Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: John Birmingham, Jennifer Egan and R.A. Spratt

I had promised to post a new set of three authors offering writing tips every Friday evening but this is the second third time in a row I have forgotten to do so. Hmmm… Maybe I should just promise to post every Saturday? Or even better, forgo the promise… I know what I’ll do.

New announcement: I have long thought the advice offered to aspiring writers in answer to question ten of my Ten Terrifying Questions deserved a vehicle of its own. Well, here it is. I shall post the advice of three very different writers  every [mumble mumble]. Is that clear? Every [mumble mumble].

Bit of history: On March 1, 2010 I posted the first of the Ten Terrifying Questions author interviews. Since that date I have posted over 200 interviews with authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?


R.A. SPRATT

“Authors don’t earn much so it is a good idea to have a day job, preferably a lucrative one that does not take up a lot of your time. Like bank robbing, cat burgling or being a super model. (T.S. Eliot did all of these things).”

Read the full interview here

Click here to buy Nanny Piggins and the Pursuit of Justice from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


JENNIFER EGAN

Three things:

1. Read at the same level at which you hope to write.

2. Make writing a regular part of your daily routine—even just a tiny amount per day—so that it feels more natural to write than not to.

3. Be willing and unafraid to write badly, because often the bad stuff clears the way for good, or forms a base on which to build something better.

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Pulitzer Prize- winning A Visit From the Goon Squad from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


JOHN BIRMINGHAM

Read.

I am constantly astounded by the number of young would-be writers who do not read.

They don’t have time, they tell me.

Bullshit, I reply.

If you can’t be bothered reading, do not bother trying to write. You’ll fail. “

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Angels of Vengeance from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jennifer Egan

author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The Los Angeles Times Book Award and National Book Circle Critics Award

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————————————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Chicago, Illinois. My father was proudly Irish-American, the son of a policeman, and my mother grew up in nearby Rockford, Illinois. My parents divorced when I was two, and when I was seven, I moved with my mother, stepfather and younger brother to San Francisco. We arrived in 1969, at the height of the 60’s counterculture, although my mother and stepfather had no involvement with it. I came of age in the Continue reading

Winner of The 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The U.S.A. digs this book…

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Which is for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life…

Winner of the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

One of the New York Times Book Review‘s Top 10 Books of 2010

One of the Best Books of the Year: Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Newsday, NPR’s On Point, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, Publishers Weekly, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Village Voice

Book Description: Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa. We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist’s couch in New York City, confronting her longstanding compulsion to steal.

Click here to buy A Visit from the Goon Squad

Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life – divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed up band in the basement of a suburban house – and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, reveling in San Francisco’s punk scene as he discovers his ardor for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang – who thrived and who faltered – and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie’s catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou’s far flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to Powerpoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both – and escape the merciless progress of time – in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

About The Author

Jennifer Egan is the author of The Invisible Circus and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in such magazines as The New Yorker, Harper’s, GQ, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. Egan lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn.

2011 Orange Prize for Fiction – The Longlist

Longlist in full

Leila Aboulela – Lyrics Alley

A lyrical and deeply moving novel by a twice Orange-listed rising star, set in pre-Independence Sudan, Egypt and post-war Britain.

With Mahmood Bey at its helm, the family can do no wrong. But when Mahmood’s son, Nur – the brilliant, charming heir to his business empire – suffers a near-fatal accident, his hopes of university and a glittering future are dashed. Subsequently, his betrothal to his cousin and sweetheart, Soraya is broken off, another tragedy that he is almost unable to bear.As British rule is coming to an end and the country is torn between modernising influences and the call of traditions past, the family is divided. Mahmood’s second wife, Nabilah, longs to return to Egypt and leave behind her the dust of ‘backward-looking’ Sudan. His first wife, Waheeba, lives traditionally behind veils and closed doors and resents Nabilah’s influence on Mahmood. Meanwhile, Nur must find a way to live again in the world and find peace. Moving from the villages of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated post-colonial Britain, this is a sweeping tale of loss, faith and reconciliation.

About The Author:  Leila Aboulela was born in 1964 in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. She came to England to study at the LSE and now lives between Doha and Aberdeen.

Order Lyrics Alley here

—————————-

Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie

London, 1857: after surviving an encounter with an escaped tiger on the streets of Bermondsey, nine-year-old Jaffy stumbles into a job for its owner, the wild animal collector, Mr Jamrach.

Commissioned by Jamrach to find and collect a sea dragon, Jaf soon joins a ship bound for the South Seas, and so begins a wonder-filled voyage of discovery.

But when things start to go awry, Jaf’s journey becomes a fight for survival which will push faith, love and friendship to their outermost limits.

Brilliantly written and utterly compulsive, Carol Birch’s novel evokes the smells, sights and flavours of the nineteenth century from the squalor of London to the islands of the South Seas. This historical adventure is a major literary accomplishment and will Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,162 other followers

%d bloggers like this: