Author Interviews & Advice for Writers

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TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS


What are the 10 Terrifying Qs?

Ten quick questions the Booktopia Book Guru puts to selected authors.

Terrifying?

Well, not really, but challenging. We want to extract something unique from the hearts and minds of authors. (We have the needs of our discerning readers to consider.)

Have any authors answered your questions?

Take a look for yourself.

Below you’ll find all of the authors who have dared answer the 10TerrifyingQs.

Is your favourite author here?


Honour Roll


MAEVE BINCHY – author of Minding Frankie, Tara Road, Evening Class, Circle of Friends and many, many more…

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

I hope that people will take away from my books the belief that none of us live ordinary lives. We are all the heroes and heroines of our own dramas. They are not makeover books. Nobody necessarily becomes slimmer, richer or married by the end of the story. We have all met slim, rich, married people who live nightmarishly unhappy lives. Instead they become more confident and take control of their own lives. This gives us all hope.  More…


LEE CHILD – author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series of thrillers.

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

At twelve, loved. At eighteen, laid. At thirty, paid. Because basic necessities always seemed important. More…


TARA MOSS –  author of the thrilling Mak Vanderwall Novels

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it – and then make it right later. More…


ALEX MILLER – award winning author of Lovesong, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country

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

At eighteen I believed in the moral progress of our species. More…


KYLIE LADD – author of the brilliant After the Fall

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

I’m sure it’s a cliché, but I honestly don’t think anyone chooses to write a novel – it was always a compulsion, and never an option. More…


JACKIE COLLINS - author of Poor Little Bitch Girl, Married Lovers and more…

…and a host of other bestselling titles

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

Everybody said you can’t be a writer, you dropped out of school, you need to go to college, etc. But I followed my dream and ignored everyone.
At twelve I was writing unfinished novels.
At eighteen I was doing the same thing.
And at thirty I was a published author. More…


ALASTAIR CAMPBELL – author of The Blair Years and Maya

Taste: 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 two novels that most turned me on to the beauty of language and the art of novel-writing are Madame Bovary by Flaubert and L’Assommoir by Zola.

A more specific influence came from Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami – I was well into writing my second novel, Maya, as a third person narrative. By chance I picked up Sputnik Sweetheart and as I read it I realised Maya might work better as a first person unreliable narrator. So I went back and started again. More…


DBC PIERRE – author of Lights Out in Wonderland, Ludmila’s Broken English and Vernon God Little

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

Just to do the best I can, to see if I can cry and laugh together with a reader over the madness of things. This is the way we survive things, by finding others who share them. More…


PATRICK NESS – author of the Chaos Walking series.

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

Easy: you’re the god of everything in a novel. More…


REBECCA JAMES – author of Beautiful Malice

Taste:  10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Write. Persevere. Don’t despair. Read. Write. More…


NATASHA SOLOMONS – author of the adorable Mr Rosenblum’s List

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

A writer. A writer. And a writer. Because I love stories. We plot our lives through stories, whether it’s an anecdote told over a coffee or the desire for a proper ending for a love affair. Stories help us understand the world and they make it a lot more fun. All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell stories. More…


JOHN BIRMINGHAM –  author of After America, Without Warning, He Died With a Felafel in His Hand and more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. I am constantly astounded by the number of young would-be writers who do not read. They don’t have time, they tell me. Bullshit, I reply. If you can’t be bothered reading, do not bother trying to write. You’ll fail. More…


LAUREN KATE – author of the teen hit Fallen

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Live curiously. Make the whole world your muse. Never let yourself get bored—instead: eavesdrop, ask questions, try to learn as much as you can about as many things and as many people as you can. More…

Lauren Kate has also answered our Six Sharp Questions


FLEUR McDONALD – author of two heart-warming Australian novels – Red Dust and Blue Skies

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

I read this question to a friend, a friend who’s known me since I was nineteen, and she said, You didn’t believe in yourself very much, back then. But, she continued, you’re beginning to believe in yourself now! More…


CRAIG SILVEY – author of Jasper Jones, Rhubarb and The World According to Warren

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

Because a knee injury prevented me from a promising career in interpretive dance. More…


KATIE FFORDEauthor of Love Letters, Wedding Season, Going Dutch and many more…

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

Actually, I think this question is like being asked, ‘why didn’t you choose to be a brain surgeon instead of a writer?’ More…


SUSAN MAUSHART – author of The Winter Of Our Disconnect and Wifework: What Marriage Really Means for Women

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

My aim is to simply to get people to think more deeply – indeed to think at all! – about how our media give shape to our experience. More…


KATE VEITCH – author of Trust and Listen

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

That electric orange juice squeezers were symptomatic of how sick western society had become. Now, our illness is so vast that such gadgets seem merely trivial. More…


MICHAEL GRANT – author of GONE, HUNGER and LIES

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

Money. Oh, wait, that’s not a very good answer, is it? I guess I write because I have some natural talent for it. Maybe if I had a great visual sense I’d be a painter or a photographer. Or maybe if I were not completely uncoordinated and utterly rhythm-impaired I’d be a dancer. But I kind of get words, I understand what they do, I know something about story. So I do what I know how to do. More…


SULARI GENTILL – author of A Few Right Thinking Men

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Try and figure out what it is about your writing that you really love, what makes it truly yours… that’s harder than it seems. Take advice on everything else, be willing to change everything else. Always, always, always be polite. Artistic temperament gets old very quickly. More…


NICKY PELLEGRINO –  author of Delicious, The Gypsy Tearoom, The Italian Wedding and Recipe for Life

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

I want them to feel like they’ve been in the story, escaped to Italy, watched Babetta haggling at the market stall, tasted the food, smelled the air, really been there….

I hope they forget they’re reading at all and lose themselves in the story because to me that’s the sign of a fantastic book. More…


BELINDA MURRELL –  author of THE LOCKET OF DREAMS and THE RUBY TALISMAN

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

At 12, I wanted to be a vet and a famous author and an adventurer.

At 18, I wanted to be a journalist so I could write and travel and understand the world.

At 30, I wanted to be a mother and an author and still find time to travel and have adventures. More…


LISA REECE-LANE –  author of Milk Fever

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

At eighteen, I believed that I needed to be right – all the time, about everything. I smile now as I write it. Thank goodness I dropped that silly idea. I’ve since realised that being happy is much nicer than being right. More…


Peter Carnavas

PETER CARNAVAS – author and illustrator of Jessica’s Box, Sarah’s Heavy Heart and The Important Things

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

I hope this book inspires children and grown-ups to reflect on the small and seemingly ordinary things in their lives that are actually very important, for the warmth that these things provide. I also hope that it encourages people to remember that we deal with difficult moments differently and that there is nothing wrong with that. More…


MICHAEL KORYTA – author of So Cold the River and the four Lincoln Perry books – The Silent Hour, A Welcome Grave, Sorrow’s Anthem and Tonight I Said Goodbye

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

Entertainment, first and foremost. These aren’t text books, they are meant to be enjoyed, and I owe the reader a gripping story if nothing else.

Beyond that, I’d love to make them think. Not make a point, or an argument, but provide some level of human conflict that resonates with them in a way that produces critical thought and thus allows the story to linger in their minds a bit longer. More…


Leah Giarratano

LEAH GIARRATANO – author of Black Ice, Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, Voodoo Doll & Watch The World Burn

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The inner critic is your worst enemy. Find the mute button, or you’ll always be thinking, ‘One day…’

One day is today. More…


RODNEY HALL – author of Popeye Never Told You: Childhood Memories of the War

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Read. Read. Read books that challenge and stimulate you. Don’t waste your life on time-filling entertainments. Love the language and use it to the full, stretching it if you are able. Find out everything you can about words, their origin and use. Think about them. ‘Feel’ them. Feel the rhythms they create. Experiment to create different emphases by changing word order or choice of vocabulary. Get the best dictionary you can afford and a Roget’s Thesaurus (and if you’ve already got a thesaurus arranged as a dictionary, throw it away, it’s rubbish). Like anything, if you want to be good at it you have to practise. And remember that what you read will shape what you write. Choose well and aim high. More…


PETER ALLISON - author of Whatever You Do, Don’t Run : Confessions of a Botswana Safari Guide and Don’t Look Behind You, But… : More Tales from an African Safari Guide

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

At 12: David Attenborough.
At 18: David Attenborough.
At 30: Rich.

I’ve always loved animals, and do believe that Sir David has been the most effective conservationist of the three hundred years or so that he has been on television. The last is just because living in a tent grows wearisome. More…


JIM POWELL – author of The Breaking of Eggs

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

More than anything, a belief in strongly-held beliefs. Some people base their lives on the rock of certainty; others on the rock of doubt. The longer I live, the more I am attracted to the rock of doubt.

I think, and certainly hope, that this attitude is neither weak nor indecisive, and that an admission of ignorance is the essential precondition for knowledge. More…


KARIN SLAUGHTER – author of Broken, Genesis, Triptych and more

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It seems really simple, but I always tell them to read. You might be surprised how many will say, “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too busy writing.” Reading is important to everyone—it trains our minds to question what we are told, it hones cognitive abilities. If you are a writer, reading gives you a sense or rhythm and how story works. Even if it’s a bad book or a silly book, you’re always learning something. And it’s very easy to spot the writers who aren’t reading, because they basically write the same book again and again. You’ll never grow as a writer—or (dare I say!) as a person—if you do not read. More…


DEBORAH FORSTER –  author of The Book of Emmett

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

I hope they get confused about love because I think if it’s not confusing, it’s not real. I hope the characters are so alive you think about them for a very long time. I hope they are memorable. More…


BRIAN CASTRO – author of Birds of Passage, Shanghai Dancing, The Bath Fugues and more…

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

At eighteen I believed I could read all the books in the university library shelved between 820 and 900. Now, with failing eyesight, I think of Borges and dream imaginary libraries. More…


SHAUN TAN – author/illustrator of  The Arrival, The Red Tree, The Rabbits and more…

Taste: 6. Please tell us about ‘The Arrival

It’s a wordless illustrated story about a man who leaves his family to find a better life for them in a strange, distant country. The entire book is a general metaphor not only for immigration, but any major life change which involves sacrificing something familiar for the promise of something unknown. More…


TONY PARK – author of The Delta, Far Horizon, Zambezi, African Sky, Safari, Silent Predator and Ivory.

Taste:  10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Like the shoe people say, Just Do It. You can find a million reasons not to start or not to finish. You should really only write if you love doing it. The risks of never being published are too high and the chance of reward too low to do it for any other reason. But if you write for yourself and you write for fun, you can’t go wrong. More…

Tony Park was also kind enough to answer my Five Facetious Questions. Read his answers here…


CHRISTINE STINSON – author of Getting Even With Fran

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

At twelve, I wanted to be George Harrison’s wife and play percussion on stage with The Beatles (there was room on stage next to Ringo and I played a mean triangle and tambourine). By eighteen I’d given up on George and decided to be an interpreter. By thirty I was a mother of two and working full time, and all I wanted was to be somewhere quiet for an hour or two so I could hear myself think. More…


MELANIE MILBURNE – author of forty Harlequin Mills and Boon novels

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

Writers write because they have something to say. I think it is no surprise I write romances with a guaranteed happy ending. I believe in the power of love to overcome the worst life can throw at you. I like exploring difficult issues in my novels and watching as my characters grow and develop as they overcome them. I would hope that people would not just read my books for entertainment but also to think about life’s bigger questions as they do so. More…


JOHN GREEN – author of The Nowhere Man

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

Proust. Anyone who can write something that so many smart people lie through their teeth that they’ve read and enjoyed must be admired.

Most of all, I admire any good storyteller who sucks me into their fictional world. More…


MARIANNE MUSGROVE – author of Lucy The Lie Detector and the award-winning, The Worry Tree

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Every writer goes through the ‘My story is no good and I have no talent’ phase. Never forget: this feeling will pass. Then it will come back again. Then it will pass. Then it will come back again … Just don’t give up! More…


REIF LARSEN – author of The Collected Works of T. S. Spivet

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

The first of my fourteen discarded novels I wrote almost by accident, or at least I set out not intending to write a novel per say. On an especially cold winter afternoon (although the lake was still not frozen), my mother yelled at me for not cleaning the fish legs like she had asked me to. I told her that I had not wanted to clean the fish legs so instead went on a long walk around the lake, listening to the crunch of my boots on the freshly fallen snow. She said there were many things in this life that she did not want to do but that she must do them because she was adult with responsibilities. I asked her what those things were. She began to list them: empty the sewer tanks, clean out the worm tubes, gather the lichen, prepare the eggy surprise, etc. I went up to my room and began to write down all the things that I did not want to do in this world, and then became so absorbed in this task that three days later I had only risen from my desk to lavitate and fetch the grunge bread mother had prepared (the preparation of which was one of the items on her list!) I looked down at the 143 pages and realized that I had just conjured my first novel, though later Mrs. Shander would let me know that the manuscript was too morose and no good at all. More…


GEORGIA BLAIN - author of Darkwater, Births Deaths Marriages and Closed for Winter

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

I used to think there were clear absolutes in life – rights and wrongs that could be found if you searched hard enough. I’ve learnt that everything has so many nuances, and that an absolute truth is an absolute fallacy. More…


GREGORY DAY – author ofThe Patron Saint of Eels, Ron McCoy’s Sea of Diamonds and now The Grand Hotel.

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

When I was twelve I wanted to be Joe Strummer from The Clash, when I was eighteen I wanted to be stoned, and when I was thirty I wanted to be a swagman. Although others might doubt it, in my own way I feel I’ve achieved all of these ambitions. More…


DARREN GROTH – author of Kindling

Taste:  10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The best learning experience I had as an emerging author was mentorship.  Find someone further up the literary food chain that will spend some time with you, share their experiences, combine honesty with positivity, and give you practical avenues to explore. More…


CATHY KELLY – author of Homecoming, Once in a Lifetime, Lessons in Heartbreak and many more…

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

Hope, warmth, comfort, inspiration, the sense that they’re not alone and there are other people in the world who think like them. More…


NETTE HILTON – author of The Innocents and more…

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

I don’t know that I had any beliefs. I do know that I struggled to conform to whatever seemed to be important to everyone else. I guess this means that I believed I had to be other than myself to be accepted. I guess I never really believed that people would accept you for who you are, not for who you think they might prefer.

Now I just am – it’s very empowering. More…


MICHELLE COOPER – author of The Montmaray Journals and The Rage of Sheep

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

I hope they’ll get lost in the story for a few hours, and enjoy spending time with the characters, that they’ll giggle at the jokes and get a bit teary in the sad parts. They might also learn some interesting facts about European politics in the late 1930s. I also hope they’ll want to read the next book in the series. More…


CATHERINE HARRIS – author of Like Being a Wife

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

The warm glow of titillation, a sense of great amusement, a lingering engagement with some of the characters, an impulse to look twice at people and situations. More…


CAROLINE OVERINGTON – author of I Came to Say Goodbye and Ghost Child

Taste:  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?

I wish I could say I was inspired by a work of art, but in truth, it was things I saw in real life that troubled me. More…


POSIE GRAEME-EVANS – author of The Dressmaker

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Set aside a piece of time and make that a habit. Three to four hours, say, once a week is all you need. I started writing on Sundays because it was something I could actually do (if you set yourself indigestibly huge goals – a novel in six months say – you might hate your lack of progress, and give up.) Just make the cup of tea and sit down. Take the chance. Be patient. It’s surprising how quickly the words mount up. More…


ANDREW FRASER – author of Snouts in the Trough

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Having been to jail for a lengthy period it has to be Nelson Mandela. His ability to overcome adversity and still have a benign view of the world is astounding. More…


FIONA MCGREGOR – author of Indelible Ink

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

Questions about our times and how we live. Insights, laughter, recognition, challenges. A sense of having lived somewhere, with certain people, for a time, and of having been changed through that, even if only subtly. More…


BECCA FITZPATRICK – author of Hush, Hush and Crescendo

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

Maybe I matured quickly, but all of the beliefs I held strongly at eighteen I still hold today. Dreaming big, work ethic, integrity and destiny. I will say, however, that at eighteen I wanted to marry a Heathcliff. I’m very happy to say I ended up marrying a total Boy Scout and I don’t have to put up with any Byronic mood swings! More…


RICHARD HINE – author of Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch

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

I love Henry Fielding, especially Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, which are hilarious and bawdy and timeless satires of British society.

For similar reasons, I always enjoy the novels of J.P. Donleavy -– especially The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman and Leila. William Trevor’s novels and short stories are superbly observed and devastatingly subtle. I particularly like Two Lives, Fools of Fortune and The News from Ireland. Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day is fantastic. More…


HUGH MACKAY – author of What Makes Us Tick?

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

As a young adult, reading the novels of Graham Greene, C P Snow and Iris Murdoch cemented my love of fiction and encouraged my desire to write it. The visit to Australia of the US psychotherapist Carl Rogers inspired me and transformed my approach to research and to communication. The experience of divorce forced me to examine my values, my way of life and my performance as a human being. More…


KIM SCOTT author of That Deadman Dance, the Miles Franklin Award Winning Benang and True Country

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

As before, there’s quite a group. But Nabokov’s opening to the novel, Lolita, with its description of the ‘tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth’ is hard to beat for expression: a name, a linguistic description, and already we are in the realm of sensuality and arch style. Mind you, it was Anthony Burgess who pointed out the quality of Nabokov’s opening to me, and Burgess’s Clockwork Orange is no mean performance either. More…


JOHN BOYNE – author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Noah Barleywater Runs Away and more…

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

Honestly, at eighteen I was very unfocussed and undisciplined and had very few strong beliefs about anything. Outside of literature, I felt quite lost in life at the time. The difference between then and now is that now I do hold strong opinions and beliefs, although many of them may be quite wrong! More…

John Boyne answers the Ten Terrifying Questions, again.


RICHARD C. MORAIS- author of The Hundred-Foot Journey

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

First and foremost I want my readers to have fun. So, on one level, the book is simply an amusing road trip, driven by lively characters, filled with lush scenery and mouth-watering meals. But I believe good writing should be like daily conversation – at times it is appropriate to be witty and amusing and light, but, at other times, circumstances demand we are serious and thoughtful. So I hope my readers also spot the deeper issues and nuances woven through Hassan’s story: How do we, in this noisy world, find our destiny or calling, particularly when it is at odds with our family and culture? How do we find our “home” in a frenetic world where people are increasingly of mixed heritage and often moving from place to place? More…


BRENDAN COWELL – author of How It Feels

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

Well I am very hard on myself. I live in a constant state of anxiety, and I believe that that’s all invited in by me and me alone. I don’t have ‘goals’, so to speak, there is no ‘one place’ I want to get to in my life. That would depress me, as a notion, to have a goal, I mean what the fuck do I do when I get there? I need to keep it all loose, and just work hard and dig deep constantly and always; always take the more difficult, more revealing option. Art must be honest or not at all. More…


SHAY STAFFORD – author of Memoirs of a Showgirl

Taste: 4. What were three big events ­ in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example ­ you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

(1) The TV series Fame. Seeing those kids dance on the streets of New York with such energy and enthusiasm made my heart race. I wanted school and work to feel like that.

(2) My first trip to Europe. It made me want to live in another country, immerse myself in a foreign culture and learn a new language.

(3) Being told by an eisteddfod judge as a teenager that I should consider becoming a Bluebell. More…


TONI JORDAN – author of Fall Girl and Addition

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I often tell aspiring writers to keep two novels on their desk as they work: one for inspiration and one for confidence. The inspiration novel should be something they love, something so staggeringly good that they think: ‘I will never manage to write anything that compares to the beauty of this novel, but I will try.’ The other should be something they hate, something so staggeringly bad that they think: ‘if this piece of rubbish has managed to be published, then so will my manuscript.’ More…


TIM ‘ROSSO’ ROSS – author of Mum had a Kingswood: Tales from the Life and Times of Rosso

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

I’ve met a load of people along the way who wanted to write a novel and didn’t. One of these was a cameraman on one of my early TV shows. Our paths crossed again when he shared a house with a friend. I always asked about him and he was always “working on his writing.” To me it seemed like a far fetched plan, a really tough thing to do.

Years later his book A Fraction of the Whole came out. I devoured it and thought it was simply brilliant. So did pretty much everybody else. So, Steve Toltz, you are my hero. More…


PAUL CARTER – author of Is That Thing Diesel?Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs…She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouseand This Is Not A Drill

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

My German grandfather was a dispatch rider during World War Two, so was my English grandfather. I never knew who to cheer for in old war films, only that I wanted to ride bikes. So at twelve I wanted to be Steve McQueen, because he was cool.  At eighteen I wanted to be an offshore crew chief, because I’d started in the oil industry and knew where I wanted to be. At thirty working as a crew chief I wanted a transfer out of Columbia to Brunei, the oilfield equivalent of ‘The Betty Ford Clinic’ because I’d ground two mill off my teeth and had turned from a happy go lucky ass wrangler into your standard narcissistic coke head with post traumatic stress disorder and a hellish self destructive streak. More…


SHAUN MICALLEF – author of Preincarnate

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

A fondness for it bordering on compulsion. That way, they keeping buying it. Like The Catcher in the Rye.

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

Oh, the usual stuff. I want my followers to build a golden statue of me twenty stories high that will be worshipped centuries after my death. More…


KATHRYN FOX - author of Death Mask,Blood Born, Skin and Bone, Malicious Intent and Without Consent

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I would advise any aspiring writers to actually write. Don’t procrastinate, take steps to ensure you write every day, then rewrite. Attend writing conferences, meet authors, make sure you connect with people who understand what writing involves. And don’t lose heart. If you’re prepared to learn the craft and practice, you’ll get there. You can’t expect to write a symphony just because you can read music, so don’t be afraid to put the work in. More…


ROB MUNDLE – author of Bligh: Master Mariner, Fatal Storm and Hell on High Seas

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Bob Oatley: a man who started life filling ink-wells and delivering mail across Sydney by hand. Through hard work and a steadfast belief in good friends and teamwork, he built an empire which today, as a philanthropist and genuine ‘good guy’, he shares with fellow Australians. More…


KATHERINE HOWELL – author of Violent Exposure, Frantic, The Darkest Hour and Cold Justice

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never give up. Don’t expect to find a shortcut to publication – there isn’t one. It takes a lot of hard work to produce good strong writing. I wrote for seventeen years before Frantic was published, but far from seeing that as wasted time, I instead consider that my apprenticeship. And finally, publication is not the holy grail – if you don’t love what you’re doing for the work of the writing itself, publication itself won’t fulfil or sustain you. More…


LLOYD JONES -author of Mister Pip, Hand Me Down World and more

Taste: 4.What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

I like the story of Van Gogh never selling a single work in his life time. I think that’s quite a useful bit of information. It’s a good example of unwavering commitment. I don’t like the bit about his cutting off his ear. It’s a bit show-offy…unnecessary really and just silly. But this probably isn’t what you meant by asking after influences. Chocolate chip ice cream is up there in terms of form and capacity to surprise and enchant.  I rate Kapiti raspberry white chocolate ice cream higher than anything produced by Damien Hirst…but not as high as ‘Hell’ produced by the Chapman brothers or the scene of the arrival at the death camp painted by Gerhard Richter. More…


DI MORRISSEY – author of The Plantation, Tears of the Moon, The Bay and many more…

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

Tim Winton for his integrity, Tom Keneally for his friendship, the late Morris West for his guidance.  More…


MAGGIE ALDERSON – author of Shall We Dance?, Mad About the Boy, How to Break Your Own Heart and many more…

Taste: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?

Anarchy in the UK’ by the Sex Pistols changed my life. Not to mention my hairstyle. I started my own punk fanzine which got me my first job on a magazine. The musical ‘Hair!’ which my mum took me to when I was 11 blew my mind and opened it to the glory of youth and freedom. I danced on stage at the end with the cast. In Birmingham. Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love showed me that a book can be screamingly funny – and deeply touching – a duality I have aspired to achieve ever since. More…


MATT TAIBBI – author of Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con that is Breaking America

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

In the mid-nineties I was living in Mongolia (believe it or not, I was playing professional basketball there!) when I got sick with pneumonia and very nearly died. This big scare pushed me into a lengthy Carpe Diem-ish stage of my life that included firstly starting my own newspaper in Moscow, Russia, called the eXile. And it was while I was writing for that newspaper that the second influential moment occurred; I had to cover the transformation of the Russian government from communism to capitalism (well, “ostensible capitalism” might be a better term) and was treated to an intimate education in the mechanics of third-world corruption.  More…


NICOLE ALEXANDER – author of the The Bark Cutters

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

As a fourth generation grazier I would hope readers would have a greater understanding of the emotional attachment generational graziers feel towards their properties. More…


STEPHANIE DOWRICK – author of Seeking the Sacred, Intimacy and Solitude, Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love and many more…

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I admire people who absolutely refuse the excuses of cynicism and violence, whatever their situation. I admire people who hold kindness as a value and who can see that we are not just precious individuals, we are also profoundly and inevitably interdependent. Our safety as well as our happiness and well-being utterly depends on the capacities we have to care for and about one another and to find meaning in life beyond our own garden gate. More…


ROGER McDONALD – author of When Colts Ran, Mr Darwin’s Shooter, the Miles Franklin Winning – The Ballad Of Desmond Kale and more…

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

That a divergence in beliefs and values made it hard to find common ground, when actually I was standing on it. I saw my father as a religious man, and could not connect to that part of him; whereas now I see him as a spiritual man, and can connect to that. I’m sorry I could never tell him my appreciation of where he stood.

The other difference was with my two brothers, who both became farmers in Queensland (one later farmed in New Zealand). Like them I always loved the idea of living in the country (which I have for many years), but not working it. I saw us in entirely different occupations (they had the hardest work on their hands), but now I see us, all three, as part of the same impulse. Some sort of primary production, you could say, entirely bound up in common ground. More…


JOHN FLANAGAN – author of The Ranger’s Apprentice series

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

CS Forester. In Horatio Hornblower, he created such a wonderful, complex, admirable (yet sometimes disappointing) character. Plus he believed in himself. He never gave up in the face of multiple rejections. More…


TRACI HARDING – author of the Triad of Being trilogy, the Ancient Future trilogy, the Celestial Triad and the Mystique Trilogy

Taste: 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?

I could count on one hand the books I read before I wrote one – which rather explains the bad English mark and my terrible spelling at school. So my number one influence goes to a movie – Star Wars. More…


REBECCA LIM – author of Mercy

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

I’d hope that they read it as a kind of cautionary tale, or revenge fantasy that allows the small, insignificant-looking female victim to triumph over her persecutor. For once. More…


R.A. SPRATT – author of Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-Off, Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion, Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan and The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Authors don’t earn much so it is a good idea to have a day job, preferably a lucrative one that does not take up a lot of your time. Like bank robbing, cat burgling or being a super model. (T.S. Eliot did all of these things). More…


PETER ROBB – author of Street Fight In Naples: A Book of Art and Insurrection, Midnight in Sicily, M: The Caravaggio Enigma and A Death in Brazil

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

Among novelists, Stendhal and Tolstoy. Their energy, clarity, directness blast away the lifeless fine writing of today. They make you see and feel. More…


KEN FOLLETT – bestselling author of Fall of Giants, The Pillars of the Earth and many more…

Taste: 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?

Peterborough Cathedral made me ask why and how the cathedrals were built. Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming showed me how exciting literature could be. The Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm inspired Fall of Giants. More…


MIKE LANCASTER – author of 0.4 – It’s a Brave New World

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

I just want to do what I think all art is supposed to: to make people look at the world in a slightly different way.

I’d also like it if they used the word ‘cool’ when describing it to a friend. More…


JEAN M. AUEL – author of the Earth’s Children series: The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone and the upcoming finale, The Land of Painted Caves

Taste:5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc. – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

When I started writing, more than thirty years ago, most of those electronic media were not available to me. Perhaps I’m a bit obsolete, but I don’t use most of them anyway. I still love to read stories, and while I like books, with pages, so long as there are stories to read that can capture my imagination and bring me inside them, I’ll read them in any form that has words telling stories. I don’t think words will become obsolete. More…


SARA FOSTER -author of Beneath the Shadows and Come Back to Me

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

My head is full of ideas: definitely more mystery suspense stories, but also children’s books, non-fiction, poems. I just want to write, write, write! I would love each book to be more compelling and creative than the last one. I feel I’ve still got an awful lot to learn and experiment with on that front. Oh, and I’d like to be a fantastic wildlife photographer too! More…


LYN HUGHES – author of Flock

Taste: 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?

First, the 1960s film of the Royal Ballet with Fonteyn dancing Swan Lake which my mother took me to see in a Newport cinema when I was eight—I was transfixed. Then Dickens—fearless, furious, sad, silly, sentimental—he still makes me laugh—such a terrific storyteller. And Francis Bacon. Two years ago, I saw an exhibition of his paintings at the Tate Modern— room after room of mucky, glorious self-revelation. Exquisitely beautiful and ugly, both. I suppose all three exemplify what I most value and admire in any art-form, including writing—courage, clarity, sincerity, passion.  More…


ANNA CAMPBELL – author of My Reckless Surrender, Captive of Sin, Claiming the Courtesan and more…

Taste:10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Stick to your guns and write a complete manuscript. Personal experience indicates you’ll hear a siren voice whispering to you about 100 pages in, insisting that what you’re writing is terrible and you should try this new wonderful idea. That siren voice is actually your fear speaking. Don’t listen to it. Personal experience also indicates that 100 pages into that wonderful new idea, the siren voice will start whispering exactly the same poison. You’ll learn things from plugging through to the end of a manuscript that nothing else will teach you.

And once you’ve finished the manuscript, put it under the bed and write something else. Once you have, go back to the first manuscript and only then start editing. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes you can see once you’ve got a bit of distance. Not only that, you’ll have learnt skills writing the next book that you can use to improve the first book. Good luck! More…


LAUREN OLIVER – author of Delirium and Before I Fall

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

Hmm. When I was twelve I wanted to be a ballet dancer—I danced quite seriously when I was young. When I was eighteen? Sheesh. Maybe a back-up dancer or an actress. I’ve always been super creative—other things I’ve wanted to be over the years include: a painter, a chef, a singer, and a burlesque dancer. I’m not thirty yet, but hopefully I’ll want to be a writer—because it looks like I will be! More…


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

Taste:10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Keep writing!  It takes patience, persistence and discipline but you will get there. Keep going and don’t give up! But don’t give up your day job either! Oh, and you have to like being alone… for hours and hours on end. More…


WENDY ORR – author of Raven’s MountainNim’s Island, Nim at Sea, Spook’s Shack, Mokie and Bik, and for teenagers, Peeling the Onion.

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

I prefer to set myself goals that aren’t dependent on other people – so of course it would be lovely to win more awards, the bigger the better… but those are wishes, not goals. What I aim at is knowing that each book I write is the very best that it could possibly be. That mightn’t sound very ambitious, but believe me, when you face that printed book for the first time, it is. More…


CLAUDIA GRAY – author of the Evernight series

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

I’m honestly not sure.  There are plenty of things I was wrong about at 18 (how much journalism pays, for instance) and certainly I’ve learned a lot more about myself as a person since that time.  But in terms of my fundamental beliefs, I don’t know that that much has changed.  I know that I’m more tolerant in many ways, and definitely more aware of and uncomfortable with the intolerance within myself I have to struggle against. More…


TAMORA PIERCE – author of the Beka Cooper SeriesTerrier, Bloodhound and the forthcoming Mastiff and many, many more…

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

When I was 12 I wanted to be a writer. My dad had got me to try it a year before, and I loved it. When I was 18 I was in university studying to be a counseling psychologist with a plan to work with teenagers. At that time I’d been unable to write original fiction for several years, so psychology was my second choice. (A block that long is not normal, by the way.) My writer’s block ended the summer before my third year at university and I began to write again. When I was 30, I took secretarial work to pay my rent, and I wrote. That’s all I wanted to do. I knew my chances of making a living at it were very small, but I wrote when I could fit it in. More…


LISA GENOVA – author of Left Neglected and Still Alice

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

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s.  As the neuroscientist in the family, I felt it was my responsibility to understand as much as possible about this disease. The research papers and nonfiction books were helpful, but they were also dry and clinical.  And they didn’t answer the one question I really wanted to understand—What does it feel like to have Alzheimer’s?  I’m not sure why I assumed that writing a novel would be the way to explore and answer this question, but I’m so glad I did! More…


FIONA MCINTOSH – author of The Valisar Trilogy: Royal Exile, Tyrant’s Blood and King’s Wrath, and many, many more…

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

At 12 I desperately wanted to be an air hostess as they were called then. Back in the early 70s it was a very glamorous job and I loved the whole idea of travelling to far flung destinations. I knew I was going to be a great traveller whatever I did.

By the time I was eighteen I knew I wanted to run my own business.

By 30 I’d been travelling the globe, was living on the other side of the world, I’d worked in advertising, marketing and travel and I’d already set up my own PR and marketing consultancy with my husband which we’d run for five years and we’d also just set up a new travel magazine that was very exciting. However, as I teetered on the brink of falling into my fourth decade there was only one thing I wanted at that point and that was to be a mother. So at 30 I was pregnant and our twin sons were born just before I turned 31. More…


PETER FITZSIMONS – author of Batavia, Kokoda, Tobruk, A Simpler Time, Nene and many more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Get width of experience in your life. To be a writer you need to have something to say that others will care about and if you can have had experiences that your readers have not, it will help. Read as widely as you travel, and try to write with the same spirit. More…


LARRY WRITER – author of Bumper: The Life and Times of Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell, Razor and more…

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

When I was 12 I wanted to play lock forward for St George, although I never quite worked out how I was going to unseat Johnny Raper from the position. At 18 I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do (although my mother did: “Any job in a bank when you can wear a nice tie will be perfect.”) At 30 I wanted to write fiction… until I started reading F Scott Fitzgerald and, realising with a jolt that I could never begin to compete with the fiction masters, I used my journalistic training to throw myself into the world of non-fiction. More…


TOBSHA LEARNER – author of Yearn, Tremble, Quiver and more…

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

I’m primarily an entertainer who hopes to illuminate and emotionally move (as well as excite) my reader – I take my research extremely seriously, so I hope they learn a little on the ride.

Oh, and I love it when readers tell me I made them cry! More…


CHRISTINA HOPKINSON – author of The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I remember saying to my best friend when I was writing my first (ultimately very unpublished) work, ‘No one will publish it anyway’. And she said, ‘well they definitely won’t if you don’t write it.’ And it’s obvious but very true, you have to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard or it will never happen. Don’t worry about it being any good. When I wrote this book, I was so tired with three children under five, I can barely remember the process and all I do remember is a continual feeling of the utter pointlessness of the endeavour. You just have to try to battle through this. More…


CHERISE SAYWELL – author of Desert Fish

Taste: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?

It has to be books – there are three that I remember from when I first started writing.

The first is A Spell of Winter, by Helen Dunmore. I remember reading it and thinking, I’d like to be able to do this. She writes so sensuously, but with such economy.

Another book was Rain, by Kirsty Gunn. A writer friend sent it to me and it blew me away. It’s a really slender novel, but rich in detail. I remember how the first line flowed off the page. It was like reading poetry.

Another I remember is Snake, by Kate Jennings. It’s so pared back, so wicked and black and sad. More…


IRFAN MASTER – author of A Beautiful Lie

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Read for the story first and if you enjoy it, then read for the language and you will see patterns emerging. This will feed into your own writing. Keep a notebook and pencil on you at all times to scribble things down. Simple I know, but still very important. Watch people – on the bus, in the cafe, on the street wherever, and write down little snippets they say – or don’t say. Make stories from these interactions; use them as your characters. Join a writer’s group if you can. There’s nothing like sharing your ideas and feeling inspired by other writers and their ideas. Finally, keep writing, keep dreaming – both are equally important and it’ll come. Probably when you’re least expecting it – the story you want to write will open up in front of you like an oyster – what’s inside is yours to keep. More…


COLIN THOMPSON – author of The Floods

Taste: 6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

It’s called Floods 10 – Lost. For more information read – Floods 10 Lost


SOPHIE MASSONauthor of My Father’s War, The Understudy’s Revenge and more…

Taste:8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Well, that’s a hard one! There’s quite a few people I admire! they range from Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the people of the Philippines for freeing themselves bloodlessly from a corrupt dictator, and the peoples of Eastern Europe for at last tearing down the grey regimes that had controlled them for so long; from my maternal grandmother who despite a hard life and much suffering never showed any bitterness but was the kindest, most loving and genuinely joyfully religious person I have ever known, to my English teacher in high school who encouraged me in every way–and that’s just a beginning! More…


HANNAH HOLMES – author of Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality

Taste: 5.     Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Well sure, they’re obsolete, but only for young people and all generations to come. There are still a bunch of old people like me who prefer to kill a tree so that we can carry around what is essentially a single-use product that weighs three pounds and fouls the planet with its manufacture and shipping and eventual disposal. We’re on our way out, so please be patient with us. A couple more forests, and we’ll be gone. More…


SARAH WINMAN – author of When God Was a Rabbit

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

To feel stirred by something – to feel less lonely in the world. More…


MIA FREEDMAN – author of Mia Culpa, Mama Mia and The New Black

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Anyone who is doing good away from the spotlight. Not that people like Oprah aren’t extraordinary or inspirational but she gets a lot of love and gratification from what she does. People who are working to help those who are disadvantaged – children and refugees particularly – have my utmost respect and admiration. More…


ANDY GRIFFITHS – author of What Body Part is That?, The JUST! series, The Very Bad Book, The Day My Bum Went Psycho and many more…

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

That toothpaste is a conspiracy cooked up by toothpaste companies in order to sell more toothpaste. I relinquished this belief as the result of three fillings. More…


LIZ BYRSKI – author of Last Chance Café, Bad Behaviour, Gang of Four and more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Be prepared to re-draft, redraft, re-draft. Don’t take yourself too seriously and believe that your writing is sacrosanct, it isn’t. Don’t show it to friends or family expecting to get useful critical feedback – you won’t. What you’ll get is reaction based on how they feel about you at the time. If you want feedback show your work to an experienced writer, editor, publisher or literary agent and be prepared to listen to what they say. Never underestimate the value of a good working relationship with an excellent editor – it’s a blessing and a joy. Give up the idea that you know a hell of a lot and people need to know about it – they don’t. Readers want a wonderful story that moves them and makes them think whether it’s in popular or literary fiction. More…


ELISABETH HOLDSWORTH – author of Those Who Come After

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

For me, the great enterprise in writing is the novel. Creating a world the reader can identify with, or a character that somehow touches an authentic chord is exhilarating. Frustrating too, but when you get it right that’s sublime. More…


WILBUR SMITH – author of Those in Peril, When the Lion Feeds, Elephant Song, River God, Assegai, Hungry as the Sea, Cry Wolf, Warlock and many, many more…

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

At twelve I wanted to be a matador because I had just read Death in the Afternoon. At eighteen I wanted to be a gigolo because girls smelt so good. At thirty I wanted to be a novelist so I was.

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

That it was obligatory to marry every girl who came to my bed. More…


NICOLE AVERYauthor of Planning with Kids

Taste:  7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Help parents have more time being with their kids, not doing for their kids. To me the best part of family is being able to enjoy time hanging out with the kids. Cooking, cleaning, school runs, homework, sporting activities etc are all part of the regular workload of parents. If you can streamline the way you approach these, you can free up more time for the fun bits. More…


WENDY HARMER – author of Friends Like These, The Pearlie Series, Farewell My Ovaries and more…

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

If you love writing, then having the privilege of writing a novel is the ultimate. It’s the pinnacle of pure expression. Something that is entirely “you”. I am always seeking a place where I can be free with my words. Funnily enough, it seems like stand up comedy and writing a novel might be two such places. Standing on a soap box in the street might be another one… and I haven’t ruled it out just yet. More…


BLOSSOM – author of Eat, Spray, Love

Taste:  4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

One was my first trip to the vet (was the thermometer up the bum really necessary?) and a close encounter with a shitzu (accent on the ‘shit’) which made me realise life on the outside isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Second was coming across Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence—the one that begins with the lines, ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wildflower’. He inspired me to embrace life’s simple pleasures and understand the large through the small.

Third was seeing my flatmate get a book published. I mean if she could do it, I certainly could. And I was right. More…


JANE SULLIVAN – author of Little People

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

Very tricky question! Easier to say who I don’t admire (but I won’t). Many heroes including Flaubert, Borges, George Eliot, Peter Carey, Peter Temple, Roberto Bolano, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami, Ian McEwan, Tobias Wolff, Penelope Fitzgerald, a horror story writer called Rachel Ingalls, Sarah Gruen, W. G. SebaldKazuo Ishiguro, Wilkie Collins, Justin Cronin … Ask me next week and I’ll come up with a completely different list. I clearly have very eclectic tastes, but these are all writers whose work I love to read.More…


STEPHEN KELMAN – author of Pigeon English

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

I remember reading Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha for the first time – with just a series of words typed on paper I could clearly picture this little boy cowering under the kitchen table while his parents argued, I could see his face and what he was wearing, could feel the dread and the confusion he felt. The great potency of the novel as an art form is that it allows the reader to use his own imagination to create images which seem to live and breathe, while at the same time the novelist can explore ideas and provide access to his characters’ inner lives in great detail. It’s that ability to achieve both these things simultaneously that attracts me. More…


ADAM LIAW – author of Two Asian Kitchens

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

The first defining moment would have to be getting a scholarship to go to high school. I don’t think my parents would have been able to afford to send me to that school and if I hadn’t gone, I don’t think I would have the close friends and relationships I have today. For the second, I think moving to Japan when I was 25 really changed the way I thought about myself and how I deal with adversity and changes in my life. Of course, winning MasterChef last year would easily, and by far, be the most defining moment of my life to date. More…


SIMON TOYNE – author Sanctus

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

I have a slight issue with the word ‘artist’? To me it suggests a kind of creativity born of some sort of intense, divine inspiration. Writing is a craft. You have to work at it. You have to put the hours in. My goal is simply to make sure whatever I’m working on ends up in the best shape possible. More…


ANITA HEISS –  author of Paris Dreaming, Manhattan Dreaming and many more…

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

When I was twelve I just wanted to be popular because I felt like a square peg.  At eighteen I wanted to be an investigative journalist because I liked the thought of working in the media. At thirty I wanted to be the best writer in any genre possible. I’d already published poetry and satire and was writing my doctoral thesis on literature and publishing. More…


J. C. BURKE – author of Pig Boy, The Story of Tom Brennan, The Red Cardigan and more…

Taste: 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 novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding. I think I read this around the age of 12. I remember it so well, probably because it was my first experience of understanding the potential darkness within people. The story also made me see that this darkness lives inside all of us. This ‘vulnerability’ or ‘susceptibility’ is a theme I seem to explore in my work.

The film Ordinary People directed by Robert Redford. The title of this film says it all. What happens to an ordinary family who suffers a terrible trauma. This film seemed to cover so many responses from all the different family members.

The painting Ophelia by Millais. My mother had a book of his work and I used to stare at this painting in complete fascination. The way Ophelia’s hands floated in the water and how pale her skin was. There seemed to be so many things to see in this painting. More…


PAULA McLAIN – author of The Paris Wife

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why? On the literary track, I deeply admire Colm Toibin. There’s great power and restraint in his work on the sentence level, and I think he’s deeply perceptive about human nature. I also really admire Kate Atkinson, who’s managing this feat of writing mesmerizing detective-novel page-turners that also have rich characterization and literary merit. I can’t think of so many others like her just now. More…


LIBBI GORR- author of The A-Z of Mummy Manners – An Etiquette Guide for Dealing with Other People’s Children and Assorted Mummy Dilemmas

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I’m a great fan of fabulous TV series writers – Matthew Weinar who wrote Mad Men, Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous.) It’s one thing to to imagine and write a fabulous ‘dramedy’ – comedy drama – it’s another to inspire others to realise that vision. These are my professional inspiration, anyway. Any woman who can combine motherhood and a loving relationship yet still focus on her professional goals with success without actually committing a serious crime also deserves a commendation. More…


GERALDINE BROOKS - author of Caleb’s Crossing, Year of Wonders, Nine Parts of Desire and more…

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

There was a story that had taken root in my imagination–a true story, about a Derbyshire village that had voluntarily quarantined itself during the Bubonic Plague in 1665. There were too many gaps in the historical record to know what that decision had meant for people, what it had been like to live and die at that time. So I had no choice. I had to imagine it. More…


DOUGLASS KENNEDY - author of The Moment, Temptation, The Pursuit Of Happiness and many more…

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

I’ve always said that the modern novel began with Madame Bovary, as this was the first novel to tackle domestic entrapment and boredom. One hundred years after Flaubert a great (and, for years, greatly underrated American novelist named Richard Yates reinvented Flaubert for the post-war world in two brilliant novels: Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade. No one has written more devastatingly about the tragedy of modern American life than Yates. And Graham Greene – whom I previously mentioned – showed me how serious fiction can also be popular. More…


 KERRI SACKVILLE – author of When My Husband Does The Dishes…

Taste: 6. Please tell us about your latest book… When My Husband Does The Dishes… is a memoir of marriage and motherhood. It’s about what my life looks like 150 years after I walked off into the sunset with my partner (and what your life probably looks like too). It’s about avoiding sex and hiding arguments from the kids and being late for school and breaking up with friends and having endless fantasies of Simon Baker. It can be read in one go, or in short bursts while sitting on the toilet or waiting in the car.  (Read author Kylie Ladd’s review of When My Husband Does The Dishes… Click here…) More…


STEVE HOCKENSMITH – author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After

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

The fervent desire to run out and buy all my other books. Ba-da-BING! To go “Ba-da-BING!”-less for a moment, I also hope my readers feel that they’ve connected with me. Yes, first and foremost I’m trying to tell entertaining stories. But I’m in there, too. My outlook, my sensibilities, my sense of humor. I want people to feel as though they’ve met me, in a way. Because then they’re a lot more likely to run out and buy all my other books. More…


TIFFINY HALL - author of Weightloss Warrior: How to Win the Battle Within

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never write more than you read. Never let anyone tell you how or what to write. Write every single day – no matter if it’s just a little or a lot, get into the rhythm and discipline of training yourself to write regularly. Never listen to anyone who says, “You’re a writer. So what’s your real job?” Most importantly, believe in your story. More…


MARIA V. SNYDER -author of Inside Out and many more…

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

Most people don’t realize how hard it is to complete a novel until they sit down to write one.  I’ve had dozens of people tell me they have the first three chapters done, but (insert excuse here). It is so easy to procrastinate when writing, and I admire those who finish their novels despite overwhelming difficulties with family or their health.  I most admire author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote Seabiscuit and Unbroken, despite battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that is exacerbated by vertigo.  When I have a cold or am tired, I don’t feel like writing and really just want to plop myself on the couch and watch a movie.  But I can’t, because if Laura can write, then so can I. More…


FAVEL PARRETT - author of Past the Shallows

Taste: 6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Set on the wild south coast of Tasmania, Past the Shallows is a book about love, loss and the bond between brothers. It is also a story about how secrets can destroy a person, and ultimately a family. More…


S. J. WATSON – author of Before I Go To Sleep

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

I’m in love with language. I love the way that in a novel the writer allows the reader to cast the characters and dress the scene and choose the props. I love the fact that no two readers will see the characters in exactly the same way, and that everyone will bring their own perspective to the book. Reading a book is a collaborative process. Also, I wanted to express my creativity and couldn’t really do anything else! More…


JACQUELINE LUNN – author of Under The Influence

Taste: 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?

This is a hard one because I have always thought real people influence me the most. My friends’ stories about how they survived Christmas with the in-laws and a partner who is increasingly ‘mentally’ absent, the conversation I overhear at the café, a story in the paper about a grandmother killing a man when charges against him were dropped for sexually assaulting her grandchildren, a question one of my children asks when they are bored in the backseat of the car. But here goes: three works of art that I loved?

The Little Dancer by Edgar Degas. Known for his paintings of ballet dancers and ballet classes, this one is a rare sculpture and I found it both beautiful and ugly.

Chris Lilley’s Summer Heights’ High – so clever and laugh out loud funny. He has a clear vision.

A Mercy by Toni Morrison – I read every page in awe. More…


DAVID BALDACCI -bestselling author of The Sixth Man, Absolute Power, Hell’s Corner and many, many more

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write even more than you read. Never let a stranger suck the passion out of you by rejecting one of your works. Believe in yourself even if no one else believes in you. More…


MICHAEL ROBOTHAM – author of The Wrekage, The Suspect, Lost and many more

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

When I was seven I wanted to be a prison warder because I heard on the radio they were striking for a pay rise to $50 a week. I only earned 20 cents a week. I could do the maths.

When I was twelve I wanted to play cricket for Australia. At eighteen I wanted to be a writer, but had nothing worth writing. I became a journalist to gather material. At thirty I was working on Fleet Street and my dreams of writing novels had been pushed aside by the sheer excitement of seeing history being made – the Berlin Wall tumbling and the Soviet Union crumbling. More… 


MARDI McCONNOCHIE- author of The Voyagers: A Love Story and Coldwater

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

Well, I used to want to be as famous as the Brontë sisters after I’m dead. Now I realise that even if it does happen, I will be dead. Now all I want is a bit of space and enough money to keep writing the things I want to write, while hoping that something I write will connect with readers in such a way that they’ll seek out more of my work and take an interest in what I’m doing. Prizes and acclaim would also be lovely, of course. More…


STEPHEN DANDO-COLLINS - author of Crack Hardy: From Gallipoli to Flanders to the Somme, the True Story of Three Australian Brothers at War

Taste: 9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I have a long list of goals on the back of my study door. It’s fascinating to look back at the goals, large and small, that have been achieved and scored off. Strangely, the list of goals yet to be achieved just continues to grow longer, and more grandiose! More…


EOIN COLFER -author of Plugged and the enormously successful Artemis Fowl series

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

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. More… 


JOHN ELDER ROBISON - author of Be Different and Look Me In The Eyes

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Boy . . . there have been so many events . . .  my parents giving me that computer kit . . .  the birth of my son, Cubby . . .  seeing the audiences applaud my creations with KISS . . .  learning about autism and Asperger’s . . .  learning how to make friends . . .  getting married, and getting divorced. The list is long; far more than three. More…


Credit- Anne LiRACHEL DeWOSKIN -author of Big Girl Small

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

When I was twelve, I wanted to be Donna Summer.Credit- Anne Li

When I was eighteen, I wanted to be Anna Karenina, but not dead.

When I was 30, I wanted to be fluent in Chinese, so I could communicate with my 1.6 billion potential new friends.  More…


BERNIE McGILL - author of The Butterfly Cabinet

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

It’s a long list, for lots of different reasons, but broadly, because I believe in the worlds they create: Peter Carey, John Banville, Anne Enright, Claire Keegan, A.S. Byatt, Margaret Atwood, Joseph O’Connnor, Colm Toibin, Colum McCann, Andrea Levy, Alice Munro, Flannery O’Connor, Maggie O‘Farrell, Zadie Smith, Pat Barker, Anne Michaels, Sebastian Barry, Patrick McCabe, Monica Ali, Annie Proulx, Alice Sebold, Lionel Shriver. More…


HANA SCHOFIELD and ATKA REID – authors of Goodbye Sarajevo

Taste: 7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Hana: In times of crisis, to remind people that nothing is permanent; rather than being overwhelmed by the big picture over which we have no control, we need to focus on the little things in our daily lives which we can do something about. Step by step, we find sense in our lives again…

Atka: If Goodbye Sarajevo inspires one person who is going through or has been through tough times to draw some strength from our story – that would be a great reward for our work. More…


ANDREW MORTON - author of William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding

Taste:  4.  What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

My career has been opportunist rather than well-considered.

So for example my friend John Whitby, chief salesman for Corgi Books, suggested I write my first book, Andrew, The Playboy Prince (see above) after I returned from Mustique in the Caribbean where the  prince had gone with the actress Koo Stark. It was a jolly Boys Own adventure and it gave me a taste for writing more books. My first meeting with my current UK publisher Michael O’Mara came when he was publishing picture books on Charles and Diana. We became friends and he published one of my early books, on Diana’s life inside Kensington Palace.

Perhaps the other most significant event was meeting Dr James Colthurst when Princess Diana visited his hospital in London. We got on well and he became an occasional contact and later a friend. He ultimately asked Diana the questions I drafted for my book, Diana, Her True Story. More…


A.C. GRAYLING - author of The Good Book

Taste: 6. Please tell us about The Good Book

The Good Book is a secular humanist bible, made in the same way as the scriptures of the religions – that is, by compilation, modification, arrangement and editing of source texts into an overall text with a definite purpose, which in the case of The Good Book is to present the wisdom, insight, inspiration and consolation of the great traditions of non-religious thought both Western and Eastern. It makes only one request of readers: that they think for themselves. It contains materials for people to reflect on life and values, and urges them to go beyond those materials to construct good and flourishing lives for themselves, informed by what the materials suggest.

The source materials are from Aristotle, Pliny, Confucius, Seneca, Mencius, Cicero… all the way to Spinoza, Hume, Chesterfield, Pater, with many others, woven together. There is not one mention of the words ‘god’, ‘goddess’, ‘soul’, ’afterlife’ – it is a book for humanity in the short 900 months of a human lifespan between cradle and grave, full of rich wisdom. More…


WILLY VLAUTIN - author of Lean on Pete

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

12: I wanted to be a veterinarian. I worked at a vet hospital through high school but I was such a bad student that I gave up on that idea pretty quick.

18: I wanted to be in a band and write novels

30: Depends which day I got up. Some days I wanted to be in a band and write novels and other days I wanted to be an electrician or salesman with an expense account, anything with security. More…


MEG CABOT - author of Abandon, The Princess Diaries and many more…

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

When I was eighteen I believed strongly that writing comes from inspiration. I thought you just got a good idea and wrote it down and – voila! – you were a writer. But the more wrote, the more I know now that writing is also really hard work. You have to do it even when you’re not inspired. In fact, inspiration is really rare, and if writers only worked when we had it, we’d all starve to death. More…


CAROLYN JESS-COOKE - author of The Guardian Angel’s Journal

Taste: 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?

Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto; I came upon at the age of fifteen and it has been a part of me ever since – not only is it an amazingly gorgeous piece, but the story of its conception is inspiring (Rachmaninov sought hypnotherapy after the failure of his 1st Symphony).

The poetry of Catullus played a key role in my early development as a poet, probably because I was in the thick of teenage infatuation and his poetry spoke to that turmoil; much of the Classics informed my writing, in fact – Greek myth, Sophocles, Virgil, Homer. I still incline towards the epic above all other genres.

I would also say Shakespeare played a key role in my writing. I was very anti-Shakespeare at school because I rejected the idea of being forced to read a certain writer (why Shakespeare and not Marlowe, for instance?) but I ended up focusing my PhD on his works. Although Hamlet is so heavily quoted and popularized, it is my favourite – an amazing study of humanity and bereavement. More…


MADELEINE ROUX - author of Allison Hewitt Is Trapped

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

There are a lot of stories I’m dying to tell. Ultimately, I’d love to do a sweeping fantasy epic. I’d like to add a few initials to my name and be among the likes of JRR Tolkien and George RR Martin. I’d like to rub elbows with them, so to speak. I’d love to give the world a fantasy heroine that’s up there with Frodo and Aragorn and Jon Snow. I think there’s room for it, and a need.

I’d also love to add a few stories to the video game universe. In my mind, video games could straddle the gender line a bit more, try to make stories that are appealing because they’re well-executed, not because they appeal to a specific crowd. I think Allison would fit right in, but there’s a sorry lack of female heroines in video games. More…


RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH – author of The Friendship Matchmaker, BUZZ OFF!, Does My Head Look Big in This? and many more…

Taste: 9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To continue juggling a legal and writing career, pushing myself to my full potential with both. To do so while raising my children in the best way possible and offering them all I can. To continue my human rights advocacy and, one day, return to university to pursue a doctorate. More…


KERRI POTTHARST – author of The Business of Being an Athlete: How to Build a Winning Career in Sport

Taste:  8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I admire many people. Especially people who have achieved things out of adversity or against the odds. This takes great courage and belief and sometimes these are two of the most difficult traits to develop. More…


MARY JOHNSON – author of An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of an Authentic Life

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

At twelve I wanted to be an archaeologist and conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra because I loved music and fossils and exploring. At eighteen I had already decided to become one of Mother Teresa’s nuns: I thought God had called me and I wanted to live a life of purpose. At thirty I wanted to be a good nun—by then I’d realized it was trickier than I’d thought! By forty all I wanted to be was myself. At fifty I might have started to figure out how to do that! More…


MANDY MAGRO - author of Rosalee Station

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

At twelve I probably wanted to be eighteen, like most young girls, but from memory I think I wanted to be a chef. I was always in the kitchen cooking up a storm and I still am.

At eighteen I was a hairdresser but dreamt of being a photographer as I love the way you can catch a memory for a lifetime with a click of a button.

At thirty I wanted to be eighteen again, LOL! This is around the time when I began to dream about being a writer. More… 


KATE FORSYTH - author of The Chronicles of Estelliana: The Starthorn Tree, The Wildkin’s Curse and now  The Starkin Crown

Taste: 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?

Mmmm, interesting question. ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was my favourite book as a child. I can definitely say that it has influenced my writing! My grandmother’s favourite piece of music was ‘Ode to Joy’ and since she was named Joy and that is my middle name, you could say that the idea of joyfulness is central to what I write. And I am writing a book at the moment in which the Venetian painter Titian is a character. I have been closely studying all his works, but key to my story is his early work ‘Woman With A Mirror’. I’ve just been to Paris to see it in the Louvre – behind me was a huge mob of people all taking photographs of the Mona Lisa while, to my mind, ‘Woman With a Mirror’ is a far more mysterious and beautiful painting. More…


MICHAEL PRYOR - author The Laws of Magic series, The Doorways TrilogyQuentaris and more…

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

There is no higher goal than to be referenced on back cover blurbs. That is, for the blurb on another writer’s book to say ‘in the grand tradition of Michael Pryor’ or ‘the new Michael Pryor’ or even ‘following in the giant footsteps of Michael Pryor’. Once that’s achieved, what’s left, apart from having a species of animal named after you? More…


ROHAN WILSON - Winner of The 2011 Australian/ Vogel’s Literary Award -with The Roving Party

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

The novel format is the most important artistic form we have. It is the only form which can fully embody the moral complexity of human life. Long TV series have approached this complexity at times, but rarely do they ever achieve what novels routinely achieve: an utterly believable view of humanity. More…


DANIEL H. WILSON – author of Robopocalypse

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

A novel offers the author complete control. I also write screenplays, and the level of outside involvement creates significant challenges. I love that although writing a novel is an enormous endeavor, at the end of the day there is only one person who is responsible for what’s inside. More…


RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON – bestselling author of The Devil’s Light, Balance of Power, The RaceEclipse and many more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To treat writing as a job. If you set out to write five polished pages a week, by the end of the year you’ll have 250 pages without losing your day job and ruining your relationships. Keep after it. More…


MICHAEL CONNELLY – author of The Detective Harry Bosch Series, The Mickey Haller Series and more…

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

It sounds simple but it is a difficult challenge. I want to get better with each book I write. Since I am my own harshest critic, it is hard for me to appreciate any advances in craft or prose or character accomplishment. More…


KAREN BROOKS – author of Tallow and Votive: The Curse of the Bond Riders

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

Gosh, that’s a hard question as I think life experiences change your beliefs and ideas about things so much. But, if I had to name one that has changed, it’s the fallibility of parents. I used to think my father could do anything except be wrong. I learned that’s not true and, in doing so, learned to be more generous about his faults. More…


ANDREW NICOLL – author of The Love and Death of Caterina and The Good Mayor

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

There are not innumerable artistic avenues open to me. I am a big fat hairy bloke and I would look pretty silly in a leotard so modern dance is definitely out. I’ve never tried sculpture so, for all I know, I might be quite good at it and I can draw a bit but my paintings tend to look like something the dog sicked up. No technique. No, my artistic avenues are far from unlimited.

I know it sounds really poncey but I don’t think I did choose to write The Good Mayor. That book just happened to me.  I chose to write the second one because some nice people came along and said: “That went well. If we gave you a bundle of cash, would you do it again?” More…


ALYSON NOËL – author of The Immortals series

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

I admire any author who’s been able to carve out a long lasting career. It’s a very tough business—much tougher than I ever realized it would be—but I love telling stories, so I’m in it for the long haul! More…


FIONA PALMER – author of The Family Farm and now Heart of Gold

Taste: 7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work? I hope they feel like they’ve connected with the characters, that they’ve been on an emotional ride with them and that they come away with a smile.

I hope all readers finish my books feeling happy. I want my books to be like putting on a favourite rom/com movie where there is no risk of it ending badly and you know you are going to get an ending you’ll like. More…


GIORGIO FALETTI – author of I Kill and now I Am God

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

Ammiro talmente tanti autori che a elencarli tutti farei certamente qualche ingiustizia, perchè qualcuno lo dimenticherei di certo. Però uno a cui sono molto affezionato è Mark Twain. A mio avviso è il creatore del romanzo moderno, un portatore di storie in cui un umorismo da grande maestro si unisce a momenti di lirica indimenticabile.

I admire so many authors that to list them would do an injustice , because I am sure that I would forget someone. But one who I am very fond of is Mark Twain. In my opinion he is the creator of the modern novel. A carrier of stories in which a masterful humour is combined with moments of lyricism. More…


KYLIE CHAN – author of the Dark Heavens: White Tiger, Red Phoenix, Blue Dragon and Journey to Wudang: Earth to Hell, Hell to Heaven, Heaven to Wudang

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There’s already been some excellent advice given on these pages, the two biggest being ‘read’ and ‘write’. I won’t repeat that, I’ll add another one – find a local writing group or government sponsored writing centre and join it. I received my ‘big break’ through the Queensland Writers Centre – the publishers were actively working together with the centre to search for new talent. Don’t attempt to get published in a vacuum – there is a wonderful supportive community out there. More…


CHRIS WOMERSLEY – author of Bereft, which was shortlisted for 2011 Miles Franklin Award, and The Low Road

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

Each time I set out to write a novel, I try to write something that has never been written before.

I usually try and write the novel that I would like to read but hasn’t yet been written. More…


TESS GERRITSEN – author of The Silent Girl  the latest in the Rizzoli & Isles series

Taste: 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?

1. The Nancy Drew mystery series, because it made me realize that a girl could do everything a boy could — even drive a car and take down bad guys!

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the original black and white horror flick. Because it haunted me all through my childhood and made me realize that people are not always who they seem.

3. JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Because it taught me that there are no limits to where your imagination will take you. More…


ROSALIE HAM – author of  There Should be More Dancing, Summer at Mount Hope and The Dressmaker

Taste: 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?

There was never much art in Jerilderie but there was the struggle between life and death on the family farm, and there was a library. I remember The Bafut Beagles as being an exotic, informative and very engaging read when I was about thirteen.

And I saw great pathos in Cezanne’s landscapes. It looked to me as if he’d put a huge amount of sincere effort into them, yet they still seemed not quite finished.

Rural community activities – agricultural shows, football grand finals and ANZAC day marches – mean that even today, brass marching bands induce in me a swelling heart and tears of joy. But it was the extremes in my early childhood years, the proximity of the (sometimes cruel) life cycle, the desperation of back-lane cricket and the nefariousness of local adulterers that fed my yen for narrative. I passed a lot of time in the limitless, empty outdoors and I had to amuse myself, and all of these things fuelled my play-acting and the dramas I had going on in my imagination at any given time. More… 


LOLA SHONEYIN – author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

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

Back then, I was terrible at defining or managing my emotions so I’d convince myself that I was in love with for every guy who told me a sad personal story. Now, I know that the strange stirring in the pit of my belly is the gift of empathy. It can be a curse too but I’m not a sucker anymore. More…


CLAIRE CORBETT – author of When We Have Wings

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

The novel is the ultra-marathon of the arts. You do it because it’s hard, because you’re easily bored and because you want to find out what happens when you push yourself. Like climbing Everest or raising a child, it’s painful and it can’t be done perfectly and most of the time you’ll feel it can’t be done at all but when you do it’s exhilarating. The best reason to write a novel is the same as the best reason for reading them, which is to live another life. Reading and writing are the only ways I know to live many lives in one.More…


CRAIG MURRAY – co-author of Sexpectations

Taste: 5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I was approached to write the book by Communicate Kids, but I love books, I think they’ll always have a place. I love the tactile nature of books, and given the sensitive nature of the book (sex / sexuality) it may be easier to find a safe place to explore this stuff rather than on the computer in the family home or library and books are easier to leave laying around for young folks to ‘find’… oh and I’m a technophobe. More…


John Heffernan aka CHARLIE CARTER- author of the Battle Boy series

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

I wanted to be heaps of things when I was twelve – inventor, Viking warrior, mountain climber, lion tamer, rocket scientist, cat burglar, jet pilot – the list went on and on. It got shorter as I grew older, but not by much. There have been, however, two main occupations that have stood out from the others through most of my life.

The first is author; I’ve always loved writing. The second is archaeologist – and I think that’s where Charlie Carter comes in. He’s the side of me that loves digging up the past and solving the mysteries of history – a kind of Indiana Jones character. So when it came time to write a series about a kid who visits great battle from the past, the choice of author was a no-brainer. More…


GREGOR SALMON – author of Navy Divers and Poppy

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

On the very rare occasion during high school we were given a creative writing exercise. I can only remember there being two, and each left a lasting impression on me. In year 7 we were told to write a play. I wrote a comedy based on classroom antics. I was asked to read it out aloud and everyone, including the teacher, was laughing. I felt good about myself in a way I never had before. Here was an audience being thoroughly absorbed and entertained by something I’d created. More…


STUART DALY – author of The Scourge of Jericho

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never stop following the dream of becoming a published author. We all have great stories to tell. It’s only a matter of finding a publisher who believes in you.

Writing is a hard industry to crack into, but doors do open. I’m living proof of that. I am not represented by an agent, nor did I send my manuscript to an appraisal service. Following Random House Australia’s guidelines for unsolicited manuscripts, I sent a query letter. Within a few days they had responded, requesting the entire manuscript. After a considerable amount of redrafting, the manuscript was resubmitted, accepted and a contract offered. More…


FELIX J. PALMA – author of The Map of Time

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

That they ask themselves if they like to tell stories, and if they would tell them even if they had to do so in an empty theatre. This desire is essential when starting out in this craft because they can then enjoy doing something they love. The second piece of advice is that they ask themselves if they have a world-view interesting and individual enough for the task, because how well one writes depends most of all on the ability to appeal to readers by looking at the world from an original perspective. More…


TRISTAN BANCKS – author of My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up and Galactic Adventures: First Kids in Space

Taste: 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?

1) I like the collision of different media in the art of Robert Rauschenberg. It feels a bit like the fusion of words, images, video, music and the web that informs my writing practice.

2) I love stories about kids forced to be resourceful, independent courageous and determined, so Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet are favourites and will continue to influence me as a writer. More…


NIROMI DE SOYZA- author of Tamil Tigress

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

1. Having been separated as a child from my family at a young age.

2. Reading the works of Indian poet Subramaniya Barathi and by Che Guevara.

3. Experiencing the terrible effects of violence early in life have all taught me the transient nature of human life and to not to take anything for granted. More…


KIM McCOSKER- co-author of the 4 Ingredients phenomenon

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

It’s funny you should ask, my parents moved 2 years ago to the Sunshine Coast after 35 years in Mundubbera and in the same house. My Mum unearthed family treasures she didn’t even know existed! One of them was my Grade 8 Social Studies Book in which, at 13, I had written I want to be a lawyer, a fashion designer or an author!

But it was my exceptionally honed skill at ‘spending’ that drew me to Finance. I completed a degree in International Finance at Griffith University in 1998 and threw myself into learning how to earn and compound. More…


PETER SALMON – author of The Coffee Story

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write! Don’t wait for an idea, just write. I had a revelation a few years ago that there is no ‘great idea for a novel’. Look at Anna Karenina – the idea for that novel is ‘a woman has an unhappy affair and throws herself under a train’. No-one would write that novel! I find it very frustrating talking to writers who are waiting for ‘an idea’. Write and write and write, and at thirty thousand words an idea might come to you or it might not. But it’s not going to come sitting around waiting. Novels are wiser than people, so waiting for an idea is nonsense. That’s the main thing. And when you’ve written something SEND IT OFF. I live my life by one Woody Allen line – ‘90% of success is showing up’. Absolutely true. Always and forever. More…


SARAH-KATE LYNCH - author Dolci di Love

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

Honestly, I admire all writers. It’s not an easy job, although as your own boss it has its advantages, but for the most part a writer spends a year on his or her own sitting in front of a computer working diligently on a massive project that they don’t really know if anyone else will like. This takes courage, and sometimes a lot of gin, not necessarily in that order although that order is definitely more likely to be productive. More…


JACQUELINE HARVEY- author of the Alice-Miranda adventures

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t talk about it, do it! In my twenties I wrote stories, poems and plays for the children in my classes and I spent a lot of time saying that I wanted to be a published writer. I didn’t really do anything about it though until I met the man who would become my husband and he said to me, ‘well you don’t want to die wondering’ and that was true. I didn’t want to look back in another ten or twenty years and wonder if I could have done it. Every author will tell you that the journey isn’t especially easy and there’s a lot of hard work and perseverance involved. Writing is a bit like riding a rollercoaster – but ultimately having your books out there in the world, knowing that they are being read and enjoyed gives an amazing feeling of satisfaction. Don’t be jealous of others – celebrate their success, work hard and one day, who knows! More…


PETER RIX – author of Water under Water

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

My aim with Water under Water was simply to tell a story that readers would enjoy. I consciously and repeatedly rejected any veering towards didactics. Now, though, as readers begin to talk about the book, I will admit to a hope; that they might see a new possibility; that in behind the unusual face or misshapen body at the train station or at the counter at Maccas, there may well be hidden a human being with passion and longings the equal of their own. Or that the lolling head in the wheelchair contains a brain that not only ‘sees’ but is perfectly capable of evaluating those that pass by or turn away. More…


SEBASTIAN BARRY – author of On Canaan’s Side 

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

That every life, no matter how obscure or seemingly unimportant, weighs heavily in the weighing-scales of God, or whoever or whatever has us here.

More…


KATE GRENVILLE – author of Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, The Secret River and more… 

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

I was short-sighted as a child but was only diagnosed at age 14. For all those years, the world beyond my nose was a blur, but the world of words and books was vividly real. Even after I got glasses I loved the way you could go anywhere, feel anything, be anyone, with words. More…


TASMINA PERRY – author Private Lives, Kiss Heaven Goodbye, Original Sin and more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just sit down and get started! I remember when I first said I wanted to write a novel all the naysayers came out of the wood-work to tell me how difficult it was to get published. But in the magazine office where I worked, there were three of us working on fledgling novels and we all got good book deals – so it does happen! Blogs and short stories are a great way to practice and find your authorial voice. And your novel should be the story you are bursting to tell. More…


ARNOLD ZABLE – author of Violin Lessons, Scraps of Heaven and Sea of Many Returns

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

I had an obsession with social justice issue then, and I still have a similar obsession to this day. I don’t think I have changed my views in any fundamental way. Extensive travel has taught me that our similarities as human beings far outweigh our differences. In a way my travels have continued to reinforce long-held views. More…


ROSAMUND BURTON - author of Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers: Adventures along Ireland’s St Declan’s Way

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

The wonderful Irish travel writer, Dervla Murphy. She is now nearly 80 and she’s still travelling and writing books. She is incredibly disciplined, extremely well read and so informed when it comes to current affairs. She’s also very fit. When she was in Cuba a few years ago researching her book, The Island That Dared, she walked 20 miles carrying her backpack, and here I am over 30 years younger than her and almost at a standstill when I have to walk 20km carrying mine. More…


BARRY MAITLAND – author of Chelsea Mansions, Dark Mirrors and more…

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

I think the novel is the most extended, comprehensive and powerful representation of reality that we have available to us. More…


MADELINE MILLER – author of The Song of Achilles

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

This is a difficult question to answer. Certainly, I hope that it might inspire some interest in Greek mythology in general. I also hope that it might help to combat some of the homophobia that I see too often.

Beyond that, I hope that it provokes some thought about personal responsibility. Patroclus is not an epic person, the way Achilles is. He’s an “ordinary” man. But he has more power than he thinks, and the moments where he reaches out to others and offers what he sees as his very modest assistance have huge positive ramifications. Most of us aren’t Achilles—but we can still be Patroclus. What does it mean to try to be an ethical person in a violent world? More…


CAROLINE BROTHERS – author of Hinterland

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

I don’t have specific memories of what I wanted to do at those ages, though I did want to be a writer from very early on. But first I wanted to get some experience of the world, and being a journalist seemed like a great way to get a front row seat on events. So I took a very round about route to novel-writing, even though I was writing all the time. More…


CHRISTOPHER KREMMER – author of The ChaseThe Carpet Wars

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

To hone my craft, and myself, and do a better job of appreciating the beauty of life and the world before its too late, and to drag myself out of my garret and re-engage with the flesh and blood struggles of society and existence. And to stop fence sitting. More…


PAUL DALEY – author of Armageddon: Two Men on an Anzac Trail

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

At twelve I wanted to be a vet. I collected strays and I felt for them. My wife says I still do collect strays – except these days they’re mostly people. At eighteen I wanted to paint because I could. I got into art school. My father convinced me it wasn’t a good idea. I went to university instead. At thirty I wanted to write. I was already a writer of sorts – as the national affairs correspondent for a major metropolitan newspaper I was in Canberra covering politics. I got into journalism as a means to becoming a writer. It was always my plan to write beyond journalism. But I got good at the journalism – covered big stories, travelled widely and won awards. It was a fabulous two-decade diversion. Now I’m close to where I want to be. More…


NICK EARLS – author of The Fix, Zigzag Street, The True Story of Butterfish

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

To keep doing this job. To get better at it, every time if possible. To rack up a string of New York Times bestsellers plus commercially triumphant Oscar-winning film adaptations and lead a total rockstar life while being an excellent family man at the same time. That’s not too ambitious, is it?More…


CAITLIN MORAN- author of How To be a Woman

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

At eighteen I strongly believed that I was psychic. I used to read people’s hands. I stopped doing that when I looked at a man called Barry’s hand and saw he had a “Murderer’s Thumb,” and realised I couldn’t go on doing something that would involve me pointing at friends-of-friends at parties and screaming “YOU WILL KILL! YOU ARE DESTINED TO KILL!” Of course, later, when Barry did kill, I regretted not speaking up. More…


SUSAN DUNCAN – author of The Briny Café

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

I hope they’re entertained, get a glimpse into a radically different way of life, and that the book inspires people with a  passion to get back in the kitchen to cook up a storm for family and friends.More…


ANNA FUNDER – author of Stasiland and All That I Am

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

At one point I wanted to be a forensic pathologist – as a teenager I think. My grandfather was a pathologist, and my father a doctor, and it didn’t seem such a stretch (this was way before the forensic pathologist was the star of every cop show.) But then I dropped maths and sciences at school, so I must have known that wasn’t going to happen. The impetus to investigate people and causes is pretty much still there though – Stasiland is in a way the autopsy of a failed State. And the novel All That I Am – though it’s about love and risk – also involved a kind of intimate examination of why people wanted Hitler. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 6 years old – there were some detours, but I was always taking notes. More…


LISA UNGER- author of Darkness My Old Friend, Fragile, Beautiful Lies, Die for You and more…

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

That in fiction, as in life, there are few true villains or heroes. There are people who make good choices most of the time, and people who make bad choices most of the time. And that most of us, most of our lives, are a tapestry of good and bad choices, hopefully most of them fairly good. I try to treat all my characters with compassion and respect, even the most damaged and twisted among them. I hope my readers see their many facets, as I do. More…


NICK BRYANT – author of Adventures in Correspondentland

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I greatly admire the writing of Christopher Hitchens, who features quite heavily in the book and who was kind enough to say nice things about my first one. From a literary standpoint, the same is true of Clive James.  But the people are most admire are found in the book; brave, selfless, little-known types who do extraordinary things in extraordinarily dangerous places with little fuss or reward. More…


SALLY BREEN – author of The Casuals

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

That Kurt Cobain would change the world and not disappoint us and shoot himself in the head, that it was possible to be alternative and not be a wanker; that corporate ideology would not affect us and that we would never covet all the things we despised, that my friends would not die, that we would make a dint on the world that was more effective than heroin chic. That friends and lovers would not come and go. More…


VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH – author of The Language of Flowers

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Rewrite. And rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I have yet to meet a writer that writes a pretty first draft. Find one or two writers (or readers) whose opinion you trust, let them read your work, and then listen to what they say. Really listen—even if (and especially if) it is exactly the thing you don’t want to hear. Then go back to your draft, and keep working. More…


PAUL FRENCH – author of Midnight in Peking

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never, ever, under any circumstances put pen to paper and start to write about anything that doesn’t completely obsess and fascinate you. Without a complete absorption in the subject you’re guaranteed that, at best, it’ll turn into a dreary and frustrating slog and, at worst, it’ll drive you mad and put you off writing anything else ever again. More…


EM BAILEY – author of Shift

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I’m a big fan of ‘pitching’ ideas to friends and family. This always helps me figure out what is working with an idea and where the ‘holes’ are. I find that if I can’t describe my idea to someone in a way that is interesting then I generally can’t make it interesting when I write it down either. I’d recommend finding someone who is a patient listener… or lock the door so they can’t escape!

More…


MARK DAPIN – author of Spirit House and King of the Cross

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

Until The Information, Martin Amis used to write some of the best sentences in the English language. Ian McEwan is a fine novelist. The lifetime achievements of Nabokov are unsurpassed.More…


NICHOLSON BAKER – author of The House of Holes, The Anthologist, Vox and more…

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

At twelve I hoped to be a scientist who studied “bionics,” the science of how dolphins are able to swim so fast and other prodigies. At eighteen I wanted to be a composer like Bartok or Stravinsky. At thirty I wanted to write down shiny truths. More…


STEPHEN M IRWIN – author of The Broken Ones and The Dead Path

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

To be a good father. Writing is my job, and I am okay at it. But I’m not an artist. If anything, I am working at a craft. My father was a carpenter – a skilled craftsman who did his apprenticeship and learned on the job. I think I’m muddling along a similar path. If I can emulate him by doing my job as well as I can, improving through experience, and helping provide for my family and most especially be a decent father, then I’ll be very happy indeed. More…


CAROL BAXTER – author of Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady, Breaking the Bank and An Irresistible Temptation

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read and write … and keep reading and writing. I am a self-taught historian and a self-taught writer yet I managed to have my first manuscript picked up by the first publisher I approached (Allen & Unwin). All I had previously done was read lots of books and research and write family histories. I am not kidding. Yes, I might be the exception to the rule, but I am the proof that there are exceptions.More…


ALISON PICK – author of Far To Go, which has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011

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

With FAR TO GO I wanted two things. Intellectually, I wanted people to understand that evil is slow and creeping, that political and social pressure can cause even everyday people to act reprehensibly, and that nobody is immune. I hope the book causes readers to reflect on what they would do in the characters’ situation. From an emotional perspective, I wanted the readers to be caught up in the Bauers’ story, and to really feel the pain and terror of what faced them. It might sound odd, but when readers tell me that they cried at the end of the book, I feel that I’ve done a good job! More…


RACHAEL TREASURE – author of The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare, Jillaroo, The Stockmen and more…

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

I mostly admire women writers who are mothers as well. If you can raise a family, run a house, then write a book and run a writing business after supporting everyone else then you are a champion. My writer friends in Hobart who are superwomen and mums are Heather Rose, Katherine Lomer, Katherine Scholes and Danielle Wood. Utterly amazing women. More…


SYLVIA JOHNSON – author of Watch Out For Me

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Do more than just read books – engage with them. Judge them. Share your opinions. Encourage talk about books – we need to cultivate reading discussion as a part of our general discourse. Be part of ensuring that literary conversation isn’t just confined to book clubs and literary mags.

Support literacy in all its guises. Get on board with The SydneyStoryFactory – help create the next generation of readers and writers. Don’t just read in the café – take a book to the footy.

Also – write. But I’m guessing you’re already doing that. More…


CAROL ALTMANN – author of Four Seasons with a Grumpy Goat

Taste: 5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Not at all! People love stories and storytelling will always be a part of who we are. What device we use to read is changing, but for my money you can’t beat a book on a beach, or in bed, or on the train: no glare, no batteries required and a comforting softness that only comes from paper. More…


JOHN LONG – author of Hung Like an Argentine Duck:  A Journey Back in Time to the Origins of Sexual Intimacy

Taste: 7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To educate everyone to enough of a degree to be able to understand where our scientific knowledge really comes from (derives from quality peer-reviewed research), leading them to be confident enough to trust in science and act upon its advice. There is no plot or scam occurring – the evidence is crystal clear that our planet Earth is in already really serious trouble from climate change. It’s something we can start to mediate if we comprehend the gravity of the problem and begin to act upon advice already received – to seriously reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. More…


EMILY RODDA - author of The Deltora Quest series and now The Golden Door and more…

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

Pleasure, satisfaction and a sense of optimism. More…


KAZ COOKE – author of Up the Duff, Kidwrangling, Girl Stuff and now Women’s Stuff

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Hmmm. Thinking about those I admire, I think the theme might be fearlessness, or to be more accurate people who do things even if they’re scary. Ruth Gruber, pioneering photojournalist who first publicised what was happening with Jewish refugees after World War 2. My pal Judith Lucy for the candour and skill in her work. Women in the public eye who decide not to inject Botox into their face. Or women who do use Botox and don’t lie about it. Women on the land. Mums. Involved Dads. Good teachers. The actor Peter Dinklage, who raises the standard of everything I’ve ever seen him in. The way Russell Brand handles interviews. Barbara Cartland for wearing false eyelashes the size of fruit bats. More…


KATE CONSTABLE – author of Crow Country, The Taste of Lightning, Cicada Summer and more…

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

At eighteen I was a fervent communist. I was very romantic about the transformative powers of revolution. Now I’m not so sure. These days I’m more of a blushing pink than a glaring red.

More…


ELLIOT PERLMAN – author of Seven Types of Ambiguity, Three Dollars, The Reasons I Won’t Be Coming and now, The Street Sweeper

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There is a tendency in the middle of the writing of a novel for the writer to feel adrift, lost floating aimlessly in a rough swirling, uncharted ocean of words.  You are too far away from the beginning to feel the enthusiasm that set you on your way all those words ago and too far from the end to see the land of your completed tale where you may rest finally. There are so many obstacles between you and your completed manuscript. I would want to tell the aspiring writer the same thing I need to remind myself sometimes.

Do not let this sense of aimlessness stop you from finishing. From my own experience and that of many writers I’ve met, I’m convinced that this feeling is normal. While feeling this is no guarantee that your novel will be artistically, critically or commercially successful, neither is it a sure sign of failure.

When overwhelmed by this feeling, remember those novels that have had the biggest effect on you as a reader.  Look at those novels.  Take them from your shelves.  Flick through their pages.  Remember the characters, the settings, the plots.  Remember how they made you feel.  There was a time when the book in your hand, the book that means so much to you, was unwritten.  Perhaps the manuscript upon which you drift aimlessly now will come to be such a book for people you have never met. Dwell on this, that this could happen.  Take a deep breath and go back to your page.  Perhaps there is someone who needs you to tell this story.  Perhaps someone is waiting. More…


MARK EVANS – author of Dirty Deeds, former member of AC/DC and living legend

Taste: 5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I’m avid book reader, I love the feel of opening a new book (not an e-book) with the expectation of a great read, learning something and I cherish my wall full of favourite books. I may sound like a dinosaur but I have the feeling we are a long way from being extinct just yet. I would happily use an e-book when travelling, as I use an iPod but to me there is no greater feeling than a real book, especially receiving one as a gift… receiving an e-book download voucher as a gift… yuk. More…


CHARLOTTE WOOD – author of Animal People, The Children and more…

Taste: 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?

Brancusi’s Bird in Space was a revelation. It taught me about simplicity, and metaphor, and the human desire for flight. When I finally saw the one in the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice I cried.

Not until I met my husband did I understand I had never before really listened to music. Musicians pay attention to the intricacies of sound in a way that other people don’t. He taught me to listen to the layers of music – not just the surface – in everything from Glenn Gould to Michael Jackson to Eddie Palmieri. It taught me to look for layers, counter-rhythms and contrasting melodies in my own writing, and not to worry if people didn’t notice them.

I can’t name just one book, but Patrick White’s writing left me gasping when I finally read him in my thirties because of his ability to capture so sharply but with such compassion the inchoate, grand yearnings of ordinary people. More…


KERRY GREENWOOD – author of the Corinna Chapman and the Phryne Fisher Mysteries

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

I am a natural novelist. Short stories give me cramps and I am not original enough to be a poet, though I greatly admire poets. More…


Y. A. ERSKINE – author of The Brotherhood

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

I’m hoping to remind readers that there are two very different sides to policing and the justice system; the public one which is splashed across the broadsheets and the private one which ticks along, often silently in the background. Every person involved in a crime or incident (be it the suspect, the investigator, the journalist, the lawyer) has an agenda and for a multitude of different reasons, what you read in the paper or hear on the news isn’t necessarily the truth of the matter. Most times it’s not even close. More…


ERIN MORGENSTERN – author of The Night Circus

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

I had too much stuff in my head and it insisted on being written down and was far too long and involved to consent to being a short story or a novella. I have dabbled in other artistic avenues and I still paint but there is something extraordinary about creating an entire world to be held in a book. I’ve always loved books so it was a familiar artistic avenue even when it was daunting. More…


MATTHEW REILLY – bestselling author of the Scarecrow novels -Scarecrow And The Army Of Thieves, Scarecrow, Area 7, and Ice Stationand many more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write what you yourself love to read. If you love poetry, don’t try to write a thriller because you think you’ll make money. Or if you like more cerebral works of fiction, don’t try to write a romance. Fans of those kinds of books can spot a fake in ten seconds flat (and writing the wrong kind of book will quickly become a chore, not a labour of love).

If you write what you enjoy reading yourself, not only will every writing session be a joy (I love sitting down at my computer and writing the biggest, baddest, most outrageous action stories I can think of), but readers will detect your enthusiasm and warm to your work. Money and glory are not the end goals of writing—appealing to those who like your kind of book is. More…


ALICE HOFFMAN – author of The Dovekeepers, The Red Garden, The Third Angel and many more…

Taste:10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Decide who to trust, then trust him or her, and most of all, trust yourself. More…


RICHELLE MEAD – author of the enormously successful Vampire Academy series and now, Bloodlines

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

I haven’t had any radical philosophical, political, or spiritual changes in that time. The biggest difference is probably that I’m a lot wiser now than I was then—which in itself is a challenge to the beliefs I had at that age. At eighteen, I thought my twenties would be the prime years of life and everything else would pale. Now, I realize just how little I knew back then and am much happier being in my thirties than twenties. I’ll probably have a different story in my forties! More…


ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO – author of Halo and now Hades of the Halo trilogy and more…

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

I choose to write a novel because it was what felt the most natural for me at the time. I’d been writing stories since I was very young so I decided to take up the challenge and try extending those ideas into a full-blown novel. Once I started I couldn’t stop until it was finished and couldn’t think about other artistic avenues. I think I’m more interested now in exploring other avenues. More…


PIP LINCOLNE – author of Make Hey While the Sun Shines, Meet Me at Mike’s and Sew La Tea Do

Taste: 8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Oh I can’t name ONE! Gosh. No! I won’t do it. I really love people who do not fit the mould, who follow their own path, who are kind, funny, committed and passionate. So that could be any number of people. Tell them to come to my house for dinner when you see them. I will teach them how to do the double treble, if they would like that. (I will also invite Thomasina Miers, Sophie Dahl, Mirka Mora, Corita Kent, Sia, Vivian Bullwinkel, Clare Bowditch, Angie Hart, Zooey Deschanel, Claudia Roden, Dolly Parton and Marieke Hardy just to name a few! It’s okay if some are dead, right? More sandwiches for us!) More…


JUDY NUNN – author of Tiger Men, Maralinga, Floodtide and many more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The same as I give aspiring actors … “don’t give up your day job.” Seriously… I would encourage any aspiring writer to write, writing is a wonderful thing, but I would not encourage them to assume they will earn a decent living at it. On a practical level, however, “observe, observe, observe!” Memorise, or even record other people’s strengths, weaknesses and eccentricities, for they are the building blocks of the great characters of literature. And if you create only one in your entire career, literature will be the richer for it… oh yes, and good luck! You’ll need it! More…


MISERY BEAR – author of Misery Bear’s Guide to Love & Heartbreak

Taste: 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 a shop somewhere in London, England. I’m not sure which shop, and I’m not totally sure who my parents were. I was rescued from the shop by two men by the names of Chris and Nat, who I assumed were planning on assisting me in finding a better life. But no, they wanted to exploit me for financial gain. That said, I attended school, college and university in a short space of time (when you’re a teddy bear, you don’t go through the official channels) and got myself a job as soon as I could, so I could pay my own way. In spite of this, I’m still regularly exploited by my “handlers”. More…


MAILE MELOY - author of The Apothecary, Half in Love, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It  and Liars and Saints

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

I was in a huge hurry, at eighteen. I had very little patience. At eighteen you should think you have all the time in the world, but I got it backward. I’m still impatient, but I think I have less of a sense that time is running out right now. More…


MAL PEET – author of Life: An Exploded Diagram, Keeper, The Penalty, Exposure and more…

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Learn to live on a small budget. Get good at making soup out of cheap ingredients. Better still, free ingredients.

Read lots of books. Writing isn’t about ideas, it’s about words, and the best place to find them is in books.

Always go to bed before you run out of words. There’s nothing worse than a blank screen and a blank head in the morning.

Don’t kid yourself that doodling about on the internet is the same thing as research.

Don’t write about yourself unless you’re absolutely convinced that you are globally interesting. More…


BOB GRAHAM – Children’s Book Council of Australia Award winning author of A Bus Called Heaven, Greetings from Sandy Beach, How to Heal a Broken Wing and many more…

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

I tend to avoid books whose covers offer me “Breathtaking prose of heart aching beauty,” and prefer to read books where I am not aware of the writing and where I can concentrate on the story and characters within it. I love Anne Tyler and Colm Toibin. More…


FRANK MOORHOUSE – author of The Edith TrilogyGrand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Shed ideas of privacy and shame and live by candour as best you can in your writing and in your relationships – use the great freedom that we have. More…


SHARELL COOK – author of Henna for the Broken-Hearted:When the search for meaning takes you all the way to India

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Start a blog! Having a blog will enable you to establish a platform for yourself and your writing, and importantly it will also help you hone your writing skills and your writing “voice”. Blog readers are an excellent source of feedback and encouragement as well. Many aspiring writers wonder if their writing is good enough and are initially scared of having their writing “out there” (I know I was), so a blog is a very helpful tool to find out how well your writing will be received, what works, and what doesn’t. More…


DEREK LANDY – author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series

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

World domination. And I don’t mean it in a “I want my books to be successful around the world” kind of way. I mean, literally, world domination. I want to rule the world, preferably with an iron fist. I want to be feared and adored in equal measure, and then lusted after. I’d quite like to be lusted after. I also want a throne made from the bones of my enemies, but with a thick cushion, because the bones of my enemies would be pretty uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time while I’m ruling with the aforementioned iron fist. You’ve got to think about these things. More…


ANDREW McGAHAN – author of The White Earth, Praise and now The Coming of the Whirlpool

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

Well, since we’re talking fantasy, I’ll confine myself to fantasy writers here. And there’s no going past the obvious – Tolkien. He’s such a titanic figure in the genre that he hardly needs me to sing his praises, but for one thing he can paint a landscape – especially a mountainous one – more vividly than any other writer I know. But what I love most is the sadness that imbues his entire creation; the sense of slow decline and fall from what might have been, and the very relevant lament he makes that every hope or promise of mankind can so easily be destroyed by our most foolish but abiding of sins – pride. More…


PAUL HAM – author of Hiroshima Nagasaki, Kokoda and Vietnam

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

A belief in freedom, or ‘enlightenment’, being, to my mind, a faith in the capacity of human reason and resourcefulness ultimately to triumph over the forces of darkness, superstition, dogma and oppression. More…


MARC FENNELL – author of That Movie Book: Awesome, Weird and Wonderful Flicks for Every Weekend of Your Year

Taste: 9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

See Bond villain fantasy in Question 2.

If I’m being 100% serious, I genuinely love exploring and promoting great popular culture, media and technology. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to be a cultural critic and reporter over a number of platforms: radio with the ABC or on television with Hungry Beast and triple j tv on the ABC, SBS, Network Ten other broadcasters. And of course now I’ve been given the chance to explore it in this book. I want to expand. I want to make documentaries, magazine programmes and more books that explore great, compelling, hilarious culture. Most importantly I want to bring the audience along for the ride. Too often cultural criticism ends up leaving most Australians feeling cold or excluded. I want to make cultural criticism that entertains. And hopefully I can keep doing it across several media. More…


JESSICA RUDD – author of  Campaign Ruby and now, Ruby Blues

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

I hope that my readers have as much fun reading Ruby as I do writing her. I want them to laugh with and at Ruby’s foibles, befriend her, and also to learn something more about politics. More…


JESSICA ADAMS – editor of The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to London, New York, Paris and Rome

Taste: 9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Proving to people there is no death. That consciousness survives. That the spirit world communicates with us. That a lot of scientists on TV are talking bollocks. More…


MATT GRANFIELD – author of HipsterMattic: One Man’s Quest to Become the Ultimate Hipster

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

If you want to make a good living from writing, get a law degree. If you want to point to a page on your deathbed and be proud, and say “I wrote that”, write. Read a lot too, but mostly, write. More…


JESSICA OWERS – author of Peter Pan: The Forgotten Story of Phar Lap’s Successor

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

At 18 I really believed in the environment movement, and I was quite anti-capitalism. I thought I could swan through life with wholesome, green guidelines. These days, however, with a mortgage and a business to run, I realize that being a little bit capitalist means financial survival, especially in a huge, competitive city like Sydney. It’s unfortunate, but true. More…


MONICA McINERNEY - author of Lola’s Secret, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters and more…

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

From the moment I started writing, I couldn’t believe the fun and freedom of it. Before I wrote my first novel at the age of 30, I’d worked in many ‘creative’ jobs, in children’s TV, the music industry, the publishing industry. I’d helped run tourism festivals and also staged concerts and musical events, which I loved doing, but there was so much work involved. In an early chapter of my first book, my fictional winery needed to be painted. It took one sentence. A character flew from Australia to Dublin in five words. A tour around Ireland took three pages. That first novel showed me that writing fiction meant I could make anything happen in just a few words. Nine books later, I still feel that sense of wonder and anticipation when I start writing. More…


BRIAN FALKNER – author of Northwood, Assault Recon Team Angel Series : Book 1 and more…

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

Apart from a copy of my next book? I hope that my books are emotional experiences for my readers. If I have made the reader feel something, then I have done my job well. With some of my books, especially The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, I also hope to make the reader think, either about the future, or the state of the world today. More…


GILLIAN MEARS – author of Foal’s Bread

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

A paradoxical feeling of longing and completion. Possibly an intention to go to a show ring when it isn’t show day there to breathe in the stately magnificence of the shade trees planted such a long time ago.More…


MARION VON ADLERSTEIN – author of The Freudian Slip

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

At twelve I wanted to marry Errol Flynn.

At eighteen I wanted to marry my boyfriend.

By thirty I was divorced, living in London, a successful copywriter at Europe’s largest advertising agency and I was too happy to want much more. More…


DARREN SHAN – author of The Saga of Larten Crepsley, The Saga of Darren Shan and more

Taste: 10.  What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Many people talk the talk, but all the good ideas and elaborate plans won’t count for anything if you don’t sit down, shut yourself off from the world, and dedicate yourself to your task. Don’t make excuses, don’t search for short cuts, and don’t drag your heels. If you want to be a writer, you need do only one simple thing, which is what every writer has done before you. Write.  More…


STEVEN AMSTERDAM – author of What the Family Needed and Things We Didn’t See Coming

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

This is a question I always ask when setting out with a story, “Why does it have to be fiction? Could it be achieved with ceramics, for example?” My answer usually has to do with the relative simplicity of writing as a discipline (I don’t need to have clay or a wheel), the desire to utilise one or more perspectives (which fiction does so well), and my love for the process. More…


ADRIANA KOULIAS – author of The Sixth Key, The Seal and Temple of the Grail

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Begin. Write every day. Writing is like sculpture, it may not look like much at first, just a lump of rock, but if you keep chipping away at the stone, one day you will find the thing of beauty that is hidden inside it. More…


IAN IRVINE – author of Vengeance The Tainted Realm Series : Book 1

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

I was 18 in the late Sixties and, though I’d been rather a cynic since childhood, I did believe in many of the ideals of the Sixties. Make love not war and so forth. They were great ideals, too, though desperately naïve as it’s turned out. More…


SANDY THORNE – author of Old-Timers : Magnificent stories from mighty Australians

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To always carry a pad and biro, everywhere, plus keep a diary. To always put anything they write away in a drawer for at least a month, then read and edit it. To assess the time-wasting factors in your life, e.g. watching crap on t.v., verbal diarrhoea on the ‘phone, cut them out, and use that time to write. To only write about what you know about. More…


PETER POPHAM – author of The Lady and the Peacock: the Life of Aung San Suu Kyi

Taste: 4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

My parents’ divorce, unfortunately, which brought home the impermanence of ‘home’. Reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry and beginning to appreciate what prose could do, and what style was. Encountering Zen Buddhism when I was teaching English in Japan, and learning a little about silence. More…


JOY McKEAN – author of I’ve Been There (and Back Again): Slim Dusty and Joy McKean’s Lifetime of Travel, Stories and Songs

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

I believed that the world was my oyster and that I could overcome any obstacle because I knew all there was to know; these days I know that although I’ve learned a lot I still know little and I knew even less at eighteen. More…


Photo: Ellis ParrinderINDIRA NAIDOO – author of The Edible Balcony: How to Grow Fresh Food in a Small Space Plus 60 Inspiring Recipes

Taste: 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Only write what you are passionate about. It’s the passion that will see you through the at times challenging but ultimately rewarding process of writing a book. More…


MIROSLAV PENKOV – author of East of the West: A Country in Stories

Taste: 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?

When I was still a boy Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles and Poe’s story “The Black Cat” set my mind on fire, and then my hand in motion. I have been writing ever since.

Michelangelo’s Pieta and his Sistine Chapel instilled in my heart a sacred awe, a reverence for what an artist can do, for how high man can ascend.

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina taught me that literature, like no other art form – divine as all others may be – can reveal to us with clarity and depth the human psyche, until at last a character is more real than a real friend, until at last we feel we have become that character. More…


ROXY JACENKO - author of Strictly Confidential: A Jazzy Lou Novel

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

At the age of 12 I aspired to be a policewoman. I liked the idea of action packed, drama filled days! By the time I reached 18 I was working as a florist which I absolutely loved – just ask my team – I am meticulous about the floral arrangements in the office and at our events. But I realised if I wanted to build a successful and lucrative life for myself I had to launch my own business, and by the age of 30 I had been running Sweaty Betty PR for six amazing years and the company is still growing and evolving. More…


JENNIFER EGAN - author of the Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit from the Goon Squad

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Reading TRISTRAM SHANDY in my early 20’s had a gigantic impact, because it made me see that all the things we now call “experimentation” were present from the very origins of the novel, playfully and raucously employed in the service of storytelling. That discovery has guided my sensibility ever since.

There is a video piece by the artist Bill Viola called (I think) “The Reflecting Pool,” that I saw in a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York some years ago. It involved spectral figures moving around a pool, and it was hugely evocative and mysterious. I think it pretty directly inspired my last novel, a Gothic thriller called THE KEEP in which a mouldering, fetid pool plays a large role.

And finally, the TV series THE SOPRANOS, which I loved, got me thinking about how to use a more lateral, polyphonic form of storytelling in which peripheral characters move in and out of the role of central characters. While A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD was most directly inspired by Proust, its structure is a fairly direct result of my musings about what made THE SOPRANOS so powerful. More…


EDMUND DU WAAL, author of The Hare With Amber Eyes and The Pot Book

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Slow you down.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Write more. Write again. More…


ANNA REID, author of Leningrad: Tragedy Of A City Under Siege, 1941-1944

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

First, getting sacked from an au-pairing job in Sweden in the university holidays. I fled by ferry to Poland, which was under martial law following a crackdown on the ‘Solidarity’ pro-democracy movement. For the first time, I realised that Eastern Europe was actually a real place – until then it had been a big black blank on the map.

Second, being there when the Berlin Wall came down: bemused British squaddies standing on top of their Landrover, as crowds flooded through Checkpoint Charlie; the scared faces of small East German children, peering up from the back of Trabbies at hastily-scribbled ‘Willkommen’ signs; families wandering open-mouthed through a shopping mall, all carrying bunches of bananas.

And in my reading life – perhaps reading War and Peace for the first time, while on a back-packing holiday in India. Still memorable is the disconnect between my surroundings and the film playing inside my head. More…


NOEL MEALEY, author of Murder and Redemption

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

At age twelve I thought that I had the necessary attributes to become the Prime Minister of Australia.

At age eighteen I had decided that I would become a barrister, until a guidance counsellor rejected that ambition because as he said, ‘To become a successful barrister, you would first have to marry a wealthy woman.’ Since he did not seem to have any interest in introducing me to appropriately wealthy women, I sought my future as an Engineer.

At or about the age of thirty, I made up my mind to become a millionaire, because the environment in which I worked was heavily weighted towards the wealthiest people in Australia and it seemed churlish of me not to take a crack at it. More…


KIRSTEN TRANTER, author of A Common Loss and The Legacy

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read as widely as you can, and train your eye to see what good writers are doing well and how they do it. Bring to your writing the kind of passion and urgency that Donna Tartt‘s narrator describes in the prologue to The Secret History: “I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.” I think I was only able to find the courage to write my first novel once I truly felt that myself. More…


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PETER TWOHIG, author of The Cartographer

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It is this: don’t wait for a grand idea or a Big Production story to come to you. Just write. Don’t wait for life to hand you exciting experiences. Just write. And deeply care about it. More…


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EOWYN IVEY, author of The Snow Child

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Oh, I’ve never been in a position to give advice to other writers before, but I’ll try to make it sound as if I know what I’m talking about. If you love to read and love to write more than anything else in the world, then do it, and do it for the love of it. More…

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WENDY JONES, author of The Thoughts And Happenings Of Wilfred Price Purveyor Of Superior Funerals

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To persist intelligently. More…


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SANDRA REYNOLDS, author of The $120 Food Challenge:
Feed Your Family Fresh Food For $120 a Week

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write about what you know. Write about those people and places and events that resonate most with you. Dedicate time every day to the act of writing and with the exception of spell-checking, don’t edit until you have a manuscript.

Somewhere in the middle of your story, a jewel of an idea or character or plot-development, perhaps unsighted and almost certainly unplanned, will present itself, from which you can hone a great tale. Just don’t expect that the story you set out to tell will become the book you write. The finished work, just like life, will always turn out differently. More…


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NICK LAKE, author of In Darkness, The Secret Ministry of Frost and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to ignore all advice to aspiring writers, including my reply to this question. I would also like to preface this reply with the caveat that, by answering, I’m not suggesting that I know what writers should do. I don’t. I’m answering this more as a reader and editor than a writer, because to answer as a writer would suggest that I think I’ve reached a point where I’m pleased with my writing. And I’m not – I think I still have a long way to go. More…


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MARINA ENDICOTT, author of The Little Shadows and Good to a Fault

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read everything, read all the time, think hard, think again, write like a mad thing, repeat. More…


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CARRIE TIFFANY, author of Mateship with Birds and Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just to write. Not to think about readers or publishers or marketing… to accept that it is the writing itself that matters. And to read and read and then read some more… More…


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M. J. ROSE, author of The Book of Lost Fragrances

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Writing is an art; publishing is a business and an oft broken business at that. You can’t control the market or the fads. Write only because you love it – because you cannot dream of not writing. Write for your own pleasure, write for your heart, your soul and your own entertainment. More…


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ETGAR KERET, author of Suddenly, A Knock On The Door and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be yourselves when you write. You’re all the world champions at being yourselves. More…


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TESS EVANS, author of The Memory Treeand Book of Lost Threads

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Read. Read. Write. Write .Write. Believe in your created world and engage with your characters. If they are not real to you, they won’t be real to your readers. Read your work aloud before sending it off. It’s a great editing tool. Read and write some more and remember you are never too old to try. More…


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JESSICA MORGAN & HEATHER COCKS, author of Spoiled

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

JESSICA: Writing is a muscle and you have to exercise it. I know a lot of people who say, “I’d love to be a writer,” but they’re never writing anything. A writer writes. So sit down and start typing.

HEATHER: Exactly right. And don’t worry about whether it’s good or bad. If you’re like me, you want to do it all right the first time, but with writing you just have to do. Get the bad out and then make it good. It’s okay. Everyone does it. Do not be afraid to suck. More…


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ALAIN DE BOTTON, author of Religion for Atheists, The Consolations Of Philosophy, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work , Status Anxiety and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be ambitious beyond merely dreaming of the first book being published. Already now try to imagine where you want this to go, where you want to be at 60. More…


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MATTHEW GREEN, author of Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend, Unexpectedly, Milo and Something Missing

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write! I meet far too many people who have plans to write their first novel when the timing is right. One woman told me that she was waiting for her husband to die before starting her book! In truth, the timing will almost never be right. Very few first novels are written by authors who are not also working second and third jobs and/or raising children. Hell, few second, third and fourth novels are written by authors who are able to make a living just by writing.

If you want to write, write. Make the time. Find the spaces in your life when you can make writing happen. People love to talk about writing, but talking has never resulted in a single word landing on a single page. More…


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MARGO LANAGAN, author of Sea Hearts, Yellow Cake, White Time and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Aim to have a well-balanced life in which, as well as doing your writing, you get out and experience the world beyond your own mind and achieve good things out there.

Read. Read enough to absorb the rules of good writing by osmosis (as well as, or instead of, being taught them at school, depending on your luck). Read all over the shop, all genres, all styles; try to get a feeling for the size and variety of as many literatures, as many different forms in which words do their work, as possible.

As for your own writing, just keep going, until the activity itself becomes the rewarding thing, not what it can get you, what it can prove to people. If you stop feeling abidingly curious about what you can learn through the writing process, give it away. More…


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SEBASTIAN TERRY, author of 100 Things: What’s On Your List?

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read as widely as you can, and train your eye to see what good writers are doing well and how they do it. Bring to your writing the kind of passion and urgency that Donna Tartt‘s narrator describes in the prologue to The Secret History: “I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.” I think I was only able to find the courage to write my first novel once I truly felt that myself. More…


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LORETTA HILL, author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never give up. It’s a long windy road but the reward is worth it.. More…


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CALLUM HANN, author of The Starter Kitchen : Learn How to Love to Cook

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write about what you are most passionate about and the words will flow easily. Have a notepad or laptop with you at all times – there’s nothing worse than having a great idea that slips your mind by the time you get home or to work! More…


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PADDY O’REILLY, author of The Fine Colour of Rust, The End of the World and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

You can listen to all the advice you want, but what you need is already inside you. It has come from the books you have read, the life you have led, the people with whom you have laughed and cried, and even the ones you have passed in the street. Allow yourself to find that and you will write what you need to write. More…


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SHAMUS SILLAR, author of Sicily, It’s Not Quite Tuscany:
Having a Blast in Catania

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

If you’re sitting at your desk and the words aren’t coming, don’t give up. Stare at the screen or the page; move some sentences around; change a few adjectives; keep tinkering with your text. (Don’t go online.) Invariably, things will start to gel; it might take an hour, or even half a day. With a bit of luck, you might even find yourself in “the zone” – a glorious, almost frenzied state where every idea is gold and words pour out like water from a burst dam. If that happens, do not move from your chair. Ignore the sun going down and the house plunging into darkness. Don’t go to the fridge for a snack. Don’t answer the phone. Just type like the clappers. More…


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CHRIS FLYNN, author of A Tiger in Eden

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be patient. The average age of a first time novelist is 42. And don’t think you’re a genius. You’re not. Relax. Have fun writing! If you enjoy writing your book, chances are someone will enjoy reading it. More…


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EMYLIA HALL, author of The Book of Summers

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

At twelve, I wanted to be Wimbledon Champion. At eighteen, I wanted to be dating a Wimbledon Champion.

At thirty, all I wanted was to be a Writer. The best thing about writing fiction is that through it we can live as many lives as we want – slip inside other people’s skins, skip time and place. Freud talked about wish fulfillment through creativity. I think I’ve lain to rest my tennis dreams but who knows, maybe they’ll resurface in a novel one day – Lionel Shriver did it with style, after all. More…


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PETER CAREY, author of Parrot and Olivier in America, My Life As A Fake, The Unusual Life Of Tristan Smith, The Tax Inspector, Bliss, Illywhacker, Jack Maggs and many more…

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

The mansion of literature does have so many, many rooms. Perhaps I would look to the foundation and then I would put, on the north side, The King James Bibles, and in the south, The Plays of William Shakespeare. Giants can then dance in the rooms upstairs. More…


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ANNE McCULLAGH, author of Under Southern Skies

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

I hope readers feel satisfied they have enjoyed a great read of a book they ‘couldn’t put down until the very last word’; to feel inspired by the courage and strength of my hero and heroine and the way they tackle adversity and to have the courage to go after their own dreams; for readers to want to experience firsthand the beauty of the Australian outback and songs composed and sung by our talented country music artists. And of course…pass Under Southern Skies on to a friend and search for my other novels. More…


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RHONDA HETZEL, author of Down to Earth: A Guide to Simple Living

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

At 18, all my beliefs were strongly held and I’m pretty sure I would have been a real pain. I remember loving music then and hating football. But maybe the strongest urge for me was to shop and be fashionable. Now I rarely shop and I’m about as far removed from fashion as is possible. More…


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R. J. PALACIO, author of Wonder

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I realized with Wonder, which I didn’t start to write until I was in my early-forties, that the time is never quite right to “write a novel.” It’s like having a baby: you can’t always wait until all your ducks are in a row to get started because life isn’t usually that tidy. Don’t sit down and try to write a book. Write a page. Then write a chapter. And then don’t stop. More…


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JODI PICOULT, author of Lone Wolf, The Pact, My Sister’s Keeper, Sing You Home, Change of Heart and 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?

GONE WITH THE WIND, because when I read it at age 12 I thought that maybe I could do the same, and create a whole world out of words; THE GREAT GATSBY, because it was my first experience with an unreliable narrator and since then I’ve loved playing with the dichotomy between what the reader knows and what the narrator knows; THE SUN ALSO RISES, because of Hemingway’s parity of language and the way he constantly reminds us there are some topics and emotions that cannot be explained in mere words. More…


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WENDY JAMES, author of The Mistake, Why She Loves Him, Where Have You Been?

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There’s so much conflicting advice out there: write what you know, write only from the imagination, write all the time, write only when the muse is present, make your characters central, plot is all, make your prose lush, pare it down… etc, etc. I think every writer’s approach is unique – which is what makes reading so much fun. Really, the only thing I can say without qualification is read read read. Write. And then read more. More…


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KAY SCHUBACH, author of Perfect Stranger

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

I can’t think of anything I’ve been so disillusioned by that has changed my fundamental beliefs. I briefly lost faith in humanity but surviving cancer and witnessing the love and generosity of friends, family and medicos, I have my faith completely restored. I believe in myself more than did at 18. More…


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DAVID GILLESPIE, author of Big Fat Lies: How the Diet Industry is Making you Sick, Fat and Poor , Sweet Poison and The Sweet Poison Quit Plan

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Practise. Writing is like anything else. The more you practise, the better you get. I reckon a blog is a great way to keep the machine oiled. More…


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ZOE FOSTER, author of The Younger Man, Amazing Face, Textbook Romance, Playing the Field and Air Kisses

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

It probably won’t be anything too profound with my books… What I genuinely do hope though, is that they had fun. I certainly had fun writing them, and it would be very selfish if the fun ended there, wouldn’t it? More…


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PARKER BILAL, author of The Golden Scales: A Makana Mystery

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

Writers who surprise me. Not in the gimmicky sense, but those who allow us to see the world in a different way. When you find a really good book you don’t want to let go of it, and when you do you want to give it to your friends. Most of them are dead, I suppose, Faulkner, Greene, Yourcenar – too many to name. Of the living, Michael Ondaatje, Lorrie Moore, Richard Powers, Sebald. I could go on. More…


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JENNY LAWSON, author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Find your voice. Trust your editor. Don’t become a hermit and die alone because your cats will eat you. More…


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BRONWYN PARRY, author of Dead Heat, Dark Country and As Darkness Falls

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

I was better at writing than costume design! Plus there were so many stories in my head that I figured I’d better give shape and life to at least some of them. After twenty years in a sensible management career, I decided I didn’t want another twenty-plus years of it, and started writing seriously with the aim of publication. I love being a writer – it’s a great combination for me, with quiet, solitary time at home working, but also occasions to travel and meet with readers. More…


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COLLEEN McCULLOUGH, author of The Prodigal Son, Life Without the Boring Bits, The Thorn Birds, The Masters of Rome and many more…

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

At eighteen I was an ardent socialist. Now I think socialism is as malign as it is destructive of the individual. More…


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ISOBELLE CARMODY, author of The Obernewtyn Chronicles and now a new collection of short stories: Metro Winds

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To write for themselves before they ever think about editors or publishers or reviewers or audience. The first person who has to care about what you write is you. How can you possibly affect or reach anyone else, if you are not affected? Never write to preach or teach or change the world. Try to use your writing to understand the world and your place in it. More…


IAN PARKES, author of A Youth Not Wasted

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Firstly, discovering great literature, like Dostoevsky. Secondly, being hospitalised for three months at age 21.Thirdly, being given a job as a copywriter at radio station 6IX, which turned out to be the first step in a successful 35 year career in advertising. More…


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KATE BRACKS, author of The Sweet Life: The Basics and Beyondand winner of MasterChef Australia 2011 answers

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

There is nothing quite like holding a book in your hands! Sure, I use all manner of other media in day-to-day life but there is so much joy to be had from flicking through the pages of your favourite cookbooks. They will never be obsolete in my household! More…


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JOSEPHINE PENNICOTT, author of Poet’s Cottage

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

That it wasn’t possible for somebody from my background to become a writer. I now know that you can come at writing from different apprenticeships and avenues. My academic qualifications ended up being a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Sydney. I didn’t do a Masters in Creative Writing, which seems to be the normal route, but I did attain a lot of life experience over the years in a wide variety of jobs. More…


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WILEY CASH, author of A Land More Kind Than Home

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Cultivate a habit and love for reading before you attempt to cultivate a habit and love for writing. Trying to write without reading is like trying to drive a car with no gas in it; it won’t get you anywhere. When you read a lot you realize that every story has been told, but reading helps you discover new ways to tell the same stories over and over. More…


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STEPHANIE ALEXANDER, author of The Cook’s Companion, Kitchen Garden Companion and now, A Cook’s Life

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It is a memoir and includes the chronicle of my life up to the present with as much accuracy as memory has allowed. I believe it will be interesting to all those intrigued by the development of restaurants and food awareness in Australia. More…


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FIONA MCINTOSH, author of The Lavender Keeper, Fields of Gold,and also author of The Valisar Trilogy

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

I love the stories of George R. R. Martin because his tales are huge with big stakes…exactly how I always want my books to be. I read Game of Thrones in 1996, three years before I wrote my first book, Betrayal. I had been inspired by Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin Hobb to write fantasy but it was GRRM who gave me permission, I suppose, to write my brutal style of fantasy. More…


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GEORGE LOIS, author of Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!), Iconic America,$ellebrity, and more…

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Muhammad Ali: from a narcissistic self-promoter who eventually became a man of enduring spirituality through a journey of formidable tests, Ali emerged as a true superhero in the annals of American history, and the worldwide Ambassador of Courage and Conviction. More…


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CHRIS McCOURT, author of The Cleansing of Mahommed

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Speak with your own voice, because it’s the only thing you have to offer a reader which is yours alone. Be true to your characters, don’t manipulate them for the sake of a clever plot twist. Beautiful prose is not enough…you need a story. Write for a reader…if you’re writing for therapy, then write a diary. Don’t listen to flattery…seek objective opinions on your work because your friends and your mother will always lie. More…


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SUE WILLIAMS, author of Welcome to the Outback & Outback Spirit

3.What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

That everything is black and white. There’s a right way and a wrong way. As you grow older – and hopefully wiser – you realise there are many shades of grey in the world. More…


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ALEXANDRA POTTER, author of Going La La, Me and Mr. Darcy, Who’s That Girl? and 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?

I have always been very influenced by film, especially romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, or any of Richard Curtis’ films. When I started writing I wanted to create a novel that would leave the reader with the same feel-good feeling that you are you left with after watching one of these films. More…


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GEORGE MEGALOGENIS, author of The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Give yourself time to play around with an idea before hitting the keyboard. Then don’t be afraid to keep writing, and rewriting until that big thought comes alive on the page. More…


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DRUSILLA MODJESKA, author of The Mountain, Timepieces, Stravinsky’s Lunch and 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?

At the age I am now, it’s impossible to choose three books from the rich tapestry of a reading life. Instead I will give three from each adult decade. In my twenties it was, perhaps, Franz Fanon, Chinua Achebe and James Baldwin. In my thirties, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir and Doris Lessing. For my forties, titles spring to mind: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Christa Wolf’s Cassandra, Rilke’s The Duino Elegies. More…


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GUY GROSSI, author of Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen, Grossi Florentino, and My Italian Heart

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen is a recipe book, but also a love story. It is the story of displacement and discovery about adaptation. About the old and the new and the memories, food and experience we share through this journey. More…


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CAROLE WILKINSON, author ofthe Dragonkeeper series, including the latest volume in the series, Blood Brothers

. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Blood Brothers will be out in May. It is the fourth book in the Dragonkeeper series. This one is set several centuries after the last book. The dragon Kai is 400-odd years old — a teenager in dragon terms. He is sick of his boring life with the other dragons and has gone off in search of adventure and human companionship. He thinks he’s found the right person in novice monk Tao, but Tao doesn’t agree. More…


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LAURA BUZO, author of Holier Than Thou and Good Oil

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Invest in quality equipment, technologically, ergonomically. Make you have one of those pull-out keyboard drawers so you can write with your elbows at a nice right-angle, use a back support and foot rest where appropriate, pump up the text to 150% so you’re not squinting at the screen. Use exercise as a reward. Try to marry well if you can. More…


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BARBARA ARROWSMITH, author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation

6. Please tell us about your latest book

This book is a very personal story and also a very universal story. The personal was born out of my struggle to understand why I was the way I was – with very real and crippling learning deficits.And it is universal as everyone has his or her own unique profile of brain strengths and weaknesses. My life and this book is an exploration of the territory of the brain and how it makes us uniquely who we are, how understanding this territory can give us insight into our functioning and the functioning of others. More…


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ELIZABETH PULFORD, author of Broken, Blackthorn, Tussock and more…

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

I have always loved books, or even more so the people in the books. Once characters choose me, I have no option but to tell their story. More…


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ROBIN DE CRESPIGNY, author of The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the ‘Oskar Schindler of Asia’

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

Take risks and live life to the fullest until you have something to say. Meanwhile pour your passion into diaries, poetry, short-stories and bar coasters until you find a voice that feels true, then write film scripts, books and TV; they inform each other. Otherwise it is just about endurance. Being able to hole up, buckle down, and bounce back. More…


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JENNIFER PAYNTER, author of Mary Bennet

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

A different view of a familiar story and set of characters. (In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, Jane Austen famously wrote of the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice ‘”I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.” My Mary Bennet might have a different view of Elizabeth.) More…


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PATRICK FLANERY, author of Absolution

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read widely—not only the literature of your own country, but also the great works of world literature. Train yourself to participate in the ongoing global dialogue that writing can be. More…


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SHANNON FRICKE, author of How to Decorate

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

I believe that shaping your home to suit your individual style enables you to create a support system for your life. When your home looks and feels good, when it is functional and beautiful – then life becomes a little easier to navigate. Everyone has the ability to shape their home in a way that suits them, regardless of where they live or how much money they have. I hope that my book inspires people to connect with their inner decorator – the results are pure satisfaction. More…


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HANNAH RICHELL, author of Secrets of the Tides

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

I remember being told that you only regret the things you don’t do. Back then it seemed like a great way to approach life but as I’ve grown older I’ve seen plenty of people do things they then regret for a very long time. I now think the saying might just be a nice excuse to do the things you know might hurt others, but that you really want to do anyway. I don’t believe, however, in living a life where you beat yourself up over and over with regret. Say sorry. Mean it. Learn from your mistakes and then move on. More…


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STEPHEN MAY, author of Life! Death! Prizes!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t really give advice. But if I did it would simply be the usual: The Don’t give up. Don’t try and second guess the market. And remember there is no secret code, no golden key, no magic words. And if your book doesn’t come out – well, hey, it’s only a book…. More…


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JOYDEEP ROY- BHATTACHARAY, author of The Watch

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?

Book: War and Peace. I try to read it once every other year.

Painting: Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, a copy of which which hangs in my bedroom, rather to the distress of everyone who sees it.

Music: Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony or Eighth String Quartet.

More…


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LOUISE LIMERICK, author of Lucinda’s Whirlwind and Dying for Cake

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

I’ve always loved the shape that novels take, the pattern of them and the way that pattern can leave an unexpected imprint of feeling that seems paradoxically right, as if you, the reader, have just been gifted the freedom to articulate an idea that you’d only ever grasped half-darkly before. More…


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CATHY ARMSTRONG, author of Coming Home

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My book is called Coming Home; it’s a collection of recipes and stories gathered from my childhood days starting at my Nana’s house and moving through my life as I grew up in a family that are passionate and generous about sharing food in a very honest and humble way. I think my book offers the opportunity to celebrate the joy that can be found in the simplicity of everyday life. More…


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SUSAN JOHNSON, author of My Hundred Lovers, Life in Seven Mistakes, The Broken Book and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

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?). More…


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EOIN COLFER, author of Plugged and the enormously successful Artemis Fowl series

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

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. More…


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ANNIE HAUXWELL, author of In Her Blood

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

Dickens, because he’s a fantastic storyteller and he endures. Patrick White, because he changes the way you think about Australia as a place in the imagination. Virginia Woolf, because she changed writing.

I also really admire authors who can produce a well-written ‘series’, consistently providing an engaging plot, a strong sense of place and an evolving protagonist: people like James Lee Burke, Donna Leon, Patricia Highsmith, Philip Kerr and Peter Temple. More…


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LARS KEPLER, author of The Nightmare and The Hypnotist

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?

Alexandra: I was strongly affected by the painting “The Kiss of Judas” by Caravaggio. And I listened a lot to Bob Dylan in my youth. For a book, it’s got to be The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.

Alexander: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Cello Suites by Bach (so wonderful). “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” – I was only twelve when I happened to see it and I had a lot of nightmares after that (maybe that’s why I prefer thrillers and can’t stand cruel horror and splatter). More…


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DEBORAH BURROWS, author of A Stranger in My Street

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Read. Read. Listen to people’s stories. Look around you. Imagine. Start writing and keep on writing. No matter what. More…


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NICOLE TROPE, author of The Boy Under the Table

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There are a lot of organisations you can join and competitions you can enter that will get your novel or short story in front of someone who can see potential in a writer’s work. Every time I wanted to give up on this journey (and it has taken me a long time) I would win a place in a competition or receive some positive words that allowed me to believe I would get there in the end. More…


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INDIGO BLOOME, author The Avalon Series – Destined to Play, Destined to Feel and Destined to Fly

6. Please tell us about your novel Destined to Play

I was looking for more than virginal heroines – my protagonist is a mother of two and has a successful career. But she’s in a passionless marriage and so when her ex-lover, Jeremy Quinn, presents her with an intriguing proposition, she finds him hard to resist. I wanted to explore how we experience sensation, and so I decided to remove one of Alexandra’s senses to heighten all the rest. More…


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ALISON WEIR, author of A Dangerous Inheritance, The Captive Queen, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Ring and the Crown, and many more…

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

A sense that they have read about authentic history in an authentic setting– and also that they will have enjoyed the experience and gained new perspectives. More…


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GEOFFREY McGEACHIN, author of Blackwattle Creek, Fat Fifty and F***ed!, The Diggers Rest Hotel, and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Fear of failure isn’t a good enough excuse not to try something. This was a lesson I learned when I became a teacher and had to inspire students to have a go. I tell people that babies don’t learn how to walk, they learn how not to fall down. Walking and writing are very similar in that we are always a microsecond away from a tumble. Life’s a bit like that too. Sometimes we stumble and sometimes we fall but that risk is far outweighed by the benefits of getting out of the comfort of a chair and seeing what you can discover on the outside. Just ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? More…


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DAMIEN BROWN, author of Band-Aid for a Broken Leg: Being a Doctor With no Borders (and Other Ways to Stay Single)

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

i. Log out of Facebook.

ii. Commit wholeheartedly. Then, solicit all the professional criticism you can, swallow your pride, and cancel your social engagements for the coming months… More…


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ANTHONY FUNNELL, author of The Future and #relatednonsense

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

Foolishly I believed that most of the best things in life happened as result of hard work. I now realise that luck and chance are pretty big determinants of what you do and where you end up in the future. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve also realised that (in the right situation and context) bribery, coercion, and having a few well-placed friends in the local mafia can also open a surprising number of doors. More…


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NATASHA WALKER, author of author of The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginningsand, coming in October, The Secret Lives of Emma: Distractions

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

What advice can I give? I write erotica. More…


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MAJOK TULBA, author of Beneath the Darkening Sky

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Writing is a brain surgery but it is the creative path that speaks to me the most. I believe that there’s power in a reader being able to hold a life story in their hands. More…


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HOWARD L. ANDERSON, author of Albert of Adelaide

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

I was a cynic when I was 18. I still am but it doesn’t bother me as much. If I had any closely held beliefs, it didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted. The best advice I ever got was “don’t be immobilized by your own paranoia”. More…


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AMBELIN KWAYMULLINA, author of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Learn to be at once your own strongest supporter and your own harshest critic. You have to be able to keep yourself going, in the tired and lonely times, to pick yourself up after your one-hundredth attempt at writing something that still hasn’t worked, and to stick with writing even when others tell you that you’ll never do it and most especially when you feel like that yourself. More…


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DAVID W. CAMERON, author of The Battle for Lone Pine, Gallipoli, and ‘Sorry, Lads, But the Order is to Go’

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read – Read – Read.

Write – Write – Write.

PS: Don’t let the blank screen phase you – just start writing and keep writing. Half the fun is going back and editing your work. The end product is never like the original – so just start! (and keep the water on the boil.) More…


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ALI AHEARN AND ROS BAXTER, author of Sister Pact

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

Ali

The aforementioned Jenny Crusie because she writes wonderful heroines and books full of heart and female community, as well as fabulous sex scenes that are funny and organic. She’s also written some of the best “bad sex” scenes I’ve read.

Ros

Nora Roberts – for her discipline, versatility and the fact she always delivers. More…


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CAROLYN DONOVAN, author of Chooks in Stilettos and Greenies in Stilettos

6. Please tell us about your latest book, Greenies in Stilettos.

Greenies in Stilettos will switch on your creative side. It will have you excitedly reaching into the back of your wardrobe and seeing all your old clothes in a whole new ‘designer’ light. You will want to make all the luxurious beauty products out of everyday ingredients you already have in the pantry. And the money it will save you! But it’s not all DIY. (I am the laziest DIY’er you’ll ever meet.) It is jam-packed with gorgeously green solutions that, not only make you more beautiful – but will also save the Earth. More…


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ANN WHITEHEAD, author of Waratah House, Australia Street, and the House Across the Road

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

If writing is truly what you want to do, what you need to do, what makes you happy, don’t allow rejections to turn you aside. Even the very best have those. If you have the story, the characters, and a way of putting those elements together to make others want to read, you will succeed. If not, there’s still the joy of doing it so you lose nothing. More…


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MARLENE DONOVAN, author of The Model’s Handbook

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Start! It may take a while at first, but just start writing sentences and soon they will become pages. More…


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ANNAH FAULKNER, author of The Beloved

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The books of Somerset Maugham which I read in my teens – all of them – inspired me to ask the eternal philosophical questions – who we are and why we’re here. He wrote great stories with an elegant style that I found immensely satisfying but which left me still craving for more. More…


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GLEN ORGIAS, author of Man in a Grey Suit: A Memoir of Surfing, Shark Attack and Survival

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Ah, well that would be a big call, to say that it might be able to do that, but if it could then I’d like it to be a story that would help people suffering through depression, anxiety, grief or trauma. More…


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MEG MASON, author of Say It Again in a Nice Voice

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. All the time, everything you can. ‘If you don’t read’, the same university lecturer once told me, ‘how can you expect to write?’. More…


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JENNIFER SCOULLAR, author of Brumby’s Run

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read and write and read and write and don’t give up. It’s sometimes when you’re most disheartened, that a breakthrough happens – and try to shut up your internal critic. More…


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HELENE YOUNG, author of Burning Lies, Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky

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

I wish I had innumerable artistic avenues, but my paintings weren’t good enough to even make it to the fridge door!

Storying-telling started with my Dad who was a marine engineer working on oil tankers. He wrote stories when he was away from home and posted them back to Mum who in turn read them to us.

For many years I didn’t realise this was unusual. Didn’t everyone make stuff up? It seemed inevitable that one day I’d write novels. More…


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JULIET MARILLIER, author of Shadowfell, Heart’s Blood, Seer of Sevenwaters and more

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

To challenge myself as a writer. To attempt new things. To keep on improving. To juggle those highfalutin’ goals with earning a living as a novelist. More…


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GERRY BOBSIEN, author of Colour of Trouble and Surf Ache

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never let an idea get away. I let them brew in various notepads and sketchbooks and across the table at friends. Get a crew of really great mates around you interested in ideas and make some stuff. Conversation is the best thing for a creative life. It is infectious and productive and generous. It’s hard to work alone. More…


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BARRY MAITLAND, author of All My Enemies, a Brock and Kolla Mystery and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

If you really want to do this, then persist. Learn from your failures and setbacks, and come back stronger and better. More…


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L.A. LARKIN, author of Thirst and The Genesis Flaw

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

I write stories to entertain but I also hope they will prompt discussion. All creative endeavour seeks to tell us about the human condition – who we are and how we interact with this world. Thrillers and crime fiction tend to touch on big political, social and, increasingly, environmental issues. Thirst raises questions about man’s exploitation of the planet and its resources, climate change, and the fragility of the Antarctic Treaty. More…


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JAMES FOYEY, author/illustrator of In the Lion

10. What advice do you give aspiring illustrators?

I wish I could give a magic piece of advice that would make everything happen for aspiring illustrators… unfortunately my advice is the most pithy and simple- practice. Practice Practice Practice. But do it for the fun of it. When you enjoy it, your best work will come.

Don’t worry about developing a style (that comes by itself with experimentation), don’t worry about being ‘good enough’ (who’s to say when you’ll reach that point? Just keep having fun), don’t worry about whether it ‘looks right’ (if it looks ‘right enough’ then that’s okay). Just practice and have fun and take risks, and with a bit of luck it will work out. More…


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MAC ‘SERGE’ TUCKER, author of Fighter Pilot: Mis-Adventures Beyond the Sound Barrier with an Australian Top Gun

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just grow some and start – I spent years worrying about whether I could write…for what? I still can’t! And don’t ever send a manuscript to a crazy mate who is an author…he just might forward it on to the publisher. More…


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TESS GRAHAM, editor of Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnoea: A step-by-step guide to restful sleep and better health through changing the way you breathe

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

The knowledge and the skills to achieve and maintain restful sleep night after night, be healthier, be calmer, and have abundant energy day after day. More…


Barbara Hannay

BARBARA HANNAY, author of Zoe’s Muster

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?

Books, paintings, sculpture and music have provided inspirations throughout my life, and looking back, I can see that my preferences have always been romantic.

The impact of Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians, which I read at the age of seven, has been a lasting one. Judy’s death rocked me and taught me so much about emotional punch in writing. More…


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PHILIPPA GREGORY, author of The Kingmaker’s Daughter, The Other Boleyn Girl and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Please, please, for your own sake if not for your readers – don’t read something trashy and think that you can do something similar. Especially, in the current days don’t read mild pornography and mistake it for literature. Read good things and try to write well. More…


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SIMON BRYANT, author of Simon Bryant’s Vegies

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

I chose to write a cookbook because when I was a younger chef I could never find a book on vegetables that inspired me. I guess I just wrote the type of book that I would have loved to be able to read and use 20 years ago when I was becoming increasingly interested in veggies. More…


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PAUL MERRILL, author of A Polar Bear Ate My Head: Misadventures in Magazines

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

I’d love to say that my career was meticulously planned after my university don imparted some inspiring words of wisdom, but in reality, I just fell into magazines and I still can’t adequately explain how I ended up editing a lad’s mag in Australia. Maybe I should have gone for the firefighting option after all. More…


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KIM TERAKES, author of The Great Aussie Barbie Fast and Easy Cookbook

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It is another BBQ book, because the first one was so popular. And it is all about easy, quick recipes which seem to be what most people are after these days. It’s hardly a complicated concept, but I hope very useful. More…


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DARYL DELLORA, author of Michael Kirby: Law, Love & Life

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

As with any artistic process – make sure you do it. Just sit down and start, it doesn’t matter what you write, the beauty is that you can change it if you don’t like it. The first person you have to please, no matter what you are creating, is yourself. Others will come if you are true to your own ideas. More…


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DAVID DAY, author of Antartica: A Biography, Claiming a Continent, John Curtin: A Life, and more

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

It was hard to imagine being anything when I was twelve. By the time I was eighteen, I thought of becoming, of all things, an accountant. I even did accountancy in sixth form and began a commerce degree at university before the Vietnam War got in the way. More…


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BELINDA CASTLES, author of Hannah & Emil,The River Baptists and Falling Woman

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t worry about being awful. You have to do it wrong a few times to be able to start fixing it. Best to get on and do it wrong now, so you can get to the good stuff. More…


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DUNCAN LAY author of Bridge of Swords – Empire of Bones: Book One and The Dragon Sword Histories

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Write some more and then write again. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule states you need to do something for 10,000 hours before you become an expert. I’ve lost count of the number of hours I spent writing but I definitely agree that the more you write, the better you become. I’ve written a number of books that were unpublishable but each one took me closer to my eventual goal. More…


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RHIANNON HART, author of Blood Storm and Blood Song,

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

Because novels are the best and purest way to communicate something beautiful. Also, the simplest. No paint, no fabric, no musical instruments required. Only the written word. Plus once it’s right, you never have to do it again, and yet people can go on enjoying it. And you get to do it in your pyjamas with no one looking at you. More…


Su Dharmapala

SU DHARMAPALA, author of The Wedding Season

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

To be the Jane Austen of my generation – well you did say ambitious! I want to write books that will stand the test of time and become valued friends. The books that a person turns to to cheer themselves up or to open their hearts. More…


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ASA LARSSON, author of Until Thy Wrath Be Past, The Black Path, The Savage Altar and more

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be brave, that is the best advice I was given myself. What it really means is up to everyone to answer for themselves. More…


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ED CHATTERTON (aka Martin Chatterton), author ofA Dark Place To Die

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There are so many old saws about writing but the main one that I’ve found useful is to read a lot. It’s sounds ridiculous but there are plenty of writers around who I think just aren’t readers. It comes through in the writing. In terms of improving the only thing that can really be said is to keep writing. A Dark Place To Die is my 31st book and it feels like I’m starting out. More…


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SAM BOWRING, author of The Legacy of Lord Regret and The Lord of Lies, Books One and Two of the Strange Threads Duology

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?

1) The Hobbit – my first fantasy book, read to me by my dad when I was small.

2) The Labyrinth – a great movie, stands up easily to all the CGI stuff these days, with such an inspiring and colourful host of characters.

3) Warhammer (the game) – have never played it, but looking at all the inventive miniatures set up on a table never fails to make me think up characters or stories. More…


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TAD WILLIAMS, author of The Dirty Streets of Heaven, and the Otherland, Shadowmarch and Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series

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

I remain fascinated by Pynchon’s fractalism, by Dickens sweep of character and event (and humor), by Hunter S. Thompson and James Thurber and Barbara Tuchman and Michael Moorcock and many others, and the joy that is sharing a smart person’s mind for a while. I’ve lived thousands of lives by being a reader, and if I can add to that for some others, that’s a pretty cool legacy and a pretty good job. More…


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MARK TEDESCHI QC, author of Eugenia: A True Story of Adversity, Tragedy, Crime and Courage

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Decide what is the most important story in the world to you, and write about it in your own style. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s style, no matter how distinguished and eminent they may be. Get yourself a literary mentor. At a certain stage of your research, put it all aside and just write. Fill in the details later. Have a good overall plan before you write. Don’t write the first chapter first. Never give up. More…


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JESSE FINK, author of Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To develop the faculty of finely calibrated self-bullshit detection. To put up bookshelves and fill them with all sorts of books, not just the ones with nice covers. To read great writers such as Richard Russo and Christopher Koch. To listen to great music and look at great art. To bypass writing teachers (in my view, you learn to write by absorption and osmosis not instruction). More…


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LOUIS NOWRA, author of Into That Forest, Cosi, and much more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

1) Read, read, read. 2) have a need to tell a story 3) develop unlimited concentration 4) Remember that to be a writer is not to be a sprinter. A true writer is in it for life, knowing it’s a marathon and that fame and money come to very few writers, so be prepared. More…


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ANDREW CROOME, author ofof Midnight Empire and Document Z which won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award

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

I think, firstly, that I am trying to write well, and so I hope that people can take away all of the pleasures that good writing can give. In Midnight Empire in particular, one of the points I’m hoping to make is that far from their promise of safer and more remote warfare, drones in fact bring the battle home, putting those who wage it amongst us. More…


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ALISON REYNOLDS, author of A Year with Marmalade

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

I write in many different genres. I enjoyed writing Marmalade’s story as a picture book, because I believe it was the best form for it. I also enjoy the discipline of writing a picture book with the economy of words and the added dimension of illustrations. More…


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TOHBY RIDDLE, author of Unforgotten, My Uncle’s Donkey and 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?

As a boy, Peanuts by Charles Schulz was the first thing I read over and over. It seemed to be describing my life and left a lasting effect on me. Later, it was the writing of Jack Kerouac. Woody Allen movies were the first movies I watched over and over – they revelled in life’s ambiguities. I once watched Hannah and Her Sisters three times in one night. The album My Houdini by Tactics (1981) had quite an effect on me as a teenager – a kind of post-punk Arthur Boyd – it’s a great Australian work. Reflecting on these various obessions they were like cravings for some kind of vitamin or mineral that I seemed to really need at the time. More…


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KATHY REICHS, author of Bones Are Forever, book fifteen of the Temperance Brennan series and creator of TV’s ‘Bones’

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

At twelve I wanted to be a scientist, though my understanding of that was very dim. At eighteen I wanted to be the most popular girl on campus. At thirty I was back to science, having completed my PhD in Biological Anthropology and wanting to get tenure at the UNCC, the university at which I was on faculty. More…


cristy burne

CRISTY BURNE, author of Takeshita Demons, The Filth Licker, and now Monster Matsuri

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read and write for pleasure. If you dig it, read and write some more. If the hours disappear and you wonder where they’ve gone, then you’re doing something you love, so keep doing it. More…


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VICTORIA HEYWOOD, author of Good Cook Bad Cook 20 Rules For the Kitchen – 80 Essential Recipes and Possum Pie, Beetroot Beer and Lamingtons and Celebrate with Food and Wine

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read, experience and then write. And don’t fill up your time on the reading and experience bits. Get your bum on that chair and actually write something. And don’t be precious about it. More…


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MEG McKINLAY, author of Going for Broke, The Big Dig and now, Wreck the Halls, from the Lightning Strikes series

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

Tricky question. I think I’m going to say Harper Lee, because she wrote a single stunning book and then stopped, having said what she wanted to say. And also because she has refused all publicity for almost 50 years. More…


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JAMES ROY, award winning author of Miss Understood, Anonymity Jones and many more…

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Sure, I’d love to! It’s called Miss Understood, and it’s about Lizzie, who lives in a house that used to be a display home. The house next door still is, so people are constantly wandering into Lizzie’s house thinking that it’s an open house. Her mum is a stay-at-home mum, and her dad is a food reviewer who often makes the mistake of reviewing the meals his wife makes. But he’s starting to behave quite erratically, and Lizzie wants to find out why. More…


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NELLIE BENNETT, author of Only in Spain: In Search of My Heart’s Desire

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Live. More…


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STEVE LILLEBUEN, author of The Devil’s Cinema : The Untold Story Behind The ‘Dexter Killer’

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Aspiring writers need to write every day, and then write some more. For every book an author has published there is the equivalent of two more in the recycle bin. More…


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TRUDI CANAVAN, author of The Traitor Spy Trilogy, The Magician’s Apprentice, The Black Magician Trilogy and The Age of the Five Trilogy

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

It seemed a large and worthy challenge. I changed my ambition from making films to writing books after reading The Lord of the Rings. It was the fact that Tolkien had invented such a fleshed out world that inspired me. Also, my father used to write down little notes for a book he wanted to write, and it seemed like a mysterious and worthy thing to do. That said, I didn’t think that I would have to choose between all my artistic, creative interests. When you’re young, you think you have all the time in the world. More…


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WILL EVANS, author of A Short History of Rugby League in Australia

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

-Watching my first State of Origin series in 1991 – the great Wally Lewis’ last series – confirmed my rugby league obsession at nine years old.

-Two seminal books in particular, The ABC of Rugby League by Malcolm Andrews and True Blue by Ian Heads, sparked my fascination with the game’s history at the age of 13. From then, I began scribbling away about rugby league and knew I eventually wanted to be a rugby league author.

-My good mate Tums passed away (in 2007) about six months after I started writing and began to seriously work towards getting a book together. From that point, having a book published and being able to dedicate it to him was a major motivation. Being able to do that was the single most satisfying aspect of my first book being published. More…


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MICHELLE SAGARA, author of Cast in Peril, book eight of the Chronicles of Elantra

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It’s funny that you should ask this, because I recently wrote an introduction for Tanya Huff, a special guest at this year’s World Fantasy Convention. In it, I distill all of the writing advice I learned from Tanya when we worked together at Bakka. Tanya and I have very different — VERY different — processes. I am a process geek. I love novel structure. I love the ways in which we all approach it, because no two writers work the same way. More…


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LILY BRETT, author of Lola Bensky, Too Many Men, You Gotta Have Balls and more…

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

The poets Marina Tsvetaeva, Anna Kamienska, Dahlia Ravikovitch, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda and Du Fu. Why? Because all of these poets can pierce your make-up, your lipstick, your deodorant and go straight to your heart. More…


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CHRIS HAMMER, author of The Coast and The River

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write what you’d like to read, with honesty and authenticity, rather than try to write what you think will appeal to publishers or readers.

Having a book published is a wonderful experience, but don’t let it be an aim in itself; what’s the point if it’s not written from the heart? More…


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MAJOR GENERAL JOHN CANTWELL, author of Exit Wounds : One Australian’s War of Terror

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I want this book to show others that the emotional damage that often accompanies warfare and other traumatic experiences is a normal reaction to abnormal events, that is anything but a sign or weakness or failure, and that there is a way to recover through admitting that the problem exists then getting help. More…


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CLAIRE LIOYD, author of My Greek Island Home

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

My book is very visual and is also tactile, the texture of the paper, the cloth ribbon and the de-bossed cover all combine to give the reader a sensual experience. They can hold the book in their hand, dip in and out of it and be inspired. I like the idea of the book coming first and then branching out into other media avenues. More…


ROBIN SLOAN

ROBIN SLOAN, author of Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I have two friends, both writers, who have, for years, been my first readers and editors. The spirit of our little group is one of total allegiance and honesty. Their tastes are also super-aligned with mine, so their feedback is really meaningful. And so is their continued nagging: “Hey, finish that draft yet?” So I’d tell an aspiring writer to find one or two others and forge that kind of relationship, if they can. More…


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MILTON JONES, author of The Man from Coolibah

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It tells a bit about my life and some of the experiences I’ve had. Looking back I suppose I’ve crammed a bit in. Not many people really know about life in the Northern Territory. More people should go there because it’s a bloody beautiful place with good people. More…


Paullina Simons is the international best-selling author of the novels A Song in the Daylight, Tully, Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, The Girl In Times Square and The Summer Garden.

PAULLINA SIMMONS, author of Children of Liberty, The Bronze Horseman, Tully and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write from your heart. Write what you feel, not what you know. Write one page every day. Keep a journal. Write long hand on smooth paper with a beautiful inky instrument. More…


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JAMES BUTTON, author of Speechless : A Year In My Father’s Business

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

People who move from hardline positions to the middle, who come to understand complexity while not losing sight of their goal. Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela come to mind. More…


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PETER WATT, author of Beyond the Horizon, the Papua Trilogy, the Frontier Series and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

As a young soldier I was fortunate to be accepted to a special forces unit for training. It was the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam whose motto was simple, Persevere! More…


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MATTHEW MITCHAM, Olympic Gold Medalist and author of Twists and Turns

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Reading Agassi’s biography OPEN, Greg Louganis’s biography BREAKING THE SURFACE and reading about Fergie’s struggles all helped mould what I did with the last five years of my life. More…


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JACLYN MORIARTY, author ofauthor of A Corner of White, Feeling Sorry for Celia, Dreaming of Amelia and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write a journal every day but don’t narrate what you did that day—choose one small, unexpected incident, or one character you met during the day and describe it. Drink a lot of water, run up and down stairs, draw colourful pictures, read poetry, dance without caring that you can’t. More…


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AMANDA HOOTON, author of Finding Mr Darcy

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I spend my life reading books. If they are obsolete, I’m afraid, so am I! More…


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DAMON YOUNG, author of Philosophy In The Garden and Distraction

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To help readers become more courageous in thought, tender in feeling, and patient in confrontation. More…


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GEMMA CRISP, author of Be Careful What You Wish For

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can – it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, non-fiction, blogs, tweets or Facebook status updates. And try to develop your own tone, as that’s what will get people coming back for more. PS – don’t try to write when hungover; you’ll just have to re-write it when your brain is functioning again. More…


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MANON, author of Unzipped: How to Have the Hottest Sex of Your Life

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Ask yourself: what is the essence of who you are? Is there a story that you want to share? If so, dictate your thoughts, write them down, form chapters and get published. Have fun, give back and make your literary mark in history. More…


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MATTHEW CONDON, author of The Toe Tag Quintet

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

I was convinced that wire coat hangers were a demonic type symbol capable of bringing life-changing bad luck, and that the jingle-jangle music they made together in the closet was the symphony of the Devil. (That belief has not entirely evaporated, and may relate to me winning the Religious Studies prize all those years ago.) More…


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HUGH HOWEY, author of Wool

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

Because I’m tone deaf! But I did dabble in other arts over the years. I used to paint, draw, do calligraphy, origami, but none of these ignited my wonder like dreaming up entire worlds and having conversations with fictional characters. Books are amazing in that the scenes you paint might be different in someone else’s mind.

The relationship between writer and reader is collaborative. I give the germ of a thought, and the reader makes it grow. Perhaps I chose writing because I needed a little bit of help in creating my art? More…


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MAGGIE ALDERSON, author of Everything Changes But You, Shall We Dance?, Mad About the Boy, How to Break Your Own Heart and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read – and write. Read as much as you can and as many different kinds of things as possible. And write every day. Doesn’t matter what it is, but like everything, you improve enormously with practice. Also be prepared to take constructive criticism. There’s no piece of writing that can’t be improved upon. More…


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KATHRYN BONELLA, author of Snowing in Bali, Hotel Kerobokan and co-writer of No More Tomorrow

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write about what you are passionate about and what excites you. More…


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MAUREEN McCARTHY, author of The Convent, Careful What You Wish For and 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?

I remember hearing Bob Dylan singing A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall when I was eleven. I was standing in a room by myself next to a scratchy old turntable and … my whole body started trembling. I didn’t understand the words and nor did I know a thing about Dylan but by the end of the song I was crying. More…


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ANDY ALLEN, author of The Next Element and winner of MasterChef Australia 2012…

6. Please tell us about your book…

My latest and first book “The Next Element” is a cookbook which displays my progression throughout my MasterChef ‘journey’. The first chapter, Cooking for myFamily, is full of basic, weeknight meals which any novice cook should be able to complete. The second section Cooking for my Friends, are all the recipes I cook when my mates come over for an afternoon BBQ, more your tapas style dishes. These recipes are also very achievable for any home cook. A New Direction is the last section where you will find a few of my successful dishes I cooked on MasterChef and also a few more advanced recipes which I love to cook now. Hopefully there is something in there for everyone! More…


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JOE ABERCROMBIE, author of Red Country, The Heroes, The First Law Trilogy and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

From a business standpoint, don’t expect riches to shower upon you, not soon and probably not ever. From a creative standpoint, the best piece of advice I’ve had was from my mother, who said always try to be honest, always try to be truthful. With every piece of dialogue, with every description, with every metaphor, ask yourself is this true? Would this person really say these words, does this thing really look like this, do someone’s eyes really glitter like stars scattered across the sable cloth of the heavens? Avoid the easy cliché, and hopefully you won’t go too far wrong… More…


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SUSANNA FREYMARK, author of Losing February

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never, ever give up. Learn from others. Watch how people you admire operate and surround yourself with people who lift you up. And write every day. No excuses, just do it. More…


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BEN SCHRANK, author of Love Is A Canoe

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

There’s too much compromise in movie-making. And you can live (alongside the rest of your life) in a novel for years without having to tell anyone what you’re up to. It’s a sweet pursuit and a noble craft. More…


ROSS COULTHART

ROSS COULTHART, author of The Lost Diggers, Dead Man Running and Above the Law

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I hate it when young people tell me they find history boring or irrelevant to their lives. I’ve loved going to book signings in the last few weeks and seeing the excitement in the eyes of an audience, especially of young people who come along with a copy of the book and want to talk about the men in it. I am very concerned about the dumbing down and anti-intellectualism that is so in vogue in modern popular culture, and the destructive suspicion and open cynicism about media. More…


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NICK FALK, author of Troggle the Troll, Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch, A Pterodactyl Stole My Homework, The Very Naughty Velociraptor and An Allosaurus Ate My Uncle

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

When I started writing, I went to a lot of different people and places to get help. I went to courses and workshops and writer’s centres. And I received all kinds of good advice on story structure, characterisation, appropriate language etc… And I have to admit, it didn’t really help!! I kept on trying to write stories that followed the rules, and were ‘well written’. Invariably, I failed. And then I decided to forget all the rules and just write the silly stories I wanted to write. And it worked! So that’s the advice I’d give aspiring writers – talk to people and get all the advice you can. And then ignore all that advice, and write whatever and however you want! Writing because you love it, that’s the secret. More…


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BOYD ANDERSON, author of Amber Road, Errol, Fidel and The Cuban Rebel Girls and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Become obsessed. How do I explain that? It’s like that wonderful old love song says – ‘Who can explain it, who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.’ If you are human, love just happens. If you are meant to write, obsession will also, one day, just happen. The trick then is to allow it to happen and to follow it. You’ll know it has happened when you look at your watch one night and realise it’s 4 am and you can’t stop writing. More…


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PETER V.BRETT, author of The Daylight War, The Warded Man, and 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?

I’ll make it easy and stick to books, though I am of course inspired by art of all media.

JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit — This was the first “real” book I ever read, and likely set the stage for my entire life.

George R.R. Martin: A Game of Thrones — This book really showed me for the first time how one could break out of the cookie cutter mold fantasy had fallen into, and just how much the genre was capable of. It really made me raise my game.

James Clavell: Shogun — Much like Game of Thrones, this book really broadened my perspective on just how much the medium was capable of. It kind of blew my mind. More…


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GAVIN EXTENCE, author of The Universe Versus Alex Woods

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid of writing crap. There’s probably a more elegant way of expressing that, but never mind; it wouldn’t be as truthful. The fact is you’ll have to write a lot of crap before you write anything good. You wouldn’t sit down at a piano for the first time and expect to compose Beethoven’s 9th – don’t have similar expectations of your writing. Practise as often as you can, and be prepared to edit and revise extensively; don’t think one or two drafts – think five, six, seven. If you’re writing a novel, set aside regular writing times and stick to them. If you can work every day then do so. Writing a novel is all about momentum. You have to keep the boulder rolling. Finally, don’t set out trying to write something better than Lolita / Harry Potter / Moby Dick (delete or replace as applicable). Just write the best book you can at this point in your life. More…


asphyxia

ASPHYXIA, author of The Grimstones Series

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

I admire writers who write well, so smoothly and persuasively that you forget you are reading and are transported to the place they have created. Ive already mentioned Anita Shreve. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, are both books that I think are magnificently written. I also admire those writers who have managed to turn my world on end, through their non-fiction books. Sharyn Astyk’s Depletion and Abundance changed my life and the way I live, while Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig changed the way I eat and transformed my health. More…


yvonne-sum

DR. YVONNE SUM, author of Intentional Parenting : How to Get Results for Both You and Your Kids

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be clear of your outcome: What do you want?

Take action: Just Do It!

Be alert: Observe keenly the results of your actions.

Keep measuring: Make sure the results are on track with your outcome.

Be flexible: You may need to change actions to get your outcome.

Manage your energy:

Passion + Persistence + Perspiration = Inspirational Outcome. More…


mary-lou

MARY-LOU STEPHENS, author of Sex, Drugs and Meditation

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

Sex, Drugs and Meditation is a story of transformation. It’s the story of a woman who is at breaking point and very close to losing all hope. I went and sat in pain and silence for ten days and things changed. I changed. I’d like people to recognise that there is hope, no matter how dark things seem. I’d like them to consider meditation as a possibility for creating that change. But more than anything I’d like them to enjoy a really good read and feel uplifted after they’ve turned the last page, knowing that anything is possible. More…


881974-joy-dettman

JOY DETTMAN, author of Ripples On A Pond, Wind in the Wires and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

The best advice I was given was to find a chair and apply my backside to it for elongated periods of time. I can’t improve on that, other than to add, don’t waste your time in seeking that perfect opening sentence. You’ll change it a dozen times. Far better to find a rough ending. This will give your work a focus. Without an end to aim for, many writers become lost in words, as do their readers. More…


maggie-groff

MAGGIE GROFF, author of Good News, Bad News and many more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Carry a notebook with you and jot down thoughts at the time as you will never remember them later. Try to write a good story rather than a great work. On every page, think of your readers and what they need to know. Never give up. When you are knocked down by rejections, pick yourself up and rewrite. Again and again until you have honed your skill. More…


sue_whiting_trim_20101

SUE WHITING, author of Portraits of Celina, Get a Grip Cooper Jones and many more…

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

Up until I started writing in my late thirties, I truly believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I can’t hold a tune (ask my long-suffering family) and I can’t draw to save myself (ask anyone who has ever played Pictionary with me). So the desire to do something creative, like writing, blindsided me a bit. (Well, a lot actually.)

At the start, children’s picture books was my genre of choice. But over time, I started to get “bigger” and “longer” and “older” ideas and found myself embarking on writing novels. Which is ridiculous considering that I work full time and commute three hours each day! (What was I thinking?) But I adore getting to know my characters and then setting them free on the page and seeing where they take me. And despite the fact that it takes me a very long time to complete each novel, I know I want to continue writing in this form. More…


kim-kelly

KIM KELLY, author of This Red Earth

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

I hope my stories inspire love and curiosity. Without love, nothing good happens in life – and there’s nothing fictional about that. Without curiosity, we don’t learn anything new. At the end of This Red Earth, I hope that readers want to kiss their own beloveds and clink glasses in a toast to generosity and togetherness. I hope readers are inspired to want to find out more about this place we are privileged to call home. Go out an explore some of it for yourself, and write your own love letters home. More…


leila rudge

LEILA RUDGE, author of Ted, Definitely No Ducks!, Duck For A Day and No Bears

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t wait until you think everything is perfect in your portfolio before approaching publishers – you will always be your own worst critic! More…


general-low-res-430x644

JAMES KERLEY, author of The Man Plan

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Take more risks and make more mistakes. Too many people play it safe in their lives, careers and especially their creativity. Many a creative has a drawer full of dusty ideas. Pick one and make it a reality in 2013! More…


beasleyrichard01

RICHARD BEASLEY, author of Me and Rory Macbeath and Hell Has Harbour Views…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I’m arguably more qualified to give aspiring writers legal advice rather than writing advice. As legal advice is prohibitively expensive, and often wrong or confusing or both, I would use two simple words: “write” and “read”. It takes a lot of things to create a good novel, but you can’t write any kind of book without persistence, and a love of reading.More…


annabelle-brayley400

ANNABELLE BRAYLEY, author of Bush Nurses

7. If Bush Nurses could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

People’s understanding and appreciation of rural and remote nurses and the work they do in the outback. They are usually multi skilled and extraordinarily well qualified because of the broad range of their experience. Often they are the only immediate medical help available. More…


Janine-allis-1

JANINE ALLIS, author of The Secrets of My Success – the story of Boost Juice, juicy bits and all

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

The growth in obesity and obesity related diseases has increased with the growth in fast food. I would hope that my work can contribute to people living a longer and healthier life. More…


gayleforman

GAYLE FORMAN, author of Just One Day and much more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To let the work be the guide. To write in the voice that comes naturally to them, not the voice they think they should write in or the one the market demands. To write the story that is bursting to come out of them and not worry about the market. Because if you write a compelling and authentic piece of work that makes you feel breathless when you are writing it, chances are so much stronger that readers will find it, and react in kind. More…


Kelly-Doust-2-web

KELLY DOUST, author of The Crafty Minx at Home

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To make people more mindful of how unsustainable our culture of waste and want is, both spiritually and for the environment. More…


hannahkent

HANNAH KENT, author of Burial Rites

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To be a writer I think you must, first and foremost, be a reader. Read as much as possible, as often as possible. Remember to be professional, and foster discipline. Write even when you feel uninspired. Be aware. Practice empathy. More…


honey-brown

HONEY BROWN, author of Dark Horse and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Respect your reader. Write a story that will entertain them. More…


xl-lorraine-elliott-not-qui-460x458

LORRAINE ELLIOT, author of Not Quite Nigella

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

There are so many great authors that it’s hard to pin point one that I admire. But I do love J.K. Rowling because she has such a wonderful imagination and created a world in which I wanted to dwell. More…


ahx_small

ANNIE HAUXWELL, author of A Bitter Taste

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

I had written a number of feature screenplays and got sick of them languishing in development hell. A novel seemed to be the way to go, as I could do it on my own, nobody would try to impose their ‘vision’ on it, and it wouldn’t take three years to raise the money to produce the finished article. More…


benjamin_percy

BENJAMIN PERCY, author ofRed Moon

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read your brains out and write your brains out. More…


feat-craigharper

CRAIG HARPER, author of Pull Your Finger Out

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write less with your head and more from the heart.

Don’t hurry.

Create a writing process (structure, organisation, accountability, time-line) and don’t over-think it. More…


david-heley

DAVID HENLEY, author of The Hunt for Pierre Jnr.

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

I’ve tried my hand at a string of art forms and keep coming back to writing as the fastest and most effective way to communicate complex ideas.

Originally the Pierre story was going to unfold across a series of novellas, but the publisher felt a trilogy was a better way to go and I think now they were right, it forced me to really expand the world I was building. More…


shirvington_jessica

JESSICA SHIRVINGTON, author of Between the Lives and The Violet Eden Chapters

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Trust yourself. If you believe in a story and can work through the plot points, go for it. Then write big! You can always scale it back but in your early drafts push the scenes as much as they can go, take everything to the extreme and then pull it back in later drafts. And always remember that even in the most fantastical scenes the emotions can be heartfelt and very real. More…


max_barry

MAX BARRY, author of Lexicon, Machine Man and many more…

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

What I mostly hope is that while reading it, people are impaired from normal function, so instead of writing reports or concentrating while driving, they’re thinking, “I really want to get back to that book.”

But afterwards, I hope people have a new interest in ideas like what language really is and how persuasion works. Because those are weird. More…


patrick-aaron

AARON PATRICK, author of Downfall

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Convince the Labor Party leadership to take the political high road – and never again tolerate the sleazy characters who trashed the party’s reputation. More…


robert-schofield

ROBERT SCHOFIELD, author ofHeist

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t believe that you can aspire to be a writer: either you write, or you don’t.

You can aspire to be published, to forge a career as a writer, or to give up your day job, but if you start daydreaming about that, when you should be writing, then you’ve got a one-way ticket to disgruntlement. You’ll measure yourself against other people’s standards; you’ll try to please an imaginary audience of publishers, critics and readers; and you’ll find yourself second-guessing what you want to write.

Write for your own pleasure, and for your own reasons, and only take advice from a very small handful of smart, generous people who you’d trust with your life. Everyone else has their own agenda, which very rarely coincides with your own. More…


rg_fischer_narrowweb__200x2920

TIM FISCHER, author of Holy See, Unholy Me

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To help restore integrity to the dealings of the big end of town post Lehman Brothers and the GFC in line with the excellent but neglected Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Then fix the freight rail systems of the world for our carbon and climate chaos sakes. More…


Claire Scobie

CLAIRE SCOBIE, author of The Pagoda Tree

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To follow the breadcrumbs of a story. Writing fiction is like using a divining rod in your prose. You need to sense where it’s hot, where the juice is, and to trust your own instinct. Most of all, to be true to what you want to write as everyone will have a different opinion, but ultimately it’s your creation. More…


nicolamarshauthor

NICOLA MARSH, author of Banish and much more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

A lot of writers get caught up in the technicalities of writing. The many ‘how-to’ resources, following rules, trying to write according to what they hear is right. My advice is to write, write, and write some more. The way to hone your writing voice is to do just that: write. And read widely in the genre you’re targeting to get a feel for what’s current. More...


kathrynlyster

KATHRYN R. LYSTER, author ofThe Inevitability of Stars

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

Mainly I hope people will enjoy reading my book. That’s the most important thing, that the experience is enjoyable and a little bit addictive! I want it to be one of those reads you can’t put down, because you care about the characters and you want to know what happens to them. I want people to take away a sense that there’s more happening than we know, that life is full of mystery, and that it’s it is far more miraculous than we let ourselves believe. More…


Banafsheh Serov

BANAFSHEH SEROV, author ofThe Russian Tapestry

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I once read a quote by an author (can’t remember now who it was) that there are 3 secrets to successful writing: except no one knows what they are. I regularly speak to authors about their writing and they each have a method that works for them. As a rule if you want to write, you must already be reading a lot. You also need to be disciplined with your time, making sure distractions (especially social media) are held at bay. After that it’s your personal commitment to yourself. If you’re committed to not giving up, then you’ll eventually succeed. More…


lottie

LOTTIE MOGGACH, author of Kiss Me First

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

Writing is so freeing – you can do it on your own, anywhere in the world and the basic materials cost almost nothing. Saying that, I’d also love to be able to paint. Or sing. Or act. More…


eleanor

ELEANOR CATTON, author of The Luminaries

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?

My mum was a children’s librarian when I was growing up, and so I read a lot, and re-read a lot. The three books that I have re-read more than any others are Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight, Mister Tom and Kit Pearson’s A Handful of Time. I love those books with all my heart. Close behind those top three would be Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle series (my favourite was The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle) and Willard Price’s Adventure series, especially South Sea Adventure. More…


karen

KAREN M. DAVIS, author of Sinister Intent

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t really feel qualified to give anyone advice, so all I’ll say is; if you love to write, keep doing it. Study and analyse the books you like to read. Write what you know, what you enjoy. Put your heart and soul into it. My first and second manuscripts were rejected and the thought of starting again was almost too overwhelming. So I had a bit of a break and then started from scratch – this time writing about crime fiction – something I knew about. I started writing seven years ago- pretty much full time. Some days I wanted to throw my computer out the window. That’s when I would think of my mother, and her ten year struggle to get published. If you give up you don’t get! More…


0_katzdanny1

DANNY KATZ, author of A Book About Scary and much more

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Writing is the only profession that you can do with no budget – just a computer, or a pen and paper, or some charcoal and footpath. Anyone can get started, there’s no excuses. So write. That’s it. And never be clever. More…


alissa

Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa

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

I have a special respect for any author who has had to weather immense criticism—authors who have been shunned, ostracized, exiled. I really admire anyone who is writing to push boundaries and explore the margins. I’ve always felt it very necessary to be continually shocked by art; it keeps me feeling awake. Reading a scandalous book is like letting my sense of curiosity drink an espresso. More…



Kelly-Doust-2-web

KELLY DOUST, author ofThe Crafty Minx at Home

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To make people more mindful of how unsustainable our culture of waste and want is, both spiritually and for the environment. More…


hannahkent

HANNAH KENT, author of Burial Rites

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To be a writer I think you must, first and foremost, be a reader. Read as much as possible, as often as possible. Remember to be professional, and foster discipline. Write even when you feel uninspired. Be aware. Practice empathy. More…


honey-brown

HONEY BROWN, author of Dark Horse and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Respect your reader. Write a story that will entertain them. More…


xl-lorraine-elliott-not-qui-460x458

LORRAINE ELLIOT, author of Not Quite Nigella

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

There are so many great authors that it’s hard to pin point one that I admire. But I do love J.K. Rowling because she has such a wonderful imagination and created a world in which I wanted to dwell. More…


ahx_small

ANNIE HAUXWELL, author of A Bitter Taste

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

I had written a number of feature screenplays and got sick of them languishing in development hell. A novel seemed to be the way to go, as I could do it on my own, nobody would try to impose their ‘vision’ on it, and it wouldn’t take three years to raise the money to produce the finished article. More…


benjamin_percy

BENJAMIN PERCY, author of Red Moon

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read your brains out and write your brains out. More…


feat-craigharper

CRAIG HARPER, author of Pull Your Finger Out

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write less with your head and more from the heart.

Don’t hurry.

Create a writing process (structure, organisation, accountability, time-line) and don’t over-think it. More…


david-heley

DAVID HENLEY, author of The Hunt for Pierre Jnr.

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

I’ve tried my hand at a string of art forms and keep coming back to writing as the fastest and most effective way to communicate complex ideas.

Originally the Pierre story was going to unfold across a series of novellas, but the publisher felt a trilogy was a better way to go and I think now they were right, it forced me to really expand the world I was building. More…


shirvington_jessica

JESSICA SHIRVINGTON, author of Between the LivesandThe Violet Eden Chapters

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Trust yourself. If you believe in a story and can work through the plot points, go for it. Then write big! You can always scale it back but in your early drafts push the scenes as much as they can go, take everything to the extreme and then pull it back in later drafts. And always remember that even in the most fantastical scenes the emotions can be heartfelt and very real. More…


max_barry

MAX BARRY, author of Lexicon, Machine Man and many more

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

What I mostly hope is that while reading it, people are impaired from normal function, so instead of writing reports or concentrating while driving, they’re thinking, “I really want to get back to that book.”

But afterwards, I hope people have a new interest in ideas like what language really is and how persuasion works. Because those are weird. More…


patrick-aaron

AARON PATRICK, author of Downfall

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Convince the Labor Party leadership to take the political high road – and never again tolerate the sleazy characters who trashed the party’s reputation. More…


robert-schofield

ROBERT SCHOFIELD, author of Heist

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t believe that you can aspire to be a writer: either you write, or you don’t.

You can aspire to be published, to forge a career as a writer, or to give up your day job, but if you start daydreaming about that, when you should be writing, then you’ve got a one-way ticket to disgruntlement. You’ll measure yourself against other people’s standards; you’ll try to please an imaginary audience of publishers, critics and readers; and you’ll find yourself second-guessing what you want to write.

Write for your own pleasure, and for your own reasons, and only take advice from a very small handful of smart, generous people who you’d trust with your life. Everyone else has their own agenda, which very rarely coincides with your own. More…


rg_fischer_narrowweb__200x2920

TIM FISCHER, author of Holy See, Unholy Me

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To help restore integrity to the dealings of the big end of town post Lehman Brothers and the GFC in line with the excellent but neglected Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Then fix the freight rail systems of the world for our carbon and climate chaos sakes. More…


Claire Scobie

CLAIRE SCOBIE, author of The Pagoda Tree

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To follow the breadcrumbs of a story. Writing fiction is like using a divining rod in your prose. You need to sense where it’s hot, where the juice is, and to trust your own instinct. Most of all, to be true to what you want to write as everyone will have a different opinion, but ultimately it’s your creation. More…


nicolamarshauthor

NICOLA MARSH, author of Banish and much more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

A lot of writers get caught up in the technicalities of writing. The many ‘how-to’ resources, following rules, trying to write according to what they hear is right. My advice is to write, write, and write some more. The way to hone your writing voice is to do just that: write. And read widely in the genre you’re targeting to get a feel for what’s current. More...


kathrynlyster

KATHRYN R. LYSTER, author ofThe Inevitability of Stars

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

Mainly I hope people will enjoy reading my book. That’s the most important thing, that the experience is enjoyable and a little bit addictive! I want it to be one of those reads you can’t put down, because you care about the characters and you want to know what happens to them. I want people to take away a sense that there’s more happening than we know, that life is full of mystery, and that it’s it is far more miraculous than we let ourselves believe. More…


Banafsheh Serov

BANAFSHEH SEROV, author of The Russian Tapestry

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I once read a quote by an author (can’t remember now who it was) that there are 3 secrets to successful writing: except no one knows what they are. I regularly speak to authors about their writing and they each have a method that works for them. As a rule if you want to write, you must already be reading a lot. You also need to be disciplined with your time, making sure distractions (especially social media) are held at bay. After that it’s your personal commitment to yourself. If you’re committed to not giving up, then you’ll eventually succeed. More…


lottie

LOTTIE MOGGACH, author of Kiss Me First

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

Writing is so freeing – you can do it on your own, anywhere in the world and the basic materials cost almost nothing. Saying that, I’d also love to be able to paint. Or sing. Or act. More…


eleanor

ELEANOR CATTON, author of The Luminaries

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?

My mum was a children’s librarian when I was growing up, and so I read a lot, and re-read a lot. The three books that I have re-read more than any others are Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight, Mister Tom and Kit Pearson’s A Handful of Time. I love those books with all my heart. Close behind those top three would be Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle series (my favourite was The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle) and Willard Price’s Adventure series, especially South Sea Adventure. More…


karen

KAREN M. DAVIS, author of Sinister Intent

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t really feel qualified to give anyone advice, so all I’ll say is; if you love to write, keep doing it. Study and analyse the books you like to read. Write what you know, what you enjoy. Put your heart and soul into it. My first and second manuscripts were rejected and the thought of starting again was almost too overwhelming. So I had a bit of a break and then started from scratch – this time writing about crime fiction – something I knew about. I started writing seven years ago- pretty much full time. Some days I wanted to throw my computer out the window. That’s when I would think of my mother, and her ten year struggle to get published. If you give up you don’t get! More…


0_katzdanny1

DANNY KATZ, author of A Book About Scary and much more

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Writing is the only profession that you can do with no budget – just a computer, or a pen and paper, or some charcoal and footpath. Anyone can get started, there’s no excuses. So write. That’s it. And never be clever. More…


alissa

ALISSA NUTTING, author of Tampa

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

I have a special respect for any author who has had to weather immense criticism—authors who have been shunned, ostracized, exiled. I really admire anyone who is writing to push boundaries and explore the margins. I’ve always felt it very necessary to be continually shocked by art; it keeps me feeling awake. Reading a scandalous book is like letting my sense of curiosity drink an espresso. More…


Dick Johnson

DICK JOHNSON, author of Dick Johnson: The Autobiography of a True Blue Aussie Sporting Legend

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

Twelve – I wanted to race cars
Eighteen – I wanted to still race cars
Thirty – Racing cars and still trying to break it into the big time More…


SHANE JACOBSON, author of The Long Road to Overnight Success

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I think the best I can hope for is to entertain people, give them a reason to smile for a while. I do use my influence to help a few special charities that I am involved with which I will continue to do always More…


YANGSZE CHOO, author of The Ghost Bride

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

When you’re eighteen, you feel that you’re physically invincible. You can’t really imagine what it’s like to be sick, or facing decline – or at least, I had a hard time imagining that when I was that age. Now that I’m older however, I’m definitely aware of my aches and pains! More…


FIONA MCFARLANE, author ofThe Night Guest

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

My mother worked in a bookshop and our house was full of books, which I assume is why I wrote my first ‘novel’ when I was six years old: an eleven chapter masterpiece called ‘The Fake God’. Mum typed it up and my brother illustrated it More…


MESHEL LAURIE, author of The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t try to make it perfect.  Just get it down and keep going.  We need the permission of others to do so much in this life.  No one can stop you writing. More…


KEVIN KWAN, author of Crazy Rich Asians

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 Singapore and enjoyed a blissful childhood climbing trees, taunting neighbourhood dogs and eating five meals a day. More…


STEVE WORLAND, author of Combustion and Velocity

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

In a nutshell Combustion is an action adventure yarn that finds the two main characters from my first novel Velocity More…


SIMON MILNE, author of The Dance Teacher

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

I believed that life proceeds in a straight line; now I believe it is a series of crooked paths. More…


ROGER MCDONALD, author of The Following

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

I wanted to be an pilot but became a writer so never really came to earth. More…


David Hunt

DAVID HUNT, author of Girt

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I love paper. I love the way it feels. I love the way it smells. I love the way it goes all wavy and sticky-together when you drop it in the bath. More…


DAVID WHISH-WILSON, author of Zero at the Bone

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

I had an army brat upbringing. My dad was posted to Vietnam a week after I was born, so my siblings and I lived on air force bases More…


David Gilchrist

ALWYN TORENBEEK AND DAVID GILCHRIST, co-authors of Adventures of Legendary Horseman, the Kokotunga Kid

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

David Gilchrist – This book could encourage people to reflect on ideas of mateship and on many so called, ‘old fashioned values.’ More…


TOM TRUMBLE, author of Rescue at 2100 Hours

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read and write. Repeat these activities every day. More…


ANNA ROMER, author of Thornwood House

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

I’m a devoted fan of Australian fiction; there are so many wonderful home grown authors and I love the freshness and originality of the Australian voice. . . so I’d have to say the person I admire most is my agent Selwa Anthony. More…


JENNY BOND, author of Perfect North

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

That I’d always be happy staying in a dorm room at a backpackers hostel when travelling More…


WILL DAVIES, author of The Boy Colonel

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

I read history from an early age, glorious battles of the empire, “war books” from the Second World War, even historical comics and colouring in books. More…


JOE DUCIE, author of The Rig

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

Writing works for me. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, and stick figures are as good as it gets when it comes to drawing. More…


JEFF KINNEY, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

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

When I was 12, I wanted to be a computer game designer. We owned one of the first personal computers, an Apple IIe, and it set my course in life. More…


TIM FERGURSON, author of Carry a Big Stick

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

I I probably didn’t think laughter could save the world, but now I know it can. More…


EIMEAR MCBRIDE, author of A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

6. Please tell us about your novel.

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is set in Ireland. It’s about the relationship between a girl and her brother, who is living with the after effects of a brain tumour. More…


MEG CABOT, author of The Bride Wore Size 12

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 educated in Bloomington, Indiana, known world wide as the “Gateway to Scenic Southern More…


KATHRYN HEYMAN, author of Floodline

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

Oh god. Many of them are secret, like wishes. It’s a big list, actually. But a few of the highlights include: writing the truth, always More…


WALTER MASON, author of Destination Cambodia

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

You will laugh, but seeing Boy George on TV for the first time when I was a kid was an incredible moment. I took one look at him More…


MARK ROEDER, author of Unnatural Selection: Why the Geeks Will Inherit the Earth

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

The electronic media is ephemeral and transient by nature. It is a constant digital chatter without a coherent structure that dissipates into the ether. More…


ANNE GARE, author of Eat In: The Best Food is Made at Home

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 Western Australia. I was the youngest of 4 kids. I was raised on Brown food- it was the 70s. More…


JESS AINSCOUGH, author of Make Peace With Your Plate

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To end factory farming. This disgusting system is cruel, inhumane and should be illegal. More…


COLLEEN RYAN, author of Fairfax: The Rise and Fall

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

I believed that socialism was the best economic system for the common good. More…


DONAL RYAN, author of The Spinning Heart

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

My goal is reset each time I start writing something: to finish what I’m writing and to make it as good as I can. More…


VANESSA GARDEN author of Captivate

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

I wanted to be a wacky inventor when I was twelve, an actress at eighteen, and a writer at thirty. I guess these things all speak of a desire to create More…


TURIA PITT, author of Everything to Live For

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Hmm. Well I’m not sure I can call myself a writer! I didn’t physically write the book, I had a brilliant ghost writer to do that. More…


ANDREW MUELLER, author of It’s Too Late to Die Young Now

8.Whom do you most admire and why?

Uncritical admiration of individuals is obvious folly – plenty of musicians, artists, writers, athletes and politicians. More…


NICOLE HAYES, author of The Whole of My World

6. Please tell us about your novel The Whole of My World…

The Whole of My World is a Young Adult novel about a teenage girl who’s obsessed with football. More…


AMANDA PROWSE, author of A Little Love

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 East London (for anyone that hasn’t been there More…


T. M. CLARK author of My Brother-But-One

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

I love sewing, and I love creating interesting clothing to wear, I don’t however want to be the next Dior designer. More…


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NICOLA MORIARTY author of Captivation and Paper Chains

10.    What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write when you want to write, when you’re in the mood and you’re feeling creative. Let your fingers trip across the keyboard, let your pen run away with your hand. Try out different styles and different genres. Take a creative writing course. Eat More…


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KAREN FOXLEE author of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy

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

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy is about the power of friendship and never, ever giving up.  I hope that’s what kids and adults alike take away from it. More…


jennifersmart

JENNIFER SMART author of The Wardrobe Girl

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I still consider myself an aspiring writer and the advice I remind myself of most often is – there is no ‘secret template’ to writing a book. The only way to write is to write. Trust your gut instincts, be careful of whose feedback you seek and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. More…


NAOMWOOD

NAOMI WOOD author of Mrs. Hemingway

4.     What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Reading The Old Man and the Sea made me interested in Hemingway and made me want to find out everything about him – that powerful sense of loss in all of its pages made me want to write about a troubled soul and his relationships with women.  My first novel, The Godless Boys, emerged after I set about writing a short-story based on what I saw in Lucian Freud’s painting The Village Boys. If I More…


silviakwon

SILVIA KWON author of The Return

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It’s actually something I heard Neil Gaiman say: There will always be better writers and smarter people than you. Just try to write something which only you could have written. More…


mmcc_slider_girlswhite

MONDAY MORNING COOKING CLUB authors of The Feast Goes On

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To find, collect, recreate and publish all those wonderful heirloom recipes from the older generation before they are lost forever. We believe the old recipes still fit so well into our contemporary world. More…


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GABRIELLE TOZER author of The Intern

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

Because I sing like a hyena, haven’t pirouetted in years, get too nervous to act anymore and can only draw stick figures. Luckily, I can wrangle words into shape from time to time and, since I have always been a voracious reader, I thought it would be pleasurable to see things from the other side (and hopefully entertain a new generation!). Besides, this sounds naff, but I could always picture myself doing it…and now, I’m hooked! More…


shona2-2

SHONA INNES author of Life is Like the Wind and Friendship is Like a Seesaw

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

I have great memories of books in my childhood. I would often get books as gifts and my sister and I created a little library in the cupboard under the household telephone. My grandmother and my great aunt would read aloud to me and they More…


MAXINE

MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE author of Foreign Soil

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

I admire risk-takers and trailer-blazers. I admire writers who don’t shy away from the difficult, or the heartbreaking, or the overtly political. I like writers who tell it like it is, who are curious, daring and generous with their emotions. I like to read writers who leave a little of More…


josephine-moon

JOSEPHINE MOON author of The Tea Chest

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be curious. People often say to write what you know. But I think you need to write about what you want to know. More…


lincoln

LINCOLN PEIRCE author of Big Nate in the Zone, the Big Nate series and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It’s usually aspiring cartoonists, rather than aspiring writers, who seek me out for advice. Young cartoonists are often over-focused on the importance of artwork in comics. My own opinion is that More…


david-mackintosh

DAVID MACKINTOSH author of Lucky, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School and 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?

Grimble by Clement Freud / A Boy Named Sue written by Shel Silverstein / Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens.

It’s hard to isolate all the things that one is influenced by, but I do like these three. A common thread is More…


christinabakerkline

CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE author of Orphan Train, Bird in Hand and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write, write, write.  Finish a draft.  Revise.  Revise again.  Keep going even when you want to despair.  (I always think of Winnie-the-Pooh stuck in the rabbit hole: he can’t go back, so he has to go forward.  At a certain point in the process of writing a novel it feels that way to me. Every time.)  The single most important thing is More…


jo-riccioni

JO RICCIONI author of The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store

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

I hope that English readers might be a little bit more enlightened about some of the things that happened in Italy during the War; I hope they can see the beauty in small, ordinary lives – that such stories are as much history as sweeping world events; but mostly I hope they can feel for my characters and get a satisfying read. More…


 

LAURELL K. HAMILTON author of Anita Blake series, the Meredith Gentry series and l-k-hammore…

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?

Robert E. Howard’s short story collection, Pigeon’s From Hell, was the first horror, heroic fantasy, and dark fantasy I had ever read. I was fourteen and it was a life changing event, because up to that point I’d wanted to be a writer, but hadn’t known what kind of writer I wanted to be, but from the moment I discovered Howard’s writing I More…


bruce_mccabeBRUCE McCABE author of Skinjob

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Join a writer’s centre and find a group of people at the same level as yourself to share and critique work. Understand that all first drafts look awful; everything good was re-written and polished many times over before it saw the light of day! More…


kate-belle-2014KATE BELLE author of Being Jade and The Yearning

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

There are too many writers, both know and unknown, I admire to list them all. I guess I am most impressed by those who have stayed the course and offered something back to the world from their success. Writers like Alice Walker, Tim Winton, Tara Moss, and so many others, who are so generous with their knowledge, wisdom and time and who use More…


manning-ned-thumbnailNED MANNING author of Playground Duty

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Ha! I wrote Playground Duty because I wanted to celebrate the teaching profession. I have enormous respect for teachers. They come in all shapes and sizes but 95% of them do their best for their students. I didn’t consider social media as an outlet because I wanted to tell a story and it’s hard to do that in 40 “characters”. I love reading and sharing a journey with a writer. I hope readers enjoy my journey as a teacher. Books, like theatre, will never be obsolete! More… 

 


karen-viggersKAREN VIGGERS author of The Grass Castle, The Lightkeeper’s Wife and more…

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To remind people that we live in a beautiful world on which we are completely dependent and that we should look after our natural places and each other and be kind. More… 

 


authorbrookedavisBROOKE DAVIS author of Lost & Found

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I feel a bit odd giving out writing advice, to be honest. I’m still very much learning, and suppose I will be learning till the day I die, or stop writing, whichever comes first. But I guess there are two main thoughts on writing that I keep close to me. More…

 


jodyallenJODY ALLEN author of Once a Month Cooking

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

I hope that people will realise that they don’t need to be great cooks to cook great meals. And that organisation and prioritising your time is a necessity for busy people, because in today’s busy world, if you don’t have time for you, you will break – eventually!

This book is about how I created more time in my busy life and I’d love to share that – because if I hadn’t of done this, I’m pretty sure I’d be sitting in a straight-jacket around now. More…

 


alanbaxterbigALAN BAXTER author of Alex Caine series

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Don’t think about writing, don’t aspire to write, don’t tell everyone how you want or plan to be a writer. WRITE! And then, don’t give up. Determination is a large part of the battle. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep working all the time to get better. Write and never give up. More…

 


carrollber011BER CARROLL author of Worlds Apart, Less Than Perfect, The Better Woman and more…

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

I hope people come away from my novels with the taste of another country and/or another life. I hope my characters stick around, and don’t leave their heads straight away. Surprise is important, and I hope to have achieved that in some way throughout the novel. Most of all, I hope my readers are satisfied and happy and finish with a smile and the desire to read my other novels. More… 

 


christie-nieman-headshot-1CHRISTIE NIEMAN author of As Stars Fall

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

As I’ve said, Margaret Atwood had me at hello. Her language – my lord, every word is working hard, every word is a little machine, every sentence. And yet it reads effortlessly. I’m also a fan of Sonya Hartnett, the way she can set up an unusual, often almost abstract scenario, and present it with such clarity that you don’t question it – it gives her enormous scope as a writer: once she has you there, she can do what she wants with you. More…

 


rachael-craw-croppedRACHAEL CRAW author of Spark

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I am an aspiring writer and I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’ve arrived, mostly because I’m never satisfied. From the beginning I wanted to be good more than I wanted to be published so I have always been hungry for the best counsel and the most honest criticism, to learn the craft and keep learning, refining, exploring and taking risks. More…

 


karen-millerKAREN MILLER author of The Falcon Throne, The Prodigal Mage and more…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t ever assume you’re owed anything. Publishing is a business, so be businesslike. The most important element of the game is the reader. If they love your work, if they hate your work, they’re right. You don’t get to decide what a good read is for someone else, even when it’s your own work in question. Never ever forget that your job is to tell an entertaining story. More…

 


owen-beddellOWEN BEDDALL author of Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

My latest book is called Confessions of a QANTAS Flight Attendant and it documents my career as a flight attendant from the beginning through to leaving just recently. Throughout the book, I address things that shaped my career and the flying world such as September 11, Mumbai bombings and the anthrax terrorism in the UK. More…

 


nikki-parkinsonNIKKI PARKINSON author of Unlock Your Style

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

If just one woman feels more confident returning to the workforce, leaving to become a mum, going on a first date after a broken relationship or just in the every day by reading Unlock Your Style, then my job is done. The ripple effect of that confidence will spill over into her family and community life. More…

 


georgiaclarkauthorGEORGIA CLARK author of Parched and She’s with the Band

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

Writing a marathon is a bit like what I imagine running a marathon is like: so hard to do your first one, but then you’re hooked. I love creating fictional worlds and imagining dialogue and scenes. I tried TV writing and directing, but couldn’t break into it. I found my niche with books. More…

 


6 Responses

  1. Susan Duncan. I truly lived a life on Pittwater in all of your books.

    Like

  2. Great interviews! Really interesting to read people’s responses and it made me wonder what I’d answer to these questions.

    Like

  3. Gee…not a very diverse crowd of selected authors huh? Just to put it out there…Black folks do read…and I’d like to have those 10 questions answered by some of my favorite African American authors. Other than that concern, I enjoyed your article on Peter Allison one of my newly found favorite authors!

    Like

  4. […] librarians who save the world. http://icio.us/ddjzmv 32. Author Interviews and Advice for Writers: http://blog.booktopia.com.au/ten-terrifying-questions/ 33. Some documentaries from snagfilms are available outside of USA … […]

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  5. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! Thanks guys, this was such a useful exercise and I was thoroughly engaged. I will tweet about it! (twitter/aussiewriters)

    Cheers

    Suzanne

    Like

  6. […] Ten Terrifying Questions […]

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