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Welcome to our last newsletter for the year. Actually wait… make that the last newsletter of the decade.
Whoa! Can you believe that in just over a week we’ll be heading into a whole new decade? We’re hoping the twenties will be just as much fun this time around as they reportedly were last century!

To celebrate the new year (and indeed the beginning of the Roaring Twenties Mark 2) we’ve decided to change things up just a little in The Secret Life of Authors – both here in the printed newsletter and in The Secret Life of Authors Readers’ Club on Facebook. 

Those of you who are members of the Facebook group will have noticed we have recently started doing Facebook live events and we’d love to continue these in the new year. To make the live events relevant and interesting to all our readers WE NEED YOUR HELP. We’d love you to let us know what you’d like us to talk about. You can send us your questions or topics for discussion by replying to this email OR by posting in the Facebook group. Everyone who makes a suggestion will go into the draw to win a surprise package from us! 

With it being the end of the year, we thought we’d dedicate this newsletter to our highlights – reading, writing and otherwise. We hope you enjoy!



Giveaway winner!

Well done to Clare Griffin who correctly identified HONEY HILL HOUSE as the only one of Lisa's books (so far!) to keep its original title. Clare wins an Advance Reading Copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF SHIRLEY SULLIVAN (which also will be published under its original title!)


Lisa will be in touch via email to discuss delivery of your prize!


 New Giveaway!

Don't forget to let us know what you'd like us to talk about in our Facebook Live sessions. If you have a topic you're dying to know more about, or a question you'd like us to answer, please let us know! You can tell us by replying to this email or head over to the Facebook group and let us know there. Everyone who suggests a topic will go into the draw to win a surprise pack from us in the new year!

Sally Hepworth

2019 Highlights:
Personal and Writing
Whew, what a year! My personal highlights and writing   highlights from this year kind of overlap so I think I’ll merge       them into one. Our inaugural Secret Life of Authors Tour this     year was obviously a big highlight. The three of us (plus  friend-of-the-Secret-Life-of-Authors, Anthea Hodgson) had    such a hoot as  we travelled  around Western Australia,  narrowly avoiding death as Rachael took one-way streets in  the wrong direction, chatted on her phone and turned her  body around 180 degrees (while driving)  so she could carry on a conversation with us in the back seat.  We are SUPER excited to do this again next year in Victoria (with another friend of The Secret Life  Of Authors, Jane Cockram) and with ... ahem ... someone else in the driver’s seat.
Another highlight for this year was my whirlwind visit to the U.S. to feature on Good Morning America talking about The Mother In Law, and of course, my breakfast meeting with Amy Poehler (this is probably a life highlight!). Returning home and signing the contract for The Mother In Law to become a TV series and finding out it sold in the room to NBC were further highlights. 
And, as a final highlight, we got our dog Hannah this year. I’ll be real for a moment. Before Hannah, I didn’t like dogs. At all. Not even puppies. But my kids wanted one desperately.  Lisa, a dog lover, warned me against getting one because, as they say, dogs aren’t just for Christmas. As usual, I ignored Lisa’s advice and got the dog. No one was prepared for my swift decent into dog-mania. I am now what is known as a dog person. The person who will show photos of my dog to anyone shows a glimmer of interest (and also those who don't). The person who Googles ‘is my dog happy?’. The person who makes a dog cake for the dog’s birthday and who asks friends if it’s okay if I bring my dog). I am honestly 57% happier with a dog than I was without one (and I was pretty happy before)

As for reading highlights, in no particular order:
  • In the Clearing by J.P. Pomare – if you are facinated cults (and who isn’t?) you will eat this book for breakfast. I’m pretty sure this was my no. 1 read for the year.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelidis – just a twisty, unputdownable page-turner
  • The House of Brides by Jane Cockram – if you love Kate Morton, you’ve just met your new favourite author
  • Where the Crawdads Sing - my favourite book of all time.
  • The Testaments – I don’t even know what to say about this, other than … read it. No seriously. Right now. Go.

Lisa Ireland


tMy highlights of the year:


was fortunate enough to spend two months in Europe earlier this year with my husband, David, and our youngest son, Alex. David and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in London and then the three of us headed off to Paris for a few days. From Paris we caught the train to Milan and then we spent a wonderful month training our way around Italy. A month definitely wasn’t long enough! 

From Italy we flew back to London and picked up a hire car. We spent the next few weeks trekking around the UK – whirlwind tour of England, Scotland and Wales! We finished our trip with a couple of weeks in London, spending time catching up with friends and relaxing. 

It was a wonderful trip – too many amazing experiences to recount them all. A couple of highlights were visiting the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice and driving through Snowdonia National Park in Wales – breathtakingly beautiful! The best thing about the trip for me, though, was getting to spend so much time with my son. He turned 16 while we were in Florence, so he's not exactly a baby anymore! I know the opportunities for us to spend time together like this will become scarce over the next few years. It was wonderful to have him to ourselves for an extended period and hopefully we created some beautiful memories for him to look back on once he’s flown the nest!  

Venice  Siena Glasgow


It’s been a roller coaster of a year for me! Lots of highs and a few lows too, but this is my highlights reel so I’ll focus on the good stuff here!

I loved touring in Western Australia with Sally and Rachael this year. It was so lovely to meet so many readers who we’d chatted to online and great to catch up with some of our favourite booksellers as well. We had such a good time that we’ve decided to repeat the experience – but this time in Victoria. Watch this space for details in the new year.

While we were on tour in WA, I got the very exciting news that Bev Cousins from Penguin Random House Australia was reading my manuscript. Bev went on to buy THE SECRET LIFE OF SHIRLEY SULLIVAN, which pretty much made my whole year! The book will be released across all formats (including audio) in May 2020. To say I’m excited is an understatement! 


I’ve read loads of wonderful books this year. After deliberating forever, I’ve chosen my top five reads of the year. In no particular order I loved:



Rachael Johns


Lisa Ireland

My Highlights
Like Lisa, my personal highlights for the year also include travel. In May, I spent a week in the French Quarter of New Orleans (one of my fave places on earth) with my good writing buddy, Anthea Hodgson. We had an absolute ball checking out the quirky shops (and bars) of the French Quarter and also learning about the fascinating history of the town on ghost and cemetery tours. While we were there, we also experienced a flash flood, which was fascinating, if not a little scary. We also went on a swamp tour and I got to hold a baby alligator!! We did lots of research and spent many hours in bars brainstorming while we drunk Hurricanes (the signature drink of NOLA) and I’m super excited about writing New Orleans into THE ART OF MOVING ON. 
I was a little spoilt this year because I had TWO overseas trips. In July, my hubby, myself and my three boys did a ten-day road trip of California, which was magical on so many levels. Spending quality time together away from our busy work lives was wonderful, but so were the many things we saw. Some highlights of this highlight include a couple of nights in beautiful Monterey (where the TV series Big Little Lies is set), driving the Big Sur, visiting the mammoth trees in the Sequoia National Park and going to an amazing underground house/garden in Fresno. Of course, as a storyteller, I also hugely enjoyed the insight into the film world on our Universal and Warner Brothers Tours. 
After California, my family flew home and I went on to New York where I met up with author Emily Madden and many other author friends from around the globe for the Romance Writers of America conference. I don’t get to go to this every year but it’s always super special when I do. I love listening to the workshops and keynote speeches of the US authors and it’s also a time to catch up with my agent and friends I don’t get to see very often. This year myself and a few other authors went to see PRETTY WOMAN on Broadway, which was fantastic! 
In terms of family, my middle son started high school this year and while that was a little stressful to begin with, I’m pleased to report he found his feet and finished year seven on a high. I can’t believe I only have ONE primary aged kid left. 
Having just handed in FLYING THE NEST, I’m looking forward to a few weeks R&R, lots of reading, watching TV and spending time with my family over the festive season. As it’s just my immediate family for Christmas this year and hubby works in retail, we decided to take the pressure off and instead of cooking a big meal at home, we’re going out for lunch at a restaurant in the city. I absolutely can’t wait. But just cos we won’t be cooking at home on the big day, doesn’t mean other festive traditions are going to be skipped. My middle son and I make a gingerbread house together every year (photos from previous years as we haven’t done it yet), we also go to the midnight service on Christmas Eve at the local church. Here’s hoping I can stay up late enough as I’m feeling very tired after such a big writing year! 



While I haven’t had any amazing outstanding news (like selling book to a new publisher or selling my book to a CELEBRITY to be made into a TV SHOW), I have had a pretty good writing year. The last few years, I’ve felt a little like I lost my writing mojo and had slowed my output a bit due to this. Well, I’m happy to report I found it again and thus this year has been a busy one writing wise. 
I began the year with the edits for JUST ONE WISH (which recently released) while also writing SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT (a rural romance, out April 2020). In the latter half of the year, I edited the rural and wrote what I hope will be my next women’s fiction/life-lit novel, titled FLYING THE NEST. This book is currently with my publisher and I’m nervously awaiting her thoughts. If all goes well, FLYING THE NEST will be out in Nov 2020. 
The best part of my writing year so far though, has to be meeting authors at the events I’ve done at various libraries and bookshops and also the time spent with my writing friends, especially at the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference in August. This is always the highlight of my year. My tour for JUST ONE WISH had me catching up with lots of old friends and meeting new ones too. 
Another highlight has been the rebranding of all my women’s fiction/life-lit novels so that my earlier covers match the new look. The new covers are designed by Aussie artist, Alice Lindstrom and they are just so beautiful. New look THE PATTERSON GIRLS and THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS will be out in March! 
I’m super excited about next year and look forward to writing (hopefully) two more books, the first I think will be THE ART OF MOVING ON (sequel to THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS) and the second one might be my first full-length Christmas novel. Can’t tell you too much yet, but I CAN tell you it will involve a LOT of dogs! 
Photos for this section: 
Something To Talk About cover 



I loved loads of books this year – many by wonderful author friends – but my stand-outs for 2019 would have to be THE LOST MAN by Jane Harper and DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I listened to the latter on audio and I think this made the read even better as it’s read by multiple actors (some quite famous ones) and they brought the different characters alive. I loved this book so much that I bought a hard copy of it when I was in the US as I wanted it in my collection! I also read LENNY’S BOOK OF EVERYTHING by Karen Foxlee with my ten-year old and we both absolutely loved it. Such a well written, gorgeous and heart-wrenching story for all ages. 
From all of us here at The Secret Life of Authors, we’d like to say thank you for your support this year. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, safe and wonderful holidays, and the happiest New Year ever! 
Lisa, Rachael and Sally xxx

Copyright © 2019 Sally Hepworth, All rights reserved.

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