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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Royals, Sotherby's artwork and unblemished records with Andrew Mackie

With a fabulous cover and equally fabulous tagline, I was instantly drawn to this novel by debut author Andrew Mackie, and I’m pleased to report, it was just as entertaining as promised. Centred around Queen Elizabeth’s royal tour of Australia in 1954, this fictional tale had me laughing and eagerly awaiting the next calamity caused by maids, Violet and Daisie Chettle.

Starting in England, the story follows the ship voyage to Australia and the culture shock as the royal entourage does a hot lap around the country. Behind the scenes of the pomp and ceremony, the feuding twins find themselves in hot water time and time again, with missing jewels, romances, scandalous ambition and a long-lost aunt.

Mackie does a fantastic job of weaving real events, locations and fun facts into his amusing and witty novel. His background in film production also adds a richness to the descriptions and dialogue, making it an excellent choice for a big-screen conversion.

The Tour is out this month with Penguin Random House in paperback, eBook and audiobook. Thanks to Penguin for the review and giveaway copies.


Five fast minutes with Andrew Mackie

Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?

I don’t! Maybe I should get one. However, while I was writing The Tour I had this image of the Queen in Wagga Wagga as my desktop wallpaper (see above).

Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?

Funnily enough most of my writing is done walking. I’ll take the next scene with me on a thirty-minute walk and hopefully by the time I’m back at the keyboard I’ve worked it out.

What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?

Whatever’s-in-the-fridge stir fry. Lace it with enough soy sauce and you’d be surprised what you can get away with.

Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?

Probably my current career as a film distributor. Flying to film festivals to watch and buy movies is possibly the best job in the world. Not that I’ve flown anywhere lately.

Favourite book from your childhood?

I’m a sucker for Tintin. ‘The Broken Ear’ is a favourite!

Worst writing/book related injury?

Probably the hangover after celebrating getting it published.

Which jelly bean do you eat first, and which do you leave until last?

Green or blue first. I don’t know why. Black last as I’m not a liquorice person.

Have you done anything special with any of your advances?

I purchased an original ‘Live and Let Die’ promotional billboard artwork from Sotheby’s. Now I just need a wall big enough to frame and hang it.

Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of writing inspiration?

Walking or in the shower. Or driving. Anywhere but near a keyboard, it would seem!

Which book and ‘essential’ item would you pack if you won a week in the Whitsunday Islands?

Book: Perhaps ‘The Last Islands: History of the Whitsunday and Cumberland Islands’ by John Bates? Or I’d throw myself to the mercy of the airport newsagency. Also, I like the smell of newsagencies.

Essential item: iPad Pro cellular with Magic Keyboard

Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

My friend Kathryn Heyman’s memoir ‘Fury’.

Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?

This is my first novel and the reviews are yet to break, so I’m enjoying an unblemished record while it lasts.


The Tour

Nineteen-year-old identical twins Violet and Daisie Chettle can hardly believe their luck when they are recruited as maids to accompany the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting on the royal tour to Australia in 1954. However, life on board the SS Gothic and indeed in the colony is far from the glamorous adventure they expected. Have the Chettle sisters ventured too far from home to ever find their way back?


Andrew Mackie is a film distributor and producer. His company Transmission Films acquired and released such indie hits as The King’s Speech and Lion. His executive producer credits include Ride Like A Girl, Tracks, Candy, Sweet Country, Holding the Man and On Chesil Beach. In 2012 and 2013 The Australian named him one of the twenty-five most influential people in the Australian arts. Andrew has always been fascinated by all things royal and has long felt that the Queen’s tour of Australian in 1954 was ripe with dramatic potential. The Tour is his first novel.

Find Andrew online

Instagram: @andrewmackie where you will discover a single but worthwhile post - a photo of my dog, Pinchy.



For your chance to win a copy of this fabulous book, simply read the interview and answer the questions on the WIN page. Entries open Feb 6. Winner will be drawn Sunday Feb 14 at 6pm. Newsletter subscribers and Aussie addresses only please.


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