Cover Reveal — Beneath the Parisian Skies

Alli Sinclair Beneath the Parisian Skies high resOne of the benefits of being part of the online reading and writing community is making connections with like-minded people. Through mutual friends on social media, I recently made contact with Australian author Alli Sinclair after we both commented on or liked the same posts. That connection was strengthened when we discovered a shared appreciation for US folk-punk band Violent Femmes. It has been close to 30 years since I last saw the Femmes in concert, so when I saw online that Alli would be going to a gig by this iconic band I couldn’t help expressing my envy, and a light-hearted online exchange about the merits of the band followed.

Fast-forward a few months, and I am delighted to be able to say that Alli will be a guest on my Shelf Awareness blog in July, to coincide with the release of her next novel, Beneath the Parisian Skies. I’m also delighted that Alli has asked me to be part of a cover reveal for the new novel today — and, as you can see, it immediately evokes the mystery and allure of the French capital.

Alli’s bio reveals that she is a multi award-winning author of books that combine travel, mystery, and romance. She’s an adventurer at heart, has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and immersed herself in an array of exotic destinations, cultures, and languages. Alli’s stories capture the romance and thrill of exploring new destinations and cultures that also take readers on a journey of discovery.

Beyond her writing, Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading among young Australians.

You can expect to see a review of Beneath the Parisian Skies on my website closer to the release date. In the meantime, here’s the blurb, to whet your appetite:

A sweeping saga about love, truth, grief and passion–and what it takes to fulfil a dream.

Paris, 1917

Ballerina Viktoriya Budian narrowly escapes Russia with her life. She arrives in Paris, determined to start fresh with the famed Ballets Russes but her newfound success is threatened when her past returns to haunt her. Forced to choose between love and fame, Viktoriya’s life spirals out of control and the decision she makes seriously affects the lives of many for years to come. 

Paris, present day

Australian dancer Lily Johansson returns to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, hoping to ease the guilt over her fiancé’s death and to make amends with her estranged sister Natalie, a ballerina with the Bohème Ballet.

Terrified of loving again, Lily nevertheless finds herself becoming entangled with talented composer Yves Rousseau. Lily has many reasons for keeping Yves at arm’s length but as he recounts the drama of the Ballets Russes in Paris, the magic of this Bohemian era ignites a spark within her.

Meanwhile, vying for the role honouring Ballets Russes dancer Viktoriya Budian, Lily’s sister Natalie develops an unhealthy obsession. Natalie’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, Lily fears for her sister’s safety and sanity. So when Natalie goes missing, she and Yves set out on a desperate quest across France to find her and, along the way, battle their own demons.

Could the search for her sister, lead Lily to realise that ballet—like love and life—should not be abandoned so easily?

Beneath the Parisian Skies will be released through Harlequin MIRA in July 2017.

You can find out more about Alli on her website.

BUY LINKS: Harlequin Booktopia Bookworld Dymocks iBooks Kindle Google Play

Shelf Aware — Rachael Johns

Rachael Johns

Today is release day for Talk of the Town (Harlequin MIRA), the new novel from multi-faceted and highly talented Perth-based author Rachael Johns — and I’m thrilled that she’s the latest guest on my bookish blog.

Rachael is an incredibly hard-working (and delightful!) author, whose books are immensely popular and beautifully written. She tackles some controversial contemporary subjects with empathy, intelligence and good humour, and creates characters we’d love to sit down with for a cosy chat, or go out on the town with. She’s an English teacher by trade, loving wife and the mother of three boys, and according to her website she loves being able to go to work in her pyjamas — and she hates ironing!

Her 2016 novel The Patterson Girls was named General Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards, and she has been a finalist in a number of other industry awards that measure the quality and popularity of published works. Like the characters in her stories, she is warm, friendly, witty and generous. And, as you’ll see from her answers to my questions, she also possesses a self-deprecating humour that is utterly charming. 

Q. Rachael, how would you describe the work that you do and how you do it?

A. I write relationship stories that explore issues important to contemporary women and I have no idea how I do it. I’m not a plotter and my process for each book is to pray for an idea and then dive straight in and hope for the best.

Q. What projects are you currently working on, or do you have in the pipeline?

A. I’m currently writing the third in my Harlequin Special Edition series – The McKinnels of Jewell Rock. This series is set in a whiskey distillery in Oregon, US, and the third book is currently untitled. After that I’ll be starting my 2018 Women’s Fiction title and currently I have a few seeds of ideas for this book but haven’t decided which one is enough for an actual book yet.

Q. Where are the main bookcases in your home or office? Do you also keep books in other places at home (or elsewhere)?

Rachael Johns 3

A. We have books ALL over our house – on the kitchen bench (books that arrive almost daily and are yet to be read or housed), in my office (my own books, my favourite books and books I’m hoping to read for research), the kids’ rooms and our main living area have massive wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are in dire need of a tidy-up. (The floor to ceiling photo only shows HALF of the wall)

Q. How are your books organised/arranged?

Rachael Johns 2

A. Organised? Don’t make me laugh! I’m not organised in any other aspect of my life so why would my shelves be any different. I like the idea of organisation though – if I was a different person, I’d possibly alphabetise my collection!

Q. What sorts of books predominate?

A. We have quite a diverse collection – a lot of classics (some beautiful Folio editions owned by my mum), picture books that linger from when the kids were little but I can’t bear to part with, fantasy/sci-fi books owned by my husband, middle grade and YA books that are added to at a rapid rate (I have three boys) and, of course, my books, which include romance, women’s fiction and crime books!

Q. Describe your favourite reading place.

A. Outside on my back balcony, which overlooks the pool. I like nothing more than sitting there on the sun lounger with a good book and a glass of wine in hand.

Q. What book/s are you reading right now? Why did you choose that book/those books and what do you think of it/them so far?

A. I’ve just finished This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel. I chose this because it is about a family who have a transgender child and as my book The Art of Keeping Secrets deals with a transgender husband, I was interested to see how someone else wrote about this issue. Now I’m about to read Secrets of a Billionaire’s Mistress, by my friend Sharon Kendrick. It’s her 101st book for Harlequin Mills & Boon – WHAT an achievement!!

Q. What are your favourite books and/or who are your favourite authors?

A. My fave book of all time has to be Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding) – it kick-started my love affair with reading after I barely read anything in my teens. My fave authors include Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and Liane Moriarty.

Q. In the event of an emergency, if you could save just three books from your collection, which books would they be – and why would you choose them?

A. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox (although I still know it off by heart), because it was a book I enjoyed with all three of my boys when they were little. I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancackes, by Jaclyn Moriarty, because it was one of my fave books I’ve ever read and I really want to reread it one of these days to remember why, but I think it’s hard to come by now. And Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Q. If you could sit down for afternoon tea with your three favourite characters or authors, who would they be, what would you serve them, and what would like to talk to them about?

A. Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and Liane Moriarty and I’d take them out to San Churros for chocolate as I’m a hopeless cook these days. I’d want to pick their brains about where they get their ideas from.

Thanks so much for having me on your fabulous blog series – I’m nosy by nature so love checking out other people’s shelves!!

You can learn more about Rachael on her website.

Copies of Talk of the Town are available here: Amazon iBooks Booktopia

#rachaeljohns #contemporaryfiction #talkofthetown #harlequinmira #thepattersongirls #australianwomenauthors #westernaustralianauthors #lifelit #romance #ruralromance

Shelf Aware — Victoria Purman

Victoria Purman headshot

When I interviewed South Australian author Victoria Purman about her most recent novel, The Three Miss Allens, it felt like I was catching up with a friend from my school days, or a former work colleague. We were born in the same year, have many cultural touchstones and memories in common, and each pursued a career in journalism. While I stayed with print journalism, Victoria ventured into broadcast news and, later, moved into government and corporate sectors, including stints as a communications specialist for high profile politicians in SA.

She now combines a part-time communications career with a passion for writing romance novels, having racked up a number of published titles, with several more in the pipeline. The Three Miss Allens (Harlequin) combines contemporary and historical storylines and explores a number of significant social issues from the past and the present, including domestic violence, education and employment for women, and the plight of unmarried mothers. Victoria also gives back to the community through her roles with the SA Writers Centre, Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) and the Carclew Youth Arts Board. 

Victoria’s passion for writing and reading, her exuberant personality, and her warmth and wit shone through during our conversation, and are clearly evident in her stories — and in her responses to my questions. I’m certain you’ll enjoy reading about the books and authors she loves, and the titles on her shelves.

Victoria Purman --- Miss AllensQ. Victoria, how would you describe the work that you do and how you do it?

A. I write books for women about women, featuring emotional journeys through loss and love. How do I do that? Lots of typing! Believe me when I say it takes lots of typing, imagining, conversations in my head and what-if scenarios playing out when I’m hanging up the washing.

Q. What is your latest project, and/or what do you have in the pipeline?

A. I’ve just submitted my 11th and 12th books: a full-length family saga to Harlequin MIRA, and a novella about an Aussie firefighter for the US-based Tule Publishing. In a few weeks, I’m going to start working on my 13th book – I hope that’s a lucky number – for Harlequin MIRA.

Q. Where are the main bookcases in your home or office? Do you also keep books in other places at home (or elsewhere)?Victoria Purman shelf 2

A. When we moved house five years ago (because with three then teenaged boys we needed more space) we were lucky enough to find a place with a spare room that is half my study and half the boys TV room. Before we even moved in we installed floor to ceiling bookshelves along one wall to hold books, CDs, DVDs, photo albums and games. But there’s not enough space and from the start we had to double up the books!

Q. How are your books organised/arranged? (ie alphabetically, by theme or genre, using some sort of formal or informal filing system, by colour perhaps?)Victoria Purman shelf 1

A. Nothing so organised! I do have two special shelves – one for all my own books, and another for all the signed books I’ve collected over the years from author friends, book launches I’ve been to and from the authors I’ve interviewed as part of Adelaide Writers’ Week. That’s getting full, too!

Q. What sorts of books predominate?

A. There’s a huge mixture on the family book shelves, from the collection of Wisdens to sports, history, literary novels, Harry Potter, romances, women’s fiction and historical non-fiction, which is my husband’s favourite genre.

Q. Describe your favourite reading place.

A. My bed! I try to read every night when everything in the house is quiet and I’m not too tired.

Q. What book/s are you reading right now? Why did you choose that book/those books and what do you think of it/them so far?

A. I’ve just finished In At The Deep End, by my friend and fellow Harlequin author, Penelope Janu, which I adored. And I’m not just saying that because I know her! She’s written a Norwegian navy commander who’s either wearing a dress uniform or a wetsuit. Say no more! And I’ve just finished Girl Waits With Gun, by the US author Amy Stewart. I heard her speak at Adelaide Writers’ Week and she described a real-life tale of the Kopp sisters in 1914 New Jersey. I loved that too – it’s a little Phryne Fisher-esque, which is fabulous. I also have a whole stack on my TBR pile – including Wayward Heart, by Cathryn Hein, and Break The Rules, by Claire Boston.

Q. What are your favourite books and/or who are your favourite authors?

A. Nora Roberts would have to be right up there. To Kill A Mockingbird was my first true favourite and, of course, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, by Jane Austen. And then there are too many to name!

Q. In the event of an emergency, if you could save just three books from your collection, which books would they be – and why would you choose them?

A. My own! I’ve saved copies to give to my sons when they’re older, so I would grab those first!

Q. If you could sit down for afternoon tea with your three favourite characters or authors, who would they be, what would you serve them, and what would like to talk to them about?

A. Banana Cake because it’s amazing! I’d love to sit down with Nora (hello!), to ask her about her career and ideas and how she writes such snapping dialogue, Jane Austen to ask her about her own love life (such a mystery), and Monica McInerney because I’ve met her and she’s absolutely delightful.

Find out more about Victoria here:




#victoriapurman #romancewriters #harlequin #harlequinMIRA #thethreemissallens #historicalfiction #womensfiction #romance #sawriterscentre #romancewritersofaustralia

Shelf Aware — Annabel Smith

SONY DSCIn 2014, after traditionally publishing her first two novels, Perth-based author Annabel Smith opted to self-publish her third novel, The Ark, primarily because it defied traditional genre boundaries. This interactive speculative fiction “novel in documents” — with an app allowing readers to directly connect with the story — is innovative, bold and brilliantly realised (and a damn good read). At the time of its release, I spent a delightful hour or so interviewing Annabel over lunch at the Fremantle Arts Centre cafe, and immediately felt I’d met a kindred spirit.

On the strength of our chat, I also went straight out and bought her first two novels, A New Map of the Universe and Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot (re-released in the US as Whiskey & Charlie), both of which captured my heart. Since then, I’ve encountered Annabel at various events, and benefited greatly from the plotting workshop she presented at Rockingham Writers Centre, last year. As you’ll see, when she writes about her next novel in this guest post for Shelf Aware, Annabel is not content to rest on her laurels — she’s always keen to set herself new challenges and experiment with her fiction.

Annabel has also recently started a blog in conjunction with fellow Shelf Awareness guest blogger Jane Rawson (another uniquely gifted Aussie writer), with the aim of helping fledgling authors understand what will happen in the lead-up to their book being released to the wide world. It’s called — delightfully — What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a Book. You can read it via the link to her website at the bottom of this guest post.

In the meantime, find a comfy spot, settle in, and enjoy learning more about writer and reader Annabel Smith. You are in for a treat.

Q. Annabel, how would you describe yourself as a writer?Annabel Smith 1

A. Right now, I would describe myself as a writer constantly reminding myself that the creative process matters more than commercial outcomes.

Q. What projects are you currently working on or do you have in the pipeline?

A. I’m working on the first book in a series which is a contemporary take on an epic quest. It involves a trio of unlikely heroes joining forces to overthrow an evil priestess.

Q. Where are the main bookcases in your home or office? Do you also keep books in other places at home (or elsewhere)?

A. Most of my books are in my study at home; the rest are dotted around our living room on various shelves.

Q. How are your books organised/arranged?

A. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this because I know it’s seen as very gauche by serious book collectors, but I organise my books by colour. Books make a room look beautiful, especially if they are grouped by aesthetics rather than by other systems. I find it easy to remember where books are using this system as although I’m not generally a hugely visual person, I always remember the colour of the spine.

Q. What sorts of books predominate?

A. The vast majority of my books are contemporary literary fiction, mostly from the US and Australia. A significant number fall into the speculative fiction genre. A small number are memoirs by writers and books on writing.

There are a few books I loved as a child, like Anne of Green Gables, and Alice in Wonderland, as well as some beloved picture books from when my son was little. I have a handful of volumes of poetry including Anne Michaels, TS Eliot, and Pablo Neruda.

Q. Describe your favourite reading place.

A. Right now  I am on a week-long writing retreat at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre and they have an insanely comfortable chair which I sit in for hours in the evenings reading. * At home, I read on the couch, or if my son is home playing noisily with a friend (which seems to be a lot!) I read lying on my bed. I don’t really like reading lying down though. I find my arms get tired of holding the book above my face!

Q. What book/s are you reading right now? Why did you choose that book/those books and what do you think of it/them so far?

A. All my reading at the moment is in preparation for the sessions I am chairing at Perth Writers’ Festival. I’ve just finished Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing which was an astonishing work of historical fiction which rendered in heartbreaking detail a very dark period in Chinese history. I’m also reading two non-fiction books about Communist China, which are quite outside my usual reading comfort zone but are both fascinating; these are Mei Fong’s One Child, and Madeleine O’Dea’s The Phoenix Years. Over the last two nights I positively hoovered up Jessie Burton’s The Muse which was a wonderful page turner and an interesting exploration of creativity. *

Q. What are your favourite books and/or who are your favourite authors?

A. For almost twenty years I have been re-reading Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto and in all that time it has never ceased to beguile me so on those grounds I would call that my favourite book, with Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden also finding a place on the podium! At this stage it seems likely that Hanya Yanigahara’s A Little Life will become an all-time fave.

I am a rusted-on fan of Kazuo Ishiguro; I’ve read and loved everything he’s written. I’ve been reading, enjoying and learning from writers like Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion and Jonathan Franzen for many years. More recently I’ve discovered new favourites including Louise Erdrich, Patrick deWitt, and Jeff VanderMeer.

Q. In the event of an emergency, if you could save just three books from your collection, which books would they be – and why would you choose them?

A. I’m not overly attached to books as objects; I love them for what’s inside them and almost all the books in my collection could be replaced. However there are a few which have great sentimental and personal value. One of these is The Virago Book of Women Travellers, edited by Mary Morris, which I read whilst travelling around Europe aged 21. It was my first time navigating the wide world alone and I was frightened and uncomfortable much of the time. The true stories Morris collected of other women’s travels gave me such courage and succour. I also have a much-underlined copy of Sylvia Plath’s Letters Home which felt instrumental in my journey to becoming a writer. I wrote about it here.

Q. If you could sit down for afternoon tea with your three favourite characters or authors, who would they be, what would you serve them, and what would like to talk to them about?

A. I had the great pleasure of hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak about creativity at Perth Writers’ Festival a couple of years ago, and of meeting her very briefly afterwards. She was incredibly warm and inspiring and I have wanted to adopt her as my big sister/mentor/friend/confidante ever since.

Cheryl Strayed’s collection of agony aunt letters Tiny Beautiful Things is one of the best things I have ever read in terms of being so fully and openly human so I’d love to spill my guts to her and get her advice on anything and everything.

Maria Semple seems neurotic in a way I find relatable and strangely compelling and also has a wonderful sense of humour. I’d serve champagne with almond croissants. We would have girly chats about friendships and crushes. Maybe a little about books and writing.

*At the time of answering questions.

For more about Annabel:


Facebook: Annabel Smith

Twitter: Annabel Smith

#annabelsmithAUS #perthwriters #australianwomenauthors #whiskycharliefoxtrot #theark #whiskeyandcharlie #speculativefiction #literaryfiction #blogger #latestreadingrecommendations #bigmagic #elizabethgilbert #tinybeautifulthings #cherylstrayed #janerawson


Shelf Aware — Sara Foster

Sara Foster 2017

Author Sara Foster. Picture credit: Christine and Mary Walsh.

Perth-based novelist and former book editor Sara Foster’s fifth novel, The Hidden Hours, was published on April Fools’ Day, but long before then it was generating plenty of interest within the publishing industry, and among Sara’s many readers. It’s psychological suspense set in a London publishing house, and centres on the murder of Arabella Lane, a senior executive at the firm, and new employee, Eleanor, believed to be the last person to see Arabella alive. The problem is, the hours surrounding Arabella’s death are “missing” from Eleanor’s memory, and Eleanor is desperately trying to forget her own traumatic past.Sara Foster Hidden_Hours_for_Sara_1

The Hidden Hours is next on my “to-read” pile — literally on my desk, next to me, as I type these words. And if her earlier novels are any indication, I’m likely to read it in one sitting — possibly because I’ll be too scared not to finish it all at once, or because I’ll simple have to know what happened to Arabella and to Eleanor, and I won’t be able to get to sleep until my questions are answered.

Sara lives with her husband just outside Perth, where she home schools their two young daughters. She is a doctoral candidate at Curtin University, with a focus on the role of mothers in dystopian fiction, and loves to travel, wherever and whenever possible. I’m certain you’ll enjoy reading her answers to my Shelf Aware questions as much as I did. Her passion for reading and writing is evident in every response — but especially in her list of favourite books and authors…

Q. How would you describe the work that you do and how you do it?

A. I aim to develop stories with compelling plots that always have a more serious observational side to them too. All my books are studies in something integral to the human experience – such as trauma, grief, belief, hatred, communication, neglect – but I try to put that into a page-turning format.

My main genre is somewhere between mystery, thriller and psychological suspense – I usually start with an interesting character or situation and try to sketch out a compelling plot from there. This involves a lot of time drafting, either at the computer or on paper. However, sometimes I get out and about to research ideas, and that is definitely one of my favourite parts of the process.

Q. What is your latest project, and/or what do you have in the pipeline?

Sara Foster Hidden-Hours-bookA. My book The Hidden Hours has just been released in Australia. It’s the story of a young Australian woman, Eleanor, who moves to London and begins working at a publishing house. She’s only been there for a few weeks when Arabella Lane, one of the directors of the company, is discovered dead in the River Thames after the office Christmas party. Everyone knows that Eleanor was one of the last people to see Arabella, but Eleanor cannot recall a few hours of the evening. As the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that people close to Eleanor may be involved. Under intense pressure from all sides, she begins to unravel, and memories of her traumatic childhood are drawn to the surface.

In addition to this, I’m already working on the next idea, which is another psychological suspense that deals with some contemporary women’s issues. I’m also studying for my PhD exploring YA dystopian fiction, so there’s plenty to keep me going!

Q. Where are the main bookcases in your home or office? Do you also keep books in other places at home (or elsewhere)? How are your books organised/arranged?

Sara Foster big front room books

A. I have a front room crammed with bookcases, and my study is also full of books. I often have a large wobbly pile on my bedside, and of course we have lots of children’s books in two more bookcases in the lounge and in each of their rooms.

The front room used to have a little colour scheme happening on certain shelves, but I always run out of space and then it gets more haphazard. Every now and again I have a big rearranging session. I have shelves of signed books, children’s books, books on certain topics, coffee table books, dystopian titles and books I have worked on. I also have about five crates of books in the garage that won’t fit anywhere!

Q. What sorts of books predominate?

Sara Foster dystopian

Part of Sara’s dystopian book collection.

A. I have a bit of everything! I have classics, general fiction, literary fiction, dystopian, mystery and crime, non-fiction, animal and environmental books, coffee table books, dictionaries and anthologies, autobiographies, lots of children’s books and a fair amount of YA.

Q. Describe your favourite reading place.

A. Lying in the hammock in our back garden, under the shade when the sun is warm but not too hot. Bliss!

Q. What book/s are you reading right now? Why did you choose that book/those books and what do you think of it/them so far?

A. I always seem to be reading a few books at the same time nowadays! I’m reading Shrill, by Lindy West – I saw Lindy at the Perth Writers Festival and really enjoyed her talks. I tend to pick this one up when I don’t have enough time to get into a novel, and so far I like it, but it’s not wowing me yet.

I’m also reading An Isolated Incident, by Emily Maguire. This one passed me by when it first came out, but I thought the storyline sounded really interesting, and I was intrigued by the Stella Prize suggestion (it’s on the shortlist) that it redefines the crime genre. I can’t comment on that yet, but Maguire has set up a compelling story and the voices are unique and strong.

My eldest daughter (age 8) and I are reading Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George (although we’ll be back on Harry Potter shortly, I should imagine), and my youngest (age 3) is obsessed with the Emily Brown books, by Cressida Cowell.

Q. What are your favourite books and/or who are your favourite authors?

A. I’m going to give you the long version, and this still misses out many books, as I have been wowed many times.

Classics: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Waves by Virginia Woolf, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

Amazing books I’ve read in the last twenty years include The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, One Hundred Shades of White by Preethi Nair, Beloved by Toni Morrison, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beneath the Skin by Nicci French.

More recently I’ve loved titles by Heather Gudenkauf, Kate Morton, Wendy James, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, Anita Heiss, Zana Fraillon and Emma Healey. The latest Hannah Kent book The Good People blew me away, and I think Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey is incredible.

Favourite dystopians are probably the Pure series by Julianna Baggott and Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. I also loved Clade by James Bradley.

I’m a genuine fan of all the work by the writers in my little writing group: Amanda Curtin, Natasha Lester, Annabel Smith, Yvette Walker, Emma Chapman and Dawn Barker – they are all incredibly talented.

My favourite books about animals are The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony and Priceless by Bradley Trevor Grieve. My favourite book of poetry is The Self-Completing Tree by Dorothy Livesay.

Sara Foster -- Maggie O'FarrellThis is the long version and I still feel like I’m missing out many titles and authors! Finally, there is a very special place in my heart for Maggie O’Farrell – I’ll always hunt down her books and she’s been an inspiration for a long time.

Q. In the event of an emergency, if you could save just three books from your collection, which books would they be – and why would you choose them?

Sara Foster signed and special books

Signed and special books from Sara’s collection.

A. Well, it would be a very difficult task but three top picks would be: first of all, the signed limited edition of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that my best friend from childhood bought me for my 40th birthday. Second, a copy of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison that she signed at an event a long time ago. And third, a facsimile edition of Winnie the Pooh that my mum bought for me.

Q. If you could sit down for afternoon tea with your three favourite characters or authors, who would they be, what would you serve them, and what would like to talk to them about?

A. I would like to get Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and Maya Angelou in the same room, and ask them everything about their experiences of writing and womanhood! I would provide a sumptuous high tea, and I wouldn’t do much talking, I’d just listen (and eat – and take notes)!

You can find out more about Sara on social media:


Facebook: Sara Foster, Author

Twitter: @sarajfoster

Instagram: sarafoz