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Today at The Secret Life of Authors we’re celebrating another new release. Lisa’s latest book, THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP, is out today! (In Australia and New Zealand only.) We ADORE this novel (this is Sally and Rachael talking, Lisa is far too modest to say this), and are so excited that you all will finally all get to enjoy it.  If you’ve pre-ordered a digital copy it will download onto your device today—lucky ducks! If you prefer a paper copy to wrap your mitts around, (and why wouldn’t you, have you seen the gorgeous cover?) head down to your local bookseller today to grab yourself a copy! And don’t forget to post your #shelfies of the book on social media and tag Lisa. We authors love seeing our books out ‘in the wild.'
THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP is all about the friends we make along the way – those we keep and the ones we leave behind, so it was with this in mind that we put together this issue of our newsletter, which is about author friendships. The three of us feel very fortunate to have each other, but there are also other writers who make up our tribe. Having friends who ‘get’ you is one of life’s great pleasures, and for authors it can be especially important. We spend a lot of our lives locked away in our offices with only our characters for company. Most of us wouldn’t have it any other way, but even so it can be a lonely kind of life at times. Finding another writer (or writers) to share the highs and lows of the writing life is truly joyful.  
Click here for all stockists of Lisa's new release,
We hope you enjoy getting a behind the scenes look at some of our author friendships.
Lisa, Rachael and Sally xxx

Lisa Ireland

What I’ve been up to: 

I have been crazy busy (in a good way!) since our last newsletter! I’ve been drafting my new novel and also getting ready for the release of The Art of Friendship.  A new release is always exciting and one of the great things about having a new book out is that I get to go out and meet readers. It makes a nice change from sitting at my desk all day! For those in the Geelong region, I’m excited to let you know that I’ll be signing books at Big W (Westfield, Geelong) on Saturday April 28 from 11am to 1pm. Great chance to pick up a signed copy for Mum for Mothers’ Day! For other upcoming events, keep an eye on the events page on my website.

Hanky Spanky 

In 2010 I attended a residential manuscript development course and met a bunch of other writers. I didn’t know at the time but some of these women would become my closest friends. There were two women in particular who I bonded with, Emily Madden and Amanda Knight and I can honestly say that knowing them has changed my life forever.
In Emily Madden I found a true kindred spirit who shared not only my love of writing but also my taste in TV, music and (most importantly) my caffeine addiction. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, she and I manage to solve the world’s problems over coffee each day, even though we live in different states. A day without Emily is like a day without caffeine – totally unthinkable!
In Amanda Knight I found my writing soul mate. She’s the person I tell first (yes even before my husband) when anything significant happens in my writing world. I woke her at five am to tell her I’d just received my first contract and she cried (and I like to think it wasn’t just from the lack of sleep.) Likewise when she told me she’d just received her first contract, I shrieked so loudly my son thought I was having some sort of hysterical fit.
Both of these women have seen me at my worst and they’re still hanging in there, which is pretty amazing, especially when my worst can be pretty damn spectacular. Like that one time at a conference in Adelaide . . .
I had a pitch appointment with an agent who I really wanted to represent me. To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the century. Now, if you’ve read previous newsletters, you might remember that when I’m nervous I’m prone to nausea. I’d done everything possible to quell my nerves. I’d practised my pitch until I knew it by heart, was wearing a killer corporate outfit, and was even wearing shapewear (or as Amanda and I like to call them, Spanky Pants) to make sure I was looking my absolute best. I’d also been very careful not to eat anything before my big moment – just in case.
The pitch went very well. (By very well, I mean I got through it and didn’t projectile vomit.)  However, once I left the pitching room all that pent up nervous tension started to catch up with me and I began to feel a bit seedy. Amanda met me outside the designated pitching area. ‘How did it go?’ she asked.
‘Fine,’ I replied.
‘You don’t look fine.’ By this point in our relationship, Amanda was well aware of my traitorous stomach. ‘I think maybe we should go back to our room,’ she said.
We had to cross the conference area’s lobby, which was filled with delegates. It seemed every second one wanted to have a conversation with me. Amanda ran interference, inventing an important ‘meeting’ we were late for. She cleared a path to the elevator and we both got in, relieved to find it was empty.
At this point I had begun to sweat and wasn’t just because of my nausea. While the Spanky Pants had served their purpose in giving me a trimmer outline, they were now squeezing my queasy tummy like a cobra.
‘I think I‘m going to be sick,’ I said and promptly succumbed to a dry heave.
The normally unflappable Amanda looked back at me with eyes like saucers. ‘Deep breaths,’ she counselled as she looked around the empty elevator for something – anything – I could use as a sick bag.
There was nothing.
The next few moments felt like an eternity as the lift ascended slowly to the tenth floor while Amanda encouraged me to just hang on. I knew I’d be fine if I could just take off the Spanky Pants but I was wearing trousers and it was impossible to remove the shapewear without stripping off. I figured vomiting in public was a lesser humiliation than being caught with my pants down, so I huffed and sweated, all the time praying I’d make it to our room in time.
The lift doors opened and Amanda once again cleared a path, almost bowling over some startled tourists who’d had the misfortune to be in our way. She sprinted ahead of me to the room and opened the door. I staggered along behind her, desperately unzipping my pants as I made my way along the (thankfully) empty corridor.
I made it into the room and (all sense of propriety now lost) whipped my trousers off as the door closed behind me. By now the heaves were getting stronger. I stepped towards the bathroom, attempting to remove the Spanky Pants as I did. But my skin was slick with sweat and those undies had me in a vice like grip.
I looked at Amanda in horror. ‘They won’t come off.’
She didn’t say a word. She knew what she had to do.  She moved behind me, grabbed the top of the undies and gave an almighty tug. *
At last I was free!
I promptly ran into the bathroom and deposited the meagre contents of my stomach into the toilet bowl. Seconds later I felt perfectly fine. I washed my face, cleaned my teeth and went back out to the main room to collect and put on my trousers.
Once I was dressed, Amanda grinned at me. ‘All right, then?’
‘Never better.’
*Please note I had regular undies on underneath!

Sally Hepworth

Rachel Johns

What I've been up to

Editing my 2019 manuscript, THE MOTHER IN LAW. Talking to the insurance company about the TWO claims I have out on my minibus (hey, it’s big, I’m bound to hit things a lot). And this weekend, I’m going on a writing retreat with one of my favourite writer BFFs, Lisa Ireland.

Maggie Hepworth

Before Lisa and Rachael I didn’t have many author friends. It wasn’t from lack of trying, I’d tried befriending authors at bookish events with varying levels of success. (I suspect it’s my habit of saying stupid things and telling inappropriate jokes at inopportune times that makes me an acquired taste.)
A few years back, I was thrilled to hear Maggie Alderson was coming to Melbourne on a book tour. As a longtime fan of Maggie Alderson, I booked my ticket, certain we would instantly become BFFs.
On the night in question, I headed off to the event with a copy of my first novel, The Secrets of Midwives tucked into my bag (because what could be a better way of making a friend than thrusting a copy of your own book at them during THEIR event). I arrived early and nabbed a spot right up the front (certain she would notice me during her talk and think ‘that girl with the red lipstick looks like BFF material’.)
As I (im)patiently waited for the talk to start, I was approached by one of the booksellers who had seen my picture in the local newspaper that week. She told me she’d enjoyed my book and asked if she could get a photo of Maggie and I after the talk. I eagerly agreed. Of course she could get a photo of my and my new BFF! This would be the cementing of our new friendship, obvs.
Maggie’s talk was fantastic but by the end of it, I started to feel nervous. What if I said something stupid or told an inappropriate joke? (Honestly, I have no control over this stuff.) What if it all went wrong? This wasn’t just any author. This was MAGGIE ALDERSON.
I sat on my vinyl seat, practicing my script in my head.
“Hello, Maggie.”
“Hi, Maggie.”
By virtue of being in the front row, when the talk ended I was first in line to have my book signed. I pulled my own book from my bag and held it tight, glad for a conversation starter. Maggie extended her hand and offered me a warm BFF-worthy smile.
I took her hand. This was my moment.
“Hello,” I said. “I’m Maggie.”
We both paused. Had I actually just said that?
“Nice to meet you, Maggie,” she said with a laugh. “I’m Maggie too.”
I froze. What did I do now? Did I correct her? Accept that I would forever have to be referred to as “Maggie Hepworth?” Thankfully the bookseller chose this moment to rush over and arrange us for a photo, buying me some time to think.
“For our newsletter,” she explained to Maggie. “It’s great to get two authors together.”
Are you an author too?” Maggie said. At this point she glanced down and saw the book I was clutching. The name Sally Hepworth was of course emblazoned on the front.
“Sally,” I said quickly. “Not Maggie. I’m Sally.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I’m so sorry. I thought you said Maggie. I think my hearing is starting to go.”
“Not to worry,” I said graciously. “Happens to us all.”
We smiled for the camera and then I scuttled out of there, never to see my BFF again.

Rachael Johns

Lisa Ireland

What I’ve been up to 

Well, like Sally, I’ve had a ‘little’ car mishap. I too have a minivan (maybe they are cursed) and was SO tired one morning that I somehow not only forgot to put it in park at the top of our steep driveway but also forgot to put the brake on. It had a nice ride down the hill and into the national park near our house all on its lonesome! THANK GOD no one was walking or driving along the street at the time – I’m still having nightmares about what could have happened!!
In my non-drama life, I’m doing structural edits for LOST WITHOUT YOU (out October) and starting to make notes for my 2019 book J So far, it’s about three generations of women, a cruise ship and a Facebook stalking grandmother! 

That awkward moment when

When I first started writing, it was a kind of therapy after breaking up with my first love but I never imagined the life and the friendships that would come from it.
I first met one of my best author buddies, Beck Nicholas, in an online workshop about writing romance before either of us were published. We clicked because we were both from Australia, both had young children and (at the time)  were both writing the same kind of books. After a year or so of emailing each other multiple times a day, we decided it would be great to meet face-to-face, so my ten month old baby and I got on a plane from Perth to Adelaide to not only meet, but STAY with Beck and her family. My vivid imagination did (briefly) entertain the possibility that they were serial killers, but I took the risk and I’m glad I did.
While our babies bonded over pacifiers and board books, Beck and I got along as well in real life as we had online. It was all going fantastically – her lovely husband even made us delicious Mexican for dinner - until I needed to visit the loo. I excused myself, went into bathroom and as I sat down on the toilet there was a massive loud cracking noise!! I was horrified to discover I had BROKEN their toilet seat. I know I was carrying a little left-over baby weight, but enough to break a toilet? I was sick with mortification and terrified this would be the end of our friendship. Who travels across the country to meet a friend face-to-face and repays their hospitality by breaking their toilet?
Thankfully, this embarrassing mishap didn’t ruin our friendship and we’ve enjoyed many more cross-country rendezvous’s since. Beck and I talk on a daily basis, she reads all my manuscripts before I submit them and I also read hers. She knows what I’m writing almost as well as I do and is probably my biggest champion after my mum. We understand the voices in each other’s heads, we understand the highs and lows of this weird but wonderful career, she puts up with my regular meltdowns when I think the book I’m writing is not working and my career is over, and best of all she only brings up the toilet incident once or twice a year.
Beck is one of many wonderful friends I’ve made through writing and the toilet incident is only one of many memories that have been made with other authors. One day I might tell you about the time Emily Madden (another best buddy and my travel partner in crime) got caught in a protest in New York City, the time Scarlet Wilson and I went outlet shopping in San Diego, or the ghost Maisey Yates, Megan Crane and I saw in New Orleans…
Copyright © 2018 Sally Hepworth, All rights reserved.