Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Really?

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Warning: This post is full – chock full – of spoilers for Just One Evil Act.

Fun fact: Elizabeth George taught English at my high school. I never had her as a teacher, and she wouldn’t know me from Adam, but the fact that she taught my school when her first book was published was the reason I read it, and nearly all her others. At this point, she’s been publishing and I’ve been reading for a quarter century, which I guess makes me old and her older. I went through a mystery-reading phase in junior high and high school, but obviously it’s not my primary genre of choice – or I’d be publishing All About Mysteries instead of All About Romance. Nonetheless, I’ve stuck with Elizabeth George because I liked her characters and settings.

But now, half way through Just One Evil Act, I think I might be done. I’m not sure if I’m even going to finish it, though maybe one of you can talk me into it if you promise me that things turn around. If you’ve kept up with George, you know where the problem started – with the death of Lady Helen and her unborn child at the hands of a young gunman. Has anyone in George’s readership truly forgiven her for that? I doubt it. I figured I forgave her more readily than most, since I pretty much kept reading (with the exception of What Came Before He Shot Her – because I couldn’t have cared less what came before he shot her). But I’ll defend Careless in Red, which revolves around the grieving Thomas Lynley, as a good book, even though I was still pissed about Helen and the baby. But then he started nailing his bitchy, alcoholic boss (who oddly enough actually seems to be a better person in Just One Evil Act) and pursuing an unlikely and only borderline interesting liaison with a roller derby-playing veterinarian. This didn’t really help my interest any.

But what’s made me stop cold (and here is where the huge spoilers begin, so if you want to wait so you can be disappointed and annoyed yourself, feel free to stop reading here) is the behavior of Barbara Havers and Taymullah Azhar in the latest book. Basically, Azhar plots to kidnap his daughter and spirit her away to Pakistan, and when I stopped reading, Barbara had just found out about it and was about to lie to her superiors (including Lynley, who over the course of the series has repeatedly gone to bat for her) and cover for him. Really?

Really? Can’t Barbara maintain her integrity? She’s had a rough go of it. She’s not wealthy. Her only family left is her mother, who suffers from dementia. She’s dumpy and unlucky in love. Can’t she at least have the courage of her convictions? And Azhar has already abandoned one family so he could pursue a flighty, attractive woman. On what planet are his actions here okay? Like Lynley and Barbara, He’s not the person I thought he was.

Which brings me full circle to the reason I read romance: I like happy endings. I realize that real life is not all sunshine and rainbows, and that real life happens after you get married and ride off into the sunset together. I’ve been married for almost 25 years myself, so I also know real life includes arguments about spending, kids who get in trouble and do stupid things, and plenty of laundry and job stress. But I also like books where all those things happen to people and they work it out together. Call me a cock-eyed optimist.

So tell me: Has anyone else read this? Will something happen that will turn my opinion around? Or should I just go compensate by baking cookies, watching The Holiday, and reading some dependable Julia Quinn?

A Helen Fielding Talk – Mad About the Boy

Monday, November 18th, 2013

helenfielding pic Note: This blog contains spoilers for Helen Fielding’s latest, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. So, if you’ve managed to avoid spoilers thus far(no mean feat), be warned!

Unless you have been living under a rock these past couple of months, you must have heard about the somewhat controversial plot twist in Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, the new installment of Helen Fielding’s famed series. If this is news to you, I apologize for having to be the one to inform you of this terrible news and urge you to escape from beneath your humble abode. (more…)

Jill Sorenson Interviews Suzanne Brockmann, Part II – and a Giveaway!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

They’re back! Today Suzanne Brockmann and Jill Sorenson have more to say about writing, diversity, privilege and more. If you missed Part I, you can find that here. And – after the interview, you will find details for a Sorenson/Brockmann giveaway to enter. – Lynn

(JS) I appreciate the fact that you write characters of color and embrace diversity. I live in the San Diego area, near Camp Pendleton, and it’s a very diverse community. It’s jarring for me to read a military romance (or a football romance, for another example) without characters of color. We live in an increasingly multicultural society and I want my books to reflect that.

(SB) Oh, I’m so with you, there! I, too, have a house outside of Boston, in a town that is extremely multicultural. I believe that diversity is what makes America great. We started out as a melting pot, and we still very much are. (more…)

Jill Sorenson Interviews Suzanne Brockmann, Part I

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

passionandperil Not too long ago, I wrote a piece discussing how, among other things, I wished that I could see more authors speaking publicly and candidly about books and the romance genre. Now we here at AAR are very happy to be running this interview between Jill Sorenson and Suzanne Brockmann(whose works will be appearing together later this month in Passion and Peril) in which they talk about writing and a variety of topics in romance. – Lynn

(JS) Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I’ve enjoyed so many of your books, especially the Troubleshooters series, and I’m very excited about our upcoming release, Passion and Peril. It’s a dream come true to get bundled with you.

(SB) Thanks, Jill! I’m jazzed about this 2-in-1, too! I think it’s a really fun pairing!

(JS) I wanted to interview you for a couple of reasons. We have a book to promote, so there’s that. You’ve also been a huge inspiration to me, and I thought you might have some helpful insights for anyone interested in writing diverse characters.

Let’s start with secondary characters. I loved the geeky teen romance in The Unsung Hero. The drunken hookup between Sam and Alyssa took my breath away. I’ll never forget Jules and Robin’s first kiss. You have a knack for creating a strong supporting cast, and sometimes I’ve been more invested in them than the main players. Readers have said this about my books as well. Do you think writers should try to limit the influence of secondary characters? (more…)

An interview with Serena Bell

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Yours to Keep coverSerena Bell’s debut novel, Yours to Keep, interested me because the heroine is an undocumented immigrant living in the United States. I know Serena on Twitter and asked if she’d talk with me her writing and the research behind it.

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Shannon McKenna talks alpha males and uber villians

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Fatal StrikeShannon McKenna’s latest release, Fatal Strike, is the tenth in her McCloud and Friends series.  The books feature seriously macho heroes, really awful bad guys, and scorching sex scenes. She has a devoted fan base–the ninth book in the series, One Wrong Move, is #143 on USA Today’s Bestseller List. Shannon graciously agreed to chat with me about her books, her ideas, and what’s up next for the manly McClouds. (more…)

Chatting with Katherine Ashe

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

81+7xddCgfL._SL1500_Katharine and I live in the same area and have met once. We also know each other on Twitter. Katharine is fairly well-known in our community as an academic who writes best-selling romances. I thought it would be interesting to ask her about her “double life” as well as her latest book, I Married the Duke.


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An interview with Sherry Thomas, YA author

Monday, September 16th, 2013

The Burning SkyReaders love Sherry Thomas’s historical romances. Of the seven she’s published, three are Desert Island Keepers here at AAR and three others garnered a B+. She is a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.

When I heard Sherry was releasing a Young Adult novel, The Burning Sky, I requested an ARC and gobbled it up. I know Sherry through Twitter. I contacted her and asked if I could interview her for AAR. Despite being in the midst of a book tour–The Burning Sky comes out tomorrow–she graciously said yes.
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An Interview with Alexis Hall

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

glitterland Alexis Hall has just released his debut novel, Glitterland, to wide acclaim. It’s a four and a half star read on Goodreads. Library Journal gave it a starred review and deemed it “Highly recommended.” Alexis and I are Twitter pals so I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed for AAR. He said yes. I sent him my questions and, though he was on vacation and typing on his phone, he sent me the following resplendent replies.

1) I’ve rarely read a romance with such polar opposite leads. Both men fascinated me. Can you tell me a bit about how you came up with Darian and Ash? Who came first? 

It’s pretty straightforward actually: Darian came first. Last year, there was a contestant on the UK X Factor called Rylan Clark who was this, well, sparkling glitter pirate of a man. Obviously Darian isn’t Rylan Clark, because that would be deeply weird, but he was a strong inspiration for the character. The thing is, that type of person does show up in fiction fairly regularly but usually as a background character or a gay best friend, and he tends to be played for laughs. So I decided I wanted to write a book where he was the hero because I think it’s so easy to dismiss people who seem shallow or frivolous or camp or, basically, just not like you. And that meant I needed a context in which he could shine, and also be taken seriously for who he is. (more…)

Remembering Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

RIP EP (960x1280) It was with much sorrow that I learned last week that Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) died on August 8. This notice appeared soon after on the author’s website:

“Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters & Barbara Michaels) died peacefully at home early in the morning of Aug. 8, 2013. She had put up a very tough battle against cancer for over a decade, in a style worthy of Amelia. She preferred not to be fussed over, and so did not make her illness public. She died as she had told everyone she wanted to – unexpectedly, in her sleep. Shortly before her death, she had written a line to be posted on this webpage: “At 85, Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) is enjoying her cats, her garden, lots of chocolate, and not nearly enough gin.””

I never met Ms. Mertz, never saw her in person, but I’ll admit to having shed a few tears when I learned of her death. On Thursday evening I poured myself a whiskey and soda (one of Amelia Peabody’s favorite drinks) and began a reread of Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first in the Amelia Peabody series. (more…)