With Blueprints going on sale in paperback this week, I just reread it to refresh my memory. Does it surprise you that I would need to do that? But consider this. I’ve written and published more than 80 books. No human mind can keep straight all the details of 80 books. Moreover, it’s been two years since I finished writing Blueprints, and since then, I’ve been immersed in writing The Make Up Artist. I’ve often made the analogy that moving from book to book is like cramming for final exams. You jam as much as you possibly can into your mind, take the exam, then push it all out to make room for the next subject.
I’m new to listening. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to intersperse eye-reading with ear-reading. And it’s taken discipline, keeping my mind on every spoken word, rather then letting it wander, as sometimes happens with a book. But for those times when you can’t be glued to the physical page – like when you’re driving or working out – listening to audiobooks is really pretty cool. I guess I can say that because I’ve lucked into some well done ones. Lucked into? Actually, the best were recommendations from a local independent bookseller. In case you don’t have one of those yourself, there’s me. Here are three recommendations of books that I loved. You may want to read them in print. I just happened to listen.
Commitments is my 42nd child – but every single child of mine is special to me. Their birthdays are cause for celebration, which is what I’m doing today. I’m celebrating the birth of Commitments as an eBook.
It’s about time! Commitments was first published in 1988 and has been issued in every other format but digital. Why? For one thing, because eBooks didn’t exist in 1988, when “electronic rights” weren’t even on publishers’ radar screens. For another, because more and more of you are reading electronically each year. And for a third, because my current publisher agreed that publishing Commitments digitally is long overdue.
I’ve done a lot of reading this summer. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying reader reviews on Amazon, as well as taking part in discussion groups on Goodreads. Two of the books I’ve read, in particular – Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens – had endings with which readers took issue. And I don’t just mean readers saying they didn’t like the ending. I mean readers saying that the ending “stank,” that the author “blew it,” that the ending “ruined” the book. We’re talking over-the-top stridency.
I do. I admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic who, yes, does believe in love at first sight. I’m not saying it’s the only way love happens. But – skeptics be damned – I’ve known too many couples who were partners from the start. They felt an instant connection, and it wasn’t only physical, but emotional and intellectual as well.
If the attraction is only physical, that would be lust at first sight. I’ve known couples like that, too – couples who lay eyes on each other for the very first time and feel a powerful chemical attraction, if little else. In instances where chemical attraction evolves into emotion, love may follow. Otherwise, the prognosis is not good. If something happens to the physical – illness, accident, wanderlust – and there’s nothing else, what’s left?
Peter Pan had it right. If growing up means no more fun and adventure, I don’t want to grow up either. I like fun and adventure – like doing new things – like challenging myself. I like doing something I never imagined myself doing. Oh yeah, sometime it’s daunting. I have a comfort zone, just like you all.
But life is about growing. Have you done anything new in the last year? Taken a new job? Signed up for a new course? Tried a new diet? Taken up a new sport? Befriended someone new?
If you’re reading this blog, you’re currently looking at the cover of my new book, BLUEPRINTS, which debuts this coming June. What do you think? Does the cover draw you in?
This isn’t an idle question. It’s one that my publisher and I have been asking ourselves since this cover became “the one.” We think it works. But then, we’ve already read the book. You all won’t have read it when you spot the book on sale next June. So will this cover lure you to buy?
Book titles arrive different ways. Some crop up at the get-go, even before I start writing a book. Others come when my publisher reads the opening of the book and a word or phrase pops up that is perfect. Others take longer to find.
My preference? I like having a title early on. It helps me focus.
Does life imitate art? Not for me. For me, it’s the other way around. When life happens, I write about it. For instance, after my husband and I built our house, I wrote about home construction in the Crosslyn Rise Trilogy. When we began spending time in small New Hampshire towns, I wrote Lake News. When my aunt developed Alzheimer’s disease, I wrote Shades of Grace. When I felt overwhelmed by life’s demands, I wrote Escape.
Valentine’s Day is my kind of day. I was a romantic before I ever wrote a single romance, and once I did that – and discovered that people loved reading what I wrote – there was no end to my hearts-and-flowers imagination. All told, I wrote fifty romances, sometimes eight a year, I was that into it. But being a romance writer wasn’t, in fact, entirely hearts and flowers. There were friends who politely told me that they didn’t read “that kind of book.” Worse, there was the family member who actually told me she didn’t read “that kind of trash.” There were booksellers who hid me in a back corner when I came for a signing, rather than up front, where other visiting authors sat. And then there were people (male, usually, like the one selling me my first computer) who blithely said, “So now all you have to do is cut-and-paste different names, and you have a new book.”