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Merry Christmas everyone!
We can hardly believe it is already time for our Christmas newsletter. What a year it has been! This year we have released books, toured Australia and overseas, AND written new books. Soon, we will be submitting our new books to our publishers and we’ll start over again from scratch. And this kind of got us thinking … how would you like to come along for the ride? Next year, we thought it would be fun to take you through the entire process of writing a book — starting with how we get our ideas, then talking first drafts, editing, covers and publicity—basically running the whole gamut from idea to publication!
What do you think? We’re going to be doing it all anyway, and we’d love to take you with us.
In the meantime, see below for what we’ve been doing during this busy hectic season. You’ll find some tips on what to read — and a present guide for those readers in your families!

We hope you have a happy and safe Christmas.

Lisa, Sally and Rachael xxx


Who doesn’t want a gorgeous mug to drink their Christmas coffee (or hot chocolate) out of? The Secret Life of Authors are giving THREE lucky subscribers the chance to win either a Lisa Ireland, Sally Hepworth or Rachael Johns mug. To go in the draw all you have to go is post about our newsletter on social media or forward this newsletter to a friend and email us to let us know you’ve done so.
Sample copy that you can use on Facebook or Twitter: Want to know all the goss about the secret life of authors? Subscribe online, or for fun gossip, book news and cool giveaways!
NB. Contest closes midnight (EST) Dec 21st and winners will be notified via email. Winners will not be able to specify which mug they would like to receive.


Congratulations to Craig Fogarty, the winner of our last Giveaway. Craig has been sent an advanced copy of Sally's book, The Mother-In-Law.

Lisa Ireland

What I’ve been up to: 

It’s only the beginning of the Silly Season and I’m already feeling a little battle weary. Perhaps that’s because as well as all the usual hoo-ha that goes on at this time of year, I’ve been busy getting my house ready for sale. First there were a few little maintenance jobs to take care of, then we moved onto styling the house to make it appealing to buyers. Now that it’s on the market I seem to be endlessly cleaning to make sure it stays in top shape. Good times!
I’ve also been frantically writing. I promised my agent that I would have my new draft to her by the first week in December. (This falls under the heading: Things That Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.) I’m hoping to have this book ready for submission by the beginning of March, and for that to happen I’ll need to start work on edits early in January at the very latest! The edits I’m talking about here are not edits given to me by my publisher – these come later! – but my own changes, driven by notes given to me by my early readers and my agent. Looks like I’m going to have a busy start to 2019.
Speaking of 2019, I’m really excited to be joining Sally on a regional tour of Victoria in February. (Sally has more details below. All I’m saying is #Roadtrip!) Hopefully we’ll get to meet lots of our newsletter subscribers along the way.


Lisa Ireland

What? It’s Christmas time already? I got a very rude awakening when I last arrived at Sally’s house and found her front yard completely lit with Christmas lights. At that time I hadn’t even thought about Christmas. N.B. It was only the second week of November...
Three weeks later and I’m a tad more organized. Well, I’ve bought most of my Christmas presents and ordered the food for Christmas lunch. I’m yet to put up a tree or hang any lights. (Shh, don’t tell Sally!)
This year I’m starting a new tradition for our family – the giving and receiving of books on Christmas Eve. I’m so excited (mainly because it means I get to spend Christmas Eve reading!) I can’t tell you what I’ve bought in case my nosy family members read this newsletter but here’s my shopping guide if you are looking to purchase book gifts this Christmas (and why wouldn’t you be?)

Lisa's Christmas Shopping Guide


What to buy for...
Mum: Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
Dad: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
BFF: The Right Girl by Ellie O’Neill
Husband: On The Java Ridge by Jock Serong
Your KK: You Me Everything by Catherine Isaacs
Siblings: The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy by BM Carroll
Your co-worker / babysitter / postman: Lost Without You by Rachael Johns
For yourself: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (pre-order)
For your mother in law: The Mother In Law (pre-order) 
Wishing all our readers a very happy Christmas and a fun (and safe!) holiday season.
Lisa x

Rachael Johns

Lisa Ireland

What I’ve been up to 

Suddenly I have a social life! All through the year (aside from writing conferences and book events) I seem to have every Friday and Saturday night in but come mid-November – it’s crazy sauce. I’ve been out the last three Friday nights and am out again THIS Friday night – the biggest event on our calendar though is my middle son graduating from primary school. This is a mega event these days and I swear more involved than graduating from a PhD (not that I have one of those, but I hear)! In addition to the busy social calendar, I’m always racing to finish my book. I always have the best intentions of having this finished BEFORE I go on book tour in November, but once again that didn’t happen – life has a habit of getting in the way and delaying things. So, the last month has been kid stuff and madly finishing the draft of what I hope will be next year’s book (currently titled ONE LAST WISH) and I’m pleased to report it’s finally done! Now I nervously await the thoughts from my publisher! I plan to have a quick break now and then be back at the desk come Boxing Day writing my next rural romance – SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. Can’t wait to get stuck into this!


Rachael Johns

Every time I jump on Instagram I have Sally Hepworth Christmas envy – I’m definitely not a Grinch but I like the idea of lots of decorations and festiveness more than I like the actual organising of these things. And sadly I think my family are a bit the same. Every year we have the BEST intentions of donning the halls with lots of decorations, putting Christmas lights up out the front, baking all sorts of yummy foods and basically doing Christmas proud. But what usually happens is we waste all our energy on the thinking about doing this and the end result is half-arsed with promises to ourselves to do better NEXT year. But… I’m pleased to report our tree is up (even if it has no lights), I’m almost finished the Christmas shopping AND we will continue the one tradition we’ve managed to uphold the last few years and that is the making (from scratch) of our own Gingerbread House. I do this every year with my middle son (the other two aren’t interested) and they get better each year (even if we do say so ourselves). See pics of last two years’ masterpieces! The other thing we will do is watch a LOT of Christmas movies, cos oldest son wants to be a movie director so this is very important education for him. My boys want to watch Die Hard (which apparently is a Christmas movie) and I plan on making them watch The Holiday this year, as well as all the usual classics (Love Actually, Home Alone, The Grinch)!

Rachael's Christmas Shopping Guide


Don’t tell my family but this year Santa is bringing us ALL new bikes – we moved near the Swan River this year and I have lovely fantasies of family rides by the river on a Sunday afternoon. But as well as this they’ll getting books – youngest is getting a box set of Dog Man (cos he’s an aspiring cartoonist), middle is getting everything football (as in soccer not AFL) and oldest is getting some movie books and a guide to film-making.

Below are my recommendations for books to buy for your friends and family:
What to buy for ...
Mum: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales
Husband/Father: The Nowhere Child by Christian White
Your KK / Secret Santa: One Day in December by Josie Silver
Siblings: The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden or The Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland
Your co-worker / babysitter / postman: The Drifter by Anthea Hodgson
For yourself: I’ll Be There For You by Kelsey Miller (okay that’s if you’re a Friends nut like me)
For your mother in law: The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth(pre-order) 

Sally Hepworth

Rachel Johns

What I've been up to

As we hurtle toward the end of the year, I am always looking a little worse for wear. This is always the busiest time of year, not only because the end of the year is my deadline for the book I’ve been working on all year, but also because publicity is starting up for the book I wrote the year before (this year, THE MOTHER IN LAW). To break that down for you—I’m always a year ahead with my books. I turned in The Mother In Law to my editor a year ago and now, it is about to come out. I have also just submitted my 2020 book to my editor (and she has come back with MAJOR EDITS—insert crying and wine emoji). Add to that, Christmas, impending school holidays, childcare closures and an impending book tour … and you have one very highly-strung author. 
Suffice to say, I can barely remember my own name at this time of year (let alone the names of my characters).The good news is, soon all the stress will be behind me and I will be out on the road, talking to you guys about THE MOTHER IN LAW! I have events in Victoria (Melbourne, Geelong, Echuca, Bendigo and Ocean Grove), Sydney and Brisbane in Feb (and WA a couple of months later—for a mini Secret Life of Authors tour!), so please keep an eye on my social media for details and I hope to see you there! Forgive me if I forget my characters’ names (or my own) J


Sally Hepworth

We do Christmas in a big way at the Hepworth house. Our Christmas decorations went up the day after Halloween and our Christmas lists have been written since January. We are watching Christmas movies on repeat (though sadly it’s mostly Barbie’s Christmas Adventure rather than Elf or Home Alone) and listening to Michael Buble around the clock. Our lights rival The Griswalds, we have a tree in every room, the Elf on the Shelf is moving around our house like a maniac … there’s not a Scrooge to be seen. (Except perhaps Clementine who has vandalized my new nutcracker so it now doesn’t have a nose, and is standing on one leg. Ba humbug indeed).

Sally's Christmas Shopping Guide

Does anyone follow the old saying for gifts: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read? Yeah, me either. My kids just want toys. But I do follow the something to read part. Oscar is getting the Funny Kid series by Matt Stanton, Eloise is getting the Milly-Molly-Mandy Series (my favourite as a kid) by Joyce-Lankester-Brisley, and Clementine is getting Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
Looking for book recommendations for other family members? See mine below:

What to buy for ...
Mum: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Dad: The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Your KK / Secret Santa: The Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland or Lost Without You by Rachael Johns
Siblings: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Your co-worker / babysitter / postman: Look Alive, Twenty Five by Janet Evanovich
For yourself: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (pre-order)
For your mother in law: The Mother In Law (pre-order) 
Copyright © 2018 Sally Hepworth, All rights reserved.