The reader in me

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hello again--

Well, today I'm in the mood of a reader, rather than a writer. I just finished the third book in series which has captivated my attention for quite some time. It's the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. Technically, it's a young adult series, but that's as much a marketing tag as anything. Like the Harry Potter novels, these books can be enjoyed by all ages. The thing I have liked most about these novels (three and counting) is the passion they invoke. One of the sad byproducts of being a writer is that one often is detached from the pure enjoyment of reading. I find myself editing other writers or wishing they'd made other choices; generally finding fault. It's a rare book these days that can sweep me away, make me crazy mad, and surprise me, all at the same time. I have to say that the Twilight series falls in this unique category. More than that, it was a story I couldn't wait to dissect. One of my best friends (another writer) was reading the series at the same time and it was heaven to argue with her about what the story meant, where it was going, and how we thought the author would go forward. In other words, I was a pure reader again.

It made me think about what a wonderful and magical thing that is: to be swept into an unknown world, to fall in love with characters and grant them lives beyond even what the author intended or created. Because the best stories do that: they allow you to be a part of the story, too. You, the reader, are as important in creating and/or determining a character's fullest life as the author is. I lost count of the times my friend and I said to each other: "do you think Stephanie intended..." Ultimately, the answer is an unequivocal maybe.

We authors try to see it all, but quite honestly sometimes we just don't. I don't, anyway. Sometimes my characters are perceived differently than I anticipated, and for that, I'm really grateful.

I'm always on the lookout for books like that--stories that create worlds and populate them with complex, powerful, intriguing characters...especially when there are great stakes. Books like those written by Anne Rice and Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. If any of you have any recommendations for me, don't hesitate to pipe up. And while you're at it, maybe you'd like to tell me what it is you're looking for in a novel. What moves you to anger or tears or laughter. What kind of stories keep you up all night, reading? Who are your favorite authors and why?

That's really what brings us all together, those of us who love books, the simple statement: "Have you read...?"

I always hear from readers that I make them cry, and that's a strange thing, because honestly, I think I'm a funny gal...:)

I'll post again tomorrow if I can, before I leave on tour. And for those of you who are out there, either lurking or posting, don't be shy. Come on by to the bookstores. I'd love to talk to you.

Aloha and bon voyage,


Blogger Linda Wallace said...

I know you began your career with historical romances so you might like “The Teahouse Fire” by Ellis Avery. It’s not a romance, at least not a traditional historical romance, though it does depict a lesbian relationship, but rather a fascinating history of the role of tea masters and rituals in Japan from 1856 to 1891. It’s also the story of two women’s friendship—an American orphan and the daughter of a Kyoto tea master. I went to a two-room school (grades one-four in the “little” room and five-eight in the “big” room) in Arrow Rock, MO, and somehow managed to graduate without a scrap of American or world history, so I rely on historical novels for a kind of sugar-coated education.

February 9, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Kristin,

If you haven't ever had to pleasure of reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series (There are 6 of them now I think) then you may like that series. The books are incredibly well written, even if they are over 1000 pages long for most of the books. The premise is time travel and how the 2 main characters love for each other transcend the time from 1776 through 2005. In the land of Claire and Jaime, you will love it.

My husband is enjoying the series by Elizabeth Haydon. I believe the series has 6 books so far, and it is written on the same premise that the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time Series is, but the heroine in this series is a woman and her 2 companions. I think you would enjoy that as well.

I hope your book signing goes well and that we will be able to hear from you while you are on the road.

All you need to download your pictures into your laptop and onto this blog, is your USB connector that most likely came with your camera. Be sure to bring the camera software too. It really is easy.

Have fun!
**Who thinks she wrote WAY too much last time, and I apologize for that.

February 10, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

One of my favorite authors is Kathleen Eschenburg. She writes post-Civil War romance novels. She only has the two, I believe, and they're kind of hard to find.

Last year, upon Susan Elizabeth Phillips' recommendation, I bought Robert Kurson's book, Crashing Through, and even went to his book signing. It was so good that I picked up his previous release.

Right now, I'm still reading Firefly Lane. It's a little slow going with a 3 month old, but I get in my 2-3 chapters a day.

There are so many books and not enough time to read them all!

February 10, 2008 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading the Twilight series, and I can't wait to see the film. It's even being filmed in Portland and Vancouver!!

I just finished Firefly Lane last night, and loved every minute of it. I cried, laughed, all that lovely stuff. =) This book is by far my favorite of yours.

February 12, 2008 at 2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the Twilight series very much, although I have to admit that Eclipse annoyed me a bit. She was just so whiny!

As for trying to read like a reader instead of a writer, I have that same problem. Watching movies can be difficult, too. I find myself analyzing plot structure, dialogue, and character arcs instead of just getting swept away. Hey, at least I can explain exactly what I did or didn't like in a particular book or movie...if, you know, anyone ever asks.

February 12, 2008 at 8:09 PM  

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