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February's Featured Author: Rowena's favorite reads!!

February 16, 2011
Today, Rowena tells us what some of her favorite books are, and why. I heart her more every week! Come check out what she says!

Books and Me …

I have a confession to make. I used to own a secondhand book shop. I’d read a book in the morning, a book in the afternoon and a book after dinner. If I found an author I liked, I’d read everything of theirs that I could lay my hands on. This was in the days before the internet, so it was hard to track down authors.

Now, if I find an author who can make me forget I’m reading a book, I’ll buy all their books and read them in chronological order to see how they develop as a writer.


I think part of the joy of reading is discovering certain authors at certain times in your life. Among the many authors I read my early twenties, I discovered Fritz Leiber. I loved his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books. Lean times in Lankhmar. Around this time I also discovered Joanna Russ. (Picnic on Paradise, Alyx and the Machine).

And I found Georgette Heyer. I’ve read every one of her Regency romances at least three times.

frederica
That’s the other thing I do if I like a book. I read it once for the pure joy of the story. Then I read it to find what really works, then I read it a third time to look for any like thing that could be improved.

Fritz Leiber, Joanna Russ and Georgette Heyer might sound like an odd combination, sword and sorcery with two very male characters, a very feminist writer and a brilliant light-hearted comedy of manners writer, but what all of these writers had in common was well realised worlds, powerful gripping characters and a strong sense of story.

Then I had a baby every two years for ten years, so I was bit busy and didn’t read much until my mid thirties.

Around this time I got back into writing. (I’d written about ten books before I was 25). I sent one of these to the Harper Collins $10,000 fiction prize and it made the long short list, which made me think I wasn’t a hopeless writer.

best served coldIn my mid thirties I discovered an obscure author who wrote about a vampire executioner. The first five Anita Blake books blew me away. The mystery thread was well constructed and the duality of Anita’s character made for compelling reading. Laurell K Hamilton delivered a ripping read. (I have to say I haven’t been able to read her recent books).

In the last year I’ve read all of Joe Abercrombie’s books and Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series. Once again, this may sound like an odd combination. Joe Abercrombie’s books deliver fascinating characters struggling in a bleak more realistic style of fantasy. Nalini Singh’s books are consistently well constructed love stories set in the near future. What they share is compelling characters and narrative drive.

blaze of memory
I don’t know when it happened but some time before of just after I opened my bookshop, I stopped reading purely for enjoyment and began analysing story. Now it is very rare for me to find a story that sweeps me away. It has to tick so many boxes, the characters must be idiosyncratic and interesting, the world building must be consistent, the plotting must tight and there must be that extra dash of creativity that surprises me.

But when I do discover a writer like that they make my day. Where would we be without the writers who shape our reading tastes? Which writers sweep you away?

Giveaway!!
Rowena is giving away one book from her King Rolen’s Kin trilogy (eg. If you haven’t read any of her books, she’ll send book one. If have book one, she’ll send you book two). This one's open INTERNATIONALLY!

To enter, comment below and answer the following question: Do you like plot driven books or character driven books and why?

Do I really have to pick?? *groan*

Remember to include your email address, and do it all before 6pm CST February 23rd!

14 comments:

Tore said...

I love having the combination of both. It makes the book very interesting. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Jaedia said...

I prefer character driven stories with a good plot running throughout with a few twists. I can't enjoy a story if the characters don't have much life, but then I can't get enough of the surprise a good twist brings. I think it's important to find a balance.

Thanks for another chance at this giveaway, I am really interested in reading Rowena's books :)

jaedia @ live .co.uk

holdenj said...

Groan is right, sometimes it just depends on what I'm in the mood for! But that said, if the characters aren't well developed and seem too surface-y, the story can't always carry the novel.

Mystica said...

I would go with the combination of both!

mystica123athotmaildotcom

ChrisS said...

ooh. That's a good question. I would have to say somewhat a little of both. I love a great plot that keeps me riveted. But I also really like strong and interesting characters.
I haven't yet read any of the books in King Rolen's Kin Trilogy, but would love the chance.

rjofus(at)gmail(dot)com

king-rolens-kin.com said...

Tore, the combination of both plot and character is what I love, too. I love it when I keep thinking about the characters after I finish the book.

king-rolens-kin.com said...

Jaedia,

For me the characters have to come to life. And I love it if the writer can surprise me with plot twists.

king-rolens-kin.com said...

HoldenJ,

If I can forget that I'm reading a book, I think the author has done their job!

king-rolens-kin.com said...

Mystica,

It was a trick question because I think both are equally important.

king-rolens-kin.com said...

Chris S,

I can still remember scenes and lines from books I read 30 years ago, maybe not word for word, but I remember the feeling and that means the writer touched me.

Jaedia said...

Exactly :) If a story is missing either of them, it just falls flat.

rubynreba said...

I also think both are equally important!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Aik said...

I prefer plot-driven books but of course, good characters also play an indispensable role in creating a good story.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Jessica said...

I prefer character driven books because it usually takes a character I can fall in love with (not just a heartthrob...just anyone I can relate to and really connect with) for me to enjoy the book. The plot can be spectacular, but if the characters are very flat and static, it would be pointless. Yet fantastic characters with a so-so mediocre plot can still be a great book.

jsididia at gmail dot com

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