As a writer, it is too easy to slip into the mindset that you don’t have time to read because you should be writing. Or, for writers to worry that they will unintentionally plagiarise if they are reading while working on a story.
But, writers were readers first and should not lose sight of their origins as avid readers. In the same way that watching a good scene in a movie or tv show can inspire you to write, I think continuing to read great books can offer insight, motivation and discovery.
In the children’s library, my one-year-old daughter gets to play in the wide open play area and with other children from the neighborhood. It’s safe, clean and interactive. I like that she has so much space to run around on inclement weather days when we’d otherwise be cooped up at home. And, without the hassle of scheduling playdates, she has a good chance of playing with other kids for an hour or two.
Once she’s had her fun, she’s back in her stroller and I’m pushing her through the aisles of sci-fi, fantasy and romance in the adult fiction section of the library. While she relaxes and observes, I browse. I use to be able to read a novel (250+ pages) in two days. Now, it takes me about two weeks to read one book (an hour here, two hours there). With one new book at home, I ambitiously borrowed two new books from the library—hoping I’ll finish reading them before the three-week return date.
As a new mom and a new writer, the little free time I have is swallowed up with doing house chores while wishing I was napping or writing. With one book published, I’m trying my best to write book two and three both quickly and well. But, even the most diligent authors need to relax their creative minds and so I’ve started reading again as part of my self-care.
I’m looking forward to The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti. I read Dana’s Ashley Parker novels and liked her take on a zombie outbreak. Michelle Sagara is a new-to-me author and I look forward to reading her urban fantasy novel titled Cast in Shadow. Both library borrowed books and both well over 250 pages, when will I find the time?
I heard about this young adult fantasy novel months ago and added it to my wish list. Then, I entered a contest the author organized on her facebook author page and won a signed paperback copy of Dreg! I was excited enough to add Dreg to the top of my to-be-read pile. As a writer-mom with not enough time, I finally finished this fantastic novel about two months later.
Dreg is well written. The prologue mesmerized me into walking along side an old and powerful man visiting a family on their child’s first birthday. I was immediately transported to a small, bustling village in a time before industry and technology. The main character, Mara, is daring, impulsive and compassionate. Some of her actions are reckless but all are believable. Mara lives in a beautiful world where almost everyone is born with a magical ability. The unfortunate few that don’t have a gift are called dregs and treated like useless outcasts.
Despite being treated poorly by society, Mara is warm-hearted and readers will root for her as she is propelled onto an adventurous quest. The main cast of characters grew on me and the mysteries kept me reading as I tried to figure out who could be trusted and who would surprise me next. If you like young adult fantasy with a female protagonist, magical realms and adventurous quests, then I highly recommend this debut novel by Bethany Hoeflich. Dreg is book one in a trilogy and available in ebook and paperback format on Amazon.
As a way of giving back to the indie author community, I plan to review and recommend books more often.