Books have fascinated me ever since I read Heidi by Johanna Spry. I so wanted to be Heidi and live on the mountain and know Peter. If wishing could have made it so, that’s where I’d have spent my childhood. But it didn’t take long before my fascination with the world of Heidi and the Swiss Alps made me realize that books are the not-so-secret passage to a world far beyond where you might live. Not just physically, but emotionally and experientially. There is nowhere in the world you cannot go in a book. No people you can’t meet, no events you can’t relive whether they are imaginary or real. Some of my best friends live in books and it’s pretty neat that you can slip away from the bustle or hurt, or pain and disillusionment of the world you live in and relax somewhere else with heroes to love and heroines to admire. Even better, it costs nothing more than a trip to the library.
Of course, most of us who love books don’t stop at owning a library card. And now that I own a Kindle things have just gotten better. As an author I am fortunate to have my writing desk, not tucked into a corner somewhere, but surrounded by my books. I have floor to ceiling shelves on three walls and a window to the ocean on the fourth. All my favorite books are all around me. I love to peruse my shelves and find an old book I read years ago, pull it out and settle into the love seat to read. And, like any other bookworm, there are few horizontal surfaces in my home that don’t have some kind of reading matter, books, magazines, newspapers, clippings and brochures from interesting places I’ve been or hope to go. The Kindle is a blessing, too. In spite of all the printed books I love and own, I also enjoy traveling. But I’m one of those people who travel light. Always. If it doesn’t fit in the carry-on, it doesn’t go with me. But with the Kindle, I can take hundreds of books everywhere I go.
My favorite place to read is no single place. The hammock is a great place for reading (and napping, too.) A beach chair is great for reading on the beach. I also have a super comfortable Adirondack chair on my deck. But if you’re wondering where I read the most, that would be curled up in my bed every night before I go to sleep. Sometimes, when I have a truly awesome, page turner that I simply can’t put down, I might not quit ‘till I’ve read The End. Even if that’s not until 2:30 in the morning. Good thing I’m retired – I can sleep in.
Writing rituals? Regretfully, my writing time is not nearly as disciplined as it probably should be. I write a little every day, but some days that’s a really little bit. Other days I’m on a roll, I might get several thousand words. Most of the time I write at my desk, which, as mentioned, is surrounded by books and looks out toward the sea. There’s a small electric fireplace in my little bungalow by the beach and in the winter, it burbles along keeping me toasty and cozy while I write. Occasionally, I get stuck, like all writers do from time to time, and I’ve discovered that when this happens, it often helps to disconnect my laptop from the big monitor and keyboard and go put my feet up in a comfy chair, or in that Adirondack I mentioned. Change of scenery or position – whatever – it seems to help get the ball rolling again.
As for rituals – For reading there is no ritual beyond a few moments with nothing to fill in the time. I’ve been known to read shampoo labels if I sit too long in the bathroom and the latest book I downloaded from Amazon on my iPhone while standing in line at the grocery store. But once I get really into a book, there’s little that distracts me. I can tune out the whole world and get lost in the story.
For writing, I always go back and read the last scene that I wrote before I quit for the day. Reading and possibly tweaking here and there gets me emotionally back into the story. I almost always stop where there’s a hook so it’s exciting to get back to it and tell the reader what happened next. I always know and often even write the final scene before the book gets started so I know where I’m going, but for the most part, I’m a pantser. I don’t do detailed outlines and God help me if my editor wants a lengthy synopsis, although I can pull one together when I have to. I’ve been to a couple really good workshops lately on outlining and synopses, so maybe I will find a way to discipline myself and incorporate all the great ideas I heard into my process.
So, now you know where I like to read and how I write, here's a list of really fun authors who will tell you where their favorite places are:
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Geeta Kakade http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rita Karnopp http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael Kosnski http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Ginger Simpson http://www.cowboykisses.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/