First and foremost; thank you, great Goddesses, for inviting me to spend the day with you and your fellow goddesses! What a wonderful group of like-minded people you’ve gathered in such a unique forum. Again, thank you for including me.
So, let me begin by saying that I bake bread for therapy when I’m writing. Well, okay; I toss all the ingredients in a pan and push a button, and my Zojirushi bakes bread. When the writing is going well I set the machine on the regular cycle, which takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. Writing not going so well, I hit the quick cycle and am munching the warm, farm-butter-slathered indulgence in 1 hour and 58 minutes. Either way, I’m guaranteed nearly a full hour of nose-tickling anticipation as the smell of baking bread wafts through my studio.
Yes, I have a writing studio, because my husband wanted to enter our house throughout the day without having to tiptoe. (I am very easily distracted.) So he bought the camp neighboring our beachfront and moved me, my computer, and my three tons of books into it—the irony being that I had to put shades on all the windows because a lake full of wildlife is really distracting. Then he bought a golf cart for my two-hundred-yard commute to work; partly because I refuse to walk through a gauntlet of sneaky and stinky nocturnal critters at three in the morning, but mostly so he doesn’t have to lug all the stuff I absolutely have to take with me (like more books, crow food, and ten-pound-bags of flour). And I kid you not; he even put headlights and snow tires on the cart.
But you know what the biggest perk of having a studio turned out to be? I get to argue with my characters out loud without anyone realizing how weird I really am—not that my characters waking me up at 3:00 a.m. to tell their stories isn’t proof enough. (For the record, my dear sweet husband has to get up and drive me—in my golf cart—to the studio and then walk home, because I am also very afraid of the dark.)
Anyway, back to my therapeutic bread baking. Writing books that won’t reach readers for at least a year and sometimes longer doesn’t exactly satisfy my need for instant gratification. Baking bread does. Unlike my stories, in as little as 118 minutes, I can find out if my creation is … palatable. Or did I get too daring and that magical ingredient I tossed into the mix sent the whole thing flying over-the-top?
Say, like, was it maybe too far of a stretch for my readers when I rearranged my beautiful state of Maine by moving mountains and turning a large, freshwater lake into an inland sea? I had to wait over a year to find out! (Thank you, everyone who not only embraced my outrageous little stunt but asked for more. I am right now writing book five of Spellbound Falls.)
Authors spend endless hours locked away from the very societies we write about as we wrestle—sometimes beg—our characters to cooperate, all for the sheer joy of creating stories we deeply hope are as comforting and nourishing and satisfying as a warm slice of butter-slathered bread. Which brings my question to mind; when you choose a book out of the hundreds—thousands—being offered, what are you hoping to get from the experience? Reading takes a precious lot of time (although you can read in ten hours what it took an author many months to write), so … Why do you read?
Well, other than escaping the real world. Are you after a feeling? An insight? Inspiration? Or maybe the relatively quick gratification when everyone in the fictional world gets their acts together in only ten hours, and is living happily-ever-after when you reach the last page? Also, feel free to talk about your favorite coping therapies.
Come on, tell me. If you do, I’ll drop in and tell you why I love reading and writing romance. I’ll also send a signed copy of my newest release in the Spellbound Falls series, Courting Carolina, to three lucky winners!
Until later from LakeWatch … Janet