Monday, October 25, 2010

Favorite books?

As I was writing away the other day, I had one of those "How did I get here?" moments. You know, the kind of moment where everything just stops and you're compelled to take a look at your career or your life or your home or whatever and analyze what trigger, what moment, what event landed you where you are today.

For me, THAT particular moment was all about what got me started writing. And I basically realized that what got me started writing had everything to do with reading. There were certain books that had such impact, evoked such emotion or made such a lasting impression that I was compelled to read them and reread them several times. The lingering feelings I had from those books, the connections I felt with the characters, the joy in their happily ever afters were what eventually led me to trying my hand at writing a book myself.

Did I embark on this journey knowing what I was getting into? Heck no. I did it purely for the joy of it. For the discovery of what I could create, the fun of 'having' created and then later the excitement and anticipation of wondering if I could actually sell.

Wonder of wonders, somewhere along the way ... I became a writer. And it was all because of those special books and those special authors who touched me so deeply that I was driven to attempt to create something that might possibly move another reader in the same way.
For me, there are three authors who stand out in a sea of creative geniuses who led me down this path.


LaVryle Spencer. What can I say? I devoured every single title, but the one that remains closest to my heart and was the catalyst for my own career was THE HUMMINGBIRD. I must have reread that book half a dozen times. It's just so full of human drama and emotion and triumph.




Tom and Sharon Curtis. OMG. If you have never read THE WINDFLOWER, find a copy of this book and indulge yourself in pure, unadulterated pleasure. (It might also be listed as written by Laura London)











Sandra Brown. Before Sandra became the mainstream sensation that she is, she wrote not only category romance but historical romance. Go find ANOTHER DAWN, the most amazing western historical of all time. Just .... stunning.










Oddly enough, as you can see, it was historical romance that got me writing and yet, contemporary romantic suspense is where I landed. True, the time and setting are nothing alike, but the emotions these amazing authors evoked in their pages are the same emotions I attempt to evoke on mine. Do I come close? Not even! But I do try and their amazing books are the bedrock on which I built my 'character' first, 'story' second writing philosophy.

So how about you? If you're a writer, who inspired you to write? And for you lovely, lovely readers, what books or authors live on your keeper shelf and compel you to 'reread' them from time to time?

33 comments:

Leanne said...

Great post, Cindy! I loved LaVyrle and Sandra Brown too. My top faves also included several authors who started out in series romance -- Susan Naomi Horton, Linda Howard, Sandra Brown and Lass Small.

PJ said...

Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart introduced me to romance way back when I was about 13 years old. I was instantly hooked!

My all-time favorite comfort read is Julie Garwood's "Saving Grace." I've long since lost count of how many times I've re-read this book and yet each time I read it is like the first time.

Cindy Gerard said...

Leanne - yes, on Linda Howard! McKenzie's Mountain, anyone?

krisgils33 said...

Not to be all suck-up, but your books are definitely on my keeper shelf. Some others are Suzanne Brockmann, Tara Janzen, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Allison Kent, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Lowell.

carolefiore54 said...

I'm not a writer but I was laid-up in the hospital when I was in 8th grade, so a frined of my mom gave me some books to read, Laveryn Spencer book and Belva Plain, and I fell in love, then came the Danielle Steel and Sandra Brown. I love all kinds now.

Cindy Gerard said...

PJ - I loved Julie Garwood's historicals!

And kris - you can suck up all you want LOL.
I'll do some sucking up too because the truth is that some of the authors on this very blog - Betina and Kathy :o) - were writing when I got started and they were also great inspirations for me.

Of course, I've read everyone else on the blog since and LOVE them all. I feel so honored to be in league with this talented bunch of authors.

Cindy Gerard said...

Carole - love that you were already reading Spencer in the 8th grade!

KylieBrant said...

LOL, when I saw the reference to Lavryle I knew was your post, Cindy! My favorite books as a kid were Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. In Middle School I started reading teen romances. Beverly Cleary was a favorite. When I 'graduated' to adult romances it was to Woodiwiss and Busbee. But it wasn't until I discovered Howard,Lowell, Brown and Roberts that I knew I'd found my niche!

Helen Brenna said...

LaVyrle and Hummingbird - yep. I can actually remember the exact moment I thought to myself, "I'm going to write a book." It was right after I'd finished one of her books during my daughter's nap time.

Julie Garwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Elizabeth Lowell/Ann Maxwell, are a few others.

Funny, but historicals are what really hit the hot button for me, too, but I could never writer them.

Cindy, hon, you sure as heck do evoke a ton of emotion in your books. I'll be RIGHT THIS MOMENT, someone is reading one of your books and getting inspired! Yep.

Cindy Gerard said...

Kylie - yet - read them too but it WAS Spencer who MADE me want to write a book.

And you're a sweetie, Helen.

Nicole A said...

As an avid reader, and an optimistic writer-to-be, Nora Roberts started me on both. I had never read romance until my first year of college in 07. I had moved away from everyone I knew, and went to the library a lot. There I gave Nora Roberts a chance with High Noon, and I haven't stopped since. I have devoured everything by her, and then eveytime I found a new author (yourself included) I devoured everything by them. The one book that makes me want to be an amazing author is Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts. I re-read it all the time. I love the characters, the mystery, the magic..and of course *sigh* the romance.

Cindy Gerard said...

OMG, Nicole. How could I have left out Nora! She is absolutely amazing and yes, she has influenced me as well!

lois greiman said...

Tolkein...can't help myself. I looooove him.

But you're right...The Windflower...how wonderful. I wanna read it again now.

Hope said...

I have so many favorite authors, but the ones that are on my keeper shelf are, Cindy Gerard (kind of a given lol), Christy Reece, Suzanne Brockmann, Stephanie Tyler, Lora Leigh, Lisa Kleypas & Dee Davis. My all time favs are...

1. Whisper No Lies - Cindy Gerard
2. Blue Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas
3. Sooner or Later - Debbie MacComber
4. True Love & Other Disasters - Rachel Gibson
5. Run to Me - Christy Reece

Cindy Gerard said...

Lois - I can still see Merry glittering with sugar ... And Cat. Oh, how I wanted Cat and Morgan's stories.
I think I'm going to have to get it out and read it again.
I have the ORIGINAL paperback releases of The Windflower, The Hummingbird and Another Dawn. Almost afraid to touch them :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Thanks Hope - you've placed me in some great company

And I'm a Brockman fan too. Nobody beats her for military RS

Hope said...

Cindy, I just found her series. It was recommended to me on Christy Reece's blog. I just finished Sam & Alyssa's story, I think that was book 6. I have loved them all Sam holds a special place in my heart just like Reed ;o)

Karyn Good said...

After a long absence from reading any romance at all I picked up Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay series and I've never looked back. That series had me falling in love with the romance genre again and planted the writing seed. Many of my favorites have been mentioned but I'd add Christina Dodd and Tara Janzen to my list of authors who've inspired me.

Cindy Gerard said...

Karyn - Tara is one of my best friends in the whole world - and the way we met was we were both writing for Loveswept, I wrote her a fan letter and it turned out that she'd been about to write a fan letter to me, too. Funny how that works out and I so agree. I love her work.
If you haven't read her Glenna McReynolds books - you MUST do so. Start with Chalice And The Blade. It's magical. You'll love it.

I am sorry to say I have not read Christina but I've heard such wonderful things about her. I'll have to fix that soon :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Awe- thanks, Hope. I love Johnny D too - he's one of my fav BOIS :o)

Kristan Higgins said...

Yours, of course, goddess...also Sherry Thomas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Diana Holquist, Allie Brennan...heck, I have a huge bookcase, so it's pretty dang full! Elinor Lipman is probably the author I reread more than any other. Every time, I learn something new.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey miss H. I've never read Lipman. Must correct that oversight as well!

Janga said...

My strongest influences were my earliest ones--Louisa May Alcott, Maud Hart Lovelace, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Eudora Wely in One Writer's Beginnings talks about the "voice of the story.":
"It isn't my mother's voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself. The cadence, whatever it is that asks you to believe, the feeling that resides in the printed word, reaches me through the reader-voice."

From the time I became aware of that voice, I wanted to write and have someone else hear the voice of my story or my poem. And my awareness came from reading those girls books at a very early age.

Cindy Gerard said...

Janga
that's lovely. Anne Lamot's Bird By Bird has been such an inspirational book for me but I must look into Eudora Wely.
Thanks!

catslady said...

I've always had a love of reading. As to keepers, they all are (and, yes, I'm running out of room). As to rereads, I do very little of that. There are too many books out there that must be read and I can't stop buying new ones lol. I will read some series over because it's been too long between books and I need to refresh my memory but of course they are great reads too or I wouldn't keep up with the series.

Terry Odell said...

I never had burning aspirations to become a writer. I was introduced to the world of fanfiction (Highlander, specifically) and found an author whose stories resonated with me. Later, I would learn it was her voice, but at the time I merely thought, "If I could write, I'd like to write like that."

We hooked up via emails, and eventually I tried writing instead of reading. At the time, she was a seriously aspiring writer. She's now published by Tor - so, thanks for all your inspiration and encouragement, Sandra McDonald.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Janga said...

If I ever fail to proof a post, I'm sure to make a humiliating error. One Writer's Beginnings was written by Eudora Welty, Cindy, not Wely. I apologize for the typo. It truly is a remarkable book, as evidenced by its having been a NYT bestseller in the late 90s, an extrordinary achievement for a literary autobiography.

And I love Bird by Bird too.

Cindy Gerard said...

Catslady - so, where do the books live? All over the house or in their own special room? :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Terry - that's kind of my story too - only without the fanfiction angle. I was simply a reader. had no intention of writing until the fan 'bug bit' and I realized I wanted to emulate these amazing authors. it was like a window shade snapping up and letting in the light :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Janga - thanks for the clarification!
I'll look her up!

Rob Gregory Browne said...

The books for me are SOMEBODY OWES ME MONEY by Donald Westlake and MARATHON MAN by William Goldman. I was also a huge fan of YA writer Joan Lowry Nixon.

Cindy Gerard said...

I am embarrassed to say that I have not read Donald Westlake - i know. Sacrilege. Another error to correct

catslady said...

All over the house lol. The kitchen and dining room are the only exceptions (but give me time lol).