I’m thinking as I work to get myself back on track with writing and blogging it might be fun to share some of my thoughts as a reader, in the form of sort of reviews. Since my reading is eclectic, these blogs will be eclectic as well, taking in pretty much all genre and all levels of recognition. It’s all going to depend on what I’m reading at the moment. Which right now is Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera.
I discovered Codex Alera some time around 2008, having been in awe of Harry Dresden and ready to make the genre leap from Urban Fantasy to High Fantasy as well as the character leap from wise cracking Dresden to a very young boy. Amazon tells me I purchased Princep’s Fury and First Lord’s Fury in August 2011, which was not a time of great sanity for me. I’m sure I read them, but was not at that time appreciating the nuances. So very many nuances, which can not be appreciated on the first read. I’ve recently re-read the series, then gone back through First Lord’s Fury yet again.
Any question a reader might have about the main characters will be answered at some point IF you pay attention. If not, you’ll have the great good fortune of reading them again to search for that clue. In fact, a re-read reveals those clues, or those answered questions, somewhere along the way. And brings up many more.
Since it’s Christmas Eve and I’m working my way through a bottle of champagne (Trader Joe’s Blanc de Blanc French Brut) while dehydrating liver treats for dog training, and no one wants to be reading long blogs, I’ll share one aspect of the genius of theses books: The forward to Book Six. Read it, and realize how many questions are answered and asked in those few pages. Those of us old enough will hear Rod Serling’s voice on the narrative track, and revel in the planned and fulfilled character arcs that make this series so special.
The champagne is to celebrate the lives and loves of those no longer here. We’ll hoist a glass together and move toward a new year.
Might as well ask why we read what we read since for many of us they are inextricably linked. We write what we enjoy reading. I was reminded of this recently during two discussions with non romance readers. The first one asked me to define exactly what sort of books I write, and if “romance” is a long story with some hand-holding, a short story with hot sex? She went on to explain her local librarian has been trying to convince her to write what she calls a romance novel – sort of relationship in the 1800s with a sex scene thrown in about every 40 pages. I sent her to RWA’s website for an idea of the professionalism involved in our genre, and had to point out her librarian is a literary bigot.
The second discussion was less abrasive. A non romance reading friend read My Killer My Love, and was surprised how much she enjoyed it. Up until now her opinion of romance hasn’t been very positive, and the idea of a heroine with glasses and a limp intrigued her. She asked me what I would write next and how I decided what to write.
These past few months I’ve devoured books of all sorts. I’ve read Jim Butcher’s entire Furies series along with the latest Harry Dresden. I’ve enjoyed Tara Lain’s Beautiful Boys and Rebecca Forster’s chilling “Before Her Eyes.” From the moment I first sat in the Emergency Room with my husband I’ve had a book or Kindle in my hand, and I’ve used the words of other writers to help me get through the days. During procedures I filled my time and my worried mind with flights of fantasy and allayed my fears with tales of love everlasting. The often silly, sometimes implausible plot points distracted me at times when I wasn’t ready to face the reality of our days.
Why do I write? I write so someone else can have those few hours of immersion in a story. I write so they can temporarily forget the stresses of their lives and briefly become a part of the lives I created in the pages of my book. Perhaps some of us write to be the next Nora, the next Jayne Ann, but for the most part we write to share what we are with anyone willing to share the worlds we lived in for the months or years it took to create the story.
I write—we write—to give someone a distraction while waiting for news of the tests, or as they sit in another uncomfortable chair during procedures, wanting to be there when their loved one goes past, to let them connect with the world waiting for their return. Those scenes and dialogue and setting pour out of our hearts onto the page, sometimes easily, sometimes with great effort, to be sucked up into the minds of readers and allow them a few moments to enjoy something other than the unrelenting sounds of a hospital.
I write because too many stories clamor in my head for release onto the screen. And I guess I write because I can’t not write.