This month: an author who shares a house with a ghost, why your favorite characters have to die, and the best way to start a novel

Timothy Pike, editor-in-chief

A Letter from the Editor

Welcome, readers and writers, to the August 2023 issue of Books & Buzz Magazine!

Featured on the cover this month is award-winning author and podcast host Jennifer Anne Gordon, here to talk about her brand-new book, The Japanese Box. This collection of short stories, available for pre-order now, includes what Jennifer describes as the most personal story she’s ever published. “My story ‘The Japanese Box’ started as a personal essay in a grief-writing class,” she says. “I think and hope that this story, while dark, has a sense of innocence and beauty to it.” In our interview, Jennifer tells me about the reactions she wants her stories to stir up in readers, the movie scene that terrified her as a kid, and how she manages to share her house with a ghost.

Next, ever shed a tear when a character in a novel is killed off? Fantasy author Zachary Hagen feels your pain—and as an author, possibly even more. “Saying goodbye is hard for a reader in love with a story,” he says, “but for a writer who has invested in characters who feel like their friends—or even children in a way—saying goodbye is far worse.” Zachary insists, however, that whenever he does away with a character, it’s for a good reason, and that if you look at the big picture, there are valuable life lessons to be drawn from it.

Then, Edward Willett, award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, comes to us with some advice: “Don’t be afraid to revisit your old work,” he says about novels you may have published long ago. “Don’t be afraid to resurrect them. You-of-the-past may have been a better writer than you-of-the-present fears.” Edward had taken it upon himself to republish his old novels, and was pleasantly surprised by how well his first one stood the test of time—even though he admits he might have written it differently today. If you’re thinking about sprucing up an unfinished manuscript or trying to get an old story published, now is the time.

Finally, author Diane Bator shares her best tips for how to start a novel with a bang. “As a writer, book coach, and editor, I love when I read a book that hooks me from the opening paragraph,” Diane says. “Better yet, one that intrigues me from the first sentence and weaves such a great story that I can’t put it down.” In addition to stressing the importance of a strong opener, Diane also warns us against common newbie mistakes, such as starting with your character waking up, describing the weather, or writing for a movie instead of a novel.

Get comfortable—and get ready to learn a lot from our talented contributors. Enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine!

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine

Brilliant authors. Free books. Sign up to get it all!

We have a strict no-spam policy. All e-mails are sent through MailChimp, a reputable e-mail service. Unsubscribe anytime.

Are you a writer?        

Share this article! Select your favorite social site below: