Over on Facebook, the lovely and talented author Larissa Reinhart tagged me to name 10 books that have meant something to me. It was tough keeping it to 10, but these are the first 10 (well, really 11) that came to mind.
Here are the rules for the Facebook game: List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, including the person who tagged you so she’ll see your list.
These are in no particular order.
1. Pride and Prejudice and Emma by Jane Austen
2. The Lute Player by Norah Lofts
3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
4. She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb
5. The Once and Future King by T, H. White
6. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
7. Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
8. The Once and Future by T. H. White
9. The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte
10. On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill
I tagged 10 friends and posted. What are the 10 books that have stayed with you?
Next Saturday morning (August 24th) at 8:20 at the Killer Nashville crime fiction conference, the incredible April Martinez, who designed the gorgeous covers you see here to the right, will present a workshop on creating great book covers. I’m sitting in to give the author perspective. At 9:50, I’ll be signing both books, so stop by the Hutton Hotel and say hey. There will be lots of crime writers like guest of honor Anne Perry on hand at Killer Nashville. All author signings at the conference are free and open to the public.
Thank you, everyone, who turned out for the great launch party for A Billy Sunday Kind of Love at Mysteries & More. There was cake, and a good time was had by all. Special thanks to Mary and Greg Bruss of M&M, who are the ideal hosts.
Romantic suspense author Donnell Bell invited me to guest blog with the lovely ladies of Everybody Needs a Little Romance, preferably on some romantic topic. With New Year’s Eve just behind us, kissing seemed an appropriate topic. Stop by and see what I had to say about one of my most memorable, the Gold-Standard Kiss.
One of my favorite photographs ever, Robert Doisneau’s Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville.
There are the books everyone has heard about: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter. But what about all those books by authors you don’t know about yet? Some of them are treasures just waiting to be unearthed, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about but that you might end up loving.
This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to her website the next week and tag new authors. Follow the blog hop long enough, and you’re bound to find some books you’ll love. Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.
Alexa Bourne tagged me. Find out more about her book Silent Surrender (and her other titles!)on her website www.alexabourne.com.
This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s work in progress, so here’s a bit about my latest project:
1: What is the working title of your book?
The Boy from Nowhere
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I was drafting Fortune’s Fool, the first book in the Psychic Socialite series, a scene appeared on the page in which Nell Marchand encounters a boy who seems to have been abandoned outside a candy store in downtown Memphis. The scene didn’t fit that particular book, but I saved it in my extra words file. The idea percolated at the back of my mind until I was ready to start the third installment in the series and decided it was time to find out who that boy was and where he came from.
3: What genre does your book fall under?
It’s historical mystery with strong romantic elements.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
No one seems to quite fit the parts of 1930s Memphis socialite Nell Marchand and medium Joseph Calendar. Asa Butterfield , who played the lead in last year’s “Hugo,” has the right look for the boy, Tom Willis, but he’s older than Tom is in the book.
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I don’t plot much before I write, but I’ll take a shot at it: When Nell Marchand takes in an abandoned boy and helps him search for his mother, she uncovers a black-market adoption ring and finds herself questioning what family means.
6: Will your book be independently published or represented by an agency?
I’m an independent author, so it will be independently published.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I can’t answer that because I’m writing it now.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
When my brother read Fortune’s Fool, he said it reminded him of Deanna Raybourne’s Lady Julia Grey books. I then read the first three in the Lady Julia series and realized what a compliment that was. Like the other Psychic Socialite books, The Boy from Nowhere has that feel.
9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Because this book is part of a series, the question really applies to the whole series. The source of inspiration is so fascinating that I don’t mind repeating how it began. I was at a bookstore listening to Louisiana mystery writer Deborah LeBlanc read a scene set in a Voodoo ceremony, and into my head popped, “I wonder what it would be like to suddenly discover that you have psychic powers?” I scribbled that in the little notebook I carry with me for just such flashes of genius, along with “Socialite. Husband leaves her penniless.”
10: What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?
The Psychic Socialite series takes place in 1930s Memphis, an unusual combination of period and setting. Memphis has always been a particularly colorful place, and the books should appeal to readers who enjoy Southern stories.
I’ve tagged two other Nashville authors who will be joining the hop for week 27 on December 26th. New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley (http://jenniebentley.blogspot.com/) writes two mystery series—DIY and Cutthroat Business —as well as romance and science fiction as Jenna Bennett. Mike Tucker (http://michaeltuckerauthor.com/) pens his mysteries and thrillers in a noir style. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author.
A few weeks ago, Kathy Altman of USA Today’s wonderful Happy Ever After blog told me that she planned to recommend A Billy Sunday Kind of Love as part of a roundup of historical novels. She asked if I’d like to contribute something personal about the writing of the book. Today, Altman’s recommendations went live on HEA, and I’m trilled that she included Billy Sunday.
Here’s a sample of the lovely review:
“Sevier writes with a subtle, wicked humor and a sophisticated vibrancy that ushers the reader right into Depression-era Memphis — and Nell’s eccentric household.… Rich in Southern ambiance, evoking an aura of menace, a tongue-in-cheek humor and a tenderness all at the same time, this second book in the Psychic Socialite series has me desperately hoping it won’t take Sevier long to conjure up the third.”
Wondering what the latest installment in the Psychic Socialite series is about? When a family friend disappears from a magician’s mummy case onstage and turns up dead, reluctant psychic Nell Marchand sets out to unmask the killer. Medium Joseph Calendar warns her that she’s putting her own life in peril, but she can’t turn her back on the people counting on her. Soon, Nell finds herself knee-deep in murder, miracles, that old-time religion, and an ancient rivalry or two.
On October 16th, I’m the guest author at the annual library fundraiser in the town where I grew up. Just me, up there in front of all those folks. But it’s all in a day’s work for an author, and a reporter from the local paper wrote this nice story about the event. The Friends of the Library tell me there will be a big turnout, which makes me happy because helping the library is what it’s really about.
It’s funny what frightens us. This evening, crime fiction conference Killer Nashville starts here in my city and runs through the weekend, and I’m on my first-ever author panels. Although I’m not quite shaking in my boots at the prospect, I am a little nervous. OK, more than a little. I’ve been pondering my chicken-hearted response. Sure, studies have shown that most people fear public speaking more than death, but it’s not as though I’ll be alone up there. Several other authors are on each of my panels.
In my time, I’ve done some pretty daunting things and lived to tell the tale. When USAID first sent me to the field to write about agency projects, I found myself in Bolivia’s infamous Chapare Valley, then one of the world’s major coca-producing regions, interviewing farmers about the U.S. crop-substitution program. My control officer from the La Paz mission (USAID field offices are called missions), the head of the crop program, and two Suburbans full of Uzi-toting bodyguards accompanied me, but I was the only female in the group.
In Egypt, I clambered all the way to the top of the Great Pyramid. Inside. Not an undertaking for the claustrophobic. I traveled to Guatemala and Sri Lanka when they had active rebel insurgencies. And I ate a hamburger in Venezuela, which some hours later did prove not to have been at all a good thing.
I’m not saying I wasn’t apprehensive each time, but that wasn’t about to stop me. Each time, the task at hand fascinated me, and I was so completely in flow that worry became a low background hum. I’ve prepared for my Killer Nashville panels, and after all, they’re about the information I’ll provide, not about me. So, tomorrow morning on my first panel, I’m hoping flow kicks in right away. After all, I couldn’t let fear stop me.
One of the greats of science fiction died this week. In all the remembrances of Ray Bradbury posted in the last few days, it was the wonderful Anne Lower’s musings over the amazing classic cover of his Illustrated Man that took me back to my youth.
Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man
It wasn’t Bradbury who introduced me to science fiction, one of the passions of my young life. That was Edgar Rice Burroughs. Much as I loved Bradbury, he wasn’t my favorite science fiction writer either. That was Isaac Asimov, whose Foundation Trilogy I read time and again. But it was Bradbury I could talk to my brother about. My opposite-of-geek brother who sneered at science fiction and asked me why I “wasted my time with that junk” when I could be reading real books. My brother read Bradbury.
Those of us who love genre fiction get asked that a lot. Why bother with fantasy-horror-mystery-romance-thriller-scifi-women’s fiction when you could be reading a classic like Tolstoy or whatever the latest literary darling is? I read those, too. In fact, I read all kinds of books across just about all genres of fiction and nonfiction. What those of us who read genre fiction know is just how brilliant it can be.
I hope kids still study Ray Bradbury in school and have teachers who tell them that it’s all right to read whatever they want as long as they read. Just read.
I moved my tattered paperbacks of The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, and Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy with me every time until they disintegrated. Maybe it’s time to visit them all again.