Jill is a good friend of mine and fellow book junkie. We have wasted many hours online recommending books or discussing them. Not to mention commiserating on the actions of our books very active characters. So I asked her to join me today and tell us why she is so hooked on reading.
Why do I like reading? It's not really that simple of a question; there are many contributing factors as to why I enjoy books - and enjoy them I do, many different genres, authors, and subjects. And I can place the blame directly at the feet of my father. His philosophy towards reading is pretty straightforward. "I don't care WHAT you read, just read."
That is a tenent that has stuck with me my entire life. I read. I read everything from technical manuals to romance (all flavors) to science fiction and fantasy, modern political theory, scientific theory, military history. I consume it. I inhale it at an alarming rate (to others who don't read for pleasure, which I don't understand on a visceral level.) I have so many e-books, they won't all fit on my Kindle (which holds 3000 books - I have a K3 keyboard). I have a 640GB hard drive in it's own enclosure dedicated to my e-books and audiobooks. I am an e-book addict, and I don't want a 12 step program. I am a happy addict. My bank account, not so much.
My father started me out early, and has funny stories to tell anyone who'll listen about when I was about 5 years old and was reading the encyclopedia. He'd ask me questions to try and figure out if I understood what I was reading, and according to him, I did. A weekly occurrence was a trip to the bookstore with my dad, and he kept me in books, even through college, something I could never thank him enough for. So I kept reading. By the time I was in elementary school, I was already reading on a college level. My teachers didn't believe it most of the time, but it was the truth. I was rarely without a book. I still carry books around with me, and I know that will never stop. Books are as essential to me as oxygen. It's in my DNA.
But, why do I like to read?
I guess the main reason is that books are their own worlds that I can lose myself in. Real life generally stinks. You have so much to worry over on a daily basis that reading becomes an escape. I would much rather worry about what a fictional couple is going through than how many dishes are in the sink and how long it will take to wash them. (That's just an example folks, my house is NOT a pigsty and I do take time to clean - I'm actually pretty OCD when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens being clean and safe, so no freaking out, k?) More about my favorite fictional couples will come in later posts, I promise.
Books are like movies for me - and I do love me some movies (currently, as I'm writing this post i am watching Losers, and The Avengers is up next). When I read, I see the story unfold in my head, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. I laugh out loud in places, I cry in some places. A good horror book can make me paranoid for days, to the point where I flip the light switch before I walk into a room. A good romance can make me sigh just thinking about it later. A good erotic romance can cause other symptoms :-) We'll be discussing those in depth later as well since this, of course, an erotic romance blog.
I tell everyone I watch everything from Pixar to porn, and it's the truth, but my reading material is just as diverse (see above). It depends on my mood, which changes often. Sometimes I'm reading two or three books at a time, not usually the same genre, but I can be reading a tech manual for a computer program, a scientific theory book, and a paranormal romance all at the same time. And I enjoy them all - well maybe not the tech manual so much, because that feels so much like work. But I do it.
So, I guess the gist of this post is simple - teach your kids to read, dammit. Let them read what they want (within reason of course, don't let a 10 year old read a BDSM romance, but I see nothing wrong with a 15-16 year old girl reading a Julie Garwood romance, I know I was when I was that age). I read the Harry Potter books as an adult. It's all subjective. But it makes me sad that there are all these people in the world who don't read for enjoyment, because they don't understand what they are missing. I talk to some people about books, and they look at me like I'm insane and should be in a straight jacket. And others are just as excited as I am and ask for recommendations and new authors to check out. I have lots of both when they ask. You never know what you might find when you open the pages of a book, but they have a certain magic.
You know I just couldn't let her go. So I asked her more to tell us more about herself.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh my, so so SO many. I absolutely love Sophie Oak/Lexi Blake, Tymber Dalton, Bella Juarez. There really are too many to name. And Julie Shelton (plug here for Loving Sarah, and Owning Sarah which is coming out in September, and she's got another work in progress now so shhhhhh) has been a godsend, she's helping me break the writer's block and is cheering me on (aka kicking me in the butt).
What books are you reading now?
I just finished Laurell K. Hamilton's Affliction, and I'm halfway through Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones.
What are the current writing projects that you are working on?
My work in progress (in the very early stages) is a BDSM menage. I won't say more now as it's still in the brainstorming stages.
Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?
I'm not working at the moment, so I'm trying to write as much as I can while I have the downtime. I'd love to be able to continue, but my crack-like addiction to things like food and shelter come first.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always loved reading, and I was always writing when I was younger, sort of an extension of all my reading, but it got pushed by the wayside as real life intruded. But, now that
I have this time, I really want to spend it doing something I enjoy, something for me for a change.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting started is the hardest part for me. I can see scenes in my head, but I have to work out the sequence to get it right. I kind of write by the seat of my pants, never did like using an outline. :-)
And feel free to stop by anytime!