I’m a bit late with my blog post for Tote Bags today – but I really believe that my excuse is that it’s for the best possible reason. Honestly. I was so busy today – though I suspect that other people seeing me and how I was spending the day would have said that I was actually just relaxing.
I spent a large amount of my time curled up on a cushion in the sunshine with my nose in a book.
Yes – I was reading. I was reading, deeply involved in and thoroughly enjoying a book that I just didn’t want to put down. I was almost halfway through this story last night when I found that I really just couldn’t stay awake and reluctantly put it down as my eyes were closing. Then I couldn’t pick it up again this morning as I had to get the grocery shopping done, visit a friend, feed my son ‘s cats (he and his fiancée are away this weekend). But as soon as I got a moment I grabbed the book again (well – I grabbed my kindle again) and lost myself in the world of the mystery and the emotions of the story I was being told.
It can be hard to lose myself like that. Writing fiction for a living makes you too critical of other people’s novels. You can begin to see where the story is going, start to question why the characters are behaving the way they are, find the pace begins to lag . . . So it’s wonderful when you feel the ‘can’t put it down’ experience that keeps you intent on the pages.
It’s special in several ways. Because it relaxes and absorbs you. Because it reminds you of just what you’re aiming for when you’re writing yourself (something that needs bringing home to every author because there’s always the temptation to write fast and get the story out , not thinking about the way to keep your reader hooked) And then there’s the need to ‘refill the well’ - to feed your own imagination, take you away from the worlds you build in your own books and into someone else’s stories so that your imagination has a feast of new experiences and from those experiences new ideas grow for my own books.
I usually find that books that are very unlike my own novels are the best ones for feeding my imagination this way. Contemporary romances or even historical ones are often too like the books I write so that I end up thinking ‘I wouldn’t have written this that way’ or ‘I would have made this character do this- or that. . .’ So I’ve been lucky for the past few weeks. I’ve read some new books, discovered some new authors I’ve enjoyed – and who have written several books that I now want to get hold of and see what the rest of their output is like.
So there was In The Woods by Tana French - a gripping murder mystery where the present day mystery links the detective’s past experiences to add an extra dimension to the story.
Then there was Amy Snow by Tracy Rees. This was a historical novel with a mystery and a
Letters to the Lost is by Iona Grey who I know as India Grey who used to write for Harlequin. Her first single title is a lovely debut - like the Tracy Rees book, who can resist a mystery that is slowlyrevealed by letters - though this one links the present day with a tragic love story from the past set in 1943.
And today’s book - my excuse for being late with this post – was A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke. OK, I admit I guessed what the twist at the end was going to be – but that was why I had to keep on reading. I wanted to know how the author would make it work and what would happen when . . . . It didn't disappoint.
I’ve had a great time with these books – all of them different, all of them absorbing. They’ve relaxed and refreshed me, intrigued and taxed my imagination – and made me want to get down to my latest story and see just what is going to happen when my hero and heroine meet up again after five years apart and realise that they are very different people from the ones who originally met. . .
Have you read anything you’ve really enjoyed recently? Any good recommendations to add to my TBR pile? (Not that I need any suggestions – the pile/list of kindle titles is more than full – but a few more won’t hurt!)
My latest romance is Olivero's Outrageous Proposal published in April in Harlequin Presents and Mills and Boon Modern Romance. Coming next is Destined For The Desert King which is published in December this year.
Then there's the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, the newest edition of which is available on Kindle or a revised and updated paperback edition now available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
Kate Walker's web site is here and the up-to-date news can be found on her blog or her Facebook page.