Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Ambellin Kwaymullina, Maggie Alderson, and Howard L. Anderson

by |August 19, 2012

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…


“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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“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,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


“Try not to be profound.”

Read the full interview here…

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

For more advice from published writers go here

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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