One of the most pleasurable aspects of entering the larger writing community has been meeting other authors and building relationships with them, whether through online means or in person. One of the most frustrating? Trying to make room to read all of their beautiful books!
Some of my author friends have crossed my path prior to their debut work being presented to the world. I’ve been privileged to be part of the amazing build-up process that takes place in the months before publication happens. Watching others’ dreams come true is a wonderful thing. Even better, there’s the fruit of their hard work at the end of it — the book they’ve helped produce, sometimes through many years of labor and tenacity. Others have been well-established prior to our meeting, and I’ve enjoyed that experience as well. They’ve often produced several works that, especially after having met their maker, I’m eager to find and read.
This all leads to a whole lot of sparkling titles vying for my attention. And as my own work has picked up speed, getting at these treasures in a reasonable amount of time has become more than challenging. During the school year especially, I’m filled up with research reading for book projects, “homework reading” to learn more about a subject prior to an interview for a radio show or article, and, oh yeah, running five kids around town.
This dilemma has weighed on my soul in this last year especially. It’s felt a little like arriving at a much-anticipated party (I’m often part of the cheering section as my author-friends’ books find their way into the world) but having to bug out before the really awesome part of the evening has begun.
Thankfully, summertime usually offers some sort of chance to get to a portion of these books that have been sitting rather impatiently on my “dying to get at” stack.
Here’s one I just finished:
Memories of the Beach: Reflections on a Toronto Childhood by Lorraine O’Donnell Williams. I interviewed Lorraine back in April 2010 (here) when her book had just been released. Her memoir on her childhood in the Beach area of Toronto was enjoyable, introducing me to a part of the world that is nearby yet far enough away to merit discovery. It also seemed especially fitting to read it mostly poolside in the heat.
In June I mentioned having read my friend Rosslyn Elliott’s debut book, Fairer Than Morning.
This one moved to the top of my list because I won it in a drawing. It was my first exposure to Christian historical romance. Though my reading of romance pretty much ceased after I left home for college (and no longer had access to my mother’s Danielle Steele novels), I enjoyed the pairing of history with a love story as seen through the eyes of faith, and was very impressed by what seemed a extraordinarily polished effort. Rosslyn was another of the authors I featured as part of my guest series (here) on Peace Garden Writer.
Here’s another of my summer 2011 reads:
It took me all of two days to finish Abby Johnson’s Unplanned. I devoured it, hardly glancing up to do things like make dinner, do laundry, etc. All else came second to finishing this incredible account of the author’s drastic transition from serving as director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas to becoming a passionate prolifer. I met Abby in person just a few days before gobbling up her compelling and important book. And though you wouldn’t call us friends, I can say we shared a conversation and a hug during her June visit to Fargo.
So what’s next? Today, I ordered Jody Hedlund’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride. My goal is to read it before her second-in-three novel comes out next month!
Jody’s book has been on my “can’t wait to read” list since its release last fall. A fellow mother of five and well-loved blogger, Jody has been a inspirational force for the writing community in general, and Christian writers in particular. Like Rosslyn, she’s all about history, love and faith. Jody was the first author featured as a guest on my debut blog, Peace Garden Mama, back in October of 2009 (here). Her book wasn’t out yet but we’d crossed online paths and I was anxious to help shine light on Jody’s exciting new career.
Finally, I’ve started my friend Lisa Hendey’s not-yet-released book (I’m an honored recipient of an advanced copy), A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.
Since this book was meant to be taken a saint-per-week, I’ll be savoring it in the coming weeks and perhaps months. (Lisa was just featured here in May!)
So yes, it can be a “burden” to have authors for friends, and piles of books that they’ve written on the stack, mixed in with all of the other “must reads” of the year. But trust me, I’m really not complaining. How blessed I’ve been with these relationships, and the works that have flowed from their pens. The most difficult part is truly desiring to support them through getting to know their “babies,” yet knowing I must pace myself and take them in the order in which I’ll truly be able to cherish them.
It’s not a bad dilemma at all, after all. In fact, within the burden-blessing of having author friends, I find far more blessing than burden. I can only hope that when my next book comes out, they’ll all feel the same about me and my work!
Q4U: Who was the last author you met? What’s the title of their work you read (or hope to read)?