Men should read more women – says Booktopia’s John Purcell in this weekend’s Spectrum

Bernard BlackYesterday Booktopia’s John Purcell was featured in Spectrum, the nationwide arts lift out in Fairfax papers.

Did you know he was once the spitting image of Bernard Black? Have a gander below, and click on the link underneath to see the full article.

The road from literary snobbery to author of erotic fiction was a covert one for the creator of Emma Benson, Linda Morris writes.

For part of the 10 years he owned a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, John Purcell was scornful of his customers’ tastes in fiction. Purcell spent more time reading and writing his own opus than selling books, inevitably to the detriment of his bottom line.

When a customer walked in, he would try to dissuade them from buying the latest John Grisham or James Patterson thriller, substituting some worthier classic: a Dostoevsky, a Hardy or an E.M. Forster. Even Charles Dickens was once too popular for Purcell’s highbrow tastes.

Dirty secret: John Purcell wrote his first erotic story to impress a girl. Photo: Danielle Smith

Who would have thought this literary snob would one day reveal himself as the standard bearer of erotic fiction, that rather friendless genre of commercial women’s fiction? Purcell recently outed himself to The Australian Women’s Weekly as Natasha Walker, the reclusive author of The Secret Lives of Emma, an erotic fiction trilogy that followed Fifty Shades of Grey into the mainstream in the past year.

The Secret Lives of Emma series has sold more than 50,000 copies and last year made Purcell one of the best-selling debut authors in Australia. As head of marketing for Australian online bookstore Booktopia, Purcell has tracked a further kick in sales since his unmasking.

Don’t miss the full article at:

Click here to buy The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy

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Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Natasha Walker

As 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 erotic romance author Natasha Walker.

1. Describe the perfect date.
Natasha: The date that isn’t a date. The date which begins with an accidental meeting – at a coffee shop, in a bookshop, on a train platform – a casual chat, an awareness of each other, an awareness of that awareness and then the parting. A parting which is interrupted by a return, and an exchange of numbers, a daring comment, a touch, a suggestion, an arrangement to meet later which is brought forward to now. The corner of a bar. A drink. Two. For courage. Hands shaking. Staring silences. Urgent need to leave the bar. On the street. Wandering. Talking. Bumping, touching. A kiss.
John: What she said. Continue reading

The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings – a guest review by bestselling author Rachael Johns

Bestselling author and voracious consumer of romance Rachael Johns gives an insider’s perspective on The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings by Natasha Walker

Before I start, I must admit, I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey or any of the supposed spin-offs and had absolutely no inclination to do so. I read 100 pages of Grey because I thought I should – it sold bucket loads and as an author it would have been good research to work out why – but I honestly couldn’t go any further. Erotic romance has just never been my thing.  So, I’d never had any inclination to pick up The Secret Lives of Emma series either. There were just too many other books on my TBR pile. I like a hot sex scene as much as the next person in a romance, but I’m more there for the romance than the sex. Continue reading

Booktopia’s John Purcell appears on Sunrise

The true identity of one of Australia’s bestselling erotic authors has been kept a closely guarded secret, until now . . .

Industry rumours had been circling about intensely private author Natasha Walker since the 2012 release of the first book in The Secret Lives of Emma series until Booktopia’s John Purcell revealed Natasha Walker is a pseudonym and that he is the true voice behind this phenomenally successful series.

Q. Why did you publish under a woman’s name?

I chose a pseudonym to protect my family. The kids didn’t need to know. And I didn’t want to be known as that guy who wrote those dirty books.

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The Secret Lives of Natasha Walker – Author Identity Revealed!

Finally, the true identity of the author behind the bestselling Secret Lives of Emma series has been revealed, and if you’re a regular visitor to The Booktopia Blog, chances are you’ve read her work already. Or rather, his work…

Since the release of the first book in 2012, The Secret Lives of Emma series has been met with contention.  In a genre dominated by tales of submissive heroines and stolen innocence, The Secret Lives of Emma shone out, showcasing a strong, free‐spirited young woman. Readers were eager to hear Emma’s story, with more than 50,000 copies sold in Australia alone.

During heated debates over the morality of the heroine, intensely private author Natasha Walker stayed suspiciously silent however, leading readers, the publishing industry and the media to speculate not only on the subject matter but the author herself.

Now, finally, after international publishing deals, bestseller listings and countless reviews, the author is finally ready to reveal herself. Or rather, himself.

Because the woman at the centre of this scandalous series was written by a man. And not just any man, but one of Continue reading

Natasha Walker, author of The Secret Lives Of Emma series, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Natasha Walker

the Australian author of the bestselling
Secret Lives of Emma series

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, on completing your new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

Thanks. Unmasked is the final book in The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy. At the end of book two, Distractions, I was a bit mean and left readers hanging right at the point where nothing was going right for my heroine, Emma Benson. In geekspeak – it was my The Empire Strikes Back.

I can’t say much about Unmasked. I don’t want to spoil it. What I can say is Emma ends up on the southern coast of Italy in midsummer.

Unmasked is my favourite of the three. It’s a happy ending. But only those who know Emma well can possibly predict what a happy ending for Emma means.

Click here to buy The Secret Lives of Emma : Unmasked from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

2. Time passes. Things change. What is the best and moment that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The past year has been completely bizarre. The best moment was getting a publishing deal. The worst moment was not being able to tell the whole world I finally got a publishing deal. For the sake of my family I decided to publish under a pseudonym. I was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist in 2012 and my proud mum can’t tell any of her friends!

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us?

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness – Bertrand Russell.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it?

I work full-time so all my writing is done at night, in the early hours of morning and on weekends. This can put a strain on relationships but thankfully, when I am writing I write quickly, in intense bursts of inspiration and so far have hit all of the brutal deadlines set by my publisher. (I’ve had three books published in under a year)

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

The marketplace did not influence the writing of The Secret Lives of Emma but the publication of it was very much influenced by it. After the sudden initial success of Fifty Shades publishers worldwide were scrambling to publish other erotic novels as fast as they could. Luckily enough for me at that precise moment my agent had just read the draft of an erotic story I had written. The rest is history!

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

Why would I want to civilise a bunch of adolescents? Age and responsibilities will civilise them soon enough. I’d prefer to keep them uncivilised.

If I really had to take some books with me I’d take – The Philosophy of the Bedroom by The Marquis de Sade, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. Though I think very soon they would be used to fuel the fire we made to cook the smallest of the group.

Natasha, thank you for playing

Click here to buy The Secret Lives of Emma : Unmasked from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

On the Delicate Art of Turning Boys into Men…

The US is going nuts for another new contemporary romance, On the Island. The set up is simple, a thirty year old woman and a sixteen year old boy get stranded on a deserted island together. The results are anything but simple. You won’t find tonnes of sex in this one. It is a real romance. There is however bucket loads of sex in The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings where a newly married thirty something Mosman woman seduces her neighbours’ hot eighteen year old son. The teacher and student theme resonates through both. Should these women be damned for what they do?

On the Island

by Tracey Garvis Graves

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn’t bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family — and a stack of overdue essays — instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

There, Anna and T.J. must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter, but even once their basic needs are met, they encounter plenty of other obstacles — including the possibility, as the days turn to weeks and then months, that T.J.’s cancer could return. And, as T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man…

About the Author :Tracey Garvis Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband and two children. She blogs at, and can also be found on Twitter @tgarvisgraves and at This is her first novel.

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

Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings

by Natasha Walker


Thirty-something Emma Benson is a free spirit. For her a good life means a life of sensuality.

So it’s a surprise to everyone when she marries David, a successful businessman, and settles down in the suburbs.

One year on, and she’s trying so hard to be loyal to her man. Not easy to do when you’re passionate and uninhibited.

But then, while sunbathing in her garden, her neighbour’s eighteen-year-old son appears. And Emma has found her new project…

She will be his perfect teacher…

About the Author : Natasha Walker is a Sydney based author who found writing her memoir confronting till she discovered the joys of fabrication. She can be found on Twitter @NatashaWalkerAu and at This is her first novel.

Click here to buy The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings from Booktopia
, Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


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