Girls Write Out
Friday, April 21, 2006

I love to read. Really I do. From the time I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder in the fourth grade, no one has been able to pry a book from my hands. In high school while others socialized in study hall, I had my nose in a book.

I’m still as crazy about reading as ever before, but something terrible is happening. I’m getting picky. Very, very picky. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I write books now—and study the writing craft. Now, I no longer just want a fabulous story, I want fabulous writing. Throw in a female protagonist and a little romance and I’m a happy woman.

But lately, I’ve had a hard time finding everything I want in a book. I start a book and the plot doesn’t grip me. Or the prose is lame. Or I don’t care about the characters. I shut the book and start a new one, sure that this time I’ll reach “The End”. Before I knew it, I went three months without finishing a book, and I was getting a cramp in my hand from slamming them shut.

Oh, sure, I have my favorite, reliable authors (including my Girls Write Out partners), but they don’t write fast enough to feed my reading appetite.

I’m happy to report, though, that my inability to finish a book has recently been put on hold. After pleading with the girls for a recommendation, Diann suggested Richard Paul Evans and even loaned me a couple books. Bingo! His writing and stories keep me riveted. And best of all, he’s written a lot of books so I get to look forward to his whole backlist.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:19 AM  
  Comments (14)
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At 11:00 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

My name is Jaime. I'm a read-a-holic. The lucky thing is, I'm not a writer, so I don't have the same professionally-inflicted critical eye that perhaps you're experiencing?

On the flip side! My little slam-the-book-cover-shut reasoning is that Unbelievable Plots Kill Me. Make me roll over, hide under my bed, and pretend I didn't just read what I read.

I read a book years ago about a girl who fell off a stool into the arms of some man and because it was in the Victorian age, they were forced to marry because it looked "improper" that she was in his arms. I found that slightly scary. Forcing a man into a loveless marriage because he chilvarously helped a young woman from breaking her neck.

BUT! It had a cool book cover so it grabbed my attention. SO close. So very close!

I hope I don't sound cynical or too awfully sarcastic. My point is, I can identify with what your'e saying in a way. (that would've been much shorter to just say that and be done with it, wouldn't it?) :)

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

LOL Jamie. I'm glad you said it the way you did. Because you just proved the old saying "you can't judge a book by its cover". Which we all do anyway. LOL

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

And, oops, I misspelled your name. Sorry, Jaime. :-(

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

I love, love, love to to be read pile is getting huge! But, with the pretty weather we've been having in Oh I have not be able to resist the outdoors. I too have been reading since I was taught how and I wasn't picky about what I read and was reading a lot of "secular" books. I have been know to throw one across the room in frustration...(blushing)
I've got to have believable books...something that grips me from the start...that is why I love sites that include excerpts so I can get a little nibble of the book before I invest...I get frustrated too at spending the money on a book that the cover looks promising but the insides are not so great--and then ending up taking them to the book trader and getting next to nothing for them :(
Some good sites for excerpts are www.eHarlequin they have the Love Inspired line and

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

Denise, I've discovered the same thing as I've begun learning how to write. It is so hard to turn off the analytical side of my brain and read for pure enjoyment. No matter how hard I try, there's always a piece of my mind talking about the story rather than just enjoying it.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I just read my first book from him, A Perfect Day, and I loved it! My students know how much I read and one of them actually bought the book and asked me to read it first and give her a recommendation on whether or not she should even attempt it. I highly recommended it!

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Terry said...

I like to think I'm a picky reader too and I finally gave myself license to not to finish a book that hasn't grabbed me in the first 50 pages.

I'd have to say the best book I read last year was "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. My bookclub chose it and I dreaded reading it because it just didn't sound interesting to me. Lo and behold, I couldn't put it down and I thought the writing was simply beautiful.

If you're into mysteries, my two favorite authors/series are the China Bayles mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert and the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James mysteries by Deborah Crombie. I've never been disappointed with anything the two authors have written. The dialogues ring true with characters you feel like you know.

Anyway, those are my suggestions for the day....

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Oh yes! "A Perfect Day" is an awesome book!! But I LOVED "The Last Promise." It's one of those where you read the last page, close the book and sigh. Then you rush out to find another one.!

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous ObsessedReader said...

Greetings all! I am glad to have found this page through Kristin Billerbeck's own "spa girls" and I love the books!

Because I too am a picky reader and working on writing a book I began in college, I want to share an author whose treasury I am quickly devouring: Jodi Piccoult! While she is not a "Christian" author (though I must point out this does not mean she isn't a Christian!), I have found she writes in that way which makes me care about a character and story from the first few words! I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Oh I love Jodi Piccoult too! I just read my first book by Alice Hoffman, and I know it won't be the last, I loved her too. Also not a Christian book, but I love her magical elements -- though I know they're not Biblical.

She has the most beautiful prose, and her characters just riveted me.

At 2:30 AM, Blogger CaliGirlDCE25 said...

Liz Curtis Higg's series set in 18th Century Scotland is spectac! I absolutely LOVE this series, it's got Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose and Whence Came a Prince and most recently, Grace in Thine Eyes.. I'm half way thru Grace right now and it's incredible. Mature themes, but very Christian atmosphere, extremely believable (and all too real sometimes), applicable to todays society, and the the plot and adventure within the society is just magnificent. You guys would love her if you haven't read her stuff already.

Also, Denise, if you're looking for a good romance-believable-adventure-cool book: this is one of my favorites: The Bridge Over Flatwillow Creek, but Lance Wubbels. It might be out pf print now, I'm not sure. It's one of those books that I can read a million times and never get sick of. It's so sad that it's a solo novel. If anyone knows Lance (he's either the current or former editor in chief @ Bethany House Publishers) let him know that I want a sequel... :-)

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Thanks, ladies for the recommendations! Those all sound great. I've heard a lot about The Kite Runner.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Bethanie said...

I am currently reading a Jodi Piccoult book also! "vanishing acts'. It's really good, I'm really enjoying it which is unusual as I don't really read a lot of secular fiction. Although I must admit I'm a sucker for a good John Grisham thriller!

I am such a bookworm, I rarely go anywhere without taking a book, and if I forget my book I just get miserable! And fidgetty.

I don't like to read books where the dialogue and plot is unbelievable. There is one author I do read most of her books and just the dialogue in it, I'm thinking - I do not know a single person who speaks like that! Drives me insane (but I still read them and complain every step of the way, go figure.)

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

I love to read, but I'm picky, too. Remember, I'm the book hurler?! LOL


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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