Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Reader In Me

From the moment I picked up my first grade primer and learned how the letters on the page formed words to tell me the adventures of David and Ann and their dog Spot, I have loved to read.

I grew up with books in the house. We had shelves full of books: the Cherry Ames, Nurse series, the Nancy Drew mysteries, the Hardy Boys, Don Grady Among the Gorillas. There were so many and I devoured them all. I used to like it when I got sick because my mother’s library card allowed her to get an unlimited number of books to bring me, while my card limited me to three at time.

When I was ten, I borrowed a library book titled “Marjorie Morningstar” because my older sister had read it and I idolized my older sister. It was the story of a young woman who joined a summer stock theater company and there was sex in it! I had no idea what I was reading but I wasn’t interested in kids’ books after that one!

I once read James Clavell’s Taipan—all 736 pages of it—in one sitting. It took me about thirteen hours and my eyes looked like they were bleeding by the time I was done but what a book!

My love of reading is what led me to write. Writers have always been my heroes because they were the ones who allowed me to go places I’d never been, imagine things I’d never imagined and think about things I’d never been aware of until those words jumped off the page and into my brain.

People ask me who my favorite author is and I have to laugh. I have so many! It’s hard to begin the list without thinking of another and another and then another. I appreciate the creepiness of Stephen King, the lyrical style of Dean Koontz (yes, I do consider his writing lyrical!), the introspective style of Patricia Cornwell, the political savvy of Richard North Patterson. I love biographies and autobiographies and historical books, fiction and non-fiction alike.

When asked what I like, my answer is always the same: Everything and anything, as long as it’s well written.

Which brings me to my pet peeve, perhaps the biggest pet peeve I have going: That being a writer who is sloppy. I hate it when I’m a quarter of the way through a book and I already know who did it. I paid my money and I want to be entertained and don’t want to know the payoff before I get to the big climax. And it’s happened. I won’t mention the name of the writer, as she is well known and sells a lot of books. Just not to me. Another thing that really chaps my hide is the writer who constantly has zingers in the plotline—things that maybe once could happen but not every other page. I think it’s lazy and a contrivance to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. All it does for me is make me close the book.

I don’t care how outlandish the story is, I just want it to be plausible.

That’s what I try to do with my books: create characters who are real, put them in situations that are believable, even when they’re fantastic, and build a story to make you keep wondering what’s next. You may think you know where it’s going but then it’ll go somewhere else and you won’t know the ending until you get there. Because I respect the fact that you paid your money—even if it’s just 99 cents for an eBook—and I wouldn’t expect my readers to accept anything less than I would accept. That’s what I did with Decker Jones and Albert Crawford and Ruby Wheeler in Dreams and Nightmares and what I did with Amanda Harris and Seth Crowfoot in The People Next Door and what I will continue to do in the books I will publish in the future. Because I want to be one of those writers you think of when you think of your favorite stories.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice blog, and glad to meet you! I write for pleasure as well. Look forward to collaborating and networking. :)