Sunday, April 6, 2014

Playing Nice and playing catch up

I just finished a draft of my WIP, a young adult novel set at the New Jersey shore. The real one. Not the one people think they know all about from watching MTV. So now I’m playing catch up with my reading. I don’t know about other authors, but I find it difficult to read when I’m immersed in a project and using every spare hour to get words on the page. It’s not just the time constraints. It’s a mental thing too. I can’t make an emotional commitment to characters and a story that aren’t my own when I’m working hard to finish a book.

            PLAYING NICE by Rebekah Crane is the first book I’ve read since emerging from my writing bubble. It was recommended to me by another writer who friend who knows my tastes and thought I would like it. She was absolutely right. This was my kind of young adult novel. I read and enjoy all genres in fiction but YA contemps are a favorite. So are books about the nice girl. And Rebekah Crane’s Martina “Marty” Hart is the nicest in her high school. There’s an entire yearbook page devoted to Marty that says so.

            There’s so much about this book I enjoyed. The voice is so authentically teen. Marty is definitely a 16-year-old girl, not an adult masquerading as a teen. I loved and understood the complicated friendship between Marty and the new girl Lil, a character who at times isn’t easy to love, but helps Marty to find herself. I “met” Rebekah on Twitter and she graciously offered me an ARC of her upcoming YA novel Aspen. How could I resist? I just started it yesterday, and already I’m hooked. ASPEN is part contemp, part ghost story and I like the quirkiness of the main character, Aspen, lives with her free-spirited mom is being haunted Katelyn, a popular soccer player at her high school when she was still among the living.

            After I finish ASPEN, next up are THE ETERNAL WONDER the final novel by the late Pearl S. Buck, MIDDLEMARCH by George Eliot, and MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH by Rebecca Mead. I heard an interview with the author of the latter on NPR and it made me want to revisit Middlemarch, which I read in high school.

            My nightstand also has three more YAs on deck—TASTE TEST by Kelly Fiore, PROMISE OF SHADOWS by Justina Ireland and THIS SIDE OF SALVATION by Jeri Smith-Ready, author of the SHADE trilogy which I loved. (Scottish accents rule!) I’m doing a signing with these amazing ladies in a couple of weeks and hope to have their books finished by then. In fact, I’m looking forward to reading as much as possible during this writing lull before the revisions begin.


            What about you? Do you like to read while you’re writing? Or are you like me—periods of intense writing followed by periods of intense reading?


  1. So intrigued by what you say about being too emotionally involved with your own characters to read. Fascinating...

  2. Just popping in to say that This Side of Salvation is the best book of the year, IMO, so enjoy it!!! Also I used to get too intensely involved with writing to read and sometimes still do, but I try to keep reading through while writing when I can. But there is nothing like fully immersing yourself in a great read when you finish a manuscript!

  3. Thanks, Holly! Ideally, when I read, I want to become emotionally invested in those characters as well and I worry about not giving my own characters everything I've got -- at least until the first draft is done.

  4. I just opened This Side of Salvation last night and I'm already loving it, Stephanie! I might try working the classics into the reading rotation while I'm writing. Or more non-fiction.