Discover more from Amie Kaufman: Finding North
Finding North: June 2023
UK tour news, and thoughts on living as a creative ✍🏼
Note: The recording above is a reading of this newsletter — there’s no different content, and it’s not produced, so you’ll hear the occasional stumble, or sounds of daily life in the background. If you’re someone who needs or prefers to hear their news, then I hope it’s helpful.
Hi, my friends.
What a month it’s been! Once I’ve written this newsletter, I’m going to finish up packing my suitcase — after months tightly focused on the launch of The Isles of the Gods, and after years at home, it feels as though the world is opening up into possibility. I can’t wait.
This newsletter has details of my UK and Irish tour, thoughts on living creatively — something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately — and of course updates on what I’m writing, including my current draft, and some special future projects.
Let’s get started.
What I’ve Been Up To
It’s been a busy, busy month. I launched The Isles of the Gods, a moment ten years in the making. It’s been such a joy, seeing this story I love so much heading out into the world, and hearing from readers.
The highlight was my incredible launch party here in Melbourne. It was the biggest gathering of our local book community that I’ve been to since before the pandemic, and as I looked out at a sea of faces from every part of my life — from childhood friends to old workmates, from fellow authors to family, from readers who’ve been with me since These Broken Stars to readers attending their first ever launch — my heart felt perfectly full. We managed to record the launch for the Pub Dates podcast, so if you’d like to come along to the happiest of launches, you can do that right here, or head to the Pub Dates feed wherever you get your podcasts!
Publishing is an industry that constantly encourages you to compare your success to that of everyone around you, and the key to happiness and longevity in your writing is to resist that urge. Even the word ‘industry’ is a problem — art can never really be industrialised — and this is a conversation I have with a lot of the authors I mentor.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to build a joyful, sustainable and deliberate creative life and practice recently. I’m giving a speech on it later this week, and I’m hoping to launch an online course around this topic later in the year.
I think we need to have more conversations about joy, about doubt and comparison, about how we fill our wells, about how we define success, about how we get started, and how we keep going. I have lots of thoughts, and as I work hard on refining them, I’m more and more excited to share them.
The other highlight of the last month was the Sydney Writers Festival, which was big and overwhelming and joyful and wonderful. The festival is Australia’s biggest right now, and had a fantastic programming track dedicated to all things YA. The crowds were huge — a tribute to the organisers — and I talked about fantasy with Lynette Noni and Lili Wilkinson, with the fantastic Nathan Luff (who also did the festival programming) at the helm. We covered everything from magic systems to how to start worldbuilding to ‘hot princes: eye candy, vital to plot, or both?’
There’s one more thing to cover, if I’m really welcoming you inside what’s happening in my world, and it’s a hard one. We lost our beloved dog, Jack, who was sixteen and a half, and had been my companion for almost all of my adult life. We’re grateful he left us peacefully and comfortably, and we’re utterly heartbroken to lose him.
He was the smartest dog I’ve ever had — part dingo, and wily and stubborn as they come — and over the years he endlessly ran away, destroyed my plants, stole my stuff and dumped it in the garden, and showed up every single time I needed him to comfort me. This picture, by my friend Kendall Kulper, is from a picture of him sleeping beside my desk as I wrote. As I wrap up the sequel to Isles, I’m facing starting the first book I’ve ever written without him, soon. Hug your pets for me, please!
What I’m Writing
What am I not writing? I’m wrapping up the finale of the sequel to The Isles of the Gods — I’m running behind thanks to last year’s waltz with long covid — and I’m already looking forward to getting into edits. There’s so much that needs fixing!
I thought you might like a behind-the-scenes look at my edits from The Isles of the Gods — everything that’s red is something that changed from my first draft to my final. I know that my current draft is full of long conversations that don’t need to happen, and I need to change up events to give the characters more agency, and the romance isn’t quite right yet — but now I’m wrapping up my draft, I can finally get to work on making it into what I know it can be!
I’m also starting to look ahead, though. I asked on instagram whether readers would be interested in a tenth anniversary edition of Illuminae in 2025 — something we’d have to start a conversation about now — and the response was overwhelming. If you’re keen, and there’s something you’d particularly like to see in it, please leave a comment!
Similarly, this December will be the tenth anniversary of my first book, These Broken Stars. Meg and I are thinking about releasing a special bind-up of all the short stories we have set in that universe, plus a new one — I think it would be an ebook, because physical books are more logistical brainwork than I currently have the capacity for — but if there’s something you’d particularly like to see in it, please leave a comment and tell me!
What I’ve Loved Lately
Books! I’ve been reading and reading, and I have two to recommend!
Some Shall Break by— the sequel to None Shall Sleep, which is best described as a YA Silence of the Lambs. If you have strong nerves, you’ll love this immersive, terrifying book.
Mrs Wickham by Sarah Page, performed by Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn. This audiobook clocks in at about two hours, and tells the story of what became of Lydia and Wickham after their marriage took place, and they were banished in disgrace. I loved both the writing and the performances.
News and Events
My big event news is that my tour of the UK and Ireland is about to kick off! If you’re in Edinburgh, Dublin, Birmingham, Liverpool or London — or you can get yourself there — I would absolutely love to see you! I’m a dual Irish-Aussie citizen, and I’m so, so excited to finally be touring in this part of the world!
You can grab tickets for every event at this link. If you know someone who might be interested, please forward this email!
If your excellent friend forwarded you this newsletter, you can subscribe right here.
I also have podcast news. If you’re a listener to Amie Kaufman on Writing, then the first half of season four is now in your feed! There’ll be a couple of amazing guest episodes over the break, and then after my trip I’ll be back with the second half.
Over on the Pub Dates podcast, we have the live recording of my Melbourne launch, and a fantastic interview with the producer of the Isles audiobook — if you’re interested in how they’re made, you’ll love this episode.
And finally, I wanted to mention an interview I did with The First Time Podcast — it’s one of my favourites, and we had time to get in-depth on some really interesting stuff.
And that’s it for this month — next month when I email I’ll have been on the road through Scotland, Ireland and France, and will have so much to report. In the meantime, I’ll remind you one more time that you can grab tickets for tour events at this link — and if you know someone who might be interested, please forward this email!
See you next time!