Published by Self-Published on 20th February 2015
Genres: Women's Literary Fiction
BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross
The book: Mercy stands accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she needs Star, the daughter she fought to protect, to know what really happened that fateful night in 1989.
The author: Orna Ross writes novels, poems and the Go Creative! book series. The Bookseller calls her “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” for her work with The Alliance of Independent Authors.
CRAZY FOR TRYING by Joni Rodgers
The book: A regional bestseller short-listed for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. In the 1970s, a troubled young woman heads west to create a new identity and shake off the burden of her mother’s radical past, but love and loneliness take her life in an unexpected direction.
The author: Joni Rogers hit the New York Times bestseller list with her cancer memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair. She is also ghost-writer of numerous other bestsellers and founder of the League of Extraordinary Authors. Joni lives in Houston, Texas.
MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE by Roz Morris
The book: In this work of literary fiction, a brilliant pianist’s career is ended by injury. She turns to a mysterious healer and faces the possibility that her life is someone else’s past incarnation.
The author: Roz Morris earned her spurs as a ghost-writer, selling more than four million books writing the novels of other people. She is a writers’ mentor and a radio show host, and she teaches writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper.
THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones
The book: Bereaved biographer Alex Forbes goes to war-ravaged Croatia to research the life of a celebrity artist and finds herself at the centre of a family conflict after she uncovers a mutilated photograph, stolen letters and a story of indeterminate gender, passion and betrayal.
The author: Kathleen Jones lives in Italy and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She is best known for her award-winning biographies, and has also written extensively for the BBC.
AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE by Jane Davis
The book: Alison gave up the chance to be a prima ballerina when she became pregnant and turned to prostitution to provide for her child, but the tempting hope of a better life may come at a terrible price.
The author: Jane Davis won the Daily Mail Award for her first novel, which secured her a publishing contract. She has now gone on to self-publish four other novels and isn’t afraid to tackle the trickiest of subjects.
ONE NIGHT AT THE JACARANDA by Carol Cooper
The book: Diagnosed with cancer, Sanjay has no time to waste. Laure is a successful lawyer, Harriet is a struggling freelance writer, and Karen is a single mother of four. Before they can find a soul-mate, they each need to confront who they really are.
The author: Carol Cooper is a London-based journalist and award-winning non-fiction author. Her debut novel was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards 2014. In her spare time she’s a doctor.
WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell
The book: Sonia, unfaithful wife of a Melbourne drug lord, yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and maths teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats. Easier said than done.
The author: Jessica Bell is an Australian novelist, poet, singer/ songwriter /guitarist who lives in Athens, Greece. She is Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and author of the bestselling Writing in a Nutshell series.
Some of the authors have answered a couple of questions –
Why do you write?
Orna Ross: Because it’s hard
“Those… who are most wise,” said Yeats, “own nothing but their blind, stupefied hearts.” It’s not easy to own, or own up to, our own blindness and stupefaction and work out what it means in words, Two great essayist-poets, Adrienne Rich and Eavan Boland, have my undying gratitude for their wise articulation of what it takes for a woman to express her own experience, reveal her own texture and touch, and take herself seriously. Again Seamus Heaney has a beautiful image for it; he calls it breaking “the skin on the pool of yourself.”
As a writer, you do what it takes to break that skin, in response to some impossible-to-explain, un-nameable need. You drop into the pool of yourself, down to the depths of the imagination and return to watermark life with your own pattern of experience and perception.
In the doing you forge vows that you inevitably break. You work harder than you have ever worked at anything else and see yourself fall short. You read back words that took weeks to compose — and hate them with a nauseated passion. You feel in your core what Iris Murdoch meant when she said: “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”
But somewhere along the line, you come to know that it’s the struggle itself which, by some mysterious alchemy, turns this activity that seems so self-obsessed into something you’re doing for others too. If you can only get it right this time, you just might touch another imagination. If you really get it right, you just might move another towards their own self-expression. That’s the difficult, self-saving, spirit-stoking, magical, sanity-protecting lure to which we devote our lives.
Who could ask for anything more?
Why did you get together for this compilation?
True, most authors who have found success with the box sets were a part of very genre-driven compilations. But that’s where Outside the Box: Women Writing Women differs. The spotlight is on “unlikely heroines” and, though the seven novels included may all fit the Contemporary Fiction/Women’s Fiction slot, they are all remarkably and uniquely different in style, which I believe to be a very strong attraction. There are readers out there who don’t like to read the same kind of genre, or about the same kind of characters over and over. This box set is for them.
“What made you self-publish instead of going down the traditional route?”
I enjoy working with Big Five publishers. I was mentored by a string of stellar editors, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve enjoyed in the corporate publishing world, but I don’t want my fiction to be guided by the corporate values system. For me, every novel is a soul project; I want 100% of the creative control.
“Most collections are from just one author, or one publisher, or at least in the same genre, whether that’s historical romance or detective fiction. But these seven books are very different. [How] do you think the mix [of genres] will work for readers?”
Carol Cooper: Actually there is uniformity in this set: in quality of writing, and in its over-arching theme, the lives and relationships of women. It’s a genre-busting collection, taking in literary fiction, suspense, mystery and romance. But every one of the books is a character-driven page-turner. I think readers will love the characters they find here: a woman accused of killing her father, a poet on a journey to escape the shadow of her infamous mother, a gifted pianist who fears her career is over after an injury, and a single mother who turns to prostitution to support her daughter. And that’s just for starters.