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As a member of WARA that writes more mystery than romance, I tend to read genres outside of romance. But as any great reader knows, romance is in almost any book.
Reading Young Adult books makes me feel young. I'm currently reading Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. It's Book Two of the Kane Chronicles about a brother and sister who are saving the world using Egyptian magic. Along with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Greek Mythology) and Heroes of Olympus (Greek and Roman Mythology) books, Riordan has gotten a generation of kids reading again. Kids want to pick up his books and (shh don't them) might actually learn something in the process. I still get my romance fix with them. In Throne of Fire, poor Sadie likes two guys, Walt, a fellow magician who is dying from the same affliction King Tut died from and Anubis, yeah that Anubis, the God of Funerals or as Sadie calls him, the God of Toilet Paper (humor abounds in the books). For those of you who are familiar with Egyptian mythology may be scratching your heads. Anubis doesn't always have the head of a dog. He's a god. Anubis can be a handsome teenager in a black leather jacket if he wants to be, although Sadie says the kilt and kohl around the eyes, which would look weird on some guys, really works for him. ;0) Talk about your crazy love triangles. I'm dying to know how Riordan solves this girl's romance issues.
Also on my new Nook color shelf to be read is Headwind by KK Brees a mystery about Professor Katrin Nissen, a spy for the OSS in the early days of WWII. Haven't heard of Brees? This is her first published mystery book and a fellow Sisters in Crime Guppies writer (the 'Great Unpublished'). We Guppies are all about reading fellow Guppies' work. I'm all over it, because it features WW2. I have a shelf dedicated to WW2 books, fiction and non-fiction. Other great ones on my WW2 shelf are by Connie Willis, Blackout and All Clear. The story starts in Black Out and finishes All Clear. Waiting for that second book just about killed me. Willis normally writes science fiction and these two books do involve time travel as the characters travel back in time to WW2, but as a writer who is also writing a WW2 mystery, Willis' research is amazing. And guess what? There's romance in that one too. As Polly is stuck in WW2, Colin, who Polly didn't care for at first, tries desperately to find her and bring her back. Tears, people, tears.
Another favorite series of mine is the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I know. I know. I've mused about this series before on this blog. Jace is the snarky hero the reader can't help but love. Since the YA fantasy book has demon hunters trying to save the world, I wouldn't call it a romance book with all the demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fairies running around, but it definitely has romance in it. Love is a theme of the book, but not completely for the reasons you might think. If my writing buddy Fran wants to know how I wrote that one chapter (she knows which one), a particular airfield scene, or the scene involving a motorcycle from my work-in-process, it's because I read this series. Learn from the masters, people.
With the joy of being a writer, I also have the privilege of reading work-in-process stories by fellow writers. Although Fran's WIP is a Regency romance, it has mystery in it, so I get the best of both worlds and Cheryl's paranormal mystery has romance in it too, because as she says, a book without at least a little romance would be dry and no fun to read.
~~~I’d love to hear who you read outside your genre and why.
Rox and Frances have written about their favorite children’s books. I bought many of the Golden Books for my kids and my grandkids also read them. Popcorn sounds like my kind of book too.
Sadly I cannot recall any books being around when I was, say under the age of 10. That seems strange to me since my father valued reading highly and read vociferously. In fact we didn’t even have a library at our little four room school unless you consider the various reading series we went through during the school year. It wasn’t until 7th Grade that our principal checked out thirty books a month for each classroom that we really had a source for books. “In the olden days” as my kids were want to say when they were growing up hinting that I came grew up in a covered wagon, the only public library was downtown in Wichita. Trips to town were for tractor or equipment parts—not for books. I didn’t get to the public library until I was in high school and it was still considered a “special” –translate that as rare--trip.
But back to the 7-8th grade. I as horse crazy in those days so of course I devoured Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and Walter Farley’s books:
All of these books have the two things that I think hooked me as a child: adventure and mystery.
They continue to hook me as an adult as I tend to read mysteries of all sorts and time periods. I love Sherlock Holmes and can’t wait for the next Ann Perry Monk and Hester mystery. Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody set starting in 1920’s Egypt is a favorite. I enjoy Dianne Davidson Mott’s Goldy Catering mysteries and Elizabeth George’s Lynley series. These books all have disparate styles and settings but I like them all. Recently I bought a box of books to get one specific book and discovered a new mystery series-- Judith Van Gieson’s Claire Reyneir. This book was Vanishing Point. Now I can go find the other books—love it when I find a new writer to read!
Nothing like this blistering hot summer to curl up with the air conditioner and a good book. What are you reading?
Bits & Bytes: Romance...The Writer's Way All Rights Reserved