Monday, 26 January 2015

Women Writers Boxing Clever

Seven great writers banding together:
 Orna Ross, Joni Rodgers, Roz Morris, Kathleen Jones,
Jane Davis, Carol Cooper and Jessica Bell
Regular readers will know that I've published both traditionally and independently - and that what's wonderful these days is that every writer can choose his or her path as they wish, depending on the needs of their current project. My experience of the world of self-publishing has been incredibly positive, chiefly because it's a world of shared experience and mutual support. I'm delighted that this week I'll be showcasing an incredible group of women writers who have got together to issue a boxed set of their works - these are writers who've produced disparate, sometimes challenging, always fascinating stories of a high literary standard. Their box-set will be available for 90 days only from February 20th and is open to pre-order now (links below), at a price that's 75% less than the cost of the individually-purchased books. In this post, I ask the participants why they took part in this exciting venture and why this particular mix of authors works so well. Later this week I'll be asking individual writers how they came to write the book they've included in Outside the Box: Women Writing Women.

The novelists are Orna Ross, Jessica Bell, Jane Davis, Joni Rodgers, Kathleen Jones, Roz Morris and Carol Cooper. Right, without more ado, here we go!

Why are you taking part in the Box Set?
Jessica Bell: The main reason I approached these fabulous ladies to collaborate in a box set is because I admire their work, and adore them as individuals, and I couldn’t imagine collaborating with a finer group of writers. Each author in this box set is at the very top of their game; each book representative of quality fiction that explores a diverse range of unlikely heroines. I must say, I’m a little bit of a fan girl, and I can’t believe I have the pleasure of taking part in this project. It really is a dream come true. 
Orna Ross: Jessica Bell is one of my favourite authors and one of my favourite people. And the idea behind the collective she wanted to gather -- independent-minded, unconventional authors offering page-turning fiction about independent-minded, unconventional women - was irresistible. I hope the success of this project will encourage other writers who believe in their own work to collaborate and experiment together. The calibre of this collective meant I never doubted we'd put together a great book; what I didn't anticipate is that we'd have such great fun doing it. Indie authors rock!
Roz Morris: For me, these writers are the real superstars of self-publishing. They're storytellers dedicated to their craft, who have proved their worth with awards, fellowships and, of course, commercial success. Each author here is in charge of her own artistic destiny, embracing the indie path as a statement of integrity, yet writing fiction that speaks to everybody. I'm utterly proud to be included.
Kathleen Jones: I’m loving the idea of being with a group of women writers whose work I like and respect. Also intrigued by the contrasts and resonances that are set up when you put seven very different books and authors together. You know your work is going to be read by readers who wouldn’t normally have bought it. There’s an edge to that - are they going to like it? Hate it? It’s very exciting.
Jane Davis: Quite aside from collaborating with a truly inspirational – and international - team of women writers, I’m really excited about the opportunity to showcase the diversity of writing that falls under the general fiction labels, ‘contemporary fiction’or ‘literary fiction’ for example. I am rather fond of Joanne Harris’ comment that she doesn’t like to insult her readers by assuming they only like to read one type of fiction. We will not be insulting any readers. Within this set of seven books, we offer the full spectrum from light (although never frothy) to darker, more haunting reads that delve into deeper psychological territory.
Joni Rodgers: Indie publishing is the new high ground for literary fiction. Maybe this is a US thing, but publishers here have gotten more and more gutless and lit fiction is getting very much of an ilk. Authors are pressured by agents and editors into tropes and style that sell -- and that's not a healthy state for the artists individually or the art form at large. Readers will find the true artistic risk takers and creative outliers in the indie world, where we captain our own fate - as artists must.
Carol Cooper: This is a small group of acclaimed indie authors whose work I hold in the highest regard. I love their varied ways of telling a story, and what each of them has to say about the lives of women. This set of books will be thought-provoking and hugely entertaining. I’m thrilled to be part of it.

Why this specific mix of authors?
Carol: It is important to like one another's books and respect one another's opinions and experience. And that is something that does not happen much in traditional publishing! What unites the writers is their desire to craft their fiction to be the best it can be. When Jessica approached me with her vision of who some of the central authors might be, it was a no-brainer: I wanted to be with them.

Joni: I actually met Roz, Orna and Jane’s books before I met them, which is probably the best possible way to make friends with another author. I read and loved Orna’s linked novels After the Rising and Before the Fall and learned about her life as a publishing industry mover/shaker when I was searching to see what else she’d written. She turned me on to Roz’s book My Memories of a Future Life, which I inhaled one weekend when I was down with the flu. When I learned Jane Davis’s An Unchoreographed Life would be in this collection, I’d already bought it for a traveling Kindle I share with my daughter. We load it with books we both want to read and discuss, and that haunting cover image—who could resist?

To pre-order Outside the Box: Women Writing Women: visit these links at  and Price £7.99/$9.99.

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