What’s new?

I haven’t posted in awhile … because I’ve been hard at work on the next book! Dandelion Summer will be coming out in May 2019! Watch here for updates and snippets. In the meantime, pick up a book or two for Christmas for your friends (and one or two for yourself).

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What Makes it Your Favorite Fiction?

I was recently challenged to list seven of my favorite books, and that got me thinking. What makes a book a favorite? Here are some of my thoughts (in no particular order) about what makes something my favorite fiction.

  • A book that struck me in a particular way at a particular time in my life. One of my favorite books is Watership Down. I read it as a teen and it was so unusual and captivating that it stayed with me. It’s most fictional aspects (talking rabbits, one with strong premonitions) resonated with me in ways I can’t explain. I returned to this book on a regular basis to read it again. Later, as a mother, one of my children’s favorite books was basically a copy of Watership Down, which I found interesting.
  • A book that makes me think – during and after. Sometimes this thoughtfulness that a book provokes is in the form of a mystery that I can’t quite solve – but almost, sometimes it’s the ideas put forth, and sometimes it’s the sheer creativity of the author in what he or she created. For this reason, I love The Book Thief. Who would have thought of having Death be your narrator? Also, in this category would fit anything by Agatha Christie.
  • A book that makes me smile. In this category I would list books with lovable characters who find a way to succeed and overcome. Some of my favorites for this reason are A Man Named Ove and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. This is probably my favorite category, but it certainly overlaps with books that make me think.
  • A book I can’t wait to recommend to a friend. There are those books we read that disappoint us when they end simply because we’re not ready to leave them behind. I became so invested in the Harry Potter books (I read the last several out loud to my kids), that I didn’t want them to end. I loved how the series ended and found myself rereading the last few chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, just to savor that wonderful conclusion. And when a book does this to you, one way for it to continue is for you to tell a friend about it. When she finishes reading, you can talk about it and savor it together, making it all that much more satisfying.  I’ve done this with Secret Keeper (Kate Morton) and Sister (Rosamund Lupton). These books just have to be talked about and shared.

As a note: I purposely left non-fiction books out of this list. My favorite, oft-read books, are non-fiction – the scriptures. They fit in my life for an entirely different reason – giving me hope and a lift in my life.

So what makes a book a favorite of yours? I’d love to know – along with what some of those books are.

 

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Pick up a copy today while it’s on sale!

Today When I Was Seven is on sale for $.99!

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What surprises you about people?

For people I grew up with, it’s probably not surprising that I ended up writing books. I started writing short stories when I was 10 and wrote one I was particularly proud of, called The Violet, when I was 14. I shared it with my friends, who loved it. Jumping from short story writing to novel writing is a big leap – one I didn’t take for a few decades – but it still isn’t a complete shock.

What cracks me up is people I know now. When they find out I’ve published novels, they’re surprised. But what surprises them more is that my books are actually good. I think when we know someone, we don’t expect them to have hidden talents. So, I’ve come to accept that people I know read one of my books as a favor to me. They don’t expect much from it. Then I get phone calls, “I just read your book, and I loved it,” said in a very incredulous tone. “Wow, I didn’t know you were such a good writer.”

I decided not to take offense at the preconceived ideas people have, especially because they didn’t let those ideas stop them from actually reading the book. Now, if I could just get the others to read the book they bought …

 

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Book Signing at Bay Area Book Festival

Come join me at the Bay Area Book Festival https://www.baybookfest.org/.

I’ll be signing and selling books all day Saturday, June 3rd on Allston Way in Berkeley at the festival. Walking around is free. I’d love to see you!

 

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How Does It End?

You’ve probably heard the mantra, “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s become so cliche, that it’s almost lost its value. We say it, but do mean it? I’ve been thinking about this phrase lately and what it really means to me.

As an author, endings are everything to me. At a recent book signing, I was having a short discussion with a fellow author. We were sharing how we plan out the endings of our books at the start, way before much of the main plot is fleshed out. I go so far as to write the concluding chapter or chapters very early in the writing process. Those final images are so vivid in my head that they demand to be put on paper. Then everything in the story leads to that ending.

I’ve heard other authors lament that they’re not sure how to end a particular book. I am no help to them in these cases whatsoever. How can you even start writing a book if you don’t know how it’s going to end? I’m not trying to disrespect my fellow authors, I honestly just don’t understand. By having the ending in mind, I know how to focus and drive the story, with everything building up to the final chapters. It’s where I, as the author, have determined to take you on this particular reading journey.

Life, I’ve found, is much like my writing. If I don’t have an end in mind, then where the journey goes doesn’t much matter. I’m a religious person, so my end goal is a life righteously lived with no unresolved regrets. That ending drives and focuses my behavior. For example, if I’m rude to someone, I make a point to apologize and fix it. And I try to never be rude in the first place. Just like a novel, there are bumps along my path – some of my own making and some not. But to get to where I want to be, I find a way to make it through and over those bumps.

Turning again to books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland says it well when Alice meets the Cheshire cat:

“Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

Enough said. Your thoughts?

 

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Upcoming Book Signing!

Join me for a book signing:

This Saturday, February 25th
noon – 4 p.m.

Barnes and Noble
5249 S. State Street
Murray, UT 84107

Hope to see you there!

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