Quintette of Questions: PJ Blakey-Novis

Today I’m asking PJ Blakey-Novis 5 questions about his latest book!

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

My latest book is Four, a horror novella. The title came about as there are four key characters who take a camping trip into the English countryside, then telling four stories around the fire which they hope will scare the others. Only not all is as it seems, and each member of the group has something to hide. The story contains four shorts interwoven within a longer story.

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

If the book was to be made into a film (I can dream, right?), I could see Taron Egerton and Keira Knightly playing the parts of Noah and Martha, with perhaps Daniel Radcliffe as Daniel in the book. Casting Stephen is more difficult as he’s a quieter character, more of an outcast.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Campfire, anthology, ghosts, killers, and (most importantly, I think) revenge.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple ?

Probably Natasha and Sebastian, from my debut novel The Broken Doll. A lot of our friends think the characters are based on myself and my wife, but if that’s true then it was subconsciously. I just like the way they act around one another, and how they cope with the horrific turns they have to deal with as the story progresses.

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

The first thing to comes to mind is Firestarter by The Prodigy. Of course, fire features heavily in the novella, and there is an atmosphere of anger and vengeance as we reach the climax.

About Four

From the author of Embrace the Darkness, Tunnels, and The Artist comes Four. Four friends spend a night away camping in the English countryside, each taking a turn to tell a horror story that will terrify the others. But the group soon discover that there is more to be afraid of than just some campfire tales, and that no one is as innocent as they seem.

Buy Four

About PJ Blakey-Novis

P.J. Blakey-Novis is a British writer living on the south coast of England. He is the author of four collections of short horror stories to date, a horror novella, two psychological thriller novels, and a children’s book. P.J. has also had stories included in a number of anthologies. 

Social Media



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: 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.

Social Media


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.

Social Media links


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!

Words are like oxygen