“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
When you publish a book, you get a lot of advice. Some of it is good. The smart people in charge told me I need to occasionally include book-y stuff in my blog. They must know what they are talking about because we sold out on Amazon in two countries the first week of release, so this is me doing my book post duty. (More copies are on the way, for those of you who were waiting to order, link at the bottom of the page.)
If you were hoping for my usual grief and bereavement content today, visit this post about my favorite grief books.
Books are my friends
I’ve been a bookworm as long as I can remember. I used to hide in my bedroom closet with a book and a flashlight, so my mom wouldn’t find me and force me outside to play in the sunshine with the other kids. My first job was at the local public library, where I’d get in trouble for spending more time reading than restocking the books on the shelves. In my travels, I’ve learned to adjust to Audible and Kindle versions, but there is nothing better than the feel of turning the pages of a book.
When you announce you’ve released your first novel (Heart of a Kingdom, in case you missed that part), you get asked who your favorite authors are. Like a parent, I can’t have just one favorite. I do, however, have a shortlist of authors I turn to for inspiration.
Even if you don’t know her personal story, she’s the Queen of creating your own magic and the master of the Twitter clap back. How can you not love JK Rowling? I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count. Watching the movies together with D became our thing. The night before he died, even though he was in a coma, we watched the entire series start to finish. I bawled through the whole thing, knowing it was the last time we’d watch it together. I love the way she creates strong female characters that are a perfect counterbalance to the strong male characters. Neither outshines the other, but you can’t have one without the other. And the magic! The magic speaks to my soul.
It may sound pretentious to say these days, but if you look back to when it was written, he (or she?) was the bawdy bard. His plays are funny and down-to-earth and address life in all its complexities. Shakespeare was my major author at university, and I make the pilgrimage to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Old Globe every time I visit England.
Random aside: Once upon a time, I’d picked out Shakespeare as a middle name for my future daughter. The ex put the kibosh on that, but that’s how much of a fangirl I was. True story.
I’ve had a crush on Neil since I was at university and first encountered the Sandman and Death series. Since then, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on. I even love listening to him narrate his writings on audio books. The author’s words in their own voice? That’s powerful stuff. The way he forces us to examine established ideals of right and wrong, good and evil, light and dark, is brilliant. His writing is the closest you can get to watching a painter paint, reveling in each brushstroke as the masterpiece comes together.
I used a Toni Morrison quote to announce the pre-release of my first novel. Her death was announced the next day, and it crushed me. I discovered her work when I was at university. Her writing depicted such strong female characters, who not only survived, they defiantly flipped adversity the bird. They were real, raw, and beautiful; Sula, Margaret Garner, all of them. I thought of them often as I wrote the character of Libby, being careful not to gloss over the pain and suffering that was essential to her growth and development, but not letting her be limited to that dimension either.
Who are your favorite authors? Drop me a line in the comments below.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.