Enjoy the Read, Stay Your Course

I always have to remind myself when I’m reading an author I love that I can respect and admire them, enjoy the read, but that’s IT. I’m not looking for sympathy here or fishing for compliments, but so often, when I read a REALLY good book, I wish I could write like THAT author writes. I have to remind myself that what makes each author special is his unique voice, his take on stories. And I have my own voice. We all do, so no one should try to be like someone else.

The authors that I love, but are dangerous for me:

  1. P.J. Parrish and Louis Kincaid. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086MXN3FQ?binding=kindle_edition&searchxofy=true&ref_=dbs_s_aps_series_rwt_tkin&qid=1679854907&sr=8-4) Louis pulls me in every time I read him. He’s so HUMAN, flawed, complex, with more problems than anyone needs. And his cases are so bizarre. Too bizarre for me to ever write. Some of the villains are horrible monsters. Disturbing. I don’t want to come up with anyone that horrible. But every once in a while, I wish I had a character with as much angst as Louis has. Not the right main character for a cozy. But boy, am I hooked on him.
  2. William Kent Krueger with his Cork O’Connor series. ( https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Lake-Novel-OConnor-Mystery-ebook/dp/B000FC0QBQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3UGQ800W7QCPK&keywords=cork+o%27connor+series+books+in+order&qid=1679855033&s=digital-text&sprefix=cork+%2Cdigital-text%2C89&sr=1-3) Just like Louis, Cork is a complicated hero. I love some of his books more than others. Right now, I’m reading Trickster’s Point, and it’s AMAZING. Joan Hall is as hooked on him as I am, and she’s written great book reviews for the series: https://joanhall.blog/2021/07/27/book-review-iron-lake-by-william-kent-krueger/. Krueger’s Cork series is set in Minnesota, and he makes the landscape as much a part of the story as his characters. And then he adds Ojibwe Indian lore and teachings into the mix. Pretty darn fascinating. In cozies, authors try to make the setting a big part of the novel, too, but for a different reason. Cozies like to have a personal feel, so a setting where people know each other, where a community has a personality, is an important part of the tone of the book. In Krueger’s stories, the settings make the story more complicated. There’s no cozy feel to them at all.
  3. Julia Donner’s Regency Friendship series. (https://www.amazon.com/stores/Julia-Donner/author/B00J65E8TY?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true) First, I love Regencies. The dry wit. The complicated social intricacies. Buttons are important. So are coming-outs. Once you hit twenty-five, you’re a spinster. And everything is about social status and aristocracy. Like Jane Austen, Donner has heroines who thumb their noses at the rules of the day. I love that. I love even more the men who fall for them. Unlike Austen, Donner can get a lot steamy. But I’m reading them in my living room, so no one sees me blush but HH. And he doesn’t care.
  4. Mae Clair and her dual timelines: (https://www.amazon.com/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/ref=sr_1_8?crid=21QIPZWGK7F38&keywords=mae+clair&qid=1679855302&s=digital-text&sprefix=mae+clair%2Cdigital-text%2C89&sr=1-8) It’s not just the dual plots combining the past and the present that appeal to me, it’s her language and writing skills. She’s so lyrical, her writing so beautiful, it makes my teeth hurt. I’ll never be able to write like that. I’m a plot driven person, concentrating from going from point A to point B, so that poetic language gets lost most often. Like Elizabeth George and Alice Hoffman, I just love her use of words. But I have no pretensions that I can write like that. It will never happen.
  5. I love historical mysteries, but I’d always be afraid I’d screw up something small in them. Or worse, something big. They take SO MUCH research! But that’s why I admire Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series and P.B. Ryan’s Nell Sweeney series. Both ladies tell great mysteries with great characters and wonderful writing, but they’re set in past times. And I know that they do a lot of work to make sure they get everything right. My friend, D.P. Reisig, is in my writers’ group, and she’s writing a mystery with Abraham Lincoln trying to solve mysteries during his days as a lawyer, and she has more books for research than I’d ever believe possible. Nope, historicals are not for me. I’d always worry I messed something up.

I have many more authors that are auto-reads for me, but these are the ones I have to remind myself that I’m not them. They do what they do well, and I do my best at what I write. They’re them. I’m me. And I have to stay true to myself. It’s not safe to compare myself to other writers. I have to stay true to me.

BUT, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy all kinds of writers in lots of other genres. And I do, (especially Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series.. Lots of action and magic). I hope you find lots of writers to love, too.

21 thoughts on “Enjoy the Read, Stay Your Course

  1. I love what you said about not comparing yourself to other writers, Judi. They are them, and you are you, I am me. While I strive to write each story to the best of my ability, it will still come out as my voice. Mae Clair is a writer I greatly admire, and I agree about her lyrical artistry. Thanks for sharing today!

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  2. I have you to thank for introducing me to the Cork O’Connor series. I love how Krueger “paints” an image of the Minnesota wilderness. Makes me feel as if I’m there. Like you, I often read other authors and wish I could write like that. Mae is another author who is a master at describing a scene.

    But, as Staci said, none of them are you. We each have a unique voice and while we can learn from others, we should just strive to do the best we can. (I’m preaching to the choir here, LOL.)

    Thanks for the shoutout for my review. Now that I’ve finished the series (I hope he’ll write more), I’ve considered going back and reading the nineteen books again. Trickster’s Point was one of my favorites as well.

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  3. I love finding authors with talent that I aspire to, Judi. Wonderful post. I’ve read Mae’s work and thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve seen Krueger’s series come up in numerous reviews. I’m sure I’ll try his work someday (when I have a little room in my kindle!). 🙂 Happy Writing.

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  4. I agree it’s important not to compare ourselves with writing that blows us away. We each have our unique voice. I love the authors you named as examples, and I have read and enjoy immensely some of them, especially Mae’s dual timelines and word choices! Thanks for sharing, Judi 💕🙂

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  5. We can definitely appreciate others amazing writing and still offer our voice. I agree about Mae’s voice, she is a must read for sure.

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  6. Hi, Judi. I just now stumbled over this post. First, I have to send you a huge THANK YOU for the lovely comments about my writing. Wow! You really made my day.

    I do agree, however, that we all have our own unique voice, and we should concentrate on that rather than comparing it to someone else’s. Your books always leave me feeling good when I read them.

    And you know I’m a big fan of Louis Kincaid, too. I’ve read one of the Cork O’Conner series. I may have to look into a few more of those as well!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t praise your writing enough. You leave me feeling humble. But you’re right. I’m not you and never will be. I have to do what I do the best I can. But I so love your use of language!

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