BOOK & BLOG
September 15, 2012
Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches made a huge splash last year, and rightfully so. Her reluctant witch, Diana Bishop, falls equally reluctantly in love with the vampire Matthew Clairmont, when they are both in pursuit of the mysterious manuscript Ashmole 32. In this continuance of a complicated plot, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to Matthew’s previous life as a spy in Elizabethan England in Shadow of Night. This means Matthew becomes more like the old-fashioned gentleman he was in those times, no small problem for the very modern Diana. But there are plenty more troubles for the two to face, and they have to be united to face them successfully. This is an interesting book, one that maybe didn’t tug at me emotionally, but the writing is skillful, the period setting fascinating, and I’m invested in the fortune of the couple now. Bring on the next one.
I’ve read almost all of Rob Thurman’s books, and I know by now to expected troubled protagonists with severe sibling troubles. All Seeing Eye follows true to Thurman’s interests. Jackson Lee Eye, who found his little sister Tessa drowned in a well and subsequently killed his stepfather, is practicing his skill as a psychic and trying to stay off anyone’s radar, when the brother of an old acquaintance shows up to demand his help in return for getting Jackson’s remaining sister out of jail. Jackson really hates this, but finally agrees. It turns out he’s taken to a sort-of military facility where they’re trying to trap a ghost who will manifest at the site of a terrible murder. I saw the two big surprises coming, but this is just as compelling as Thurman’s other books, and a good read.
Ashes of Honor is Seanan McGuire’s new October Day book, and since McGuire can’t write a bad book, it’s required reading for those who’ve followed the adventures of October Day, a true hero. Toby is still recovering from the death of her lover, beginning to reconnect to life, when she’s called to find a Halfling whose powers are causing her to ricochet through the lands of the fae, causing destruction and weakening the walls that keep worlds separate. Toby is aided by the King of Cats, who finally declares his feelings for Toby. Not only is Toby’s character admirable but hardly perfect, Toby’s world is always fascinating, and this book carries an emotional payload that makes it especially satisfying.
I was just reading on the Femmes Fatales website that two of
my fellow “Femmes,” Donna Andrews and Dean James, are starting new
books this month.
This time, I'm starting by drawing a map. That's so much fun it ought to be against the law. I love creating a new town, and I already have a good idea of most of the people who live there. After I draw the map, I'm going to refer to the book synopsis I had to create when my agent was selling the book. Since my editor and I have worked together a long time, I know it's not necessary to stick to that slavishly, but it's a definite guideline.
Then I have to decide at what point in that story the book will open, which will determine how much backstory I have to insert.
And finally, I'll type "Page One, Chapter One" and the first sentence will flow. After I set the tone and vocabulary for the book, I may rewrite the first sentence several times. Next July, I'll write "The End."
That's the plan, but the experience of writing every single book is different. And it doesn't get any easier! I still can't imagine doing anything else.
© 2012 Charlaine Harris