Poor Little Bitch Girl,
Married Lovers
, Drop Dead Beautiful
and a host of other bestselling titles

Ten Terrifying Questions

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

Born in London. Dropped out of school at fifteen. Followed school with Hollywood – gaining invaluable research, and meeting characters that I still write about today.

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

Everybody said you can’t be a writer, you dropped out of school, you need to go to college, etc. But I followed my dream and ignored everyone. At twelve I was writing unfinished novels. At eighteen I was doing the same thing. And at thirty I was a published author.

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

The beliefs I had at eighteen have stayed with me today. Strive and you will achieve. Work hard at what you love and your passion will shine through.

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

Book – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. So mysterious and exciting. The painting – A Bigger Splash by David Hockney. I built my house based on that painting. And music – What’s Goin’ On by Marvin Gaye. All of the above filled me with inspiration.

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

I am a born storyteller. One hundred years ago I would be sitting around the campfire saying “Let me tell you a story!”

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Poor Little Bitch Girl.Three twenty-something women, one hot, rich guy, two mega movie-stars, a drugs bust and a devastating murder. Poor Little Bitch Girl has it all!

There’s Denver Jones, the hotshot attorney working in L.A. and Carolyn Henderson – personal assistant to a powerful and very married Senator in Washington with whom she is having an affair. And then there’s Annabelle Maestro – daughter of two movie stars – who has carved out a career for herself in New York as the madame of choice for discerning famous men. The three twenty-something women used to go to high school together in Beverly Hills and Denver and Carolyn have always kept in touch, but Annabelle is out on her own with her cocaine addicted boyfriend Frankie.

Bobby is Frankie’s best friend – Bobby Santangelo Stanislopolous, that is, Kennedy-esque son of Lucky Santangelo and deceased Greek shipping billionaire Dimitri Stanislopolous. Now he owns Mood, the hottest club in New York, but back in the day he went to high school with Denver, Carolyn and Annabelle, and hung out with all three of them. Which means that Bobby knows everyone’s secrets – and he has some of his own, too. Read an ExtractClick Here

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

I fulfil my fantasies of what Hollywood and life in the fast lane is all about. Mind candy with hidden truths. And plenty of sly humour!

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

Charles Dickens. A genius. Harold Robbins who took you to places you never knew you wanted to go. Enid Blyton – the best children’s author of all time.

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

I’ve written 27 best selling novels. So my plan is to just keep on going!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t talk about it. Do it!!

Jackie, thank you for playing.

Follow Jackie Collins on Twitter – click here

One for the girls – A Blast from the Past – Jackie interviews George Clooney (circa 1998)

Its Chaos Walking as Monsters of Men Patrick Ness answers Ten Terrifying Questions

All over the world, Patrick Ness fans are waiting for May 1

the release date for the eagerly anticipated finale to Patrick’s

Chaos Walking series,

Monsters of Men

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What better time to put

Ten Terrifying Questions

to wunderkind author, Patrick Ness.

————————————————-

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 Virginia, lived in Hawaii as a small child, but mostly schooled in the state of Washington in the northwest of the US.  College at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, so I’m pretty much a westerner, which does influence my writing.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a plastic surgeon for no other reason than I had a terrible crush on a plastic surgeon on television.  At eighteen, a film-maker, I even applied (and got accepted to) film school at USC, mainly because I didn’t think writing was a possible career.  I did change my mind soon after and stuck to writing.  At thirty, well, who says I’m already thirty?  Let’s just say that at thirty, I have/had the best job in the world already, why would I want to do anything different?

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

That I’d never, and I mean never, have short hair.  Now I’ve got barely more than a crew cut and know to never say never about any kind of fashion.  The one thing you deny the most is the thing you’ll always do five years later.

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

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, because of how all his books, but especially this one, suggest a huge imagined world that the story is only a tiny slice of.  I love when books do that, and I try to do that in mine.  Map of the Problematique by Muse, which is the theme song to The Knife of Never Letting Go, because it had exactly the energy I wanted to put down on the page and I thought, “If I can capture that…”  And probably Middlemarch by George Eliot, which is a novel that just contains the whole world inside.

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

Easy:  you’re the god of everything in a novel.  I think all writers are essentially power-hungry and want to be in complete control.  Seriously, though, it suits my temperament; I love working for myself.  Plus, it’s the most rewarding artistic avenue I’ve found, the one that gives me the most freedom.  Really, though, it’s because I can’t sing for toffee.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel.

Monsters of Men is the final volume of the Chaos Walking trilogy (following The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer).  In it, Todd and Viola find themselves at the crux of a very unexpected war.  Things don’t go (at all) how you’d expect, and it’s got an absolutely killer ending.  I can’t wait until it comes out to hear what readers think.

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

I’m really happy with whatever they find.  I’d never want to impose on them, just take a little bit of their time and tell them a story about things that concern me.  If they agree, great, if they don’t, that’s fine, too.  it’s the conversation that’s important.

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

Probably Peter Carey again, for marching so much to his own drummer.  I’m also quite possibly Nicola Barker’s biggest fan.  These are people who it really feels like they write because they have to, and that’s the best way, I think.

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

My goals are all private, actually.  I like keeping them quiet.  Loud, shouty goals are too much Continue reading

Alex Miller, author of Lovesong, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country and more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Alex Miller

author of

Lovesong, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country

and many 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?

BORN: 369 Fulham Road, London SW1; RAISED: 101 Pendragon Road, Bromley Kent; SCHOOLED: Pendragon Rd Primary then Cooper’s Lane Secondary Modern.

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

At 12 I wanted to be a cowboy in the wild west; at 18 an Australian stockman in the Gulf Country of Australia; at 30, a novelist.

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

At eighteen I believed in the moral progress of our species.

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

The book was Frank Dalby Davison’s Man-Shy, which I read in Somerset at sixteen. Davison’s story kindled my dream of becoming an Continue reading

Lee Child, author of The Jack Reacher series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

LEE CHILD,

author of

The Jack Reacher Series,

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 Coventry, England, raised in nearby Birmingham, England – a huge manufacturing city – schooled there and then at Sheffield University.

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

At twelve, loved. At eighteen, laid. At thirty, paid. Because basic necessities always seemed important.

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

I had no strongly held beliefs – still don’t … I’m open to experience and constant verification.

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

Tara Moss, author of Siren and The Blood Countess, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

author of the thrilling Mak Vanderwall Novels:

Ten Terrifying Questions

Ten Terrifying Questions

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

Booktopia, you need to know straight up, I was raised on a diet of Stephen King, Edward Gorey and Patricia Cornwell. (Oh, and Monty Python.) Hence, nothing terrifies me. (BBGuru: Fight or Flight? NB. Ms Moss ticks Fight)

I was born in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada. I left for Europe when I was 15, and was then vigorously schooled by Continue reading

Kylie Ladd, author of After The Fall, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

Welcome to the launch of the Booktopia Blog’s

Ten Terrifying Questions

Over the next few months we will invite authors from a variety of genres to answer, if they dare,

Ten Terrifying Questions.

What’s so scary about the questions? – I hear you ask – They don’t look so tough!

Ah! But you see, they have been designed to look cute and cuddly, they have been designed to invite the attempt, and they have been designed to strike once the writer’s guard is down.

Why be so mean?

We think readers and fans deserve more than just the heart and soul of an author.

What’s more than their heart and soul?

Ha! We don’t know until we ask, do we?

Brave Kylie Ladd, author of the brilliant After the Fall,  has volunteered to be first. (In fact, Kylie inspired the questions, so if authors are looking for someone to blame… well… you can find her on Twitter)

So, with no further ado…

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The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Kylie Ladd, author of After The Fall

Ten Terrifying Questions

Booktopia Price $19.95 Save 17%

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 Melbourne, which is where I live now. I love the city, though I do also love to travel – lived five years in Edinburgh and Montreal for my husband’s work, and am just about to move for one year to Broome, WA, for my husband’s mid-life crisis.

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

Nice question! At Twelve: An ambulance driver. Truly. At Eighteen: a journalist. Sadly, I got the marks for medicine instead, so my parents made me do that. I dropped out almost immediately and transferred to psychology (my real-life profession today) because I could do it as part of an Arts degree and study English as well, plus appease my parents because it counted as credit for when I went back to medicine – which of course I never did. At Thirty: a mother, to my great horror (see below). Also a writer… I finished my PhD in neuropsychology at 29 and went straight back to Continue reading

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