Author's Blog and Latest News

Sunday
Jul142019


I am thrilled and honored to have been chosen as the winner of the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize for Youth Literature, 2018, for the third book in the Eco-warriors series, Fault Lines!

My thanks to the English Academy for choosing my book, and to my publishers Protea Boekhuis and my wonderful editor, Danel Hanekom for helping me create the best book I could.

I loved writing this book and it deals with important themes and issues that are close to my heart, so it means a great deal to me to have the novel recognised by this prestigious bi-annual award.

Here's more about the book:

The eco-warriors are back! 

Samantha Steadman and her friends are now in Grade 10 at Clifford House boarding school but this year, cracks are beginning to appear in their friendships, romances and their belief in themselves. When Sam joins ecological activists to block fracking in the Karoo, she expects that her best friends will be right alongside her in the fight. But Nomusa takes a very different view of the controversial issue and Jessie, under the influence of a glamorous new girl at the school, is too obsessed with her weight and appearance to care about ecology.

Sam feels very alone as she tries to deal with pressure from boys, school and her Poison Dwarf of a science teacher, all while uncovering a personal mystery from the past and struggling to save the Karoo – as well as her friendships – from splitting down their fault lines.

Fault Lines is the winner of the 2018 Percy Fitzpatrick Award for Youth Literature and the MAHLA Award (Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards) in 2016.

Tuesday
May142019

10 Intense YA dystopians

I'm amped that my novel Recoil has been selected for this terrific list of top YA dystopian fiction, and I love the video :D as well as the video on how Dystopias suppress storytellers.

Governments are scared of storytellers and books - this is the primary premise of Fahrenheit 451, where books are illegal and are burned, and people are encouraged to watch mindless (propaganda) TV constantly.

I think dystopian fiction, although it looks like it's set in the future, is actually tackling worrying issues in the present. This was certainly the spur for my YA dystopian series, The Recoil Trilogy. I'm horrified at how many of the things i predicted have already come true!

From the YA fiction list, I see I have lots of reading to do! From the classic dystopian list, I read (and loved) Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, and from the films, I loved Hunger Games and enjoyed Minority Report. In my first degree, I took a year of drama and film, and one of the films we had to watch and study was Metropolis, the 1927 classic by Fritz Lang. No, I wasn't in university in 1927 - I had to go to a special film festival to catch this one, and boy was I glad I did! I saw the remastered version with music by Georgio Moroder and it was fantastic - crazily modern in its themes. If you ever get a chance, watch it!

Check out this terrific page on Dystopians here.

Monday
Oct082018

New release!

I'm delighted to annnounce that my latest novel for adults is now available! Here's the book description:

The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone...

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago. 

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics.

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence? 

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder. 

Fast-paced and riveting, The First Time I Died is a suspenseful and haunting crime story with an supernatural twist.


Great reading for fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware and Liane Moriarty.

Sunday
Jul082018

Author update

Writing

I've finally finished the first (very rough) draft of my latest manuscript - an adult psychological thriller (with a slight paranormal twist). I wrote like a maniac last week and finally typed the last word ("keep") on Thursday. It's taken me a year to write and it's around 95k words but there's still a lot of revising and rewriting to do, plus an epilogue to add, so that word count may well rise or fall. This book was a tricky one to write - so many clues to plant and hide, inserting the odd red herring but playing fair with the reader when it comes to having enough information to solve the mystery, and keeping a delicate rein on the possibly supernatural elements.

 

I've started rewrites and when I've added in and taken out and fixed up and polished, I'll send it off to my beta readers and editor. I also realized last week that I hadn't commissioned a cover - so now that's in the pipeline, too. Watch this space...

 

My Writing mascots

Years ago, when I was writing Turtle Walk (which would be my first published novel), I was moseying around an artsy-fartsy shop in Johannesburg and spotted this turtle. I immediately bought him, took him home and made him my writing mascot.

 My collection of tortoises and turtles has grown over the years, and all the while these little guys - wood, stone, iron, shell, beaded, blinged and painted - have accompanied me on my writing journey. 

They remind me to stay grounded, to pace myself (slow and steady wins the race), that I need a thick skin (or shell!) in this business, and that perseverance and patience are vital. In some cultures, legend has it that the world is built on the back of a giant tortoise and it pleases me to think that the creative worlds of my novels are built with my little shelled creatures by my side :)

Do you have a lucky mascot for any of your endeavors? Does it help? Let's chat on on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (@Joannemacgregor_author) or by reply email - I love hearing from you!

 

- Joanne

Sunday
Jul082018

Podcast

Writer on air

I was recently featured on blogger Angie Noll's podcast, The Not Starving Artist. If you're interested in hearing me ramble on about wearing multiple professional hats, and my best tips to writers, you can listen here: The Not Starving Artist  or  Itunes or  RSS