Tag Archives: quintette

Quintette of Questions: Meg Mundell

Today I’m asking Meg Mundell 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 called The Trespassers, but it was originally called The Fever Diaries. The book evolved during the writing process, so needed a new title. It took awhile to come up with another name, but it fit perfectly. I love the word “trespass” — it’s poetic and evocative, strong and ominous, but also allows for nuance and ambiguity. Who decides what constitutes “trespassing”? Perhaps it depends on where you’re standing.

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

Billie, the ex-nurse/singer, would be played by PJ Harvey – a tough, hard-drinking, Scottish version of PJ Harvey, but with that same incredibly powerful singing voice.

I’d try to case a talented Deaf child to play Cleary. But if we couldn’t find the right person, I’d go back in time and hire Henry Thomas (ET), when he was 9 years old. And give him an Irish voice coach.

For the teacher, Tom, I’d hire Dev Patel. He’s got the sensitivity, the English accent, and the soulful eyes (but he’d have to be clean-shaven, for plot reasons).

3. What five words best describe your story?

Tightly-paced, terrifying, compassionate, multi-layered, resonant

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple ?

Pooh Bear and Piglet.

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

Stand By Me, by Ben E. King –a timeless song about love and loyalty in dark times. For me it reflects the relationship that blooms between Billie (the nurse) and Cleary (the young boy). When Cleary’s left all alone on the ship, terrified and victimised, she becomes his protector, his anchor, his best friend.

About The Trespassers

A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. For nine-year-old Cleary the journey promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it’s a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling schoolteacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trapped on the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath. 

The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experiences of migration and exile and the way strangers can become the ones we hold dear.

Buy The Trespassers

About Meg Mundell

Photo: Joanne Manariti Photography

Kiwi born and bred, writer and researcher Meg Mundell migrated to Australia by boat in the late 1990s. Her second novel The Trespassers (UQP 2019), a near-future literary thriller set on a migrant-labour ship, has been shortlisted for a 2020 Aurealis Award and optioned for TV. Her first novel Black Glass (Scribe 2011) was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award, the Norma K. Hemming Award, and the CAL–Scribe Fiction Prize.

Her journalism, essays and short fiction have appeared in Best Australian Stories, The Sydney Morning Herald, TheAge, The Monthly, The Guardian, Meanjin, Overland and elsewhere.

Meg is also the author of the digital short story collection Things I Did For Money (Scribe 2013), and the editor of We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place & Belonging (Affirm Press 2019), a collection of true stories by writers who have experienced homelessness. Her academic research focuses on place, homelessness and spatial justice.

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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: Kate Murdoch

Today I’m asking Kate Murdoch 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 Orange Grove as a title came to me quite easily as I was writing the novel. It’s a central location in the story where the characters meet and interact and it also conceals a crucial event in the story.

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

Henriette would be played by Cate Blanchett, Romain by Ewan McGregor, Letitia by Rose Byrne, and Charlotte by Margot Robbie.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Romantic, compelling, surprising, dramatic and twist-filled.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple ?

Katharine and Almásy in The English Patient.

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

Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, ‘The Emperor’, 2nd movement. This could describe the emotional balance I tried to strike between joy and sadness in the novel.

About The Orange Grove

Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue. 

Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.

The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.

In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

Buy The Orange Grove

About Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing.

Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

Her debut novel, Stone Circle, a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy, was released by Fireship Press in December 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.

Kate was awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse. Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, was published by Regal House Publishing in October 2019.

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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: Red Cape Publishing

Today I’m asking  Red Cape Publishing 5 questions about their latest anthology!

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

The name of the anthology is A is for Aliens. We knew when we started the project (a series of 26 books) that the titles would be A is for…B is for… and so on. Some of the letters were more difficult to name than others, either because there were very few options (such as X) or because there were too many choices (Vampires, Viruses, Vendettas, for example). That said, Aliens was an easy choice.

2. How did you come up with the theme of the anthology?

We wanted to put together another series after the success of our four-part series in 2019 (The Elements of Horror) but were undecided which sub-genres of horror to focus on. The A-Z of Horror gives us the opportunity to cover a huge amount of categories.

3. What five words best describe the book?

Sci-fi, horror, invasions, experiments, and aliens (Obviously!)

4. What is your favourite kind of genre mashup?

Anything with horror as an overriding theme, but science fiction and horror blend very well together.

5. What song reflects a theme, thread or overall tone of the anthology?

I’d probably go with the theme tune to War of the Worlds.

(Narrelle’s note: I found the live version on YouTube)

About A is for Aliens

A is for Aliens, the first book in an epic series of twenty-six horror anthologies. Within these pages you will find a collection of thirteen stories from some of the finest independent writers on the scene today, blending science fiction with horror. From the humorous to the terrifying, A is for Aliens contains a diverse range of stories with each author taking a different approach to the theme.

Buy A is for Aliens

About the authors

A is for Aliens is an anthology containing 13 short stories. It includes stories by Dona Fox, Daren Callow, P.J. Blakey-Novis, Nancy Kilpatrick, Tim Jeffreys, Mawr Gorshin, Theresa Jacobs, Jeremy Megargee, Monster Smith, Megan Neumann, Lesley Drane, Astrid Addams, and Mark Anthony Smith.


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: Alison Booth

Today I’m asking Alison Booth 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 The Philosopher’s Daughters. It was hard to pick the title but once we’d settled on it, it seemed exactly right for the story.

The Philosopher’s Daughters begins in 1890s London. It is written from the perspective of two sisters, strong young women who were brought up by their widowed father, an eminent moral philosopher (the philosopher of the book’s title). I imagined him as a younger version of John Stuart Mill, who was a great advocate for the emancipation of women. The girls thus had a relatively modern upbringing. Then I altered the sisters’ circumstances so that they separately choose to journey into remote and wild Australia. What might happen to them?  How would they view the world and life at the frontier? And how would this affect their own personal development and happiness once they moved away from their father’s influence?

The second half of the novel mostly takes place in the Northern Territory of South Australia. Together with the top of Western Australia, this was one of the last areas of the continent to be appropriated by white colonisers.  At that time and in that part of Australia, the ‘frontier wars’ were still being fought, largely over the establishment of the cattle industry, although they weren’t recognised as frontier wars back then. I wanted to see how The Philosopher’s Daughters would cope with being thrust into this challenging environment.

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

I would like Rose Byrne to play the part of Harriet. A natural for Harriet’s younger sister Sarah would be Mia Wasikowska and especially so if Mia can play the piano.

Henry Vincent, whom Sarah marries, could be played by someone like Simon Baker. Mick Spencer is an important character in the second half of the book. If Aaron Pederson’s years could be wound back a bit, I’d like him to play this role. If not, Rob Collins would be great in this part. So too would Mark Coles-Smith.

There are several malevolent figures who feature in the story and I would like David Wenham to play the role of one of them – either the man Carruthers or his friend Brady.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Evocative, insightful, thought-provoking, lyrical, delicately-handled. (Here I’m picking from words that others have used to describe the novel.)

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple ?

There are many. But at the moment I especially love the tenderness of the main and nameless female character in Milkman (the novel by Anna Burns that won the 2018 Booker Prize) towards her ‘wee sisters’ and her mother. I think they could be described as a team.

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

I particularly like Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu singing Wiyathul. That piece is so haunting, so beautiful, so expressive of what might have been. It reflects the relationship between Harriet and the Aboriginal stockman Mick, and would be especially right for one of their evening conversations at the boundary fence of the home paddock of Dimbulah Downs.

About The Philosopher’s Daughters

The Philosopher’s Daughters is a tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession. 

Buy The Philosopher’s Daughters

About Alison Booth

Novelist and academic Alison Booth was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney, lived for many years in the UK, and now calls Canberra home. Her new novel, The Philosopher’s Daughters, is set in the 1890s in London and Australia. Her previous books include A Perfect Marriage, a work of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s.

Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Stillwater Creek was Highly Commended in the ACT Book of the Year Award in 2011 and A Perfect Marriage was Highly Commended in the 2019 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards. 


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.