Caroline Overington, author of Ghost Child, I Came To Say Goodbye, Matilda Is Missing and now Sisters of Mercy, answers Five Facetious Questions

by |October 24, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Caroline Overington

author of  Ghost Child, I Came To Say Goodbye, Matilda Is Missing and now Sisters of Mercy

Five Facetious Questions


1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

It’s not a book shop story, but I once asked my Mum to carry a copy of my latest book onto the plane when she was coming to visit me, and to gasp and says things like, ‘wow, this is amazing!’ while pretending to read it. She just rolled her eyes at me.

2. So you’re a published author, almost a minor celebrity and for some reason you’ve been let into a party full of ‘A-listers’ – what do you do?

There is a very good chance that I wouldn’t know who anybody was. I would be bumping into Zayne or Payne or Layne or whatever his name is from One Direction, and saying things like, “And why exactly aren’t you in bed at this late hour?”

And if by chance my 12-year-old daughter was with me, she’d be dying of embarrassment.

3. Some write because they feel compelled to, some are Artists and do it for the Muse, some do it for the cash (one buck twenty a book) and some do it because they think it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex – why do you do write? (NB: don’t say -‘cause I can’t sing, tap or paint!)

I’m attracted to industries with what might some have cruelly called the “dying industries” …. Besides being a novelist, I’m also a newspaper journalist.

My ancestors were coopers and blacksmiths, I’m sure.

4. Have you ever come to the end of writing a particularly fine paragraph, paused momentarily, chuffed with your own genius, only to find you’ve been sitting at the computer nude or with your dress half-way over your head or shaving cream on your face or toilet paper sticking out the back of your undies or paused to find that you’re singing We are the Champions at the top of your voice, having exchanged the words ‘we are’ for ‘I am’ and dropping an ‘s’?

No? Well, what’s your most embarrassing writing moment?

It’s not book related, but I was once asked to cover an important match (game? tournament? whatever) between St Kilda, and some other Victorian football team, maybe Fitzroy … this was ages ago, when I was a cub sports reporter for The Age.

I’d never covered football before, and I went to a lot of trouble to make the copy sing, and quite proudly handed it in.

The sports editor, a busy and wonderful man, read it and said, ‘yes, lovely, marvellous description of the lawn and the leaves and the white picket fence around the ground … but what was the score, Caroline?’

I said, ‘the score?’

He said, ‘Yes, the score. As in, who won??’

It hadn’t occurred to me to take that down, but apparently people want to know.

5. Rodin placed his thinker on the loo – where and/or when do you seem to get your best ideas?

I go out to parties and listen very carefully and when somebody says something smart and funny, and after everyone has stopped laughing, I say: ‘oh, that’s good! Do you have copyright on that?’

Nine times in 10 they’ll be chuffed and they’ll say, ‘Nah, you can have it’ not thinking I actually will steal it from them. But I very definitely will.

Caroline, thank you for playing.

Booktopians are familiar with Caroline’s novels, we have gobbled them down one after the next. We can’t wait for Caroline’s new novel, Sisters of Mercy which is out in November – details below…

Sisters of Mercy

by Caroline Overington

Sisters of Mercy is the haunting story of two sisters – one has vanished, the other is behind bars…

Snow Delaney was born a generation and a world away from her sister, Agnes.

Until recently, neither even knew of the other’s existence. They came together only for the reading of their father’s will – when Snow discovered, to her horror, that she was not the sole beneficiary of his large estate.

Now Snow is in prison and Agnes is missing, disappeared in the eerie red dust that blanketed Sydney from dawn on September 23, 2009.

With no other family left, Snow turns to crime journalist Jack Fawcett, protesting her innocence in a series of defiant letters from prison. Has she been unfairly judged? Or will Jack’s own research reveal a story even more shocking than the one Snow wants to tell?

With Sisters of Mercy Caroline Overington once again proves she is one of the most exciting new novelists of recent years.

Click here to buy Sisters of Mercy from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 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, 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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