Writing, and Reading

In between work, home, and the constant urge to nap lies the writing. And, of course, the reading.

I seldom reread, but now that I have an ereader, I find myself rereading way more often than before–previously, if I reread that meant there was another book I wasn’t reading for the first time. With an ereader, all of those books are still right there, which means that if I so choose, I can switch out to another book with a literal press of a button.

So this week I reread one of my favorites, Amanda Quick’s Deception. When I returned to reading romance, it was Quick whom I first glommed (before I even knew what glomming was!). Deception was my favorite of her single-title books, telling the story of Jared, the very organized, slightly dull businessman who looked like a pirate (one eye, velvet eye patch, long hair, refusal to wear cravats), and Olympia, the self-proclaimed “woman of the world” who’d nonetheless never left her small village.

The prose veers on the purple–“womanly portal” is used more than once, and there are some parts I, admittedly, skipped. But the passion between them is delightful, and the book–and the others I’ve been reading–help inspire me to write my own romance when inspiration flags. Because, you know, it can be difficult to get inspired for all kinds of romantic frolics when the dishes have to get done.

Many authors can’t read within their own genre when they’re writing; I find the opposite, that I crave reading historicals when writing them, and definitely want to read as much romance as possible in general. There is only one author whom I cannot read while writing myself, and that is Carla Kelly, whose voice is so strong it infects mine, and I find myself writing a lot like her, which is not me.

If you’re an author, can you read within your genre when writing? What old favorites do you like to go back and dive into again? Are there authors that just haven’t stood up to the test of time?



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Beth Elliott
10 years ago

I write Regency romance and although I dread sounding like Georgette Heyer [but only because she did it all so well] I do reread her for the enjoyment of the little things,like the lobster patty that tasted of ashes in ‘Faro’s Daughter’. I can never get enough of Jane Austen; Loretta Chase’s ‘Mr Impossible’is another favourite. I also read as much romance as possible but when writing, research books take precedence.

Elena Greene
10 years ago

I don’t read romance while writing. It’s not because of the voice issue; it’s because I try to immerse myself in the story, identifying with the heroine and falling in love with the hero. So one couple at a time. I read romance between drafts and then it does inspire me.

My regular favorite authors haven’t palled on me yet for the most part. I will admit to having read Barbara Cartland as a teen. Even then I found the breathless heroines a bit annoying, now I shudder!

Louisa Cornell
10 years ago

I do read historical romance while I’m writing. Sometimes it is just the thing I need to get me in the right frame of mind to power through a tough spot or to get my butt back in the chair. Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous is a favorite reread of mine. Rexanne Bechnel’s Dangerous to Love. Diane Gaston’s The Mysterious Miss M. Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan. Julia Quinn’s To Sir Philip With Love. Ann Lethbridge’s The Gamekeeper’s Lady. Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. The list goes on.

And if I feel myself being taken over by those authors I have been known to switch to paranormal romance just to keep the well refilled as I write.

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

I can’t read Regencies when I’m writing one, but I’m rather honored that my Miss M is among those other great authors. Thanks, Louisa.

Megan Frampton
10 years ago

Oh, it’s nice to know I’m not alone, Beth and Louisa! But Elena and Diane, your guys’ reasons for not reading the same stuff while writing it makes total sense.

10 years ago

I’m not an author, but I can see where reading things similar to what you are writing would influence you. I know after I read a book, my thought tend to be along the lines of the story for a while.
The first romances I read were Julie Garwood’s historicals. I have many favorites there and go bad to read them. I have a few on tape and will pop them in while I am sewing.