When Readers Get What We Do

In a Facebook status last week, one author made the comment that it really feels wonderful  “when someone actually gets what you do.”  The comment really resonated with me. While I understand that many people read books simply for the entertainment value (which is absolutely acceptable, in fact it’s wonderful!) some of us gather much more from the story than what lies on the page.  And there are people out there that really get that.

From the very beginning, I’ve known that there is more to the writing of a story than the story itself. I saw it in the short stories I wrote, felt it while I was in the midst of writing. I’m not someone who analyzes the works of others, nor do I analyze my own writing for that matter. Yet while I’m writing, I’m often aware of these underlying meanings that run through-out my writing. It’s not something I consciously set out to do, but something that develops on its own.  I’m sure it’s that way with many other writers as well.

I loved the mother in Bitter, Sweet for her wisdom and understanding about life. The line where she says, “There are all kinds of wisdom in the world, Pru. It’s in everything from a sunrise to a dewdrop. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Complicating things is our own doing. We’re handed life on a platter. It should be so easy.”  Love that line! And no I didn’t purposely set out to write it. Mama came up with that one all one her own. Do I believe it? Darn tootin’ I do.

While Flying With a Broken Wing is a totally different story, Cammie is one of the brightest ten year old I know. She doesn’t come out with any of Mama’s profound wisdom, but you can be sure it’s there.  One thing about Cammie is, she’s not one to sugar-coat things. She just outs with it. “Talking with Evelyn was a lot like picking your nose. You had to do a little digging around, but once you hooked a big booger it would slip out like nobody’s business.” One of my favorite lines from the book, because admit it, we’ve all known people who take a bit of prodding before they finally open up. But rather than wisdom, in Cammie’s case, I call it smarts. Smarts—Cammie would definitely like that!

We all have our own way of seeing the world, and we’re all much wiser than we realize. Often time we don’t express that wisdom, but I believe it’s something we all have. Writers are lucky in that we have an entire blank page at our disposal and we can express to our heart’s content. I’ve always felt that writing was a combination of brain power and heart power. While our brains come up with the premise of the story our hearts lead the way through the telling of it. I’m sure there are many writers out there who would disagree with this, but I can tell you when Cammie came out with that nose-picking line I didn’t have to stop and think about it. She said it. I wrote it. It was a done deal. And I loved it.

I really have to agree with the author’s comment about people getting what we do. One of the greatest rewards for any writer is creating characters and world that others can readily relate to. Not everyone will love our stories, and of course we’d wish that wasn’t so. But there’s a book out there for everyone. We all have such different tastes.

 Yesterday, one person wrote that “I felt so involved, like I was {Cammie’s} best friend.”  For a writer, it doesn’t get much better than that. As an added bonus this week, fellow blogger and writer, Darlene Foster, wrote a wonderful review of my latest book. You can view it here if you haven’t already seen it. Thanks Darlene. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! As an added thought, you might think of letting a writer know when you’ve read and enjoyed their book. It means that all those hours we spend writing and rewriting means something to you, hopefully something good!

This winter I’ve been working at a few projects that I’m really enjoying, and when all is said and done that has to be one of the greatest rewards for a writer. It’s actually one of the greatest rewards period. I feel so fortunate.

There time for you to enter a draw over at Lynn Davidson’s blog for a copy of Shadows in the Stone by Diane Lynn McGyver. Click on the link and leave a comment and you’re entered to win. The draw is Feb 4th at 6:00 pm. Good luck!

Advertisements

Local Fiction for the Adult Reader in you.

Last week I made a few suggestions of books to buy for the young (at heart) person on your list, but I really think it’s only fair that I mention some homegrown adult fiction books this time.

Syr Ruus Devils Hump cover July_2013_proof (1)1.Devil’s Hump by Syr Ruus. I have my own signed copy of this book that I shall treasure forever. The book can be purchased at Coles in Bridgewater, the Lahave Bakery, the Riverhouse in Petite Reviere or directly from the author- Syr (at)eastlink.ca . The winter of 1921 turned bad for all the Islanders, bringing one unexpected thing after another… beginning with the -quarantine, then the discovery f the deaths of the entire Ross family, followed by the fire and the acquittal of the Turnbull brothers. The storm of talk hadn’t even reached full crest, when a new development ensued. Devil’s Hump depicts the unique and disappearing culture of a maritime island community. It tells the story of Aaron Ross who, in spite of devastating circumstances, is able to survive alone on a small secluded island. But more than this, it celebrates the power of the human imagination which can shape our lives and make even the most difficult situations bearable. 

41B-l6NKWgL._AA160_2.The Deception of Livvy Higgs by Donna Morrissey. I also have a signed copy of  Donna’s book . For two traumatic days, Livvy Higgs is besieged by a series of small heart attacks while the ghost of her younger self leads her back through a past devastated by lies and secrets. The story opens in Halifax in 2009, travels back to the French Shore of Newfoundland during the mid-thirties and the heyday of the Maritime shipping industry, makes its way to wartorn Halifax during the battle of the Atlantic in World War II, then leaps ahead to the bedside of the elder Livvy. Caught between a troubled past, and her present and worsening living conditions, Livvy is forced to pick apart the lies and secrets told by her greedy, prideful father, Durwin Higgs, who judges her a failure, and her formidable Grandmother Creed, who has mysteriously aligned herself with Livvy”s father, despite their mutual hatred. Tending to Livvy during her illness is her young next-door neighbor  Gen, a single mother and social-work student. Overnight, a violent scene embroils the two in each other”s lives in a manner that will entwine them forever. In The Deception of Livvy Higgs, the inimitable Morrissey has written a powerful tale, the Stone Angel of the East Coast.

Virgin cure3.The Virgin Cure by Ami MacKay  Set on the streets of Lower Manhattan in 1871, The Virgin Cure is the story of Moth, a girl abandoned by her father and raised by a mother telling fortunes to the city’s desperate women. One summer night, twelve-year-old Moth is pulled from her bed and sold as a servant to a finely dressed woman. It is this betrayal suffered at the hands of her own mother that changes her life forever. Knowing that her mother is so close while she is locked away in servitude, Moth bides her time until she can escape, only to find her old home deserted and her mother gone without a trace. Moth must struggle to survive alone in the murky world of the Bowery, a wild and lawless enclave filled with thieves, beggars, sideshow freaks, and prostitutes. She eventually meets Miss Everett, the proprietress of an “Infant School,” a brothel that caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for “willing and clean” companions—desirable young virgins like Moth. Moth also finds friendship with Dr. Sadie, a female physician struggling against the powerful forces of injustice, who teaches Moth to question and observe the world around her. The doctor hopes to protect Moth from falling prey to a terrible myth known as the “virgin cure”—the tragic belief that deflowering a “fresh maid” can cleanse the blood and heal men afflicted with syphilis—that has destroyed the lives of other Bowery girls. Ignored by society, unprotected by the law, Moth dreams of independence. But there’s a high price to pay for freedom, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.

4.Nova Scotia: Life Near Water by Diane Lynn McGyver . So you all know I’m a littl partial to the short story, having penned  few in my day.anthology01 Life Near Water is a collection of short stories that transports readers to locations across Nova Scotia and on a short vacation to the coastal waters of Newfoundland. McGyver’s love for the sea shines in The Ocean Between Them, and her keen interest in genealogy and history plays interesting rolls in The Man Who Reads Obituaries, Dancing in the Shine and War on His Shore. McGyver’s quick wit takes centre stage in Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts where neighbours bond over a cup of tea. Mutated Blood Lines beams readers into the future to a time when high water levels transform Nova Scotia into an island. Nova Scotia – Life Near Water is McGyver’s first anthology. For information about where you can order this book click HERE

510MRkqaUiL._SL500_AA300_5. Kiss the Joy as it Flies by Sheree Fitch. Oh yes, this beloved children’s writer also writes for adults. Panic-stricken by the news that she needs exploratory surgery, forty-eight-year-old Mercy Beth Fanjoy drafts a monumental to-do list and sets about putting her messy life in order. But tidying up the edge of her life means the past comes rushing back to haunt her and the present keeps throwing up more to-dos. Between fits of weeping and laughter, ranting and bliss, Mercy must contemplate the meaning of life in the face of her own death. In a week filled with the riot of an entire life, nothing turns out the way she expected.

 

Again, I’ll ask for any suggestions you might have to add to my list. My hope is that these two posts will encourage you to check out these books and to think about supporting the local authors in your area. Many of us talk about “buying local” it’s only natural that it should apply to books!

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 239 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 78,824 hits
  • Advertisements