Good morning, lovers of mystery. It’s finally(!) sunny in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After a week of rain, sunlight once again has found our plants. My grass is wet, although greener, and our county-wide burn ban has been lifted. So yay! for decreasing our risk of forest fires. Anyhoo, today is also my daughter’s second birthday. I’m going to take her out for ice cream and then snap a quick photo in the parking lot where she was born — a story for an entirely different post.
Today, I want to talk about reading for enjoyment, or lack thereof, or when you become so obsessed with a book/character/series/author that you can’t think of anything else. I’m at this point. You see, in addition to writing mysteries, I write young adult. And right now, I just finished the fourth book in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Even if you’re not a fan of YA, read her work, and then send me an email thanking me. She’s amazing.
The series, which (sadly/happily?) is all wrapped up, chronicles the story of a psychic’s daughter, her four prep-boy friends, and their quest to wake a king from a centuries-old sleep. It’s written in present day, but invokes a feeling that magic, in all its form, is as real as this blog post you’re reading. The writing is exquisite and the characters are complex, sentinent beings that haunt my dreams.
I finished the last book ten days ago and promptly started to re-read the first book. I’ve never done that before. Even with Happy Potter. When a series is done, I mourn the loss, so-to-speak, but then I move on. I can’t seem to do that this time. I’m not done with these characters. In large part, this might be my writerself trying to unearth the magician’s secrets. I’m examining Stiefvater’s metaphors, her specific use of imagery, her turn of phrase, how she describes what her characters feel without being cheesey — all in order strengthen my own work. I’m re-reading passages wondering why I had never thought to invoke a similar technique. It’s both encouraging and demoralizing all at once.
As a reader, is there a book or series you just can’t give up? Something that invades your thoughts constantly? As a writer, is there an author you try to emulate? Or an author who teaches you the craft through their work? Who is your obsession?