Books That Changed Me: Gabrielle Tozer

GABRIELLE TOZER is a Sydney author of children's and young-adult books. Her latest, Melody Trumpet, is published by HarperCollins.

TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN
John Marsden

Gabrielle Tozer.Credit:Simone Janek

I was always a voracious reader but the page-turning Tomorrow series cemented the wild idea of writing a book one day. I admired protagonist Ellie – such a strong, flawed female lead – and, as a young girl from Wagga Wagga, I connected with Marsden's vivid depiction of the Australian bush. Plus, when I was a teen, Marsden visited the local library, signed my copy of Tomorrow and shared his advice on writing. I was hooked.

LOST AND FOUND
Brooke Davis

There's nothing simple about grief – including writing about it. When I entered the whimsical and beautifully written world of Lost and Found, I was moved by Davis' capacity to write about devastating things in a way that was so life-affirming and full of heart. This book bursts with loveliness. Not long after reading it, I delved into grief via my third novel, Remind Me How This Ends, and her delicate dance between light and shade was never too far from my mind.

ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT
Stephen King

I've forgotten how many times I've read this book for a creative reboot. The first time was in university and I ploughed through the pages until 1am, wide-eyed with blind enthusiasm. Back then I followed much of its advice. It worked – writing every day led to the publication of my first two novels. But my approach has softened with age. I no longer prescribe to King's "write every day" mentality, but I still "write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open". It's the only way I can bribe words onto the page.

THE BOOK THIEF
Markus Zusak

I'm far from the only person moved by this powerful novel set in Nazi Germany during World War II. But, in addition to the stunning writing, it was hearing Zusak's editing process that changed me. He rewrote the novel countless times, some parts apparently hundreds of times, experimenting with different narrators, until he found the right fit. It's the lesson I need again and again: writing is rewriting. You can't edit a blank page so just get something down.

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