Lisa Heidke, author of Claudia’s Big Break, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |January 25, 2011

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lisa Heidke

author of Claudia’s Big Break, What Katie Did Next and Lucy Springer Gets Even

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Melbourne, trotted off to Malaysia when I was three, for three years, then back to Melbourne until I was ten. Then headed to Brisbane for twelve years.  Schooled by the nuns at Loreto, then dabbled at Queensland Uni. Have been in Sydney ever since.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve, I had my sights set on replacing Anni-Frid from ABBA… But I guess LABB doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. When I was eighteen, I wanted to be a travel writer (when I wasn’t hanging out at the Regatta). When I was thirty, I wanted to write novels. Why? Because I thought I’d be more successful at that then being an opera singer. (see next question.)

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That with training… okay… a lot of training, I could be an opera singer. Apparently, I can’t.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The Doris Day/Rock Hudson combo – not that Doris and Rock are necessarily works of art, but growing up, they featured prominently in my weekend television viewing. Although I was initially forced to watch them (thanks, Mum) I grew to love listening to their dialogue and watching their comedic interaction.  To counter all that sugary happiness, I was also taken with the darkness of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and the beauty of Degas’s ballet paintings.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Because I had a story to tell and my cat stopped listening to me.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Claudia’s Big Break is a coming of age adventure; a story about three girlfriends all at a crossroads – It has everything: betrayal and loyalty, romance and reality, karaoke and commitment. For Claudia, life will never be the same after her two weeks Santorini sojourn.

(BBGuru: Here’s what the publisher has to say…

Claudia’s Big Break is a funny and insightful novel about friendship, romance, laughter and loyalty.

Claudia Taylor’s life is a mess. Her twenties and thirties seem to have disappeared in a haze of boring office jobs, unsuitable shags and superficial spending. Her latest disaster? An ill-advised fling.

In an attempt to get some perspective on her life, Claudia jets off to glorious Santorini with her two best friends, Tara and Sophie. But it’s not long before they’re shaking their heads at some of Claudia’s shenanigans. Meanwhile, Sophie and Tara are wrestling with their own issues. Sophie, a former high-flying career woman, is struggling with being a stay-at-home mother and her husband’s nasty ex-wife. Tara, meanwhile, is sick of her dead-end job and trying to write a novel.

Claudia’s Big Break is an hilarious novel about friendship, romance, laughter and loyalty. It’s also about three woman taking stock of their lives – with a bit of drunken karaoke thrown in to the mix. For Claudia and her friends, life will never be the same after their much-needed holiday in paradise.)

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope people will say, ‘What a fabulous read. Can’t wait for Lisa’s next one.’ (And then buy ten copies for family and friends.)(BBGuru: we accept bulk orders.)

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Marian Keyes. I love Marian’s sense of humour, her take on modern life and her first person confessional tone of writing. I think she is a very funny and clever writer. I have read all of Marian’s books and admire her down to earth nature and generosity in talking about her setbacks and personal demons she’s had to conquer during her life. I also admire her ability not to take herself too seriously. I also think Enid Blyton, Stephen King and Charlotte Brontë aren’t bad either.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To keep writing, to maintain the desire to write and to keep getting published.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Keep writing!  It takes patience, persistence and discipline but you will get there. Keep going and don’t give up! But don’t give up your day job either! Oh, and you have to like being alone…for hours and hours on end.

Lisa, thank you for playing.


Look out for Lisa’s answers to my Five Facetious Questions – coming soon to a blog near you. (This one, to be more precise)

Follow Lisa on Twitter – here

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, was published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • January 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Have just started Claudia, Lisa, and I love her! Though I also want to slap her occasionally, but I’m guessing that’s the point… Your advice to aspiring writers is also great, but I think you should have added that they should stay away from Twitter. That will remove some of the competition.

  • January 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Great answers!

    Spending hours alone sounds kind of blissful. xx

  • Shell Tobin

    January 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I have three books on the shelf that I am going to read next. What the hell, they can wait. Have to read Lisa’s book now. Lisa’s characters already remind me of my five sisters. I love Liane Moriarty’s books for that reason. Going now, but I just have to say one thing before I leave, please don’t eat the daisies. Please, don’t.

    • January 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Shell, I love Liane Moriarty’s books too! ‘What Alice Forgot’ is a fav…It’s been a few years since I’ve watched ‘Please Don’t Eat The Daisies’ but just thinking about it makes me smile. (I am such a dag!)
      Bern and Kylie, thank you. Yes, I should step away from Twitter…

  • January 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Yay, Claudia arrived in North Qld today and it’s sitting beside me as I type 🙂

  • January 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Love it. I had no idea you wanted to be an opera singer… Opera’s loss is our gain. 🙂

    • January 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Al, perhaps opera singer was aiming a tad high…however I did warble on stage in front of 1500 and sing chorus to Mustang Sally…true story and it’s in CBB!

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