The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

In Praise of Young Adult Fiction

I used to think I was a bit of a dork for liking Young Adult literature, even though my years as a young adult are long gone.

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Not so anymore. Although some may be too shy to admit to it or call it a guilty pleasure, YA fiction has a huge fan base among grownups; in fact, a recent study states that 55% of its readers are actually adults. And while I also choose from a variety of other genres and often crave the more literary and classic offerings as well, I particularly enjoy writing Young Adult fiction, as two of my upcoming novels will attest.

Why do I and so many others love reading YA novels? I don’t believe it implies immaturity, but rather suggests a more “young at heart” sensibility of the reader. And I am careful about not lumping all of them together; as in every genre there is great writing and not-so-great writing. With that in mind, here is what I find appealing about most of the YA and coming-of-age literature I have read:

  • It draws you in and hooks you on the first page.
  • It is usually light on the exposition and heavy on the action and dialogue.
  • The drama isn’t contrived. The teenage years, with all of its growing pains, can be filled with turmoil. Ordinary situations often feel emotional, and even catastrophic.
  • Teens are well-known to be impetuous and curious, therefore their actions are often unexpected. This opens up all sorts of drama which may include acting on violence, sexuality, and other previously uncharacteristic behaviours.
  • We’ve all been there, so we can identify with many of the common conflicts that arise. Other times, we might enjoy reading YA as an escape into wish-fulfillment: a way of righting the wrongs in our own experience.

Still not convinced to give Young Adult a try? Peruse these quotes taken from bestselling YA fiction:

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What do you think of the Young Adult genre?
Do you have any favourite YA quotes to share?

For the Love of Reading

“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.”

― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

 Ah… the written word. It has been my truest passion since my chubby little hands first held a book and my eager, unfledged mind tried to unlock the enchantment within its pages.

As I know it is with many of you, reading since childhood has taken me everywhere, through experiences and adventures in exotic lands beyond my horizon, and all the way back to the charm – or heartbreak – of a domestic story around the corner.

Books have allowed me to journey along with colourful, unforgettable characters, to get inside their minds, to live other, more fascinating lives. And between the lines, some books have given me truthful and enlightening glimpses of myself, that I may never have learned otherwise.

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Reading at Poolside

Our book club offering this month, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, found its way with me to sunny Cuba last week, a key item among my accoutrements, and a vital part of my prescription for R and R. To me, bringing along good reading material on a holiday is arguably more important than bringing along my husband my camera. Hmm. Of course, if I hadn’t had a camera, you wouldn’t be looking at my sun-starved knees right now. 😉

In our rapidly changing world of hurried living, instant technology, and short attention spans, has the enjoyment of full-length books fallen by the wayside? Certainly not for this blogger. Even if you are clutching an e-reader, as I witnessed with many fellow vacationers, you are my kind of people.

You are the kind of people who would probably love and identify with these other delicious author quotes I found on the love of reading.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges

“The world was hers for the reading.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
― Cicero

Do you always pack a book or two when you travel? Or does a good read have the ability to take you away no matter where you are, even from your couch or in your own garden? Come, bookworms, share your thoughts!

I Love Book Club!

I have to say that I am so enjoying the local book club a couple of friends and I started this past January. Just two nights ago, our group gathered for another meeting to review our latest selection. And such a lively, thought-provoking discussion it was.  We were happy as well to welcome a new member to our fold.  Delighted to have you aboard, Kathy!

To become a member of our little group, the only real requirements are a pure love of reading and a willingness to share your opinions. But that is where most of our similarities end. What a diverse group of individuals we are! From a teacher, to a couple of retired nurses; from a minister’s wife, to a self-proclaimed atheist; a homemaker/blogger (yours truly), a designer, and even some artists, we are a varied lot. Some are originally from the area, but most of us aren’t.
Naturally, people being what they are, we often begin with the book in question, but soon veer off on tangents, taking the discussion to unexpected areas where voicing your two cents worth is welcome on any number of topics. When we have come together, we have shared thoughts and positions on racism, the medical profession, capital punishment, mental illness, greed, and crime, just to name a few.

Our provincial library has been a god-send in facilitating our passion:  it has made available a long list of “book club kits” that we borrow from each month. All titles are either award-winning, well-reviewed, or both, and provide much variety of topics and tastes. Seldom does everyone love the book currently being discussed, but that often generates the most dynamic debates!

Here is what we have read and reviewed so far:

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham

Coming up on our foreseeable agenda is:
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (a fellow Newfoundlander)
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Of course, a happy by-product of Book Club is making new and interesting friends, and in my opinion, friends so interesting that  they are usually reading other books, sometimes more than one at a time, in between our club picks.

Book worms, unite!  Happy reading, everyone!