Win a Pack of 12 Books!

REVISED giveaway oct 2013We all love a good book giveaway, so here’s a GREAT book giveaway. I’m banding together with my Writers Ask Writers group to give away 12 books.

The pack of books includes the latest novels by Dawn Barker, Annabel Smith, Amanda Curtin, Emma Chapman, Sara Foster and me, as well as a book that inspired our writing. You can see all the titles included in the giveaway in the picture on the left. So today’s blog is all about why I chose The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, as the book that inspired me.

For those who don’t know, my book, If I Should Lose You is the story of Alix, one of the first female heart transplant surgeons in Australia. Alix falls in love with Dan. Then tragedy strikes. Alix has to make a decision she has always viewed in purely medical terms, but which grief has made her unable to face. It is also the story of Camille, whose daughter is desperately ill and requires a liver transplant. Camille is a nurse who specialises in organ donation; she knows how the system works. So how far will she go to keep her daughter alive, and what might it cost another child waiting on the list?

Joan Didion’s book covers some similar themes; it’s about mothers and daughters and their relationships, it’s about husbands and wives and their relationships, and it’s about the way grief can simply overtake a person, although they may appear to be functioning on the outside. Striking the right voice in my book was difficult and I had many false starts. Grief as an emotion can, if poorly handled, simply become too depressing for the reader, or it can become melodramatic, and thus not ring true. Didion’s book does neither of these things and perhaps that is why I turned to it when I began writing.

I still remember the day I knew I had the voice right. I wrote these words:

“I depend upon dead people. In my line of work, someone has to die so that someone else can live.”

PWFC author collageThose words are verbatim in the finished book. They were never changed, deleted or redrafted. There was something about the staccato sound of the sentence, the outwardly cool and clinical detachment, that made me realise I had caught my character’s voice. Break the sentence open though, and just as in Didion’s book, there is a wellspring of grief swirling beneath every word.

So, the important question is: how do you enter the giveaway? Click here, and you’ll be redirected to the giveaway entry page. (Sorry, the giveaway is only open to Australian residents.) Good luck to everyone who enters!

And in case you’d like to know more about what book the other authors in the group chose, and why they chose it, you can click on their names to be redirected to their blogs to find out more: Amanda Curtin, Emma Chapman, Dawn Barker, Annabel Smith and Sara Foster.


  1. Pingback: The big October giveaway! | looking up/looking down

  2. Pingback: Sara Foster - Writers Ask Writers – OCTOBER’S 12 BOOK GIVEAWAY!

  3. Great idea for a giveaway, Natasha. Needless to say, I have already entered.

    You have written about Joan Didion before and have really sparked my interest in this previously unknown-to-me author. As I am also toying with the prospect of writing a novel that has grief as a theme (possibly more of a subtext for me than for you and Joan), I must put both If I Should Lose You and The Year of Magical Thinking on my TBR list.

    • Thanks Angela – yes, I’m pretty evangelical when it comes to Joan Didion. I was first introduced to her collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, when I was at university and it was one of those defining moments that you have as a writer, when you say to yourself, I want to write as well as that. Good luck in the giveaway, and I hope you enjoy both Didion’s book, and mine.

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