Loretta Hill, author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |February 13, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Loretta Hill

author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

I was born, raised and schooled in Perth, Western Australia. I’ve lived here all my life and will probably continue to do so for the rest of it. I love to travel but Perth will always be home.

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

That’s easy. A writer. A writer and …wait for it… a writer. Of course, it’s not a straightforward occupation to get into so I’ve had other jobs along the way.  I’ve been a structural engineer for the last eleven years.

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

At eighteen I thought it would be easy to get published. I was wrong!

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?

I love all of Georgette Heyer’s books. She’s been a big influence on my writing. I also love Michael Buble as an artist and comedian.  Art and music definitely are a source of inspiration for me but I like different types for different times, if you know what I mean.

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

I guess with writing a novel the artist has the most control. With screen writing and plays and other forms of conveying story you are reliant to a certain extent on the actors, set designers, costume makers etc to pull it all together.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Well, it’s called The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots and centres around a young woman called Lena Todd. She’s a real girlie girl whose world is turned upside down when she finds out she has to work on a construction site in the middle of the outback. Lena is a structural engineer with a rather shady past. She needs to take this job to prove to herself and her colleagues that she can put her mistakes behind her.

There’s a lot of comedy in this book, a dash of romance and a lot of secrets to be revealed. I hope readers enjoy it.

(BBGuru: here is the publisher’s blurb –

‘Let me burst your city bubble for you. This is the Pilbara. And it’s the Pilbara that makes the rules’

Lena Todd is a city girl who thrives on cocktails and cappuccinos. So when her boss announces he’s sending her to the outback to join a construction team, her world is turned upside down.

Lena’s new accommodation will be an aluminium box called a dongar.

Her new social network: three hundred and fifty men.

Her daily foot attire: steel-capped boots.

Unfortunately, Lena can’t refuse. Mistakes of the past are choking her confidence. She needs to do something to right those wrongs and prove herself. Going into a remote community might just be the place to do that, if only tall, dark and obnoxious Dan didn’t seem so determined to stand in her way …)

Click here to buy The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots from Booktopia, Australia’s N0.1 Online Book Shop

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

I hope they take away an appreciation of mining culture because it is such an Australian thing that is not often discussed.

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

As I said above, Georgette Heyer is definitely a writer I really admire. I love her comedy and also the level of detail she puts into her work to really capture her setting.

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

I want an Oscar! Just kidding. 🙂 My goal right now is to just write another book and then another after that and another after that… and for my publisher to love all of them and continue to do so into the distant future.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never give up. It’s a long windy road but the reward is worth it.

Loretta, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots from Booktopia, Australia’s N0.1 Online Book Shop

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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 booktopia.com.au, 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, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • February 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Brilliant interview and – thanks-be-to-Booktopia – sensible and interesting questions.

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