Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Tara Moss, Michael Robotham, Paul Merrill

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


TARA MOSS

“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it – and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of ‘writing rules’ and advice. Do it your way.

Writing is a gift.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to pre-order your signed copy of Assassin (with a FREE copy of SIREN) from Booktopia,
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*While stocks last


MICHAEL ROBOTHAM

“Write, write and when you’re sick of writing, write some more. It’s the only way to get better.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Say You’re Sorry from Booktopia,
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PAUL MERRILL

“Give up now – there are enough books already. But if you absolutely have to write, go for mummy porn.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy A Polar Bear Ate My Head from Booktopia,
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For more advice from published writers go here

Peter FitzSimons, author of Eureka Stockade: The Unfinished Revolution, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Peter FitzSimons

author of Eureka Stockade: The Unfinished Revolution, Mawson, Batavia, Kokoda and many more…

Six Sharp Questions

————————————–

1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

Eureka Stockade: The Unfinished Revolution, details the birth of democracy in Australia. Our version of the Boston Tea Party, it was the moment when Australians insisted that they had rights, rights that they were prepared to fight for, the British bayonets notwithstanding.

2. Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The best moment was being at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. The worst moment? I dinkum can’t think of anything particularly bad this year – touch wood!

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us?

Yes, I love this part, where one of the diggers, is exhorting his brethren to take it further, and fight!

Typically, Thomas Kennedy goes further.

“The press,” he says, “has called us demagogues, who must be put down. But I for one will die a free man, though I drink the poison as Socrates of yore. We have come 15,000 miles, and left the enlightenment of the age and of the press, not to suffer insult, but to obtain greater liberty. We want men to rule over us, [not such as we have.] Most of all, we have to think of our children, who will grow up in this great colony, and all of us must never forget their own dearest interests.”

And yet, he asks, is this the way to proceed? Constantly signing petitions and passing resolutions, all for no result?

“Moral persuasion,” Thomas Kennedy says, with everyone leaning forward as before, to catch every word, “is all humbug. Nothing convinces like a lick in the lug!”

Love that “lick in the lug,” line! It wonderfully summed up the view of the vast body of diggers – we have had a gutful, and are now going to take arms against a sea of troubles.

 4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it?

I don’t really think I am – primarily because I love what I do. Though, I must say, when I am in full writing mode, I am doing one of two things: either writing my book, or resenting the fact that I am not writing my book. I am involved in many activities and travel a lot, but wherever I am, I always have my laptop close, and write my books in planes, trains, automobiles and hotel lobbies, as well as at home, lying supine on the coach. Overall, though, I have noticed that I am at my most productive when on long-haul flights, where there are no interruptions.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

Writing books is hard. Of course I want my books to sell. Thus, in the range of the many subjects I want to write about, I do choose the ones that will sell well in the marketplace.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only three books with you. What do you take and why?

Charles Dickens –  Great Expectations: most impressive novel ever written, in my view.

Kahlil Gibran –  The Prophet – the values it evinces, without any religious gibberish, are wonderful.

Bob Dylan –  The Complete Lyrics of Bob Dylan. Even without him singing, and instrumentals, his lyrics are poetry for the soul:

Suddenly, I turned around, and she was standing there,

With silver bracelets on her wrist, and flowers in her hair,

She walked up to me so gracefully, and took my crown of thorns,

Come in, she said, I’ll give ya, shelter from the storm.”

Peter, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution from Booktopia,
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Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Ambellin Kwaymullina, Maggie Alderson, and Howard L. Anderson

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


AMBELLIN KWAYMULLINA

“Learn to be at once your own strongest supporter and your own harshest critic. You have to be able to keep yourself going, in the tired and lonely times, to pick yourself up after your one-hundredth attempt at writing something that still hasn’t worked, and to stick with writing even when others tell you that you’ll never do it and most especially when you feel like that yourself. But you also have to be able to accurately judge your own work, to recognise when something needs to be cut or when a character or a scene is not living up to their potential, and to know when your good idea has not translated into a good story (I have a box of half-finished novels sitting in the bottom of my wardrobe. None of them worked, but I learned something from each).”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf from Booktopia,
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MAGGIE ALDERSON

“Read and write. Read critically – that’s why I started my book blog, to make myself read in an active analytical way. And write every day. Don’t worry about the outcome, just write.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order Shall We Dance? from Booktopia,
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HOWARD L. ANDERSON

“Try not to be profound.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Albert of Adelaide from Booktopia,
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For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Indigo Bloome, Philippa Gregory, Daniel H. Wilson

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


INDIGO BLOOME

“I consider myself an aspiring writer! I suppose my advice, for what it’s worth, is to write what you would love to read – that way your passion will shine through naturally.

Write for yourself, not what you think others want to read, and give yourself time and space to see what evolves before your eyes. I never in a million years thought this would happen to me!”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order Destined to Play from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop


PHILIPPA GREGORY

“Please, please, for your own sake if not for your readers – don’t read something trashy and think that you can do something similar. Especially, in the current days don’t read mild pornography and mistake it for literature. Read good things and try to write well.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order The Kingmaker’s Daughter from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


DANIEL H. WILSON

“Find something that you love to think about (other than yourself). Learn everything you can about it. Now write about it. If you’re very lucky and the timing is good, other people will care.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order Amped from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Miles Franklin Award Winner Anna Funder, Damien Brown, and Wendy Harmer

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


ANNA FUNDER

Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2012

“Look very closely and tell the truth.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order All That I Am from Booktopia,
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DAMIEN BROWN

“i. Log out of Facebook.

ii. Commit wholeheartedly. Then, solicit all the professional criticism you can, swallow your pride, and cancel your social engagements for the coming months…”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order Band-Aid for a Broken Leg from Booktopia,
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WENDY HARMER

“Make time to write – whatever it takes. That’s one thing you need, time, and, if you’re lucky enough, a partner who brings you snacks.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Friends Like These from Booktopia
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For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Alyson Noël, Frank Moorhouse, and Derek Landy

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


ALYSON NOËL

“To read as much as you can and to read outside of your comfort zone—the books you like as well as books you don’t like—they all have something to teach you.

Also, go easy on yourself. It’s so easy to get discouraged when your story fails to match the vision you hold in your head, but it’s important to remember that the majority of writing is rewriting—there’s no such thing as a pretty first draft, so cut yourself some slack and keep at it!”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Fated from Booktopia,
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FRANK MOORHOUSE

Runner-up for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2012

“Shed ideas of privacy and shame and live by candour as best you can in your writing and in your relationships – use the great freedom that we have.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Cold Light from Booktopia,
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DEREK LANDY

“If you knock me off the Bestseller list I will hunt you down and kill you with a spoon.

Okay fine, that’s more of a threat than a piece of advice, so I’m also going to say write what you know. I never knew what that advice meant when I was starting out. I always thought write what you know was very restrictive. But I’ve since come to interpret it as put a little piece of yourself in everything you write. No matter if you’re writing about vampires or zombies or, in my case, living skeletons, so long as you include a sliver of raw honesty from your own life and your own experience, your story will mean something to someone.

But most of all, if you knock me off the Bestseller list I’ll kill you. Seriously. I will.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Orange Prize Winner Madeline Miller, Anna Campbell and John Elder Robison

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


MADELINE MILLER

Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction with her debut novel The Song of Achilles

“Set your work aside.

For me the best way to find the false notes is to let the piece sit for a while, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Keep at it, and try to find people whose opinions you trust to give you feedback.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Song of Achilles from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


ANNA CAMPBELL

“Stick to your guns and write a complete manuscript. Personal experience indicates you’ll hear a siren voice whispering to you about 100 pages in, insisting that what you’re writing is terrible and you should try this new wonderful idea. That siren voice is actually your fear speaking. Don’t listen to it. Personal experience also indicates that 100 pages into that wonderful new idea, the siren voice will start whispering exactly the same poison. You’ll learn things from plugging through to the end of a manuscript that nothing else will teach you.

And once you’ve finished the manuscript, put it under the bed and write something else. Once you have, go back to the first manuscript and only then start editing. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes you can see once you’ve got a bit of distance. Not only that, you’ll have learnt skills writing the next book that you can use to improve the first book. Good luck!”

Read the full interview here…

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JOHN ELDER ROBISON

“Attention spans are shrinking with every generation.

The future is tight and compact information and stories, 200 characters at a time.

Figure out how to tell stories that way, and how to make millions doing it, and you will be all set.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Be Different from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Wilbur Smith, Michael Koryta and Alexandra Potter

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


WILBUR SMITH

“It’s not a game for sissies. If at first you don’t succeed try! Try! And then try some more.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Those in Peril from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


MICHAEL KORYTA

“Write every day, for as much time as you can spare, because it isn’t a craft that can be learned through random bursts of creativity, but rather slow, steady, and focused efforts. Read in as wide a range as possible, read interviews with the writers you admire, try to find out as much as possible about the process. The craft should be viewed as a constant education.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Ridge from Booktopia
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ALEXANDRA POTTER

“I get a lot of emails to website (www.alexandrapotter.com) asking for advice on how to get a novel published. And I say the same thing over and over: If I can do it, so you can you. But you have to really REALLY want it.

I love being a writer, but it’s not all about book launches and bestseller lists and glossy interviews. Writing isn’t glamorous. In fact most of the time it can be deeply frustrating, lonely, terrifying and long… very, very long. A book takes me eighteen months from start to finish and a lot of that time is spent battling writer’s book and thinking it’s all a big mistake and is anyone ever going to read this!

So you have to be determined. You have to keep putting in the hours, even when you only have one deleted sentence at the end of a weekend you’d devoted to writing a whole chapter. You have to believe you can do it, even when that inner critical voice of yours is yelling, ‘Give up! It’s rubbish’.

And you just have to keep writing. Day in, day out. Like you’re running a marathon. A few words. A line. A whole paragraph. Until one day you will finally reach the finishing line, and you will look up from your computer screen and realise that all those words have made a novel. And the pain will all have been worth it. Trust me. There is no feeling in the world like it.

Just don’t give up.

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Going La La from Booktopia
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For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Colleen McCullough, Susan Johnson and Eoin Colfer

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


COLLEEN MCCULLOUGH

“Advice for aspiring writers? That’s difficult, as all writers are individuals who write differing books. First and foremost, avoid giving your manuscripts to emotionally connected people to read. Anyone emotionally connected has an axe of their own to grind, and cannot be relied on to give honest opinions. Give manuscripts to detached outsiders to read. Don’t go thinking you’ve written the world’s best book, but don’t think you’ve written the worst one either. Don’t give up trying to find a publisher. Some huge bestsellers were refused by literally dozens of houses before finding a niche. Look at Harry Potter. And remember that there is always an element of luck about writing.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Prodigal Son from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


SUSAN JOHNSON

“Look, you have to have courage or luck in this game. Some writers strike lucky right off (Tim Winton springs to mind – he won the Vogel and hasn’t looked back) but most writers won’t have Winton’s luck. What’s difficult is fighting the thought that if you DON’T have luck, then that means it must be because you aren’t any good. But in fact history is littered with writers who have been passed over for prizes, awards, best-sellerdom etc, dying in obscurity, only to have their work resurrected later (Richard Yates anyone?).

But — equally as important — a lot of writers really ARE bad and that’s the reason they don’t get anywhere!! So – and this is REALLY important but also really difficult – first learn to have a critical eye – read as much as you can and try to judge your own work against the work of others. What is being published? What is its quality? How much better or worse is it than your work? Can you edit? Can you even TELL the difference?

You need to be your own worst critic – take your work apart and look at its flaws, and then work on them. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Just keep writing and writing as hard as you can and learn to be your own best editor. There are no shortcuts, I’m afraid. Writers are people who write.

Write.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order My Hundred Lovers from Booktopia,
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Available 1.6.12


EOIN COLFER

“Stop telling people about your idea and lock yourself in a room. Stay in the room until the work is done with only broadband and takeaway food for comfort. Writing is about inspiration but there is also a lot of work involved. Not as much work as digging a hole obviously but we like to make it sound tough.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to order The Last Guardian from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop

Available 10.7.12


For more advice from published writers go here

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Craig Silvey, Peter FitzSimons and Susan Maushart

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


CRAIG SILVEY

“I would urge any aspiring writer to be patient and stubborn and driven. Writing is incremental, it’s done by degrees. Every day you show up, you nurse the same doubts, you field the same concerns, you fret, you worry, you panic, you prevaricate, and inside that painful, delicate act, you finally let the story come to you in small sparks. It takes time. Reams and reams of it. You should have a healthy appetite for solitude.

The longer I write, the more I come to understand that authors are really just conduits for stories, we are the guardians of their development. For me, my writing works the best when it feels meditative and unforced, which means I need to forget that I’m a fretful author in a dim room with debts and a deadline. I need to almost remove myself from the process altogether, and let the story weave itself on the back of some kind of subconscious intuition.

I would especially urge them against concerning themselves with pointless, external exercises like Word Counts and so forth. Volume is the last thing you need to worry about. Songwriters don’t work to Note Counts. It is what it is. Don’t force it.

And, finally, practice the craft because you love it. It’s a privilege, and it’s good for you. Kurt Vonnegut used to say that practising any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. And I’m inclined to agree. Then again, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Jasper Jones from Booktopia
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PETER FITZSIMONS

“Get width of experience in your life. To be a writer you need to have something to say that others will care about and if you can have had experiences that your readers have not, it will help. Read as widely as you travel, and try to write with the same spirit.

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Mawson from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


SUSAN MAUSHART

“Read, for heaven’s sake! An aspiring writer who doesn’t read constantly is like an aspiring musician who plays Guitar Hero all day.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Winter of Our Disconnect from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

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