Archive | March, 2013

The Books for Snowy River – what happens when your book goes out of stock just before a writers festival

24 Mar


sex lies snowy river

This week I had the simultaneously delightful and alarming news that ‘Sex, Lies and Bonsai’ is temporarily out of stock. Delightful, because yay, I’ve sold out! Alarming because I am booked to do a session called ‘Sex, Lies and Bonsai’ at the Snowy Mountains Writers Festival next weekend. And a session like that with no books is a little like a pub with no beer.


I have been moved to capture the ensuing events in verse…


 The Books for Snowy River

(with apologies to Banjo Patterson)


There was dismay

 at HarperCollins for the word had passed around

That Sex, Lies and Bonsai had run out.

And an urgent order had come in – 50 books must soon be found

So all the sales team gathered at the shout.


All the tried and trusted sales reps from the stations near and far

Had mustered at the office, after a bite

For the team there love a challenge

And as all in publishing know, a re-print cannot happen overnight.


There was Anna who had bought the book and brought it to the land

No finer editor ever held a pen

For ne’er a text could throw her or a manuscript at hand

As a publisher she knows the art of zen.


Lisa’s off to Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side

And the readers there are twice as keen and twice as tough

And an author’s books don’t linger in the bookshops overnight

No, a tale that holds its own is good enough.

The Snowy Mountains Festival is on one week today

And Sex, Lies and Bonsai’s on the bill

We must find some unsold copies or else perish in the chase

Because our writer’s heading for the hills.


So they went – they got one copy from the old Big W clump

Then they raced away across the city crush

And Anna gave her orders, ‘team, go at em from the jump’

No use to try for fancy buying – rush!


And they found them, some in clusters and some they were alone

They chased them down like bloodhounds on their tracks

But there were only 49 when they turned their heads for home

And in boxes and in handbags brought them back.


But one was there, a stripling, with sore and blistered feet

She wouldn’t rest until she found the final prize

She was hard and tough and wiry, just the sort who won’t say die

There was courage in her quick impatient eye

And her bright gaze saw one loitering in a darkened bookshop aisle

And she snatched it up and held it to the sky

And she shouted to the heavens with the book above her head

We have not failed the festival, this book will now be read


So down by Kosciusko where the pine-clad ridges raise

Their torn and rugged battlements on high

Where the air is clear as crystal and the white stars fairly blaze

At midnight in the cold and frosty sky

In  the Thredbo Alpine Schuss Bar where the readers come to stay

Those yellow stripes are shining with the best

And the HarperCollins sales team are a household word today

And the author tells the story of their quest


You can catch me and the captured books at the Snowy Mountains Writers Festival over the Easter weekend.  Top of nine degrees in Thredbo today so bring the woolies!

Romantic comedy with a twist – my review of ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion

14 Mar

‘The Rosie Project’ is Graeme Simsion’s first novel and it has taken off with a bang, already selling into thirty countries. Simsion has previously written two non-fiction books as well as short stories, plays and screenplays. ‘The Rosie Project’, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2012, was originally a screenplay, written as part of Simsion’s studies at RMIT.

Don Tillman is a professor of genetics. He has some unusual habits – his life is timed to the last minute, he eats exactly the same meals at the same time every week, he is a master of Aikido but has trouble with social situations. While the author never says as much, the reader deduces that Don may have Asperger’s syndrome. Don himself doesn’t recognise this, however. When he gives a lecture on Asperger’s, a friend asks him if the symptoms remind him of anyone he knows and they do – one of the other professors.

When Don decides that he needs a wife, he approaches this task as he does the rest of his life, with efficiency. A questthe-rosie-projectionnaire is what he needs, he decides, ‘to filter out the time wasters, the disorganised, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers…’ Don’s questionnaire for ‘The Wife Project’ is both extensive and discriminating. But then along comes Rosie – a smoker, a barmaid, a vegetarian. She is totally unsuitable, but yet Don can’t seem to stop himself from spending time with her.

Don is a wonderful character, who maintains his consistently original persona throughout. There are many delightful one-liners and a couple of laugh out loud moments due to the gap between Don’s view of the world and that of others. When a woman who is clearly interested in him asks him out for a chat he quizzes her on how he should prepare, ‘What specific topics are you interested in?’ When Rosie says, ‘You want to share a taxi?’ Don reflects that it seemed a sensible use of fossil fuel. And when asked if he has ever had sex, Don confirms that he has, on his doctor’s orders, but then ponders that it might become more complicated when there are two people involved.

Simsion acknowledges the inspiration he has gained from classic romantic comedy movies. ‘Cary Grant would have made a perfect Don,’ he says. This book is funny, witty and intelligent – I finished it with a smile on my face.


Boomerang Books are currently giving away copies of ‘The Rosie Project’ and ‘Sex, Lies and Bonsai’, enter here

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the Snowy Mountains over Easter, and it is a lovely time in the mountains, do come along and see me talking about romantic comedy and landscapes at the Snowy Mountains Writers Festival. 

And, don’t forget that if your book group would like to do ‘Liar Bird’, I have a special offer for book groups