Bestselling author Mandy Magro reveals her Five Favourite Australian Authors

Bestselling author

Mandy Magro

author of Rosalee Station reveals her

Five Favourite Australian Authors



I have been asked by Booktopia to reveal my five favourite Australian authors of all time, and although it’s been a tough decision, I have finally come up with my list! I haven’t got the authors in any particular order; I’ll just randomly mention them along the way….

Tony Park

Tony writes about what he knows, and what is close to his heart…Africa. His office is usually a tent set up amongst the grasslands of Africa with the amazing wildlife at his doorstep…so jealous!! His novels are powerful and poignant, enthralling page-turners that will have you up late into the night, or sitting bleary eyed at first light wondering where in the hell the night went! I adore Tony’s work, and to top it all off, he is a top bloke too!

Click here to buy Dark Heart by Tony Park

Venero Armanno

I first read Veny’s novel, Black Mountain, about six months ago and found myself instantly hooked. Black Mountain is the type of story that really makes you stop and think about existence and what happens outside your life’s bubble. His powerful words suck you right into the heart of his pages and make you feel as though you are right there with his characters.

Click here to buy Black Mountain by Venero Armanno

Lisa Heidke

I adore Lisa’s sense of humour and it shines brightly throughout her novels. Her characters are likable, exciting, adventurous and most importantly of all, three dimensional. I always find myself wishing I could be friends with them-and yes, I know they are not really real! I find Lisa’s novels delightful to read, the type of story that takes you away from life and makes you believe anything is possible.

Click here to buy Stella Makes Good by Lisa Heidke

Rachael Treasure

Rachael was the pioneer of rural romance with her bestselling novel, Jillaroo, and is one of the biggest inspirations behind me putting pen to paper. Thanks Rach! Her novels are fun and adventurous but also tug at your heartstrings, and her characters are ones that I would love to hang out with around a campfire or out in the saddle. From the very beginning Rachael proved just how hungry readers are for rural romance, the magic of a great country love story set in the glorious Australian outback resonating with many a proud Aussie. And I can’t wait for her sequel to Jillaroo, which will be out in April! Yay!

Click here to buy Jillaroo by Rachael Treasure

Sheryl McCorry

Sheryl’s two memoirs, Diamonds and Dust and Stars over Shiralee, moved me in ways no novel has ever moved me before. Her life story is one of great struggle, sheer determination and utter heartache. Sheryl is the type of woman we rural romance authors aspire to write about and for anyone that enjoys a great Aussie read set in the outback, Sheryl’s books are an absolute must!

Click here to buy Diamonds and Dust by Sheryl McCorry

So there you go… my list of five. Although, I have to add that there are many fabulous Aussie authors out there and I feel mighty proud to be amongst them. I’m passionate about filling my bookcase with only Aussie authors and am now at the point where I may need a new bookcase, or three! Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!!!

Thanks for having me today. I’ve had fun!

Country Cheers,

Mandy Magro

Mandy is shortlisted for Booktopia’s: Australia’s Favourite Author. You can read more from Mandy at her website


And check out Mandy’s answers in Booktopia’s Famous Ten Terrifying Questions here. Below is a little taste….

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

I always loved English at school, it was my favourite subject! I adore the fact that as a writer you can describe the smells, sounds, and sights of your landscapes so incredibly down to the last tiny weenie iota. I think it allows the reader to fall head first into your world and head over heels in love with your leading man! Writing is a release for me, a way to express my obsession with the outback.


Lisa Heidke, author of Lucy Springer Gets Even, What Kate Did Next, Claudia’s Big Break and, coming in January 2012, Stella Makes Good, answers Six Sharp Questions:

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lisa Heidke

author of Lucy Springer Gets Even,
What Kate Did Next
, Claudia’s Big Break

and, coming in January 2012,
Stella Makes Good

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, you’ve a new book – what is it about and what does this book mean to you?

In short, Stella Makes Good, is about swinging, infidelity and mother-in-laws…with a bit of romance and sexting on the side!

The longer version? Told from four points of view, Stella Makes Good spans one tumultuous week after best friends, Stella, Carly and Jesse meet for drinks, and unwittingly stumble upon a sex party. What they see that night will alter the course of their lives and shatter long held beliefs, forcing them to re-evaluate the things that are truly important to Continue reading

Lisa Heidke : Five Fiction Favourites for 2011

Lisa Heidke

author of Lucy Springer Gets Even,
What Kate Did Next
, Claudia’s Big Break

and, coming in January 2012, Stella Makes Good


The 5 best novels I read this year are…

Raw Blue

by Kirsty Eagar

Lisa Heidke: Set on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and marketed as a Young Adult, Raw Blue centres around Carly, a teenage surfer trying to find her place in the world. This emotionally gripping story easily crosses over into adult fiction. I find Eagar’s writing compelling and honest and her characters real and flawed. Loved this book.

Blurb: Readers of Tim Winton’s Breath will be drawn to Kirsty Eagar’s Raw Blue, an achingly beautiful young adult novel set in Sydney’s northern beaches. Winner of the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, it is a haunting story about finding your passion in life.

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafe. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?


Indelible Ink

by Fiona McGregor

Lisa Heidke: Set in Sydney’s lower north Shore, this is at times an uncomfortable and confronting story about Marie, an older, divorced woman who breaks free from conservative ties… sad, funny, heartfelt, I so wanted life to improve for her. Indelible Ink stayed with me long after I finished reading it.

Blurb: Marie King is a fifty-nine, recently divorced, and has lived a rather conventional life on Sydney’s affluent north shore. Now her three children have moved out, the family home is to be sold, and with it will go her beloved garden.

On a drunken whim, Marie gets a tattoo – an act that gives way to an unexpected friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys. Before long, Rhys has introduced Marie to side of the city that clashes with her staid north-shore milieu. Her children are mortified by their mother’s transformation, but have their own challenges to deal with: workplace politics; love affairs old and new; and, of course, the real-estate market.

Written with Fiona McGregor’s incisive wit and keen eye, Indelible Ink uses one family as a microcosm for the changes operating in society at large. In its piercing examination of the way we live now, it is truly a novel of our times.


The Life

by Malcolm Knox

Lisa Heidke: The story of once champion surfer Dennis Keith is an exhilarating, quirky ride. It took me a couple of chapters to get comfortable with Knox’s writing style (for this particular novel) but once I settled into the story, I got swept along by the surf, the ambition, the obsession… the whole absorbing saga.

Blurb: Daring, dazzling, funny and heartbreaking, this is a story about fame and ambition, surfing and pine-lime Splices … a superbly written and ambitious novel by one of Australia’s rising stars. The Life will simply blow you away.

He looked into the Pacific and the Pacific looked back into him.

The Life tells the story of former-world-champion Australian surfer, Dennis Keith, from inside the very heart of the fame and madness that is ‘The Life’.

Now bloated and paranoid, former Australian surfing legend Dennis Keith is holed up in his mother’s retirement village, shuffling to the shop for a Pine-Lime Splice every day, barely existing behind his aviator sunnies and crazy OCD rules, and trying not to think about the waves he’d made his own and the breaks he once ruled like a god. Years before he’d been robbed of the world title that had his name on it – and then drugs, his brother, and the disappearance and murder of his girlfriend and had done the rest. Out of the blue, a young would-be biographer comes knocking and stirs up memories Dennis thought he’d buried. It takes Dennis a while to realise that she’s not there to write his story at all.

Daring, ambitious, dazzling, The Life is also as real as it gets – a searing, beautiful novel about fame and ambition and the price that must sometimes be paid for reaching too high.


Brother of the More Famous Jack

by Barbara Trapido

Lisa Heidke: First published in 1982, I revisited this book when I was bored and looking for something light and fun to read. Witty, funny, sad…and very clever. Highly recommended!

Blurb:  Stylish, suburban Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the centre of Professor Jacob Goldman’s rambling home and his large eccentric family. As his enchanting yet sharp-tongued wife Jane gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets the volatile, stroppy Jonathan and his older, more beautiful brother Roger, who wins her heart. First love quickly leads to heartbreak and sends her fleeing to Rome but, ten years on, she returns to find the Goldmans again. A little wiser and a lot more grown-up, Katherine faces her future.

Brother of the More Famous Jack is Barbara Trapido’s highly acclaimed and much loved debut; a book that redefined the coming-of-age novel.


The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Lisa Heidke: I wasn’t sure about this book but was surprised and delighted. A moving, heartfelt and fascinating insight into complex female relationships, bonds and prejudices. Uplifting and powerful, I read The Help one rainy long weekend and don’t regret a single indulgent moment.

Blurb: Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver . . .

There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell . . .


Many thanks to Lisa Heidke for sharing her
Five Fiction Favourites for 2011 with us.

Lisa’s forthcoming novel, Stella Makes Good, is already causing a bit of a stir…

From The Daily Telegraph last week:

Author Lisa Heidke’s fourth book Stella Makes Good inspired by swingers sex party in Sydney’s Turramurra

By Felicity McLean

Picture: John Fotiadis Source: The Daily Telegraph

IT’S not every day you read about a sex party in Turramurra. So when local author Lisa Heidke read just that, it was too seductive to ignore.

“I was flipping through the North Shore Times and found a small article about a police raid on a swingers’ party just up the road from my home in Pymble,” Heidke explains.

Sydney group sex parties keep neighbours awake

“I thought it was hilarious. I mean, what would you do if someone invited you to a party up the road and you turned up to a sex party! And then imagine you saw your newsagent there. Or the butcher. Or you saw your friend’s husband there!”

Such a provocative prospect provided the launch pad for Heidke’s latest novel, Stella Makes Good. The fourth book in three years for the journalist-turned-author, it continues Heidke’s tradition of exploring contemporary life, even if it is a little more risque than her usual fare.

“When I was researching online I thought, ‘Oh, God! Am I accidentally going to access some illegal site and have the police turn up and confiscate my computer?’ ” she says. “I want to make it very clear that I didn’t go to any sex parties in researching my book!” Read the full story here…

Stella Makes Good

by Lisa Heidke

Can mother-of-three, Stella forge a new life for herself after the end of her marriage? A funny and insightful novel about love, friendship and the quest for happiness.

Stella Sparks is on good terms with her ex-husband, Terry, despite the fact he left her for another woman. Stella’s philosophical – the marriage had run its course, they remain friends and the wellbeing of their kids is central to both of them.

Stella’s two closest friends, Carly and Jesse, envy her togetherness and wish they could emulate it. Jesse’s husband, Steve, is a control freak who’s driving her crazy, but she has two small children and can’t see a way out. Carly, meanwhile, suspects her husband is having an affair and isn’t sure what to do about it.

Stella’s life takes a distinctly upward turn when she meets a handsome, apparently single – no ring, anyway – father at her son’s school speech night. For Carly and Jesse, however, the search for happiness and fulfilment proves more elusive…

With a healthy dose of humour and romance Stella Makes Good is about the games we play, the secrets we keep, the unpredictable nature of life and the importance of female friendship.



Lisa Heidke, author of Claudia’s Big Break, answers Five Facetious Questions:

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lisa Heidke

author of Claudia’s Big Break, What Katie Did Next and Lucy Springer Gets Even

Five Facetious Questions:


1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

Only one afternoon? The first time I saw Lucy Springer Gets Even in a bookshop I had a mild panic attack and ran out, leaving my three children in the shop squealing, ‘Mum, it’s HERE! This is YOUR book.’ I got much better at seeing my books in shops after that – and yes, I go in and make sure my books are facing out and sitting in the best seller section.  Having said that, I get upset when I see them because it means they haven’t sold and upset when I don’t see them because it means the shop’s not stocking my books…I am permanently tortured!

2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?

I am my usually calm and collected self, until I’ve consumed three glasses of wine and start dancing on tabletops to  Patrick Hernandez’s ‘Born to be Alive.’

3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)

I write because it amuses me and makes me happy (except for those wakeful hours between two and five am when I’m terrified I’ll never again come up with a believable character or plotline).

4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’?

No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?

My favourite place to write is my bed (I can’t believe I’m saying this…) so I guess my most embarrassing writing moments would be when my teenage sons bring friends home after school. They think of me as ‘the mad woman who lives upstairs in bed’.

5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?

When I am watching ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ and ‘Gossip Girl’.

That and when I take the dog for a walk.

Lisa, thank you for playing.


Read Lisa’s answers to the more (ahem!) serious Ten Terrifying Questions – here

Follow Lisa on Twitter – here

Lisa Heidke, author of Claudia’s Big Break, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lisa Heidke

author of Claudia’s Big Break, What Katie Did Next and Lucy Springer Gets Even

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 Melbourne, trotted off to Malaysia when I was three, for three years, then back to Melbourne until I was ten. Then headed to Brisbane for twelve years.  Schooled by the nuns at Loreto, then dabbled at Queensland Uni. Have been in Sydney ever since.

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

When I was twelve, I had my sights set on replacing Anni-Frid from ABBA… But I guess LABB doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. When I was eighteen, I wanted to be a travel writer (when I wasn’t hanging out at the Regatta). When I was thirty, I wanted to write novels. Why? Because I thought I’d be more successful at that then being an opera singer. (see next question.)

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

That with training… okay… a lot of training, I could be an opera singer. Apparently, I can’t.

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?

The Doris Day/Rock Hudson combo – not that Doris and Rock are necessarily works of art, but growing up, they featured prominently in my weekend television viewing. Although I was initially forced to watch them (thanks, Mum) I grew to love listening to their dialogue and watching their comedic interaction.  To counter all that sugary happiness, I was also taken with the darkness of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and the beauty of Degas’s ballet paintings.

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

Claudia’s Big Break by Lisa Heidke

Claudia's Big BreakClaudia’s Big Break is a funny and insightful novel about friendship, romance, laughter and loyalty.

Claudia Taylor’s life is a mess. Her twenties and thirties seem to have disappeared in a haze of boring office jobs, unsuitable shags and superficial spending. Her latest disaster? An ill-advised fling.

In an attempt to get some perspective on her life, Claudia jets off to glorious Santorini with her two best friends, Tara and Sophie. But it’s not long before they’re shaking their heads at some of Claudia’s shenanigans.

Meanwhile, Sophie and Tara are wrestling with their own issues. Sophie, a former high-flying career woman, is struggling with being a stay-at-home mother and her husband’s nasty ex-wife. Tara, meanwhile, is sick of her dead-end job and trying to write a novel.

Claudia’s Big Break is an hilarious novel about friendship, romance, laughter and loyalty. It’s also about three woman taking stock of their lives – with a bit of drunken karaoke thrown in to the mix. For Claudia and her friends, life will never be the same after their much-needed holiday in paradise.

Order Claudia’s Big Break for $23.95 SAVE 20% Click here…

What Kate Did NextAbout Lisa Heidke: Lisa Heidke studied journalism at Queensland University, fled Brisbane and settled in Sydney where she landed a job as an Acquisitions Editor in book publishing (HBJ). After a while there, she headed to ACP where she worked as a feature writer on several national magazines.

After many years living in Sydney’s inner west, Lisa woke up one morning to find herself married with three children and living on the North Shore – much to her surprise and sometimes horror. Since then she has authored two uproarious novels, Lucy Springer Gets Even and What Kate Did Next.


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