I am a shark when it comes to reading. Always have been. In elementary school I walked home for lunch, book in hand, reading. The neighbors told my mother, urging her to tell me not to read on the twenty-minute walk. But I walked that same stretch of sidewalks on three streets four times a day, and with only one crossing of two lanes of traffic, she just reminded me to be careful—and that the neighbors were watching me. It's no wonder that I read ten books a week and looked forward to my Friday night visits to the library to check out the limit of ten books for the next week. In the eighth grade my parents signed for me to get an adult library card. My first read? Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood.
I still read, but not as much. I'd love to do nothing but read. Unfortunately the adult world requires responsibilities be fulfilled.
I've made no secret of being a science fiction freak for half my life, concentrating on reading all the best from writers who tell stories about future societies and how humanity is the same...or different. Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Gordon Dickson, Orson Scott Card, Kurt Vonnegut, Niven and Pournelle, Saberhagen. And many more.
But then James Preston's wife introduced me to romance. It was hard, no—virtually impossible—to find science fiction romance books. So I read historical romance. Jude Deveraux, Diana Gabaldon, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught. Like a shark. I read some contemporary, Jayne Ann Krentz mostly, since I loved her Amanda Quick regencies.
Fast forward to the past few years, and a more "balanced" reading list: Tessa Dare (historical romance), Linnea Sinclair (SF/paranormal romance), Lynn Raye Harris (Hostile Operations Team series), Cora Seton (The Heroes of Chance Creek), Zoe York (SEALs Undone series). And, of course, everything by Laura Drake. I'm always on the lookout for new authors to read.
I read authors who write stories about strong-willed characters, both male and female. Usually there is some danger or suspense or mystery involved. And I do enjoy the occasional twist. Lately I've enjoyed reading series. It's fun to find out what happened to secondary characters from a previous novel and check in with the main characters from related books.
I've found that my taste in books has changed the longer I've been writing. I'm more discriminating in what I read. Gone are the days of waiting for a book to develop in the first hundred pages. I used to be more interested in the plot, but now I want emotion and character arcs. I want the characters to end up smarter, better than they started, and I want to know—gut-level know—that they're going to be happy for the rest of their lives. I want to know that the world is a better place with them in it.
And that brings me to writing. Engaging a reader in the first couple of pages by helping them root for my characters is as important as capturing their emotions in a fast-paced, hopefully engaging, story with twists and turns and new ideas and fresh challenges. I look for these elements in the books I read and the samples of work from prospective new authors. Don't you love it when you've thought about something you read yesterday, and you can't wait to continue the journey with those characters today?
I read to be entertained. I could watch television or play video games, and sometimes I do enjoy those activities. But I have a much bigger TBR pile than list of TV shows to binge watch or games to lose myself in. When I read a book, I lose myself in that environment. I want to feel what the characters feel. For me, that's much easier to accomplish with a book than a game or a television show. And that's why I read.
What genre do you read, and why do you read it? Who are your go-to authors?
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Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong. She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told. Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard.
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.
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