Category Archives: News

Quintette of Questions: Suzanne Moore

Today I’m asking Suzanne Moore 5 questions about her latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

The Place Between. The title evolved on its own over time. I can’t quite remember when I settled on the title. It was a working title and I played around with a couple of others but they didn’t feel right so this is the one that stuck. It felt like it captured the essence of what was going on in the story.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

I think Diana Rigg would have made a great Sarah. For Beryl? Betty White, all the way.

Who wouldn’t want Grace Kelly to play one of their characters? I think she would make a great Lillian.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Mysterious. Unsettling. Loving. Emotive. Touching.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Max Smart and 99. They bring me straight back to my childhood and I still find the show funny. Just hearing the opening music to Get Smart makes me smile. I remember lying on my stomach in our lounge room when I was quite small, recording it for my Dad on Betamax tapes. I would have to pause recording during the ad breaks and then remember to start again as soon as they were finished.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

It would have to be Gary Jules’s version of Mad World. The lyrics, “all around me are familiar faces…” makes me think of how, in the story, two people can see the same thing but they a completely different meaning, with completely different consequences.

About The Place Between

A lost mother, a forgotten past and three generations bound by hidden memories… History doesn’t always tell the truth.

Buy The Place Between

About Suzanne Moore

Suzanne Moore began her professional career as a small animal veterinarian with a love of surgery. In 2004 she returned to university to study creative writing as an aside to her veterinary career, and the balance of power between hobby and career shifted in favour of her creative pursuit.

After many years cocooned in her study Suzanne emerged rebranded as a writer, obtaining a PhD in creative writing from Murdoch University. During this time, she developed an interest in women’s narratives and time theory while juggling two small children and a household of geriatric pets.

Suzanne’s novelette, ‘The Station’—an eerie tale of a young girl’s journey through time and place—was published in Tincture in 2013.

Suzanne lives amongst the trees in the Perth hills. When she isn’t writing and the snow is deep, you can find her snowboarding in Japan with her family.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.

Quintette of Questions: Michael Farrell

Cover art: artwork: ‘Apparent Acquittal’ by Melbourne artist Spiros Panigirakis

Today I’m asking Michael Farrell 5 questions about his latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

Family Trees.  I knew that was the right title once I hit on it. Like a number of my book titles, it comes from a poem title in the book, but the meaning can be read more generally. Also, I didn’t realise till afterwards how many trees recur in the poems.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book? (or What things inspired you in writing these poems? )

To answer this question, it seems too easy to suggest Jude Law would be a good Pope Pinocchio, but maybe LIzzo would be good also.

In terms of inspiration:

  • 1: reading, especially history, for example Edward Browne’s A Literary History of Persia, also Hardt and Virno’s Radical Thought in Italy 
  • 2: spending time on the SE coast of NSW near Bega, and in my home town of Bombala; pop music: Laurie Anderson, Chrissie Amphlett, Radiohead, Frank Sinatra — and painting — and TV (Kimba, yet again). 

3. What five words best describe your story?

Love, the bush, pop, animals, trees

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

Jeeves and Wooster

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

There are many, but I will plump for Sharkey’s Day, by Laurie Anderson.

About  Family Trees

The poems in Michael Farrell’s Family Trees operate according to a queer and inclusive logic, which binds humans, animals, objects, plants and concepts in familial relationships.

The poems model contact through affection, sharing, and attention – sometimes violent attention. They tell strange stories – tall tales from the country, rambling reminiscences, shaggy-dog stories – of weird and wonderful things: the coffin with legs that walked, an infertile rabbit that fosters a lamb, robots hunting in Kenya for the little white lion of Tokyo, an argumentative sock-puppet, marsupial geese and singing worms, and Pope Pinocchio, who thinks his heartbeat powers Italy.

The characters in these scenarios think, gossip, sleep and work. A phrase, a detail, an object can send them in a hundred directions. Anything can be a twig (or bud or leaf or fruit) on Farrell’s family trees.

Buy  Family Trees

About  Michael Farrell

Photo: Nicholas Walton-Healey

Michael Farrell grew up in Bombala, NSW and has lived in Melbourne since 1990. He has edited two anthologies: Out of the Box, Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets (with Jill Jones) and Ashbery Mode. His book I Love Poetry won the Queensland Literary Award for Poetry in 2018, and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Awards. Cocky’s Joy was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Awards in 2016. He won the 2012 Peter Porter Poetry Prize for ‘Beautiful Mother’, a poem which includes Hebrew and merges the stories of Jesus and Kimba.

Michael has a PhD from the University of Melbourne: a revised version of his thesis was published as Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796-1945 (Palgrave Macmillan). He is currently a Juncture Fellow at Sydney Review of Books. He also edits a magazine Flash Cove with designer Wendy Cooper.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.

Quintette of Questions: Christine Bell

Today I’m asking Christine Bell 5 questions about her latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

No Small Shame isn’t the original title. My publisher ‘stole’ one of my chapter titles for the book, (their words 🙂 ), as they said the original title reflected the story of one of the other main characters more than that of my protagonist. I’d never thought of it that way; but once it was pointed out, it made perfect sense. I’ve known the story by its old title for such a long time, sometimes I worry I might accidentally call the book by the wrong name. Now though, combined with the gorgeous cover, I can’t really imagine No Small Shame being called anything else.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Once, I would’ve cast Olive Thomas, an early 20th century silent movie actress to play the role of Mary, my main character. Thomas had the exact same look, the unruly hair and defiant eyes. But seeing Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, I can easily imagine her playing Mary, except Ronan’s growing older faster than the book is likely to be made into a movie! Liam Hemsworth would make the perfect Liam. He’s the build, the looks, and could carry all the promise and sweetness lost.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Evocative, heartbreaking, authentic, compelling, tragic.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

I loved Tom and Isabel Sherbourne from The Light Between Oceans. Their great love created an impossible dilemma. But a greater love has no man than to give up his principles for the happiness of the woman he loves. And ultimately, Isabel gave up everything for Tom in return. The impossible moral choice resonates in No Small Shame.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

At first, I found this question really hard and then came the answer, boom! There is a scene that could be written and included if the book was made into a movie. It wouldn’t need any dialogue just visuals and the song Angel sung by Sarah MacLachlan. The mood, melody and lyrics all so hauntingly evoke Mary’s relationship with her husband.

About  No Small Shame

Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined. When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child.

There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins. But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take? From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.

Buy  No Small Shame

About  Christine Bell

Christine Bell is a Melbourne fiction writer. Her debut historical novel No Small Shame will be published by Ventura Press (Impact) April 2020. In October 2019, Christine was awarded the inaugural Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) Colleen McCullough Residency for an Established Writer. She is a Varuna fellow and holds a Master of Creative Writing (RMIT). Christine has had 35 short fiction works published for children. No Small Shame is her first adult novel.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.

Quintette of Questions: Stephen Johnson

Today I’m asking Stephen Johnson 5 questions about his latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

Tugga’s Mob was adopted as the title by Chapter 10. They were the wild, Kiwi party animals who turned Judy Williams’ European adventure into a nightmare. The Mob’s leader, Tugga Tancred, was her nemesis.  

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

New Zealand actress Anna Hutchison would be ideal in the lead role of Judy Williams. She can portray that girl-next-door quality which is the essence of the Waikato farm girl.

If I could stretch Russell Crowe by 20 cm, slap an extra 40 kilos on his frame, but trim 30 years, he has the sinister acting range to make an impressive Tugga Tancred.

But if Hollywood wants to cast Tom Cruise as Tugga Tancred, I would resist. Until the money became too ridiculous to ignore!

3. What five words best describe your story?

A bloody good page turner.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

How can a crime writer go past Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

Cliff Richard at the wheel of a double decker bus is so apt for my diarist Judy Williams in Tugga’s Mob. Judy set off with the same dreams for summer adventures in Europe. It’s incredibly cheesy, but I still love the spirit that song evokes. Driving a double decker bus full of young travellers through Europe was the coolest gig in the world.

About Tugga’s Mob

Tugga’s Mob is a story about a crime that wouldn’t stay buried. New Zealander Judy Williams worked hard for her Big OE: London, Paris, Rome, Gallipoli. All the adventures were hand-written in in her diary, which also recorded how an obsessive Tugga Tancred and his Kiwi mates turned Judy’s dream trip into a nightmare. The sexual harassment goes unnoticed; or was ignored by other passengers. Tugga’s fixation ultimately leads to murder; a crime that went unpunished for 30 years. Few things remain hidden forever. The rediscovery of Judy’s diary sparks a trail of revenge that the original perpetrators never see coming. It creates a bloody trail that might have gone unnoticed if not for curious journalists at a Melbourne TV station.

Buy Tugga’s Mob

About Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson is an Australian-born television news and sports producer who has swapped the TV studio for a writer’s garret overlooking the Tamaki River in Auckland. He calls himself an “accidental author,” returning from a long-awaited empty nest tour of Europe with a thousand photos and a debut novel.

Tugga’s Mob was crafted in a seven-metre motorhome nicknamed Kwozzimoto for the Kiwi navigator and Australian pilot. The story was pounded out on a battered laptop over33,000 kilometres through a dozen countries and almost 150 campsites. The plot’s inspiration came from Stephen’s three years working as a tour guide and driver on double-decker buses in the ‘80s. Those adventures with Top Deck Travel, and 40 years as a journalist, provided rich-pickings for novel locations, events and characters.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.