Author's Blog and Latest News


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.


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.


Author update


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



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


Author update

It's been a busy couple of weeks where I've had my nose to the writing grindstone. I'm busy writing an adult psychological thriller (with a slight paranormal twist) and I'm at the 78k words point. The novel will probably be around 90-100k words. Of course, this is only the first draft so it's a mess, not even the story if consolidated but someone wise once said, "All writing is rewriting," - so I'll fix it all in revisions.

To motivate myself, I've reverted to bribing myself with Turkish Delight candy, plus I'm borrowing a method from my teenage daughter where I color in an block for every hour of solid writing. It's kind of like a star-chart for adults, and I'm amazed at how motivating it is to see all those empty blocks getting filled in! Here's a pic of my progress chart, which is stuck on the wall above my desk :)

I've had a great idea for a YA series, which I hope to start writing in a month or two when my current project is finished. I'm superstitious about sharing too much about it, but I will say that I think it will give me scope to write all kinds of stories with varying characters and themes - which is what I like! Perhaps it's the Gemini in me, but I get bored writing the same sort of thing over and over again, and cannot see myself sticking to one genre only.

Right, I need to get back to BOCHOK (butt on chair, hands on keyboard), so cheers from me until the end of the month. Be sure to check out the special offers listed below and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (@Joannemacgregor_author) or by reply email - I love hearing from you!