cj Sez: Books make great gifts
Question: What piques your interest in a book?
cj Sez: As an author and
reader, the first thing that catches my eye when I’m looking for a book to read
is the cover. It will be someone or some art that I can relate to in a personal
way. Then I read the back-of-the-book blurb that gives me a snippet of what the
book is about. If my interest is still piqued, I scan a couple of first pages
then flip to a couple of pages in the middle of the book. (I check the middle
to see if the excitement I found at the beginning sags. No one likes a saggy
middle.) Like every reader I know, I rifle through books on shelves (physical
or electronic) many times before I make a final selection.
How about you? When you’re in a bookstore or library, what
piques your interest in a book?
Exciting ups and
downs, i.e., conflicts, must always be in the story to hold my attention, but
I’m not interested in grabbing for tissues. I don’t want to cringe at something
a character says or does, even if it really does happen in real life. I believe
I have enough grief going on in my life and don’t want to cry while reading. I’m
drawn to strong heroines and hunky heroes…they don’t have to be young, wild,
and good-looking, but they do have to be likable. (And for me, the villain has
to be villainous, but I also look for a hint of sympathy for him.) I want the
heroine/hero to win and the story to end with a promise of something positive
for the good guys. That’s the story arc I want to see and what I like to write.
What is your preference . . . lots of delicious narrative or
sassy and deep point-of-view dialogue?
Follow-up question: Who are your
favorite authors? What about their writing appeals to you?
I tend to like
stories with great dialogue and character narrative. Robert B. Parker, James
Lee Burke, and Elmore Leonard are some of my favorite authors. They produce
great story content and write wonderful repartee. I want to get most of the
story’s sense of place, characterization, emotion, and plot from the action and
the dialogue (see the Burke dialogue below). I also appreciate humor, even in some
of the dark scenes.
“The evening sky was
streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to
fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles
of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate
of Angola penitentiary.”
― James Lee Burke, The Neon Rain (the first title in his Detective David
What keeps you reading?
Obviously, plot and
content of any good book are de rigueur to keep my attention, but after those
two requirements are met: I like a strong, smart heroine, an equally smart and incredibly
attentive hero, and, hopefully, I find a perfect ensemble of characters. (Caveat:
I get thrown out of a story if there are more than a few gremlins that have
snuck past the editors.)
If you tried the
NaNoWriMo challenge, I hope you met the goal you set for yourself—whatever the
number. Now go rest a while.
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Each of these anthologies
is a two-fer—you get a variety of wonderful stories to read and part of the proceeds will go
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That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on,
and I’ll try to do the same.
P.S. The Haunted Book
Shop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER, contact The
Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us
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