Author of the Week: Joanne Harris

For this week’s Author of the Week instalment, we are joined by Joanne Harris to share her new ebook (soon to be hardback), ‘Ten Things About Writing’. Originally a series of tweets, ‘Ten Things About Writing’ is a book that answers the constant barrage of questions Joanne receives on being an Author. Whether it’s dealing with disappointment, empowering diverse voices, getting published, getting famous & everything in between. Joanne’s honesty, spark & expertise is the ideal person to be guiding you through your journey as a writer.

To get you ready, here’s one of the many pearls if wisdom Joanne has to offer in this chat:

“I thought it may be useful to point out that you can write women as people, you don’t have to write them as a collection of body parts to remind the reader that they’re a woman. That won’t remind the reader that they’re a woman, but it might just remind the reader that you – the writer, are a man.”

Joanne Harris
In this chat, we discuss:
  • ‘Ten Things About Writing’ & it’s humble beginnings on Twitter. Almost everyday, Joanne Harris would answer peoples questions about writing, book tours, secondary rights, foreign rights & all the issues people are curious about.
  • Finding your workspace: “Find yourself a space in which you are comfortable to work”. It may not be an workspace, but a headspace. Don’t wait for a beautifully sorted office, desk, shed or whatever you feel you need in a space. You can create it in your own mind.
  • Joanne on why writing is more so inner, than it it is outer.
  • Joanne on why this book works for writers who have been published, and writers who are not published. All writers are on the same long learning curve, regardless of if your work is on an international platform or in your journal.
  • Male versus female writers in the literary world. Women have to fight a lot harder to get their work acknowledged. Men are much more likely to be seen to be writing for the entire human experience.
  • Joanne’s fight to recognise female writers.
  • Male writer’s obsession with writing about breasts. Men’s exquisite description of the female form, particularly breasts.
  • The inevitable experience that your agent, boss or whatever it may be are in it for the money. “Somebody somewhere will think of your books as units. Not something you’ve sweated blood over for years.”
  • Joanne on learning from other people’s (and your own) mistakes: The need to remind authors that you will be let down, whether that be your publisher or your agent.
  • Chocolat & the curse of expectation: Joanne on building yourself up again after writing an incredibly successful novel, that was then turned into a movie.
  • Joanne experiencing the onslaught of fame after the success of Chocolat, especially with the press & the sense of her life being in the public eye.
  • The decisions one must make after achieving a level of success in the literary world. Should you quit your day job? How to build on that success?
  • The publishing world’s love of debuts, but not so much the follow up novel.
  • The importance of building your book from a place of truth & pleasure.
  • ‘Ten Things About Writing’ as a call to arms for all writers & being brave enough to have your voice heard.
  • The moment when a certain white, American privileged novelist said something that sparked a fire in Joanne to argue back with ‘Ten Things About Writing’.
  • The importance of diversity in the literature world.
Pre-order ‘Ten Things About Writing’ from Waterstones:

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