Reading—Writers Do It
Once upon a time, I had pneumonia. Man-oh-man, was I ever laid low. So I read. That’s what bookworms do when they get sick, you know. They read. A lot.
I’d read every single book in the house that even remotely interested me. That’s lots of books, folks. We sold 42 cases of books before we moved to that house, which didn’t even make a dent in our library (my husband is a bookworm, too). But there you have it—I had nothing to read.
My daughter read romance novels. I’d never read one, nor was I about to start. I read mystery, fantasy, historical novels, and good old shoot ’em up westerns. But not romance. She convinced me to try one. So I did.
I hated it. I still remember the book to this day and no, I won’t tell you the title or the author. My daughter gave me another book and I told her I refused to read it. She informed me that you can’t judge an entire genre by one book, and said if I read five romance novels and still felt the same way, then okay.
Eh. She was right and I knew it. We’ve all read stinkers in every genre, and what we consider stinkers, others think is the greatest thing since hot air. The second book was marvelous. It was Kathleen Eagle’s Fire and Rain. I was duly hooked and read over a hundred romance novels in the next month. That book is still one of my all-time favorites.
Then this dream happened. Yep, I dreamed a story. The next three weeks, I pounded away at the keyboard and wrote 200 pages of my first book. I’ll never forget the utterly confounded look on my husband’s face after he read the first couple chapters. “This is actually pretty good,” he said, shaking his head. “Are you going to finish it?”
“I started it—might as well finish it,” I told him. Of course, I never, at any time in my life, wanted to be a writer. Nor had I ever once finished a project that wasn’t a paying job. We had several closets full of yarn, cloth, and craft supplies to prove it. Needless to say, my husband was skeptical.
Along about that time, it came to me that I had absolutely no idea how to write and I joined our local chapter of Romance Writers of America. They actually took me seriously and treated me like a real writer, even though I wasn’t and knew in my heart that the book would likely never be finished. Still, they weren’t daunted and pushed me to learn, learn, learn. Which I did.
Two years later, I wrote The End of that book (which will never see the light of day). It’s my learning book, where I found out that I’m no good at angst and drama, that my strengths are action and humor. Including slapstick, which puts some people off. Sorry about that—it’s who I am. So I figured since I write silly stuff, I’d start off silly in the second book. A rock ’n roll writer, not trying to be a virtuoso. The book finaled in the Golden Heart and is now Much Ado About Madams, the second book of the Hearts of Owyhee series.
That’s my early writing journey and so much has happened since. But you know what, people helped me every single step of the way and they’re still helping me. Yes, I’ve helped a few others but on the whole, it would be very hard to give back what I’ve been given and am still getting.
But back to reading. Once I started writing, I read even more voraciously, but when a publisher actually bought a short story, the reading suffered, because that’s when my passion turned into work. Writing to deadline, social media, promotion, graphics, proofing one book while writing a proposal for a future book and writing the current manuscript. You see, things get a bit busy.
This bookworm had no time to read. It’s a sorry state of affairs. During the past year, I’ve made an effort to read more and not just because I need the reading fix for my addiction, but because I honestly think it’s a words-in/ words-out thing. No reading, and my writing well runs dry. Read a book—any genre—and we’re rockin’ and rollin’ again. So it goes.
I hope you don’t let life get in the way of your reading like I did. So tell me, what’s the last book you read that you absolutely loved?
'Twas the Fight Before Christmas (
, Book 9: A Wolf Creek Christmas) Wolf Creek