Quintette of Questions: Angela Savage

Today I’m asking Angela Savage 5 questions about her latest book!

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

I found the title for my novel Mother of Pearl fairly early on in the course of writing it. I don’t want to give too much away for readers–there’s a moment late in the novel when you realise the significance of the title–but part of the inspiration came from something a friend once said about a pearl being the perfect metaphor for a baby: an irritant inside of you that emerges as a thing of beauty.

While writing the novel, I also saw an exhibition called Lustre: Pearling & Australia when it visited Melbourne from the Western Australian Museum, where I was struck by this quote from Marilynne Paspaley: ‘The pearl is the only gem that is made by a living creature…it represents life, as every other gem is made by the passing of time and decay.’ Pearls, both literal and metaphorical, ended up permeating the novel.

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

I’d have Claudia Karvan play Anna and Asher Keddie play Meg (bringing the Love My Way cast members back together again!). Yayaying Rhatha Phongnam, who did great work in the Thai-Swedish noir Farang, could play Mukda. And I’d have David Wenham circa 1998 play Nate.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Nuanced, thoughtful, transporting, luminous, curious.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple ?

I’m going with the first couple that sprang to mind: Hana and Kip in The English Patient (and only partly because of the scenes between Juliette Binoche and Naveen Andrews in the film version!).

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

There’s actually quite a lot of music referenced in Mother of Pearl; I even made a playlist on Spotify. My favourite of these is ‘Midnight Lullaby’ by Tom Waits; I actually wrote a scene in the book for the song.

About Mother of Pearl

A luminous and courageous story about the hopes and dreams we all have for our lives and relationships, and the often fraught and unexpected ways they may be realised.

Angela Savage draws us masterfully into the lives of Anna, an aid worker trying to settle back into life in Australia after more than a decade in Southeast Asia; Meg, Anna’s sister, who holds out hope for a child despite seven fruitless years of IVF; Meg’s husband Nate, and Mukda, a single mother in provincial Thailand who wants to do the right thing by her son and parents.

The women and their families’ lives become intimately intertwined in the unsettling and extraordinary process of trying to bring a child into the world across borders of class, culture and nationality. Rich in characterisation and feeling, Mother of Pearl and the timely issues it raises will generate discussion among readers everywhere.

Buy Mother of Pearl

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is an award winning Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. Her latest novel, Mother of Pearl, is published by Transit Lounge. Her debut, Behind the Night Bazaar, won the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and all three of her Jayne Keeney PI novels were shortlisted for Ned Kelly Awards. Angela also won the 2011 Scarlett Stiletto Award for short crime fiction.

Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written By WomenCrime ScenesReview of Australian Fiction, and Hard Labour. She has published non-fiction in Smith JournalSunday LifeThe Big Issue and AsiaLIFE among others.

Angela has appeared as at major writers festivals and events across Australia and in the USA. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing, giving her the Bond villain-like name of Doctor Savage. Angela currently works as director of Writers Victoria.

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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.

Award Nomination for Scar Tissue and Other Stories

Not long after I posted that Scar Tissue and Other Stories is currently free to download at Clan Destine Press, I received some lovely news:

Scar Tissue and Other Stories has been shortlisted in the “Best Collection” category for the Aurealis Awards!

I’m delighted that it’s in such wonderful company and I urge you all to check out the nominees and support Australian authors and publishers in these difficult times by picking up a book or two!

Quintette of Questions: Antoinette Corvo

Today I’m asking Antoinette Corvo 5 questions about her latest book!

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

My latest book is a novella titled, Dirges In The Dark. I listened to the song, American Pie and googled what exactly a “dirge” was and the rest is history. 

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

I see Thandie Newton as a superb Hellen Grimaldi from Dirges

3. What five words best describe your story?

Tragic. Opera. Betrayal. Revenge. Resurrection. 

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

The Cenobites of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (Hellbound Heart). 

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

It’s an obscure song. I had it on repeat while I was brainstorming the latest version of Dirges In The Dark. It’s titled, The Black Dahlia by Courtney Leigh Hynes. Show business can destroy you. And Hellen’s pitiful mental life blends with the vibe of the song. 

About Dirges in the Dark

When actress Cassidy May lands the lead in the story of Hellen Grimaldi’s life, she believes it could be the boost her career needs. However, the more she looks into the past of Hellen and the shocking events which led to her death, the more fearful Cassidy becomes about taking the role. Did Hellen truly summon demons during that fateful performance? Was Cassidy about to unleash the same hell that Hellen had? What dark forces were really at play behind the curtain?

Buy Dirges in the Dark

Dirges in the Dark (Amazon US)

About Antoinette Corvo

Antoinette Corvo is a Brooklyn, NY native and remains there today. She has been writing since 1999 and will confuse to – refusing to ever retire. Antoinette writes horror with substance. There is a meaning behind every story and a statement to be made. 

She writes a bit cutting edge, crosses some lines and dabbles into disturbing.

Antoinette Corvo loves to share her voice. For decades she was crippled with depression, anxiety and fear. She knows and understands fear. She knows dysfunction. 

There is a psychological aspect to every story and character – an expression of the human condition. She found her voice in literature and storytelling. 

Antoinette vastly improved. She is a survivor and sees all silver linings. Perhaps she would never have been an author otherwise? Antoinette is very open about these personal details. 

Social Media links

Twitter: @CorvidaeR 


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.

Words are like oxygen