Joanne MacGregor – Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Joanne MacGregor

Joanne MacGregor, one of South Africa’s favourite authors, meets us today to describe what her qualifications and experience as a clinical psychologist brings to her writing.

I love Joanne’s books and am always anticipating the next one. To see why I love them check out my reviews of my favourites: The Law of Tall GirlsRecoilScarred and Hushed.

Thank you, Joanne, for guest posting on Crushingcinders.


Meet Joanne MacGregor

Joanne MacGregor


Writers always bring themselves — their hopes, fears, experiences — to their stories, and I am no exception. By profession, I’m a Counselling Psychologist in private practice, dealing primarily with adult victims of crime and trauma. It’s tough work and to combat creeping burnout, I started writing fiction several years ago.

I think that being a psychologist helps me have a deeper understanding of human nature and the problems that can occur. Many of my characters (like many people in real life) have problems of, for example, anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress. And I think I write more accurately about this because I know what it looks and feels like. I think (I hope!) that my writing, guided by my learning and experience, is deeper, more nuanced, more complex and realistic when it comes to psychological issues.

Because I live in a society with high rates of inter-personal violence, I’ve heard the accounts of people who’ve experienced the real thing (or have relatives who have). I no longer have the stomach for graphic violence in books — the sort of “torture porn” that puts you in an almost complicit ride-along with the evil serial killer as he mutilates and brutalizes. I won’t write those books either. Rather, I like to explore the character’s life and psyche after the event, showing the psychological and emotional consequences that victims of trauma are left to deal with. This aspect is often neglected in genre fiction — too often characters are bereaved, tortured, assaulted and experience all kinds of dramatic agonies, but are up and running, and pretty much back to normal by the next chapter. Take it from someone who listens to pain for a living: that’s not how it works in real life.

My own training and experience as a psychologist obviously also influences how I write therapy scenes in my fiction — those, too, are regularly portrayed in very inaccurate ways in fiction.

While my characters are informed by my knowledge of personality types, psychological traumas and psychopathology in general, I’m religious about keeping the specifics of my therapeutic work and my fiction-writing completely separate. My clients’ confidences are sacrosanct – they go into a locked vault in my brain and will never appear in one of my fictional characters or stories. What happens in therapy stays in therapy! I have no difficulty keeping them separate. My parallel jobs of writer and psychologist occupy very different head-spaces in me. I do them in separate physical locations, use different parts of my brain, and even do them on different days of the week.

I do get a kick out of writing characters who are psychologists, and who are not themselves unhinged, callous, or unprofessional in any of the clichéd ways so popular in fiction and Hollywood tropes. My psychologists are ethical experts, though flawed and inevitably impacted by the weight of the pain and cruelty they hear and absorb on a daily basis. It has always bothered me that psychologists in books and movies are so often portrayed as severely dysfunctional, sexually predatory and unethical. Most of us are really nice, compassionate, responsible and (mostly) sane professionals!

Joanne Macgregor  (Author, Psychologist)


Dark Whispers

Joanne MacGregor


Joanne’s latest book is an adult thriller called Dark Whispers and is on sale on Amazon for 99c (US).  This sale ends on Sunday 29 May 2018.


Between the anaesthesia and the awakening, are the dark whispers…

When a patient in hypnosis describes an experience of mental torture and physical mutilation at the hands of a doctor, psychologist Megan Wright decides to investigate. Determined to find out the truth and stop the abuse, but bound to silence by the ethics of confidentiality, Megan will need to confront the dark mind of a dangerously disturbed man in a deadly battle of wits and wills. – abstract from


The Giveaway

Please note that the book Joanne MacGregor is giving away is an adult thriller and not suitable for young readers.

Giveaway 1 (open internationally)

Joanne MacGregor is giving away 2 ebook copies of her new book, Dark Whispers (an Adult Thriller).

Giveaway 2 (open to South African Residents only)

Joanne MacGregor is giving away 1 print copy of her new book Dark Whispers (an Adult Thriller) to a South African resident with a local postal address.

To Enter

To enter the giveaway answer the following question in the comments. Entries close Sunday 6 May 2018 at 24h00 South African time UTC+2

Joanne MacGregor

South African residents please let us know in the comments that you are #proudlySouthAfrican to be eligible to win the print copy.


The scenario in Dark Whispers is of slipping into helpless unconsciousness, knowing you’re at the mercy of a monster. That’s a scary situation! What scares you?


Happy Birthday Roald Dahl!

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl!

Happy Birthday RD

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl! I love Dahl’s wacky humour, and as a family we collectively agree that our all time favourite Roald Dahl book is the audio edition of The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me narrated by Hugh Laurie.

It’s an experience nobody should miss so gather your friends and family together for this one – it’s too funny not to share.

RD Audio



Add to your Shelf

Purchase for yourself or as a gift

Audible (Audio)   

Book Depository

Authors I’d Really Like To Meet

Authors I’d Really Like To Meet

These are a few of the authors I’d really like to meet, even though I’m a little too late for many of them.

By no means exhaustive – this is just the beginning of a very long list!

Authors I'd Like to Meet

Laini Taylor

I’m her biggest fan! Yes I am proud of that… go back and read her books before you judge!

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is my favourite fantasy book, it is beautifully written and original. Before I repeat myself you can find my review here.


Dr Seuss

My favourite, weird and wacky childhood author who still enthralls children today. My students love to hear his stories.

A couple of weeks ago, to celebrate World Book Day, I read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back to a Grade one class and pointed out the parts that made it my favourite book when I was their age. As I came to the end of the book a little boy jumped up and hugging me asked if he could take this special book home immediately to show his parents. It made my week!


Kimberly Sabatini

This amazing author is incredibly generous! I was one of the winners in her personal giveaway during the YA Scavenger Hunt. She not only sent me signed and personalised physical copy of her book (all the way to South Africa from US) she included a personalised signed hardcover copy to donate to our school library, along with a pile of signed bookmarks and beautiful origami birds. She also asked me to nominate another international school library that she could donate her book too. Wow! I hope I get to meet her one day. Big hugs!
My review of Touching the Surface.


Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park and Fangirl… need I say more! I  would love to ask her the story behind her name and what she’s working on next.

Perhaps I could weasel out what those three words are… I wonder if she’s ticklish…
My review of Eleanor and Park and Fangirl.


Roald Dahl

Another all-time favourite wacky author I would love to talk to him about some of the characters that I have never forgotten including the Duchess in The Giraffe the Pelly and Me, especially in the audio edition narrated by talented Hugh Laurie.

Our school library celebrates Roald Dahl’s birthday every year and Willy Wonka never forgets to send parcels of sweets and chocolate from his factory. A couple of years ago Willy Wonka himself made an appearance much to the delight of the students!


Elizabeth Wein

Author of the beautiful book Code Name Verity, I would like to talk to her about her inspiration and research into the Second World War.
My review of Code Name Verity.


Rachel Morgan

Rachel Morgan is a very talented, local South African author. I almost met Rachel at one of her book signings a couple of years ago, but just missed it with a last-minute family drama. I hope to have another opportunity to meet her, even though she’s moved to the opposite side of the country!

Rachel has shared the next installment of the Faerie Guardian books – I can’t wait to read it! My review of The Faerie Guardian and The Trouble With Flying


Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry is another author I love. Her gritty contemporary love stories are beautifully written and her characters messed-up and real. Once you are been bitten by her talent you’ll be back for more!

She not only graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog, but also generously posted a stack of paper and ribbon bookmarks across the Atlantic to our school library. Needless to say we love her!
My review of Pushing the Limits.


J.R.R. Tolkien

Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, J.R.R. Tolkien is one of our most beloved authors. I spent my teens immersed in his generous stories. I’d like to talk to him about his inspiration behind The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings as well as his experiences as a soldier in the First World War.

I would love to see his face when he finds out how popular his books still are, more than forty years after his death.


Bill Bryson

His humour is what kept me going through some tough times, and I am so looking forward to seeing The Walk in the Woods on the big screen. If I did get a chance to meet him I would do my best to persuade him to write a full-length book on South Africa. I would love to see our rainbow nation through his eyes… and to ‘hear’ the topics under discussion by the locals in a Karoo koffie shop!


Top TTop Ten Tuesday reduceden Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish at

Katie McGarry: Author Interview

Welcome Katie McGarry…

I am so excited to welcome one of my favourite authors, Katie McGarry! Thank you so much for taking the time to appear on my blog. You Rock!!

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry: Author Interview

Katie writes YA contemporary books, such as her Pushing the Limits series pictured above.

Lets get straight into the interview:

Were you an avid reader as a child? 
I read some when I was a child, but unfortunately stopped reading as much in my tween years.

What was your favourite childhood book?
My favorite book when I was in elementary school was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Other than The Outsiders which we know you love, what is your second favourite YA book and why?
There a quite a few YA novels that I love. Some of my favorite authors are Gena Showalter, Trish Doller, Miranda Kenneally, Colette Ballard, Joy Hensley, Courtney Stevens, Kristen Simmons, Sabrina Elkins, and the list can go on and on…

What is the last book you read that really spoke to you?
I just read an advanced reviewer copy of Courtney Stevens‘s The Lies About Truth and it was amazing!

What keeps you awake in the middle of the night?
Sometimes my characters choose the middle of the night to “speak to me”. That’s usually when I figure out my plot problems.

Would you consider visiting South Africa (we have lots of beautiful beaches!) in the future?
I would love to visit South Africa someday. Right now, due to my travel schedule and deadline schedule, I’m not sure when I can make it there.
(I’m are hoping it’s sooner rather than later – I’d love to have my books signed…)

Can you give your readers a hint of what we can look forward to?
I’m currently working on the Thunder Road series. The first book in the series, Nowhere But Here, follows teens who are raised in a motorcycle club. It will be released in the US on May 26, 2015.Nowhere but here.


Just look at this beautiful cover! I can’t wait for release day…

Add to Goodreads and don’t forget to follow Katie McGarry (links below) so you don’t miss any news of her upcoming books.

More about Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.


Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits series out now
Nowhere But Here series Spring 2015
Breaking the Rules (Echo & Noah #2) 12/8/14
Twitter: @KatieMcGarry
Facebook Page

My Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini Win

Touching the Surface WinTouching the Surface, my Kimberly Sabatini Win.

The parcel I have waited for arrived yesterday. So exciting! Look what I got…

I won this awesome prize during the The YA Scavenger Hunt a few months ago where I had such fun hopping from blog to blog collecting clues and entering the participating author’s additional giveaways.

A huge thank you to author Kimberly Sabatini and her very generous prize of a signed book for myself as well as one (a hardcover!) for our school library…
And look at all the signed bookmarks and beautiful origami birds! The students are going to love these! I can’t wait to show them.

Here is my review of Touching the Surface

1 2