Painting: Holiday North Star by Gretchen Kelley


Happy New Year!

At the close of every year my daughter Sara chooses a word to represent how she wants to navigate the upcoming year. One word to be her “North Star” for her business and her life. For example, one year she chose the word “bold” – which I thought was boldly marvelous.

So I, too, have chosen a word to be my North Star for this shiny new year. The word is “true.”

As a writer, it means being true to my characters in the new novel I’m creating.

As a mentor, it means guiding each writer to be true to the soul of their story.

I’ve loved many top-selling books this past year and it’s struck me how wildly varied they are – from the beguiling mythical tapestry of Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River; to the raw, rank underbelly of Glasgow in Denise Mina’s Field of Blood; to heartwarming friendships forged in Depression-era Appalachia in JoJo Moyes’s The Giver of Stars; to the brutal pain of racism in Colson Whitehead’s The Nickle Boys.

All, utterly different. All, utterly true to their stories’ unique worlds.

True” will be my bright North Star. For writing my new book. For helping you find the very best in yours. For living wide in the world.

How about you? Do you have a word for your new year? I’d love to hear it. Email me at and let me know!

All my best,
Barbara Kyle

P.S. Want inspiration? PageTurner is “An indispensable guide to writing that breakout novel.” (Goodreads review). Available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook.