It's thrilling when someone who doesn't know me decides to give my books a try.
Everyone's reading time is limited, and thus extremely valuable, so we all want to make sure we can sink into a book and enjoy every minute of that story.
Ms. Sokoloff says she does a "read-and-discard" to find a book she wants to finish reading. If she likes the first couple of chapters, she needs to know where the plot is headed if she's going to keep reading.
She says, "So much of storytelling is about you, the author, reassuring your reader or audience that you know what you’re doing, so they can relax and let you drive."
This requires a certain amount of trust between the author and the reader. If it's an author I've read before, we've already established a relationship of sorts, so there's a fairly high amount of trust involved. This means I can lean the seat back, and even unbuckle the seat belt, knowing we'll get where we're supposed to, and I'll be happy with her driving skills along the way.
With an author that I'm reading for the first time, it's a bit like taking a ride with someone who's just gotten their learner's permit. I'm debating if I really want to do this, nervously trying to figure out whether to take that leap of faith.
I typically make up my mind after reading the back cover, the first line, and maybe even the first couple of pages. Even after going through this pre-drive checklist, I've still been disappointed on occasion, but so far there haven't been any fiery crashes, although a wheel has flown off once in a while.
Still, the author is promising a certain kind of story in those first few chapters, and the reader has certain expectations, which hopefully are going to be met during what is essentially a cross-country road trip.
How often have you seen this movie blurb: "Joe Schmo is a car thief/cat burglar/petty shoplifter who is ready to retire, but he is pulled into ONE. LAST. SCORE."
Yeah, it's been done about a zillion times, but you never hear anybody say, "I've already seen that. I don't want to see it again." Moviegoers like that scenario, so you'll see it get made a zillion times more.
There is a certain expectation of where that plot will go, based on implicit promises made at the beginning, even if the viewer can't predict what will happen during the heist. But if all of a sudden zombies jumped out and devoured the protagonist's brains while he's cracking open a safe. . . well, the writer has pretty much lost their driving license, right?
Whenever I read a review of a book that has gotten a low ranking, it's generally because the reader feels it didn't live up to their expectations. This could be because of misleading back cover copy, or from a plot thread that was left dangling or even unexplored. Readers like to be surprised, but not in a way that makes them feel foolish, or angry, for agreeing to let you drive them around in circles without a map for hours on end.
We're all looking for a thrilling ride, and hopefully we'll find that each time we try books from an author that's new to us.
What makes you decide to read a new author? What makes you put someone on your auto-buy list?
I've gotten great reviews on two of my books lately, so I have to share.
Melanie of the Bookworm2Bookworm blog said the loveliest things about I Do. . . or Die. I loved how she described my hero and heroine as "cute, sexy, and better than Bogie and Bacall!" You can see what else she has to say by visiting her blog here.
And Back on Track was reviewed, along with the other four stories in the Strangers on a Train series, by Jaime at Fic Fare. This sentence made me smile: "The chemistry was wonderfully written ... and who doesn't love pitchers? :)" You can see the reviews of all of the novellas here.
Grab your coffee and stop by Reviewer Extraordinaire today. I'm being interviewed by Lexxie and Barbara, and they've got some fun and intriguing questions for me. Lexxie has given my books some wonderful reviews at Risque Reviews, with I Do. . .or Die and Lord Midnight getting Top Picks. Barbara has a lovely intro, and she added some graphics that made the whole interview a ton of fun. You won't want to miss this one!
Today I've packed up Shelby and Ryan, the hero and heroine of I Do. . .or Die, and we're visiting with Angela Quarles for her Book Monday segment. I've included an excerpt from the book that involves books, and I also talk about how I love to see what everyone is reading.
So stop by and say hello. You don't want to miss all the wonderful things Angela says about me (most of them are nonfiction!)
Right below this, there's a link to the interview Angela did here, when her fun book, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, was released. Angela is a sweetheart, a geek girl romance writer with a fun sense of humor, and she has the most awesome book titles and story ideas. If you missed the interview the first time around, give it a click!
The heroine in my romantic comedy, I Do. . . or Die, is not someone who would celebrate Valentine's Day. Shelby likes to say she's had colds last longer than her relationships. However, she's developing some feelings for Ryan, the detective investigating who has been shooting at her. She's still not quite ready to admit that love is in the air:
“So how come you’ve never married, Shelby?”
The question caught me by surprise. There were so many things I could have said, but I gave him the old standby, deflecting the truth with humor, as usual.
“Probably because I’ve always been more interested in the honeymoon than the marriage part of things.”
It had a lot to do with my father, the professional gigolo. He always hated when I called him that, preferring the term “companion” or “special friend.”
Either way, it seemed I’d inherited from him my inability to commit—to a 9-to-5 job or to a mate. Hell, I’d never even had a pet. And plants? Like that would ever happen. I’d nearly broken out in hives when I had to sign a one-year lease for my apartment.
My father got the credit for that aspect of my personality. My mother had apparently forgiven him years ago, calling him a free spirit, choosing to pursue her artistic yens rather than my philandering father.
Luckily I was the only output of that particular marriage experiment gone awry.
I looked at Ryan, tempted to tell him a little bit about my crazy heritage, the source of my relationship phobias. I bit it back. That was the sort of detail you divulged to a longtime lover, not the current object of your carnal desires.
Which meant I’d never had to reveal that information.
For a chance to win, leave a comment below about your most memorable Valentine's Day (good or bad!)
If you add I Do. . .or Die to your Goodreads "Want to Read" list, you'll get another entry in the drawing.
Contest runs through February 14th, 2013. One winner will be picked at random from all the entries.
Thanks for stopping by! Make sure you stop by all the other great blogs participating in this event. http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com
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