Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Right Book For the Right Time

Whenever I appear at a library or bookstore event, one of the questions that always pops up is "what do you read?" And it always surprises people when I say I read very little fiction similar to what I write. That's not to say I don't read humorous fiction involving amateur female sleuths, but I definitely confine my reading of that type of book to specific times during the year.

For example, right now I am doing final edits on my 3rd Odelia Grey book, Mother Mayhem. The story is set, it's just a matter of tightening it up and incorporating the comments and suggestions of my publisher. And although I've written the first 3 chapters of the 4th Odelia novel, Epitaph Envy, I won't begin in earnest on it until mid-June or early July. So right now I'm embarking upon a gorging of fun mystery novels written by women I know in an effort to stay abreast of my colleagues. Monday I started Murder Passes the Buck by Deb Baker (a hoot!). Lined up after that will be Dressed to Keel by Candy Calvert and Brigadoom by Susan Goodwill. Around June, I will halt the reading of mysteries like these and my reading tastes will shift to more hard-boiled mysteries, general fiction and some non-fiction. Just when everyone else is digging into fun beach reads, I'll be starting my more serious reads.

The reason for this is simply a matter of voice and being wary of someone else's voice drifting into my own work. It's almost like cleansing the palate. When I finally sit down to write the rest of Epitaph Envy, I don't want these other writers whispering to me from inside my brain. If I wanted to be a purist, I wouldn't read them at all. But, let's face it, who'd want to leave all that fun behind?

Book Report: I just finished three books. Death Roll by Marilyn Victor and Michael Mallory and Dying To Be Thin by Kathryn Lilley. I had the honor of receiving advance copies and being asked to provide a publicity blurb for each. Both were great fun and worth checking out. Death Roll is scheduled for release in May with Dying To Be Thin coming out in the fall.

The third book was Stealing the Dragon by Tim Maleeny. It's an action-packed PI thriller set in San Francisco's Chinatown and has one of the best covers I've ever seen. It's available now and you can read my review on Amazon.

The books I'm currently reading, including past books, are listed on my website.

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