Kerry Greenwood, creator of Phryne Fisher – Why I Write

Why do I write?

Money.

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

Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 30-21 as voted by you

We find ourselves at the halfway point of the countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist, as voted by you. Here’s the story so far:

50-31

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.


30. Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier currently lives in Western Australia. While Marillier writes mostly for adults, her recent books have included Cybele’s Secret, a sequel to her novel for young adults Wildwood Dancing.

Marillier has said that it takes her about a year to finish a novel and that she is often researching one book while writing another and editing a third. She also says that she usually bases a story on two elements: what the main character learns about herself and her world that makes this adventure personally significant; and the bigger picture, showing this character’s role in something outside herself, such as saving a community or forging peace between two warring tribes. The first idea reinforces the second, making the writing both personal and realistic.

Our Pick

Cybele’s Secret won a 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel – Young Adult. Her latest release is “Flame of Sevenwaters”, a companion novel to the Sevenwaters trilogy.

Click here to go to Juliet Marillier’s author page


29. Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the ‘good drawer’ which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery.

Our Pick

Books such as The Rabbits, The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar’s WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is The Oopsatoreum: inventions of Henry A. Mintox, written in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum.

Click here to go to Shaun Tan’s author page


28. Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell has written six multi award-winning historical romances and her work is published in eleven languages.

She has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (four times).

Our Pick

Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. She launches her first series, “Sons of Sin”, with Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed in October 2012.

Click here to go to Anna Campbell’s author page


27. Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia, and moved to Adelaide when she was seven. She spent her early working life as a nurse before completing three degrees at the University of Adelaide. After receiving a PhD in early modern English history,

Sara worked as a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at La Trobe University, Bendigo, until 2000.

Sara′s first novel, BattleAxe, was published in 1995 and she wrote a further 19 books of epic and historical fantasy fiction, a collection of short stories, and two books of non-fiction.

Our Pick

Three of her novels won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy and many were shortlisted.

Sara shifted to Hobart, Tasmania, in 2005 and lived there writing full-time until her death in September 2011.

Click here to go to Sara Douglass’ author page


26. Bronwyn Parry

International award winner Bronwyn Parry’s romantic thrillers set in Australia’s wild places have been published in Australia, the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, with her third novel, Dead Heat, released in April 2012.

Our Pick

The manuscript for her first novel, As Darkness Falls,  won a prestigious Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America, and her second novel, Dark Country, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA awards – the Oscars of romance writing.

Dark Country  also won the Australian Romance Readers Association award for Favourite Romantic Suspense in 2010.

Click here to go to Bronwyn Parry’s author page


25. Kerry Greenwood

Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill.

Our Pick

The Phryne Fisher series began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written sixteen books in this series and says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.

When she is not writing she is an advocate in Magistrates’ Court for the Legal Aid Commission. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered Wizard.

Click here to go to Kerry Greenwood’s author page


24. Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta’s first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993, winning the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) among many others. In 2000 it was released as a major Australian film, winning an AFI award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay as well as the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.

Our Pick

Melina taught secondary school English and History for ten years, during which time she released her second novel, Saving Francesca, in 2003, followed by On the Jellicoe Road in 2006, and Finnikin of the Rock in 2008. Saving Francesca won the CBC Book of the Year Award for Older Readers. On the Jellicoe Road was also published in the US as Jellicoe Road, and it won the prestigious American Library Association’s Michael L Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009. In 2008, Melina’s first work of fantasy, Finnikin of the Rock, won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel and was shortlisted for the 2009 CBCA Award for Older Readers.

Melina’s most recent novel, The Piper’s Son, was published in 2010 and has been long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Melina’s novels have been published in more than sixteen countries and twelve languages.

Melina lives in Sydney, where she writes full-time.

Click here to go to Melina Marchetta’s author page


23. Garth Nix

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Our Pick

Garth’s books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen; and the cult favourite YA SF novel Shade’s Children. His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence, and The Keys to the Kingdom series.

More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, his books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 37 languages.

He lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children.

Click here to go to Garth Nix’ author page


22. Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults.

Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with The Gypsy Crown – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, The Lightning Bolt, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Our Pick

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback, a bad-tempered black cat, and many thousands of books.

Click here to go to Kate Forsyth’s author page


21. Peter Carey

Peter Carey is one of only four writers to have won the Booker Prize twice—the others being J. M. Coetzee, J. G. Farrell and Hilary Mantel. Carey won his first Booker Prize in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda, and won for the second time in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang. In May 2008 he was nominated for the Best of the Booker Prize.

Carey has won the Miles Franklin Award three times and is frequently named as Australia’s next contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Our Pick

In addition to writing fiction, he collaborated on the screenplay of the film Until the End of the World with Wim Wenders and is executive director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.

Click here to go to Peter Carey’s author page


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

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.

Kerry Greenwood on the Phryne Fisher Murders: Why I Did It

Guest Blogger, Kerry Greenwood: I shall always remember the day that Phryne Fisher walked into my life. I was on the Brunswick Street tram, with a two book contract in my hand (which later practically needed surgery to remove) and no idea of what to write.

Who is my hero? I asked myself. 1928. John Buchan’s Mary. Leslie Charteris‘ Saint. THAT sort of hero. Or even a touch of  Sapper‘s femme fatale, Irma Petersen, or Dorothy Sayers‘ Harriet Vane.

And I found her name in the remnants of a classical education. Phryne the courtesan. Fisher to out-scholar the critics of detective stories (Fisher of Men, Roi Pechoneur, grail legends, etc) And I saw her. Small, slim, stunningly dressed in a red woollen coat with an astrakhan collar. Shiny black hair cut in a cap. Russian leather boots and gloves. Enough style to knock your eye out. That was Phryne Fisher. She hasn’t paid any attention to me ever since. I just have to type fast enough to get the story down before it vanishes. Sometimes I think I hear the roar of the Hispano-Suiza coming round the corner of my little street in humble Footscray. Very late at night after I have been binge writing for a few days, I can see a vaporous, but very elegant, shade, perched on the corner of my desk, leaning over so I can smell her scent: Jicky or Floris Stephanotis.

And she stayed with me. The first book, Cocaine Blues, was published in 1989. Thereafter I have written at least one a year, all different, all very carefully researched because without meticulous research I cannot start the novel. Besides, I love research. It was reading 1928 newspapers that got me into this.

I have written a lot of other novels in between – classical Greece, Ancient Egypt, the Depression, The Gold Rush, the Influenze epidemic. I have written five fantasy novels about an uncertain future. But I always came back to Phryne, because her prose is so elegant, her humour so pointed, her time so enthralling, her mysteries so interesting.

So when I was asked to SELL her to the film people, I was firm. I had to choose the Phryne, I had to vet all the scripts, otherwise, no deal. The books were optioned since 1990. I began to think they would never be made and didn’t greatly care. I loved Phryne as she was: written. But then two remarkable women made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. They’d pay attention to every period nuance. They’d let – indeed, encourage – me read and medddle with all the scripts. They’d show me all the auditions and let me choose my Phryne. That was a different proposition, indeed.

I went to Byron Bay to a script conference with a group of people who knew more about my books than I did. So I agreed, and it has all been fascinating. I knew nothing about making films, but they knew nothing about making novels, so we were even and courteous and polite. Of course it is different from the books. It’s film. It has actors in it. But it’s true in essence to what I wanted it to be. They found a Hispano-Suiza. They set the costume department to trawling Vogue 1928 (the lady at Spotlight in Cheltenham said they had such a lot of fun amongst the fabrics). They built Phryne’s house so exactly that I was astonished. The right wallpaper. The lalique glass birds of exactly the right period. The Warrander’s essences in the perfect 1928 kitchen. The ineffable Robbie Perkins painted all the pictures, including a very good early Cubist Phryne nude and a Fantin Latour of white roses which I could not immediately recall. Then I remembered that Phryne was given an armload of white roses at the end of Queen of the Flowers and arranged them in that manner. That sort of attention to detail was SO gratifying. Marion Boyce’s costumes would have earned her a place in Erté’s atelier.

Then I had a bit part in Blood and Circuses. They insisted. I demurred.

They told me that I was prettier than Hitchcock. I had to agree. So is anyone. Made up and costumed I saw Farrell’s Circus, MY Farrell’s circus, big top and horses and snake-lady and even my Sherlock Holmes joke, the tent show with the Giant Rat of Sumatra. It was like walking into my own head.

Everyone on the set knew about Phryne. Everyone wanted to be there. It was beyond wonderful. It is going to be fantastic.

Booktopia would like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry Greenwood for sharing her thoughts with us on the filming of the Phryne Fisher novels. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Did you know you can have Cocaine Blues: Book 1 of the Phryne Fisher Mysteries  by Kerry Greenwood in your hands in an instant? Buy the eBook, now only $2.25

MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES on ABC 1
Starts Friday, 24 February, 8.30pm

Click here to visit Booktopia’s Kerry Greenwood author page

Kerry 'in character' for her cameo role in Blood and Circuses.

Kerry Greenwood, author of the Corinna Chapman and the Phryne Fisher Mysteries, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kerry Greenwood

author of the Corinna Chapman and the Phryne Fisher Mysteries

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 the working class suburb of Footscray in Mebourne Victoria, Australia. My father was a self-educated wharfie (longshoreman) and a darling. My mother was extremely intelligent and well read. We were poor but had books. There are four children: I have two younger sisters and a younger brother and we were very happy. Except for one sister who had a shoe fetish and we could not afford the shoes she wanted. I went to a good primary school where the headmistress told my Continue reading

The 50 Must Read Australian Novels (50 to 41) (The Popular Vote 2010)

A while ago now, whilst playing… ahem… doing important and vital Booktopia business on twitter and facebook, I decided to ask Booktopia’s followers and friends what they thought were the ‘must read’ Australian novels.

Many disparage twitter and facebook by suggesting that it is both frivolous and time wasting (I being of their number some few short months ago). Whereas I cannot defend twitter and facebook against these charges, I can say, of those who read the drivel I put out there (tweet), the vast majority are extraordinarily well read (some, frighteningly so).

(Granted, I am the voice of the best online book shop in the universe, Booktopia, and not the voice of a company that makes protein shakes for muscle bound freaks, so finding readers following Booktopia shouldn’t be a surprise, but even so… )

However, we can be proud of something – we’re not wasting ordinary lives on twitter and facebook we are squandering the best minds in Australia!

That’s who created this list, the wonderful and entertaining wasters of life and intellect who happen to follow Booktopia on twitter and facebook. And I am thankful they did because the list is a very fine list.

So, thank you all for taking the time to, first, recommend such wonderful books and, second, take the time to vote in droves, helping me to whittle down the list to a manageable 50 Must Read Australian Novels.

As you’ll see, Australia’s literature is rich and varied and some of it is even in print.

Here are…

The 50 Must Read Australian Novels

This first instalment counts down from 50 to 41 (please note the inclusion of some of my favourite ‘tweeps’ – @kylie_ladd – @domknight@overingtonc Yay! Clap, clap, clap!) (Full List of 50 Must Read Australian Novels now available – click here)


last-summer50. Last Summer

Kylie Ladd (@kylie_ladd)

Rory Buchanan has it all: looks, talent, charisma-an all around good-guy, he’s the centre of every party and a loving father and husband. Then one summer’s afternoon, tragedy strikes. Those who are closest to him struggle to come to terms with their loss. Friendships are strained, marriages falter and loyalties are tested in a gripping and brilliantly crafted novel about loss, grief and desire.

Told from the points of view of nine of the people who are mourning Rory, this riveting novel presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now. Marriage, friendship, family-all are dissected with great psychological insight as they start to unravel under the pressure of grief. The characters live on the page; their lives are unfolded and their dilemmas are as real as our own.


978174114566349. Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher – she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions – is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.

Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism – not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse – until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street. Continue reading

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