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

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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

Natasha Walker, author of The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Natasha Walker

author of
The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings
and, coming in October, The Secret Lives of Emma: Distractions
two new erotic titles from the publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey

Ten Terrifying Question


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

I was born, raised and schooled in Mosman on the lower north shore of Sydney. After completing the HSC at Mosman High School, I left Sydney and spent the next three years travelling and working in Europe. On my return, I went to Sydney University but I had been well and truly bitten by the travel bug and was soon off again.

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

At twelve I wanted to be eighteen, and at eighteen I wanted to be thirty. I have always been in a hurry. I couldn’t wait for life to just happen. I had to help it along. Now, at thirty-two I just want things to slow down a bit. I still want to keep enjoying myself and trying new things, but I want to make each moment last.

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

That one day I would find the perfect man. Since then I’ve met many perfect men. And hope to meet many more.

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?

One story above all others influenced my development as a writer of erotic fiction, The Woman on the Dunes by Anais Nin. It isn’t the best erotic story I’ve read, or the most effective, but it was my first – I was then an impressionable sixteen year old and it made me want to read more erotica. I read all of Nin’s Little Birds and then Delta of Venus andtried to read her diaries, but didn’t get far. I watched the movie, Henry and June instead. Which lead me to Henry Miller. I loved that these writers were brilliant and highly sexed. Their intellectual activities turned them on just as much as their physical. They mixed great conversation, great sex, great writing, great food and great wine in one big pot and called it the good life. I wanted the good life, too.

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

I didn’t at first. I wanted to write a memoir, an erotic memoir. I had grand plans. I wrote many pages all at once. Two, three, four weeks of non-stop writing. It was crazy and exciting. When I felt I had captured something of the spirit of my early twenties I tidied up the scenes I’d written and showed them to my partner. He almost dropped dead. He could barely speak to me. And wouldn’t look me in the eye.  He was supportive, though, once he recovered from his initial shock and said I should keep writing. I knew then that for his sake, my parent’s sake and for the sake of those who shared in my adventures, I should probably fictionalise my past. And so I turned to the novel.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel, The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings…

I wanted to write an erotic novel which placed a woman firmly in the driver’s seat. Emma is confident, intelligent, fiercely independent and self-aware. She has lead a life pursuing knowledge, love, sex and the unexpected. For Emma, the most dangerous, the most exciting, the most erotic places are the most familiar – the spaces where she lives, where she works, amongst people she knows, under watchful eyes of her friends, her neighbours. It is here she finds herself bound and gagged by convention, fearing exposure, ridicule and condemnation. Everywhere she looks there are things she wants but mustn’t have. Breaking the rules is harder than it would seem. But, for Emma, the bird in the hand is not enough; she wants the two in the woods as well.

(BBGuru: publisher’s blurb – The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings is the first in a series of erotic novels that tap into our deepest, sexiest fantasies, from the publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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…) Read an Extract

Click here to order
The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings

from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

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

Of course, I want the reader to be turned on! I’d love for them to see that if they are ready and willing to face the consequences and accept personal responsibility for their actions they can have sex with any consenting adult they want to have sex with. We are no longer children, we should be allowed to take risks.

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

I admire so many writers. I love strong female voices. Intelligent women. To the Lighthouse is a favourite of mine. As is The Song of the Lark. Oh, and I recently enjoyed Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman.

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

I would like one day to write that memoir. Sometimes you just have to get things said regardless of the consequences.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

What advice can I give? I write erotica.

Natasha, thank you for playing.

Follow Natasha on Twitter here


The Secret Lives of Emma: DISTRACTIONS

On the outside Emma Benson is a nice, respectable wife in the suburbs.

But on the inside she’s brimming with uninhibited desires – ones she occasionally can’t help acting upon…

Now, while on a relaxing break at a friend’s beach house, the seed of an exciting new fantasy has planted itself in her mind.

She loves her handsome husband, David.

She loves her beautiful best friend, Sally.

She will invite them both to come play in her secret, sensual world…

Click here to order
The Secret Lives of Emma: Distractions

from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,956 other followers

%d bloggers like this: