NEW RELEASE – On the Same Page by Penelope Janu

Published:April 1, 2022

For readers of Mhairi McFarlane, Beth O’Leary, Lindsay Kelk and Sally Thorne comes this utterly charming and delightfully funny love story where opposites attract – or do they?



By day Miles Franklin, named after the famous author, is a successful lawyer. By night, in secret, she writes historical romance novels under the pen name Emma Browning. When ‘Emma’s’ novels win one of Australia’s biggest literary awards, Miles’s perfectly ordered life begins to unthread at the bindings. Especially when Lars Kristensen, CEO of the publishing company contracted to publish the prize-winning books, insists on meeting the author.

Besides mutual antipathy and sexual attraction, socially anxious Miles and supremely confident Lars have nothing in common. Nothing. But the more time they spend together, the more blurred the lines between fact and fiction and love and hate become.

Miles is determined to both protect her privacy and to keep writing-even if it means mastering pole dancing, choreographing a love scene in the back of a horse-drawn carriage, and confronting the prejudices of her parents and publishers.

Like the heroines in her books, Miles has the grit to stand her ground. But Lars has the smouldering looks, arrogance and pride of all her romantic heroes rolled into one. And he is good at reading between the lines. Who is going win this battle of wills? Can Miles and Lars ever be on the same page?


There’s an excerpt below, but first…

A few words from the author

On the Same Page is a contemporary romantic comedy that explores the prejudices that exist around romance novels. Miles Franklin is a successful historical romance novelist who writes under a pseudonym, and Lars Kristensen is a (very handsome) publisher who is determined to find out who is behind the pseudonym. On an intellectual level, these characters believe they couldn’t possibly fall in love. But as they get to know one other (and start to express their true feelings through the letters they exchange), they work out that, when each overcomes their preconceptions and prejudices, they are, in fact, perfectly suited.

Characters are complex, just like real people.

On the Same Page is very much an ‘enemies to lovers’ story, which isn’t unusual in romance novels, but to an extent there is a dual narrative as well. As Miles writes her books, and the characters in them fall in love, she falls in love with Lars. And as Lars reads Miles’s novels, he finally starts to understand what makes Miles tick. There are serious themes in the novel, about reading and writing and relationships, and the judgments people make about others, but there’s a lot of humour as well—both the heroine and hero are forced way out of their comfort zones!

This novel gave me an opportunity to reread (and reread) some of my favourite novels, plays and short stories, because literature plays an important role in On the Same Page. Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South are a few of Miles’s favourites, and there’s a very modern retelling of Gustave Flaubert’s famous ‘sex in the carriage’ scene from Madame Bovary.

Finally, there is pole dancing. Has anyone tried it as a sport? It is wonderful for the core and whole-body strength, but not for the faint hearted!



Buy On the Same Page

On the Same Page was originally published in 2018 and this is a sparkling revised edition available in eBook only format.

Excerpt from On the Same Page
by Penelope Janu


My briefcase flies out of my hand and whacks him in the knee.

‘Christ!’ he says, grasping my arms above the elbows, steadying me.

If I look up I’ll blush, so I keep my chin down. Navy suit, burgundy tie, white shirt. He has broad shoulders and narrow hips. And he smells nice.

‘Are you all right?’ His voice is deep. English accent? He squeezes my arms.

‘Yes. Sorry about …’ I look up. Early thirties, well-defined jawline, determined chin. Remarkably blue eyes with steel-grey flecks. He has a perfectly shaped mouth to match the rest of his face.

He reaches for my briefcase at the same time I do, but he gets there first. As I straighten, I hit him in the chin with the top of my head.



He rubs his chin. Our gazes lock. I’m vaguely aware of people walking around us. Of exhaust fumes and the rumble of a bus engine. A car horn blasts and I jump. He pushes me off the road backwards, hesitating briefly as I negotiate the kerb to the footpath. When he smiles into my eyes, I’m so busy gazing into his that I don’t notice he’s trying to give back my briefcase. Our hands touch. His fingers, long and lean, tangle up with mine as I take the handle.

A flush warms my chest and moves up my neck to my face. I’m suddenly breathless. And I know exactly how I’ll look. Like a giant red condom’s been pulled over the top of my head.

‘Oh!’ I snatch the briefcase out of his grip. ‘Sorry again.’

When I take a step sideways, he holds out his hand. ‘There’s no need to apologise. It was unintentional.’

‘I was in a rush.’

He opens his mouth as if he’s going to say something else, but then he shuts it. His lips firm and he takes a step back. Has he only just realised I’m red like a beetroot? That my briefcase may have crippled him and his jaw might be broken? He nods. Is this a dismissal?

I turn sharply right and walk quickly along the footpath, as if I actually want to go in this direction. It would be foolish to turn around to take one more look. I must be imagining he’s following me with his eyes. Even so, I will not turn around.

I turn around. He’s at least twenty metres away. I can’t possibly see the colour of his eyes from here. Can I? He swipes his dark-brown fringe off his forehead as he continues to stare. Why is he staring?

I spin on my heel and continue along the footpath, crossing the road at the next set of lights. Then I walk until—five minutes later—I’m directly across the road from where I started. It’s lunchtime now and people at the cafés along Enmore Road crowd onto the footpath. It takes another few minutes of dodging and weaving before I reach my building.

My nameplate hangs in the foyer, near the staircase to the first floor. Miles Franklin & Associates, Lawyers. The sign is a little misleading because I’m a sole practitioner, and my PA, Pippy, is the only employee I have. I kick off my heels and walk up the stairs in my stockings, only putting my shoes back on when I get to my door. And it’s only then I realise I forgot to pick up lunch.

I squeeze past Pippy’s pot plants in the reception space to get to my office. It’s at the back of the building and overlooks a laneway lined by tiny shops—a coin trader, two barbers and three takeaway stalls. The sound of main-road traffic rumbles louder when I push open the window. I sit behind my desk and reach for the folder at the top of the pile. I’ve only done one calculation when I hear the crinkle of shopping bags.

‘Hi, Miles,’ Pippy says, appearing in the doorway. She straightens her pencil skirt. ‘When did you get back?’

‘Not long ago. The meeting at the Copyright Council finished early.’

‘Is that one of Emma’s files?’

‘Yes. I’m working out this month’s royalties.’

Most of my clients, like the writer Emma Browning, are romance authors, but I also look after a gardening writer named Clinton, an expert on orchids and bees, and a reverend who writes philosophy texts.

Pippy blows her breath upwards to get her long blonde fringe out of her eyes. Then she holds out a stack of folders. They’re coloured pink and I’m sure I haven’t seen them before. All of a sudden, I have butterflies in my stomach.

‘What are they?’ I ask.

She grimaces as she puts the folders on the desk. ‘It’s about Emma.’

‘What about her?’

She points to the folders. ‘Read all this, then you’ll know.’

‘You’ve used your initiative again, haven’t you?’

‘I’ll make you a cup of tea and then you can tell me off.’

Within five minutes my hands are shaking so much I can barely turn the pages. Pippy has forged my signature, numerous times, and entered Emma Browning into the Stapleton Prize, a literary award presented to an Australian author who has written and published at least three novels to critical acclaim. I take a few deep breaths and re-read the letter from the president of the Publishers’ Association, which regulates the Stapleton.


Dear Ms Franklin,

Please extend to your client, Ms Browning, our sincere congratulations. The five judges of the Stapleton Trust have placed her on the shortlist of six authors for the Stapleton Prize.

As you are aware, Ms Browning has entered into a conditional contract with Iconic International Limited, the renowned global publisher and sponsor of the Stapleton Prize. If she wins the prize, the contract will become unconditional, and Iconic will re-release her backlist, and the novel she is currently writing.

The Chief Executive Officer of Iconic, Mr Lars Kristensen, is in Australia this week, and pursuant to the terms of the conditional contract, requires a meeting with all authors prior to the public announcement of the shortlist …


There are a number of problems associated with Emma’s shortlisting for the Stapleton Prize.

One, she doesn’t exist.

Two, she’s my pseudonym.

Three, I don’t want anyone to discover I write her novels.

I put my head on the desk and tightly shut my eyes. It can’t really be over, can it?

I started writing in secret after my mother, reading over my shoulder, saw my story about a princess and a prince. I was about to write the happily-ever-after ending when she snatched my pencil out of my hand and sent me to my room. An hour or two later, Dad opened my door and explained the significance of being a Franklin. He reminded me that the Miles Franklin I was named after wrote My Brilliant Career and endowed Australia’s most famous literary prize. Then he pulled a volume of Mum’s poetry from a bookshelf and read the words on the cover, Margaret Finch Franklin, esteemed poet and Nobel Laureate. Dad took my hand and led me to his study. He showed me the twelfth edition of his first novel and told me it was considered to be one of the country’s top-ten works of literary fiction—ever. He told me stories about princes and princesses, stories about falling in love, were trite and cliched and could never be good or important. He said stories with happy endings didn’t matter. He said they didn’t count.

Six years later, when I was thirteen, I went with Mum and Dad to a writers’ festival at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. I came across a bookcase in the guests’ lounge filled with the usual collection of books. Spy stories, a few classics, biographies of cricketers and footballers. I was thinking about picking up Tess of the d’Urbervilles when I saw Stephanie Laurens’s Devil’s Bride. It had a badly bent spine and was horribly dog-eared, but something about it made me flick through it. Perhaps it was the cover illustration, a dark-haired man holding a woman against his chest. I was captivated immediately, and by the time I’d finished reading it, I was determined to write historical romances. I wanted to create courageous and passionate women, and the men destined to love them.

No matter what my parents think, love stories, and happily-ever-after endings, do count.


Penelope Janu

Australian Prize and Award Winning Author
Adventure and romance … fresh, fun fiction


Read more about Penelope Janu and her books



Buy On the Same Page

On the Same Page was originally published in 2018 and this is a sparkling revised edition available in eBook only format.


We hope you’re enjoying our Book News 📚

We’d love you to follow us on Facebook Instagram

Don’t forget to check our COMING SOON page for 2022 releases up for pre-order now

You can also subscribe below by email to receive our occasional Book News blog post – and never miss a new book release!

Stay up-to-date on the latest Australian fiction releases and news