Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel–lasted half a day)…she realized she’d missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. She backtracked and started sprinting to catch up, spilling her heart and soul onto the page. Anita lives in Virginia with her hero and two kids, where she spends her days writing Paranormal Romantic Suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Book release dates are as follows:
Awaken the Highland Warrior, May 2011, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Embrace the Highland Warrior, November 2011, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Unleash the Highland Warrior, Spring 2012, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Hi everyone. I want to thank Casey Crow for having me as a guest blogger today. If you’re a writer, chances are you’re also an avid reader. All readers have their favorites. Here’s where it gets interesting when you’re a reader and a writer. Writers don’t just notice a good book for reading pleasure, but we notice what the writer is doing right, how they’re using the words, what their strengths are, and we can take inspiration from their work. So, writers tell your husbands you really are doing research when you’re curled up with a book…yet again.
One of my favorite writers is Janet Evanovich. Specifically, her Stephanie Plum series. This is one writer whose books I’ll rush out and buy hardcover, and I don’t generally buy hardcovers. I think she does so many things right. By the first or second page, she has me sucked into every story. I’m smiling, if not outright laughing, and I can just feel Stephanie and Lula and Grandma Mazur, as real as if I was there. Let’s not forget Ranger and Morelli. As if anyone could really forget Ranger. Janet Evanovich does a great job with her characters. She makes them feel so authentic, like they were neighbors down the street. But it isn’t just her characters. Her writing is deceptively simple. I read her book on how she writes, and she talked about how hard it is to get her writing to appear so simple on the page. Not an easy task.
Kristan Higgins is another wonderful writer. Her voice is simply incredible. She writes dialog that is to die for, and has an ability to have you laughing in one chapter and crying in the next. And I don’t cry easily. I’m amazed at how deep she can take the emotional level in what seems an ordinary, humorous romance. She’s a true artist. You are guaranteed a great read if you pick up a Kristan Higgins book.
Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series has been around a long time. And there’s a reason why. It’s wonderful. Her characters, her setting, her voice. Amelia is a nineteenth century woman who’s tough, no nonsense, oozing common sense and with little patience for those who don’t possess it. Gruff, good-looking husband, Professor Radcliffe Emerson is just as engaging. When I read the first in the series, I immediately fell in love. No cardboard characters here. All of them are fabulous. I love it when an author makes the character and setting so alive on the page. And Elizabeth Peters knows her Egyptology. I have to say I bought the last in the series in hardcover as well.
Harlan Coben. Wow. This writer’s plot twists have their own plot twists. His writing is so gripping it’s hard to put down one of his books. He’s another one that can wring tears out of me. You can FEEL the emotions of the characters so gritty and real. He has a gift for understating something in a way that makes it hit you twice as hard. I remember in a class, someone said if the character cries, the reader doesn’t have too, because so often we writers spell out the emotions we want the reader to feel so they just accept it and ride along as an observer instead of feeling it. Harlan Coben does it in the right way. He doesn’t tell you what you should feel, but takes you right to the brink, so the feeling is all the stronger. He is the master of twists. I love getting to the last few pages of his stories and he totally surprises you with the ending, then you read on and guess what? There’s another twist. He keeps you guessing.
Jeri Westerson’s Crispin Guest series really impressed me. I’ve read the first two, and there’s another one coming out this month. Heck, maybe it’s out now. I’ll have to check. It’s about a medieval knight who’s been stripped of titles and land and is forced to live the mean streets of London solving crimes with his young sidekick, Jack Tucker. Jeri’s writing is really strong, her characters so alive, and can this author ever do setting? She’s brilliant with setting, something I have a hard time writing. Even as a reader, if there’s a lot of setting, I’ll start skimming. But she does it beautifully, just the right amount. I can almost taste the place, smell the odors. I adore Crispin Guest and his sidekick. Wonderful series.
Nobody does love scenes like Linda Howard. She’s a master at love scenes, because she understands the power of sex, the primal, earth-moving, life-giving qualities. I recently attended her workshop on the Twelve Steps of Intimacy. Brilliant! But it isn’t just her love scenes that are so well done. She’s an incredible writer. Honestly, her plots aren’t the material that I might choose as a reader, but she’s so amazing, that whatever story she’s telling, the emotion is so high, you’re there, immersed in the story alongside the characters. You’re invested in them and in her plot. It’s all done so well, it leaves me feeling satisfied as a reader and a touch envious as a writer.
Diana Gabaldon is another favorite. Her Outlander series is great. I haven’t read them all yet, but I will. She does a great job with history and her characters. Jamie and Claire are two of my all-time favorite characters. So three dimensional, so real you feel like you can reach out and touch them. And the bond between Jamie and Claire is so strong. If only husbands and wives had half this connection, the divorce rates would plummet. This writer is another who intimidates me. Her writing is so different than mine. My stories are much faster paced, but still I’ve learned from her writing. She can wring more interest and drama out of a plot than most writers. From her writing, I’ve learned to not rush too quickly over those emotional scenes that need extra time and attention.
Nora Roberts is another amazing writer. Not only that she can crank out so many wonderful books, but she’s great with plots and characters. She can do almost any genre and do it well.
All these writers mentioned are very different. Some are romance, some aren’t. Some faster paced, some slower, devoting more words to the setting or things happening inside the character’s head. But they’re all brilliant in my opinion. We all differ. What one reader likes, another won’t, but these are some of my favorite writers. I’d like to hear some of yours, and what is it about their writing that compels you.