I've been doing a whole lot of reading lately and it has been heaps of fun. I've revisited authors I've always loved and tried a few that I've never read before.
I know there are authors who prefer not to read while they're working on their own manuscripts, in case they inadvertently filter what they're reading into their work. I imagine this can be a real concern when you're reading in the same line that you write for. Me, I tend to read a lot of romantic suspense (in fact, my TBR pile is growing in anticipation of a gorgeous holiday break away camping in January) so I don't worry over much since that's not a romance sub-genre I write, and when I do read books in my own niche I tend not to be writing (which is the case right now as I'm between books.)
In many ways, it also comes down to voice. After all, they do say there are only a set number of plots out there in the world and it really breaks down to how you say what you say in your story. I've often wondered what would happen if, say, four well-known authors, e.g. Debbie Macomber, Suzanne Brockmann, Mary Balogh and J.R. Ward, were given the same basic story premise and let lose to tell their own story. Just think of the diversity! And all with the same basic characters, plot and outline.
Anyway, I digress. For myself I find if I'm not reading books I enjoy, i.e. read for pleasure and not for market research, then my own creativity tends to wane. Since writing is a solitary game most of the time, reading other stimulating works is almost like networking in a way. It feeds my need for entertainment and satisfaction and thereby gives me the mental stimulation and pleasure to approach my work effectively.
So, when it comes to the question of are you a writer, a reader or both, I fall very definitely and very happily in the 'both' camp. In fact I've been known to get a little (or a lot) cranky when I'm either not reading a good book or writing one! Which are you; reader, writer or both?
Look out for Yvonne Lindsay's February release TYCOON'S VALENTINE VENDETTA with Silhouette Desire, February 2008!
And visit Yvonne at her website or via the exciting Diamonds Down Under website and blog! Exciting Diamonds Down Under competition details will be announced soon!