REVIEW: Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough (review by Haylee Nash)

Romance Specialist Haylee Nash has her first taste of Colleen McCullough in Bittersweet…and finds herself going back for more.

I must confess something – prior to Bittersweet, I had never read a Colleen McCullough (I know, I know,  take away my romance specialist badge). So when the review copy for Bittersweet landed on my desk, I approached the book with an equal mix of excitement and trepidation. Continue reading

Six Sensational Advances Through The Years

Just to remind us all about how important books are, we put together a list of the most incredible advances given to authors in recent times.

It makes you want to start writing your plot summary right now!

Continue reading

Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 40-31 as voted by you

Welcome to day two of the unveiling of Australia’s Favourite Novelist, as voted by you. Here’s the story so far:

50. Peter Temple
49. Jay Kristoff
48. Nikki Gemmell
47. Charlotte Wood
46. Andy Griffiths
45. Di Morrissey
44. Christina Stead
43. Christos Tsiolkas
42. Rachael Treasure
41. Morris Gleitzman

Don’t forget to pencil in January 25th as a big day on the calender as we celebrate the Australia Day weekend in style with the announcement of Australia’s top 10 Favourite Novelists, as well as the launch of our Australian Stories Initiative. There will also be loads of discounts and freebies on offer for the weekend.

But here we are. The countdown continues, 40-31 as voted by you.


40. Fleur Mcdonald

Fleur McDonald grew up in Orrorroo, South Australia but completed her secondary education in Adelaide.

After school she spent a couple of years jillarooing in South Australia and Western Australia.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Fleur lives with her husband and two children on a station near Esperance in Western Australia. She is highly involved in the daily management of their 8000 acres.

She is the author of the bestselling novels Red Dust, Blue Skies and Purple Roads.

Click here to go to Fleur Mcdonald’s author page


39. Jackie French

Jackie French’s writing career spans sixteen years, 42 wombats, 120 books for kids and adults, translations into nineteen languages, and slightly more awards than wombats, both in Australia and overseas.

Our Pick

Her books range from provocative historical fiction such as Hitler’s Daughter and They Came on Viking Ships to the hilarious international bestseller, Diary of a Wombat with Bruce Whatley, as well as many nonfiction titles such as The Fascinating History of Your Lunch, and To the Moon and Back (with Bryan Sullivan), the history of Australia’s Honeysuckle Creek and man’s journey to the moon.

In 2000, Hitler’s Daughter was awarded the CBC Younger Readers’ Award. To the Moon and Back won the Eve Pownall Award in 2005. Macbeth and Son, and Josephine Wants to Dance were both shortlisted for the 2007 CBC Awards.

Click here to go to Jackie French’s author page


38. Colin Thiele

Colin Milton Thiele (1920 –  2006) was renowned for his award-winning children’s fiction, most notably the novels Storm Boy, Blue Fin, the Sun on the Stubble series, and February Dragon.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Thiele wrote more than 100 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Eudunda, Barossa Valley, and Murray River/Coorong regions of South Australia. Several of his books have been made into films or television series.

In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the second highest level of the order, for his services to literature and education.

Click here to go to Colin Thiele’s author page


37. Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. A neuroscientist by training, she worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into ten years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the USA.

Our Pick

Our Pick

In 1974 her first novel, Tim, was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 and a string of successful novels, including the acclaimed Masters of Rome series.

In 1980 she settled in Norfolk Island, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson, and a cat named Shady.

Click here to go to Colleen McCullough’s author page


36. Fiona Palmer

Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in Western Australia, three and a half hours south-east of Perth.

She discovered Danielle Steel at the age of eleven, and has now written her own brand of rural romance.

Our Pick

Our Pick

She has attended romance writers’ groups and received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm. She has followed on from its success with two more novels Heart of Gold and The Road Home.

Click here to go to Fiona Palmer’s author page


35. Patrick White

Patrick White was born in England in 1912 and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old. He was educated in England and served in the RAF, before returning to Australia after World War II.

Happy Valley, White’s first novel, is set in a small country town in the Snowy Mountains and is based on his experiences in the early 1930s as a jackaroo at Bolaro, near Adaminaby in south-eastern New South Wales.

Our Pick

White went on to publish twelve further novels (one posthumously), three short-story collections and eight plays. His novels include The Aunt’s Story and Voss, which won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award, The Eye of the Storm and The Twyborn Affair.

He was the first Australian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1973, and is considered one of the foremost novelists of the twentieth century.

Click here to go to Patrick White’s author page


34. David Malouf

David Malouf is the author of ten novels and six volumes of poetry.

His novel The Great World was awarded both the prestigious Commonwealth Prize and the Prix Femina Estranger. Remembering Babylon was short-listed for the Booker Prize.

Our Pick

He has also received the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He won the inaugural Australia-Asia Literary Award in 2008

He has lived in England and Tuscany however for the past three decades most of his time has been spent in Sydney.

Click here to go to David Malouf’s author page


33. Tara Moss

Tara Moss is the author of the bestselling crime novels Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit and Siren. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries in eleven languages, and have earned critical acclaim around the world.

Her non-fiction writing has appeared in The Australian Literary Review, Vogue, ELLE, The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, among other publications.

Our Pick

Moss hosted Natgeo Presents and the international crime documentary series Tara Moss Investigates on the National Geographic Channel, and has participated as a guest and panelist on numerous popular TV programs. She has also conducted hundreds of talks at literary festivals, schools, universities and corporate events.

Click here to go to Tara Moss’ author page


32. Paul Jennings

The Paul Jennings phenomenon began with the publication of Unreal! in 1985. Since then, readers all around the world have devoured his books.

Paul Jennings has written over one hundred stories and has been voted ‘favourite author’ over forty times by children in Australia, winning every children’s choice award.

Our Pick

The top-rating TV series Round the Twist and Driven Crazy are based on a selection of his enormously popular short-story collections such as Unseen! which was awarded the 1999 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Children’s Book.

In 1995 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to children’s literature and was awarded the prestigious Dromkeen Medal in 2001. Paul has sold more than 8 million books worldwide.

Click here to go to Paul Jenning’s author page


31. Thomas Keneally

Keneally was known as “Mick” until 1964 but began using the name Thomas when he started publishing, after advice from his publisher to use what was really his first name. He is most famous for his Schindler’s Ark (later republished as Schindler’s List), which won the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler’s List.

Our Pick

Many of his novels are reworkings of historical material, although modern in their psychology and style.

In 1983 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In March 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, gave an autographed copy of Keneally’s biography Lincoln to President Barack Obama as a state gift.

Click here to go to Thomas Keneally’s author page


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow at midday as we continue to countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Colleen McCullough, Susan Johnson and Eoin Colfer

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


COLLEEN MCCULLOUGH

“Advice for aspiring writers? That’s difficult, as all writers are individuals who write differing books. First and foremost, avoid giving your manuscripts to emotionally connected people to read. Anyone emotionally connected has an axe of their own to grind, and cannot be relied on to give honest opinions. Give manuscripts to detached outsiders to read. Don’t go thinking you’ve written the world’s best book, but don’t think you’ve written the worst one either. Don’t give up trying to find a publisher. Some huge bestsellers were refused by literally dozens of houses before finding a niche. Look at Harry Potter. And remember that there is always an element of luck about writing.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Prodigal Son from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


SUSAN JOHNSON

“Look, you have to have courage or luck in this game. Some writers strike lucky right off (Tim Winton springs to mind – he won the Vogel and hasn’t looked back) but most writers won’t have Winton’s luck. What’s difficult is fighting the thought that if you DON’T have luck, then that means it must be because you aren’t any good. But in fact history is littered with writers who have been passed over for prizes, awards, best-sellerdom etc, dying in obscurity, only to have their work resurrected later (Richard Yates anyone?).

But — equally as important — a lot of writers really ARE bad and that’s the reason they don’t get anywhere!! So – and this is REALLY important but also really difficult – first learn to have a critical eye – read as much as you can and try to judge your own work against the work of others. What is being published? What is its quality? How much better or worse is it than your work? Can you edit? Can you even TELL the difference?

You need to be your own worst critic – take your work apart and look at its flaws, and then work on them. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Just keep writing and writing as hard as you can and learn to be your own best editor. There are no shortcuts, I’m afraid. Writers are people who write.

Write.”

Read the full interview here…

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

Available 1.6.12


EOIN COLFER

“Stop telling people about your idea and lock yourself in a room. Stay in the room until the work is done with only broadband and takeaway food for comfort. Writing is about inspiration but there is also a lot of work involved. Not as much work as digging a hole obviously but we like to make it sound tough.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order The Last Guardian from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop

Available 10.7.12


For more advice from published writers go here

Colleen McCullough, author of The Prodigal Son, Life Without the Boring Bits, The Thorn Birds, and many more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Colleen McCullough

author of The Prodigal Son, Life Without the Boring Bits, The Thorn Birds, The Masters of Rome 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?

I was born in Wellington, NSW, on June 1st of 1937, which makes me 75 next birthday. I was raised in rural NSW and then Sydney, and received my secondary and tertiary education in Sydney.

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

I always wanted to be a medical doctor. Continue reading

The 50 Must Read Australian Novels (30 to 21) (The Popular Vote 2010)

We are counting down The 50 Must Read Australian Novels as voted by our good and learned friends on twitter and facebook – today we move from 30 to 21.

The list creation process was fairly simple – I asked for nominations and hundreds of titles were suggested. I then made a list and asked people to vote for their favourites. The response was vigorous. And we soon had the makings of a good list.

A clever twitter chap suggested I allow one novel per author and I made it law. The highest ranking title by that author is the one included in the top fifty.

A very democratic process, don’t you think?

Well, if you don’t like my list – you only have yourselves to blame. However, if you do like my list, as adjudicator, you have me to thank. :)

(The story so far 40 to 31 50 to 41 )


9780207197406

30. Ride On Stranger

Kylie Tennant

“Civilization is mad and getting madder every day”.

So says Shannon Hicks in Kylie Tennant’s marvellous, harsh, satiric 1943 novel. Arriving in Sydney just before WWII, Shannon, a dreamer and idealist takes on the world of politics, business, religion and men.

The consequences are challenging and unpredictable.


978073228224029. The Thorn Birds

Colleen McCullough

Treasured by readers around the world, this is the sweeping saga of three generations of the Cleary family.

Stoic matriarch Fee, her devoted husband, Paddy, and their headstrong daughter, Meggie, experience joy, sadness and magnificent triumph in the cruel Australian outback. With life’s unpredictability, it is love that is their unifying thread, but it is a love shadowed by the anguish of forbidden passions. For Meggie loves Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man who wields enormous power within the Catholic church …

As powerful, moving and unforgettable as when it originally appeared, The Thorn Birds remains a novel to be read … and read again.
Continue reading

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