Five questions in five minutes with Karina Machado

Karina Machado is bestselling author of "Spirit sisters:Australian women reveal true-life stories of the paranormal " and had just released a new book, "Where spirits dwell". Karina joins us for five questions in five minutes...

What are you reading right now, and what do you like/dislike about it?
I am a historical fiction buff so am currently losing myself in a classic of the genre: Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. What I enjoy the most about historical fiction, and about this book in particular, is the way it transports me. If life is getting overwhelming and I need an escape, hopping into bed with a wonderful story from the past is the best way, I find, to clear my mind. Suddenly, I'm projected out of the everyday and into a setting that, for all its brutality and discomforts, was in many ways a far simpler time. I find that soothing. Penman is incredible. The way she takes you back to England in the 1400s is uncanny, more like time travel than fiction writing. In that sense, it reminds me a bit of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

Could you tell us a bit about your favourite book?
Oh, a tough one—to narrow it to just one, I mean! Truman Capote's In Cold Blood comes straight to mind. It introduced me, many years ago, to the possibilities available within non-fiction. Actually, I'm due a re-read. I don't re-read books very often and I've read that one twice, as I have Wuthering Heights—Emily Brontë's classic, in all its stark and eerie beauty, is up there with my all-time favourites. I am also in awe of The Great Gatsby, and I could not answer this question without mentioning Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree series, which I read as a child and have re-read to my children. What a way to open up the imagination.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love reading (see above), baking and cooking and enjoy being outside in the garden, though I claim no expertise there. Given that we're moving house next week, I have also acquired an obsession with home-decorating magazines.

What’s next for Karina Machado?
Apart from packing and unpacking boxes? Well, I am keen to do lots of decorating, baking and gardening at our new family home. And then? Who knows? I'm sure it won't be long until my fingers are itching to fly over the keyboard again (learning to touch-type was one of the best things I ever did!) I'm also hoping to head interstate for library talks to promote "Where spirits dwell"

If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would they be, and why?
I'd love to meet Stephen King, though I'd surely be dumbstruck by his genius. And Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's ill-fated second wife. She had an amazing mind, which I'm not sure enough people know about. I'd serve them my famous orange-and-choc chip muffins with their coffee!

Everyone is welcome to come along and join Karina Machado for an author talk/book signing at Cronulla Library on Tuesday, 15 November, at 6.30pm. You can book online or by calling the library.