Writers are readers. Voracious readers! I’ve loved books as long as I can remember, couldn’t wait to learn how to read them on my own. Right now I have more books than I could probably finish reading before I die, but I continue to buy more. They’re just so tempting! Those beautiful covers, blurbs that promise romance, adventure, suspense, horror…doesn’t matter to me. I often read more than one book at a time. I’ll usually have at least one nonfiction book going, one fiction, one collection of short fiction (not to mention all the dog-eared magazines). Which one I pick up at any given time depends on my mood and just how caught up I am in the story.
Right now I’m part way through nonfiction “The Collected Letters of Willa Cather” and “Little Demon In The City of Light: A True Story of Murder in Belle Epoque Paris” by Steven Levingston; collections of short fiction “A Basket Brigade Christmas” and “The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection”; and fiction “Eureka Valley: Grandfathers’ Grandfathers” by Lisa Doerr and “The Calling” by Beth M. James.
Every book I read is an inspiration to me. It might be how the author handles point of view (particularly multiple points of view) or tense. It might be a turn of phrase describing something as everyday as washing your hair. (Beth James has a particularly sensual hair washing scene in “The Calling”.) I find it interesting how another author chooses a title, or a character’s name. I love when a particularly well-written story takes me to another place so completely I forget where I am, get lost in the passage of time, and I study how he/she did that with such apparent ease. (The really good stuff always seems easy and never is.)
Like my novel “Mary Bishop”, “The Calling” is told through parallel timelines. Mine are between pre-war Virginia and 1881 Wisconsin. “The Calling” is between present day Chicago and a fantasy world. Jessie is seriously injured saving children from a burning house. While in a coma she finds herself in a fantasy world where she is taken into the protective care of a handsome warrior after he finds her injured and unconscious with no memory of her other life. When she wakes from her coma she’s convinced this parallel world is real and pines for her warrior love, while her fiancé, Walt, tries to convince her it was all a dream. Which was it? Reality or a dream? I don’t know yet. I’m only half way through. But you can bet I will be finishing the book to find out. I wish I didn’t have to get up each morning and go to my day job. I could get through all these books much quicker.
Are you a writer? What books do you find inspirational?