UPDATE: The winner of the goody bag is…David!
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Do you – as either readers or writers – have a theme or era or setting that will not let you go? I was recently re-reading Susan Hill’s excellent “Strange Meeting”, which is set in WWI; in the introduction she said how she felt compelled to write WWI out of her system and did so with that book. On the one hand I was frustrated by that, as I’d have loved to read more of her work set in that era, but on the other, I was envious of her because she’d been able to produce that one book and walk away. You see, WWI keeps whispering in my ear saying, “Write about me, write about me…”
I guess it’s partly my own fault because I have always read a lot of books from the late 19th and early 20th century (Conan Doyle has a lot to answer for) and enjoy ploughing through biographies of WWI poets, or true accounts from soldiers, sailors and airman of the time. Time and again I come across something that makes me think, “Ooh, that would be a great idea for a story”. Then I have to tell the writer side of my brain to behave itself as I’ve “done” WWI four times and really, do I have to go there again?
I’m sure this is as much a reading obsession as a writing one. There was a period when I almost had to sneak WWI themed books out of the bookshop and into my house in a plain brown wrapper, so my family wouldn’t know I’d bought yet another tome about sportsmen who’d lost their lives in the Great War or some such theme. But once you get bitten by the bug, it has you in its grip as strongly as Lyme Disease does, and I’ve had that too so I know what I’m talking about!
It’s the same when you come across a new author. Maybe I should rephrase that – it’s the same when I come across a new author, because I just want to work through anything of theirs I can get my mitts on. And it’s not just “new” authors. I’ve read and re-read The Lord of the Rings many times, and then I’ve pored over all those books about the writing of the trilogy. Similarly I’ve read the Sherlock Holmes stories, then felt compelled to get books about Sherlock’s’ London, the world he lived in, the men who inspired the character, and all things Holmes and Watson.
So, tell me. What’s your reading or writing obsession? Best answer wins a goodie bag.
A more than professional interest . . . a more than personal intrigue.
Orlando Coppersmith should be happy. WWI is almost a year in the past, he’s back at St. Bride’s College in Cambridge, his lover and best friend Jonty Stewart is at his side again, and—to top it all—he’s about to be made Forsterian Professor of Applied Mathematics. And although he and Jonty have precious little time for an investigative commission, they can’t resist a suspected murder case which must be solved in a month so a clergyman can claim his rightful inheritance.
But the courses of scholarship, true love, and amateur detecting never did run smooth. Orlando’s inaugural lecture proves almost impossible to write. A plagiarism case he’s adjudicating on turns nasty with a threat of blackmail against him and Jonty. And the murder investigation turns up too many leads and too little hard evidence.
Orlando and Jonty may be facing their first failure as amateur detectives, and the ruin of their professional and private reputations. Brains, brawn, the pleasures of the double bed—they’ll need them all to lay their problems to rest.
Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, MLR, and Riptide.
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Victorian era. I picked up a great book and it started. I now try to read anything placed in that time frame. Futuristic books are another favourite
My reading obsession is historical fiction. Reading it is like opening up a paper paged time machine fueled by the written word of an author. I love finding out interesting tidbits of information about the past. The Regency era is my favorite.
My reading obession is all kinds of romance and scifi firstname.lastname@example.org
My reading obsession of late is cowboys. I’m reading Cowboy 12 pack and loving it. Once I finish this I will either read something either alpha guy or something laugh out loud. I like to keep it mixed up, then I won’t get tired of a giving sub genre.
Thank you for your time
I go through cycles. For a while, a long while, it was anything written about the Arthurian legend. I am back to the Scottish highland right now, but my next obsession is just a book store away.
I read different genres, sometimes at the same time. I enjoy sci-fi, romance, historical romance, mystery and suspense, inspirational, paranormal, Amish life, etnic, autobiographical, history and comedy, to name a few. I’ve been known to reread books; but with the amount of books on my kindle, and actual books I’ve accumulated, I probably won’t be doing that for some time!
A fascinating post, and one I very much identify with! My eras of choice are the Romantic era and the Elizabethan era. I am fascinated by the history but also very much by the writers and their works – Keats, Shelley and Byron for one, and Shakespeare and Marlowe for the other.
I’m very glad to hear you’re not done with the Great War yet, by the way! 🙂
Thanks for hosting me, Delilah. Can I leave the ‘draw’ open for a few days?
You know, it’s funny – I too have read an awful lot of Victorian fiction (I thought I’d read every scrap of Sherlock Holmes ever written, but apparently not.) Yet I’ve never felt much of an urge to write stories set in Victorian times – the closest I’ve come is a time travel novella where my hero visits the era.
Instead, I’m stuck firmly in the 1920s. There’s something I find so romantic about that era – so carefree and fun, but with the shadow of WWII looming. I love the fashions of those years – flapper dresses and cloche hats, and the music, too. Oh, and the cars!
Or maybe I just have an entirely rational fear of corsets… 😉
I came across your “Cambridge Fellows” a year or so ago and was so taken in by the boys I couldn’t put them down. I was so excited to hear that you brought Orlando and Jonty back for more.
In mainstream fiction I generally stick to fantasy novels. I rarely read any thing that “could happen on a daily basis”. If I want real world, I will read the newspaper.
My other reading obsession is m/m romance. It can be placed in any setting, fantasy, romance, mystery, historical, etc. The one thing I prefer is that the sex scenes not be to graphic. I tend to share my stories with my very open minded mother but not if they have graphic sex scenes. I love the ” Cambridge Fellows” because the stories are well written, witty, and then sex is written so that we know it happened, we know it was “hot” but we never read a word about what they actually did. Please, please, write more!
My reading obsession is the Regency period, or to be more accurate the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth up to 1830 or so. This is partly because I’ve actually studied both the history and the English literature of that period, as well as having read countless novels set in the period, from Georgette Heyer onwards. I have a pretty respectable reference library about the period too, because I find it interesting.
I do make some exceptions: a few authors who set their books in the early Victorian period, and some who write about the early twentieth century e.g. you!
I don’t think you should re 😉 gard your obsession with WWI as a problem. Embrace it as “your period”; you are now an expert in it, and the best professionals narrow their field and develop an expertise. You do a very good job of contemporary books too, so that’s two periods you can write about. You don’t need any more!
Thanks for all the positive comments, my dears. (Can’t work out how to make individual replies, so am bunging them together in batches…)
Julie – have you read The Final Act of William Shakespeare? Great fun.
Jamie – I now have a mental image of you in a cloche hat!
HJ – you are a sweetie and have made my day!
David – your comment is my favourite. I’m so glad you enjoy the ‘lads’ and hope your mother does the same. My daughters try to drop bits of the books into conversation, the little toads.
I currently have to reading obsessions: Samantha Kane’s Brothers in Arms series (Regency) and Roni Loren’s Loving on the Edge series (Contemporary). Both of these series feature MMF stories which I love. I’ll pretty much read anything with an HEA.
I really love PNR….if it happens to be GFY, BDSM and military at the same time I’m in heaven! lol