Osher Gunsberg is one of Australia’s most loved celebrities. He opens up in a powerful, dark, funny and heartwrenching memoir about life, love and living with mental illness. Available to preorder now.
You have lots of great ideas that you want to turn into a book – that’s wonderful! Now the hard work starts. Much needs to happen before an idea becomes a full-grown manuscript. The first step is to hone your writing skills, through advice from other writers and from your potential readers too. Here are some ideas on where to get that support:
On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Part-memoir and part-masterclass, On Writing dispels any doubt that a wealth of knowledge and writing skills underpins Stephen King’s prolific output. He starts with a mini-autobiography, discussing his childhood, and the experiences and influences that helped him to become the author he is; this morphs into a section of advice to budding writers, drawn from questions he had been asked (and some he wished he had). The final section of the book is a raw and compelling description of his recovery from his near-fatal car accident in 1999. In serious pain and frustrated with his incapacity, it’s no exaggeration to say that the act of writing helped him to survive that difficult time.
20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias
This is a fascinating piece of literary analysis as well as a useful writer’s resource. Ronald B. Tobias shows how most powerful, engaging stories fall within 20 timeless and universal “Master Plots” – such as Quest, Adventure, Forbidden Love, and Transformation. Each chapter of this book examines one Master Plot, analysing and explaining how it works, illustrating with literary and cinematic examples, and concluding with checklists that keep writers on-track. Ronald B. Tobias also shows how to adapt and develop these themes to suit your characters, making your fiction more cohesive and convincing.
Autobiography is the ultimate “writing about what we know”, but laying bare our lives and those of our circles is fraught with social and emotional risks. Here, 20 memoirists including Cheryl Strayed (Wild) and Ayelet Waldman (Bad Mother), tell us why and how they do it. Many of this diverse and talented group talk about a compulsion to write, hoping that their stories will resonate with and help someone else. Others dispense advice on how to handle the (both positive and negative) reactions to their work. Part bibliography, part personal reflection and part writer’s manual, Why We Write About Ourselves is inspiring and highly readable.
Cheryl Klein is an experienced editor at Scholastic Books, and this is her comprehensive guide to crafting great middle-grade and young adult fiction. Her advice ranges from writing and editing to pitching your idea, navigating the publication process and choosing an agent. A range of writing exercises will challenge you to analyse, critique and revise your work. The Magic Words offers a nice balance between encouragement with pragmatism, and the wealth of insider tips will help you refine your masterpiece into a compelling, publishable form.
Once Upon a Slime: 45 Fun Ways to Get Writing… Fast! by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Once Upon a Slime encourages kids to have fun creating stories and playing with words. Drawing upon the skills of the hugely successful Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, this book can be enjoyed on many different levels – as an activity book, as a series of writing exercises, as Andy Griffiths’ story on how he became a writer, and also as a sneak peek at the creative processes of this mighty duo. Once Upon a Slime is simply fun to read, full of examples from Andy and Terry’s books. It speaks directly to kids and young people but is also useful for teachers and caregivers – make this your go-to guide for encouraging young people to start writing.
Using Social Media to Develop your Writing Career
The rise of social media has changed the publishing landscape profoundly. It has enabled authors to engage with potential readers even before publication; it has helped authors to connect and form supportive communities; and it has created new pathways to publication, either by self-publishing, or by attracting publishers through your profile as a blogger / social media influencer. Here are two writer- and writing-specific communities worth your attention:
Tablo (tablo.io) is a self-publishing platform that also helps writers engage with their readers – and for readers to discover new books and/or writers in their favourite genres. Writers can upload works-in-progress to seek feedback. Publishers also have a presence on Tablo, and there are communities offering advice to aspiring writers.
Wattpad (wattpad.com) is a reading app with social networking features that helps writers interact with readers and promote their work. Wattpad has become a huge repository of user-generated stories, some of which have been adapted into successful TV series and movies. Wattpad also hosts writing contests and has helped secure book deals for their most popular contributors.
Summer is well and truly here and with the crazy festive season behind us it’s now time to sink into a fabulous new book…here are our top books to pre order.
Brave by Rose McGowan
“My life, as you will read, has taken me from one cult to another. BRAVE is the story of how I fought my way out of these cults and reclaimed my life. I want to help you do the same.” -Rose McGowan.
Rose McGowan was born in one cult and came of age in another, more visible cult: Hollywood.
In a strange world where she was continually on display, stardom soon became a personal nightmare of constant exposure and sexualization. Rose escaped into the world of her mind, something she had done as a child, and into high-profile relationships. Every detail of her personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with every script, role, public appearance, and magazine cover. The Hollywood machine packaged her as a sexualized bombshell, hijacking her image and identity and marketing them for profit.
Hollywood expected Rose to be silent and cooperative and to stay the path. Instead, she rebelled and asserted her true identity and voice. Brave is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children, four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness, sneak out to hear their fortunes.
The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
This is a sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
No subject is too fringe or too mainstream for the unstoppable Zadie Smith. From social media to the environment, Tarantino to Jay-Z to Knausgaard, she has boundless curiosity and the boundless wit, insight and wisdom to match. In Feel Free, pop culture, high culture, social change and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment: dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion.
This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her credentials as an essential voice of her generation.
The Elizas by Sara Shepard
New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars Sara Shepard makes her mark on adult fiction with this Hitchcockian double narrative composed of lies, false memories, and a protagonist who must uncover the truth for survival. When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness. Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it? The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel, until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today.
Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”, to live as, to exist as, a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for everyone.
Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalised with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle in the larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is hurled into the world of the super-rich, Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.
Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past.
In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets – not all her own – that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
From the best-selling author of The Circle, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war and his riveting tale of escape. Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs began to rain down on the country, and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with duelling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea.
A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man, a Muslim and a US citizen, following the most American of dreams.
Did you know Spring (in the Northern hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern) is the season when major publishers unveil fiction debutantes to the world of book lovers?
From the gripping and hard hitting The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, to the lighthearted romantic story of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne we’ve read the reviews of books being released and here are our picks for what you’ll want to cozy up and read this year…
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey.
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
This is the first grown-up novel from TV presenter, and founder of Help Refugees, Dawn O’Porter. Following on from the success of her Young Adult novels, Paper Aeroplanes and Goose, The Cows is an equally smart and insightful read. It’s about three women, female friendship and feminism.
Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype. Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror. When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all. Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.
The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
In this fabulous debut novel about love and betrayal, a young couple moves to New York City in search of success only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.
Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia, blonde, beautiful, and rich, fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Hating Game has been described as ‘A brilliant, biting, hilarious new voice that will take the romcom world by storm’. Reviews like that from New York Times bestselling authors is pretty much a super shiny gold star in our books. Hats off to Sally Thorne for her debut novel.
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman. Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer. If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t sit and actually READ like I used to – It’s harder to find the time. Plus, if I do get the time, well – I want to read a book that’s worth it. So whether you’ve promised to read more or read more widely or more selectively in 2016, the good news is: there are some new releases worth checking out.
Here’s a selection that includes historical fiction, a collection of short stories and a non fiction book that’s sure to inspire.
The Accidental Entrepeneur: The Juicy Bits by Janine Allis
Learn the other secrets to success from the founder of Boost Juice In The Accidental Entrepreneur, author Janine Allis shares the secrets and skills that took her from housewife to entrepreneur to head of a multi-national corporation. As the founder of Boost Juice, Janine has journeyed from zero formal business training to leading a company with over 400 stores in 12 countries. This book takes you down the long road that she travelled, including some quirky stops along the way, and gives you valuable insight into taking the alternative road to business success.
The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff
This collection of stories features protagonists who reflect in frank and irreverent ways on the experiences of coming of age and seeking love, from a geology camper who has her first sexual experience to a daughter who watches the video of her Bah Mitzvah on the night of her father’s funeral.
Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
This historical novel is about a cast of nineteenth-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto—America’s first quarantine hospital. Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times.
Hystopia by David Means
A visionary first novel taking place in an alternate version of Vietnam-War-era America”. Means novel imagines what America might be like if President John F. Kennedy survived his assassination and the Vietnam War never really ended.
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
For readers of Mohsin Hamid, Dave Eggers, Arundhati Roy, and Teju Cole, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope. When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning.
If you’re looking for some more options, why not check out our pinterest board featuring the hot new releases of 2016.