Sandra, welcome to Writers on Reading! The cover of your last release made me feel like I stepped into a snow globe, now your new novel has such a lush feeling of yesteryear. With so many elements present in the covers of Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. I wonder what draws you as a reader? Do you enjoy dark, gothic backgrounds and lush, sweeping historicals with a bit of mystery, or something else entirely? What do you look for when choosing your next reading adventure?
I’ve always been a big fan of mystery / suspense and romantic and gothic suspense. Some of my favorite writers in high school were Mary Roberts Rinehart and Agatha Christie. Before I began reading mainly Christian fiction, I devoured books by Mary Higgins Clark, Elizabeth Peters, Phyllis Whitney, Anne Maybury, and others. But I also enjoyed the truly gothic tales like Jane Eyre and Rebecca.
Since focusing mainly on Christian fiction in the past ten years, my reading tastes have expanded to include thrillers (though I was a big Robert Ludlum fan long before), speculative (to include dystopian), and western-style historicals. I tend to read novels with a strong focus on romance and an equal or lesser focus on suspense or mystery.
In looking for a new read, I usually look for author first. When I find a writer I enjoy, I want to read every book by that person. When looking for someone new, generally the cover or title draws me. Then I read the blurb. Sometimes, I’m intrigued by the recommendations of others. For instance, I heard so much about Lori Benton’s works, I knew I had to check them out. I chose The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn first, because the title hooked me.
I’m not drawn to Amish stories, but I’ve read a couple in the past year because I received them from the author for one reason or another. While I did enjoy them, Amish is not something I’ll pick up on my own.
As a writer, you should know better, but as a reader, you know we all do it…so, when did you last “judge a book by the cover”? How did it work out?
One that comes to mind is Jen Turano’s first book A Change of Fortune. The cover shouts humor and the book delivered.
With your new release just off the presses, I wonder did you read during the months you worked on it? If so, what did you read while working on A Reluctant Melody? If not, did you treat yourself to a book when you sent this one to the press?
I read ALL the time. On Tuesdays, I review Christian fiction on my blog. Plus, I do a quarterly review on the Suspense Sisters blog. I couldn’t go eight months without reading. (I’m a slow writer. J)
What was the last book you absolutely couldn't put down? Why?
The last one was Laura Frantz’ Mistress of Tall Acre. What a wonderful historical story with a hint at the gothic! The one before that was No One to Trust by Lynette Eason. It opens with a woman waking up to find a gun in her face and doesn’t slow down until the last page.
That does sound fast paced! I’m looking forward to Laura Frantz’s book. I loved her first two and have heard great things about this one as well. Did a book recently make you laugh/cry/sigh/shiver?
Mary Connealy’s work is always good for a laugh. I found myself doing so often while reading Fire and Ice. I’m not a big crier, though I’ll sometimes find myself gulping to swallow the lump in my throat. The Hunger Games is a book that would make anyone shiver.
How fun! Were you the kind of kid/teen who loved reading? Which novel do you first remember reading? (And do you still have a copy?)
I’ve always been a reader. The first novels I remember reading were the Little House books when I was in third grade. When I was about fourteen or fifteen, I bought a paperback copy of Rebecca. I still have it. And, no, I won’t tell how long I’ve had it. ;)
Hah! You have me laughing! And those are all great books, fun memories to share! Has any book stuck with you recently? What created the lasting impressions?
This isn’t recently, but Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series really set the hook and reeled me into reading Christian fiction. I still love the concept of orphans banding together to form their own family. Beautiful!
Books that stick with me generally are written in a way that I feel a deep, emotional pull. There’s something that sucks me in and makes me feel like I’m living the story. Elizabeth Camden’s Against the Tide is one of those books. Bane is an amazing character—naughty, but nice. J
Excellent recommendations. With the weather as crisp as the cover of your last book, I’m wondering what is on your to-read list? And what is your ideal winter reading experience?
My to-read list? It’s LONG! I’m ashamed to say I have more wonderful books on my Kindle than I have time to read right now, as much as I want to do so. I review books for various publishers on my blog, so those come first. I also receive books from authors. Amanda Cabot’s On Lone Star Trail, third book in her contemporary romance series, will be coming up soon. Recent reads include: Until the Dawn (Elizabeth Camden), Bidding on Love (Regina Jennings), Rising Darkness (Nancy Mehl).
My ideal winter reading experience revolves around a warm throw, the privacy of the cushy armchair in my bedroom, and something sweet, preferably a hunk of chocolate or ice cream! If I’m reading during the day, which I rarely do except on weekends, it will also include a cup of hot tea—Earl Grey or Spiced Chai are my favorites.
How special! Thank you for sharing. I think most of our reading lists are very long—I know mine grow weekly with these interviews! Is there a book you are looking forward to rereading?
These days, I rarely have time to reread. However, when I have done so, it’s been a book that originally stuck with me for days. Two of those are Tamera Alexander’s From A Distance and Deeanne Gist’s A Bride Most Begrudging—both historicals and two of my favorites.
If Violet Madison, the heroine in The Yuletide Angel, and Kit Barnes, hero of A Reluctant Melody, were to pick books from today’s shelves, what do you think they would be?
Violet says she would choose MaryLu Tyndall’s pirate books. As shy as she is, her fantasy is to captain a schooner in the early 19th century.
Kit chooses a non-fiction title with a Christian living focus. Perhaps one of Philip Yancey’s Grace books. He wants something to help him help the men under his care. (A far cry from his past hedonistic days, I can tell you!)
Well, I’m intrigued! Thanks for visiting with us, Sandra! Folks, you can continue to connect with her and her books at the links below.
Thank you for letting me share, Deirdre. What fun questions!
reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler.
PURCHASE AND CONNECTION LINKS:
A Reluctant Melody on Amazon