Sally Thorne: Canberra to Hollywood | HerCanberra

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Sally Thorne: Canberra to Hollywood

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From writing in Canberra’s home of stories to getting a film adaptation made in Hollywood, best-selling author Sally Thorne is a rising star.

Some may know Sally from her 2016 debut novel, The Hating Game, which follows the spiky and passionate workplace rivalry between ‘nice girl’ Lucy Hutton and the tall, dark and hostile, Joshua Templeman.

The Hating Game‘s success saw the novel named in the Top 20 Romance Novels of 2016 by The Washington Post and was a top ten finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards Romance category.

However, growing up in Weston Creek Sally never imagined her writing career could soar to such heights.

“As a kid, I would have been amazed that this job was a possibility—writing books and making things up for a living is pretty darn cool,” she says.

Sally was thrilled when The Hating Game was optioned quickly for a film adaptation, which is currently being produced in Los Angeles. Directed by Peter Hutchings and starring Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale, and Fantasy Island’s, Austin Stowell, Sally says it’s a dream come true.

“I’ve never looked forward to a movie so much in my life! I couldn’t visit the set-in person, but I had a Zoom set visit and met the stars, who were so enthusiastic and lovely. I saw the crew at work: set designers, wardrobe managers, actors and stagehands.”

“The timing of the shoot means that it was a miracle they were able to shoot at all, and they were rigorously COVID safe on a closed set. It’s an honour to write something that inspires a screenplay, and then employs a large number of people to work in their own dream jobs.”

However, Sally is also on to new and exciting things, with her third novel—Second First Impressions—in bookstores now.

Another sure-fire hit in the romance genre Second First Impressions is an intriguing combination of a retirement village, tattoos and…turtles?

“Ruthie Midona works on the front desk of Providence Retirement Villa, and just as she starts to think about getting back into the dating scene, she is mistaken for a little old lady by a gorgeous guy on a motorbike,” explains Sally. “Teddy Prescott is the son of the developer who recently acquired Providence, and he needs a job and a place to stay until he works out his next move. But he will choose to stay, and defend Providence against his developer family— or will he float off on the breeze again?”

Don’t pretend you’re not intrigued.

Sally took us inside her writing process, saying it it taking 18 months to two years to develop, write and refine each of her novels.

“A large number of people are involved in the publication of a book, and I am only one member of that team! I never forget that” she says, adding that if she chooses to write outside of her beloved home-office in Tuggeranong, Canberra’s home of stories, the National Library of Australia is her first choice.

Regularly accompanied by co-author Delia the purebred pug, and her four-legged hoofed friend Louie the horse, Sally enjoys getting out and about in Canberra’s natural landscapes when she isn’t cooking up something new creatively.

“I like that Canberra is surrounded by green spaces and bushland, it’s a nice lifestyle. It’s important for writers to get some fresh air occasionally!”

While Sally chooses to “take each day as it comes”, fans will be glad to hear she is working on a fourth creation, which she assures readers “will be romantic, strange, funny, spooky and unexpected.”

But in the meantime, pick up a copy of Second First Impressions and keep your eyes peeled for The Hating Game movie’s much-anticipated release date.

Photography: Katie Saarikko

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