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Thank you for visiting!  Karen McMillan writes fiction and non-fiction, adult and children's books, 22 books published in ten countries. On this site, you will find information about her books. Karen does many speaking events - cancer organisations, rotary, libraries, women's groups, writers' festivals, retirement villages, book clubs and school events - so contact her directly to book her in. 

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Turbulent Threads

Out now!

A passionate novel of freedom and love in Victorian New Zealand, a page-turning saga set in extraordinary times.

Spanning the last decade of the 19th century, this page-turning saga explores the healing power of friendship while celebrating the pivotal role women played in one of New Zealand’s most turbulent eras.

Dunedin, 1890: Suddenly orphaned at the tender age of twenty, Greer Gillies is reduced to working as a humble servant at Larnach Castle, a far cry from the dreams she held before. As she struggles with the stark reality of grief, she finds her journey has only just begun as the decade proves transformative for women’s progress.

As she grapples with affairs of the heart, betrayal, the threat of lost love and social upheavals, Greer’s resilience shines through. She becomes a symbol of courage, daring to pursue her dreams, follow her heart and find her place in a world that promises a better future.

‘Turbulent Threads is an engrossing read about love, loss, resilience and above all, trusting your instincts. Karen McMillan skilfully draws readers into a world that'll have you rooting for the protagonists the whole way through.’ Kelly Dennett, Sunday Star Times 


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The Quokka Logic and Baking Book

A baking book for children with a twist: family recipes and Mrs Quokka’s quirky logic all in one fun volume.

From the bestselling Elastic Island Adventures series comes a fun baking book for children, with recipes by Mrs Quokka and her son Jase the Quokka. By popular demand, Mrs Quokka also shares some of her quirky quokka logic – fun sayings that will bring a smile due to being so illogical.

In real life, most recipes come from two treasured, handwritten recipe books handed down to Karen McMillan from her mother and grandmother.

Enjoy these easy-to-make, tried and true family recipes that are perfect for children and will encourage kids to have fun creating these yummy baking treats.

A little bit retro and a little bit modern, have fun making these delicious cakes, loaves, muffins, biscuits, slices, small treats and desserts! Baking has never been easier!

The Quokka Logic and Baking Book was the prestigious third place winner in the Baking Books Category in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2023. 

Elastic Island Adventures: Rarotonga 

Kiri, Jed and twins Emma and Ethan frequently journey on ‘elastic island’, a unique way to travel that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of tropical destinations. This time, they travel with Blong the Cat and Heathcliff the Dog to beautiful Rarotonga.

They are expecting to relax in the sun, but it’s not long until they run into problems. Firstly, Mighty Moko, the resident grumpy gecko who lives in their room, is determined to get rid of them, no matter what! But his annoying antics are quickly surpassed when all the black pearls on the island are stolen in a brazen heist, the thief leaving clues scattered around the island. The children are determined to solve the clues, but even with the help of the wise Mana Tiaki, will they be successful? Will the people of Rarotonga ever see their precious black pearls again?

Suitable for children 7 - 12 years. NOTE THE BOOKS CAN BE READ IN ANY ORDER!


Elastic Island Adventures: Rarotonga has been written with thanks to the Pacific Resort in Rarotonga.

Elastic Island Adventures is in an exciting series, a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Four Children, Kiri, Jed, and the twins Emma and Ethan, discover an 'elastic' Island that can send them pinging across the ocean to a variety of tropical island destinations.  In each adventure the children travel to a different island and must work together to get out of sticky situations or to solve a problem. All the books are stand alone and can be read in any order. They are suitable for children aged 7 to 12 years.

NZ Herald pick of one of the best children's books of 2020! Suzy Cato is narrating the audiobook versions, Flip Flop Bay out now!

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Blong the Cat's Costume Caper is a story of costumes, numbers and dancing, all wrapped up in a bow of kindness. 

Blong goes shopping to buy a special outfit to wear to a wedding, but not everyone likes his choices! A picture book for children 3+.

Blong the cat is based on the real-life cat, who lives with Karen and her husband. The real-life Blong was adopted from Vanautu, and now lives in Auckland. Just like the fictional cat, Blong loves cuddles and music.

Everyday Strength: nourishing recipes and wellbeing tips for people facing cancer that will help make everyday a little brighter.


Everyday Strength is an invaluable resource for families facing cancer. Going through treatments for cancer is undoubtedly challenging, which authors Sam Mannering and Karen McMillan well know from personal experience. But this book is packed with practical, everyday things you can do to make each day a little brighter during this difficult time.

Sam has created nourishing, easy-to-prepare, family-friendly recipes that are designed specifically for people who may be feeling unwell. Karen has sought advice from experts, so there are practical suggestions that may help with common symptoms such as exhaustion, changes in weight, nausea, pain and discomfort, and the various symptoms you might not want to talk about. There are sections on hair and skin care, as well as emotional wellbeing. There is also a special section of recipes especially designed to tempt young children, along with practical tips for parents.

A novel of love, lost memories and rediscovering dreams. 


On her thirty-second birthday, Rebecca is in high spirits and life could not be better personally and professionally. But in 2013, she wakes in hospital after a head injury and finds out that nearly a decade of her life has been erased from her memory. Now almost forty-two, she can’t remember anything after her thirty-second birthday, a decade fraught with changes she would never have anticipated – illness, infidelity, betrayal, separation and death – and the disintegration of many of her dreams.


But if Rebecca can’t remember anything of nearly ten years, then could this be the chance for her to wipe the slate clean and start again?

One man’s memoir of World War II, which took him from the Blitz to the jungles of Burma, to the devastation of Hiroshima.


Brian Hennessy was seventeen years old and living in London when war broke out, and he experienced the Blitz first-hand. Brian joined the British Army and what follows is a true adventure story as Brian journeys via South Africa to India and the remote jungles of Burma. Danger was always present, but this is a memoir that reveals Brian’s love of nature and his interactions with the local people – stories that are sometimes humorous, at other times poignant. At the end of the war, he went to Japan and saw first-hand the devastation at Hiroshima.

An invaluable collection of real life stories of cancer, representing a wide range of circumstances that will provide comfort and help for families facing cancer.


Unbreakable Spirit is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of cancer. It tells the true stories of people who have survived cancer and of those who are terminally ill. It also shares the experiences of people who have had a loved one die from cancer and includes information from hospice workers, oncologists, GPs, a counsellor, surgeon and breast physician.


'I know if you read Unbreakable Spirit, you will gain great strength from it.' Judy Bailey


The Paris of the East is a sweeping epic of love and war, courage and survival, sacrifice and loss.


Warsaw, 1939. Four friends picnic on a brilliant summer’s day and celebrate an engagement, aware of the rumbles of war, but hopeful that in any conflict Poland will have the upper hand...


A page-turning story that spans the period of the Second World War, this is a dramatic historical adventure that goes from Warsaw to Lublin, from Bucharest to Paris, from London to the Concentration Camp at Ravensbruck – but always at the heart of this novel is the mesmerising city of Warsaw – ‘The Paris of the East.’

The Paris of the West is a story of love and loss, betrayal and forgiveness, and having the courage to start over.


San Francisco, 1948. Having survived the Second World War against all odds, Celina and her family arrive on a Liberty Ship into the Bay Area with high hopes for their new lives. But as new immigrants they face many hurdles, and they have to deal somehow with the trauma of war and the grief of losing loved ones. Betrayal and more heartbreak are just around the corner. A historical read set in the spectacular hilly city of San Francisco, ‘The Paris of the West’ goes from the jazz clubs in the Fillmore District to the sun-kissed vineyards of Sonoma.

Romance – family – friendship – humanity: love is the most important aspect of our lives. With love we become vibrant, passionate and caring people, living fully. People of all ages and all walks of life share their special moments of love. Everyday, down-to-earth examples we can all relate to are mixed with stories of love that will challenge and inspire the way we think about love.

Karen uses the Greek words for the four different types of love: Eros (romance), Storge (family love), Philia (friendship) and Agape (love of humanity).  Love, the most power force in the world, bursts from every page of Love Bytes.




What would you do if you lost everything you had ever loved? In this mesmerizing novel of love and loss, set in the late 1990s, Sarah Martin’s idyllic world is shattered when the death of her father sets into motion a series of terrible life-changing events. While fighting to save her father’s bookstore from bankruptcy, Sarah discovers family secrets that tear her and her husband Michael’s lives apart.


Thrilling and compelling, Watching Over Me is an inspirational read that reveals, ultimately, how the power of love can transform lives.

Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating are rife in today’s society, affecting thousands of women and, increasingly, men. These disorders can be incredibly destructive, affecting not only the body but the mind. Food becomes a weapon of self-destruction in the face of societal problems, low self-esteem and emotional problems. 

Feast or Famine is a comprehensive guide for those currently battling an eating disorder and for their families and friends. It covers facts about each of the three main disorders and features first-hand accounts and interviews with doctors and psychologists working on the front line of the battle for recovery.

Unleash Your Inner Seductress is the ultimate guide for women looking to increase their confidence, reclaim their femininity and enjoy life to the full. Accessible for both single women and those in relationships, it explores themes of building confidence and tapping into a woman’s natural femininity, tricks of making the most of your physical assets, and taking this information and putting it into action. Unleash Your Inner Seductress will help women everywhere enjoy the benefits of their inner seductress. Here they learn how unleashing their own charm, beauty, sophistication and intelligence can enrich their entire lives, whether it be in the boardroom, bedroom or at a social gathering.

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