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Susanna Kearsley
Writer. Dreamer. Traveller. Mom.
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Susanna here. I know our Christmastide posts are officially ended, but I always have a hard time letting go of the holidays, so I hope you’ll indulge me for one more short post on the unexpected treasures that we sometimes get as gifts. Here’s one of mine. 1993 was a turning-point year for me, in many ways. In January of that year, I’d finally received “The Call” from an editor who wanted to publish my first novel, Undertow—the same short novel my sister had dared me to finish writing a couple of years earlier, and that I’d been trying to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2020 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, carrying on our Christmastide with a song from the era I’m currently writing about—the late 17th century. As some of you know, I love using songs in my own stories, and I’ve been known to spend an enjoyable research hour or seven mucking about on the Bodleian Library’s Ballads Online website…but this particular song, although it is found there, didn’t come to me as a result of my own research. It came via Twitter, three days before Christmas, in a random tweet that crossed my timeline, authored by historian and writer Emily Brand: “Can we all agree to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, with this month’s Ask-A-Wench post, in which our question is—appropriately enough for the season—“What Christmas stories have you been reading lately?" Every year I settle in with my holiday comfort reads—Dinah Dean’s The Cockermouth Mail, and the paperback novelization of The Gift of Love (a wonderfully sappy romantic TV movie from the 1970s based on O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi) and, if I’m not in the middle of writing a book myself, Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice. This year, I added a book I’d bought last year and saved as a treat—Happy Christmas, by Daphne du Maurier.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2019 at Word Wenches
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See now, I used to disappear into books all the time when I was young, but these days, my relaxation comes from watching films. They only take a couple of hours, so I don't feel too terribly guilty about taking time away from my writing (because, like Christina, I'm not very good at putting books DOWN once I've started them, and I tend to go all day with a book once I've opened the cover), and films flood my senses and hold my attention, whereas my mind sometimes still wanders away while I'm reading, distracted by thoughts of my own book and characters. So if I desperately need to relax, I go sit in the cinema. (My grandfather was a film projectionist, so I blame him entirely for this).
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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Well, yes, there is that, too! I vividly remember the night I picked up Kelley Armstrong's Bitten before going to bed, having never read anything of hers before, and I kept saying, "Just ONE more chapter..." until I found myself still lying there awake with the sky growing light and the children waking up and me knowing I'd have to get up and drive them to school... (It was worth it, though--brilliant book).
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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Sue, I agree with Anne, in that the George Felse mysteries were set in contemporary times (at the time they were written), from the 1950s through the 1970s, so the "voice" of the character would be a modern one in tune with that time period, whereas the Cadfael books (which Ellis Peters actually wrote after the Felse mysteries) were set in the 12th century, so the voice she used for those stories would likely have been deliberately adapted to suit the time through which those characters were moving. I do a similar thing (although probably not with as much skill as Ellis Peters) when I write my dual time novels--if there's a first-person, modern day thread, the voice is slightly different from the third person voice of the historical thread, to let readers know whether they're in the past or the present. But that would be my guess as to why you're noticing a difference in the voice between the Felse books and the Cadfael ones.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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Misti, you're making it Very Difficult for me to wait to read The Kraken King! (I have to wait until May!) I think Heart of Steel has been my favourite up to now, so if this one is better than THAT one, I'm in for a treat.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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They are clever, those Last Chance Christmas Ball wenches :-) And I agree with you about the joys of tucking into Christmas novels and novellas. In fact, you'll want to check back mid-December for our Ask-A-Wench post...
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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I'm on such a tight deadline right now that stockpiling is my only option, I'm afraid (although I may try to sneak in a reading day over the Christmas holidays...)
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on Susanna's TBR at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, and once again, I didn’t have anything to contribute to this month’s What We’re Reading post. That’s because I’m deep in the middle of writing a book, and I don’t read much fiction at all when I’m writing—partly because I’m so buried in nonfiction research reading I don’t have a lot of free time left, and partly because I learned long ago that, if a writer has a strongly individual storytelling voice, it will start to creep into and influence mine if I read while I’m working. Case in point: way, way back in the day, when we... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. Eight years ago, when I was writing The Firebird, I did something I’d never done in a novel before. One of my readers, Lee Ann Ray, had written to me asking whether Robbie McMorran—an eight year old boy in The Shadowy Horses—would ever get his own story. At the time, I’d thought to myself, “But he’s only eight (or, as he would have corrected me, eight and three quarters)—too young for a book of his own.” Then I realized that he had been eight and three quarters way back when I’d written that book in the mid-1990s, which... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, and in the spirit of the season I’ve been thinking about tales of haunted houses—and not only as a reader, but a writer. I’ve been thinking of the stories—what it is that makes one work for me, and when I first began to fall in love with them I’m fairly certain it was Edward Mulhare’s fault. I loved the television series of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1968-1970) and spent countless childhood hours glued to his performance of the grumbling, charming, ghostly Victorian sea captain forced to share his home with a modern-day widow and her children. I’m... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2019 at Word Wenches
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I liked Edgar Allan Poe, too, when I was in school. He scared me silly but in a good way, and his poetry was so deliciously melancholy. And I'm glad you enjoyed the post--you should NEVER feel guilty for reading what you enjoy!
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Aw. We're honoured to be on your bookshelves, Pamela (and keeping good company with Mary and Grace!) Thank you.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Janice, fortunately I don't have that same quirk--I can happily buy several books before finishing the one I'm reading (which is why I have heaps of books stacked around my house in nearly every room...)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Noted. Thank you for the recommendation.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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I've always wanted to read Don Quixote, because it's such an old novel and because, when I was very young, one of the first musicals my parents took us to see on stage was The Man of La Mancha, and I still remember it so vividly. It's a treasured memory, with that story woven into it. Perhaps one day I'll tackle the novel itself...
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Oh, William Morris! Which one is your favourite?
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Vicki, I have a hard time culling my bookshelves. I know I should be more ruthless, too, but I still keep telling myself, "Maybe one day I'll actually read that one...", even though I know I probably never will. And then, like you, I keep returning to my "Happy" selections, or--more and more these days--books written by the writers that I meet and get chatting with at conferences, because I know if I like the person, I'll almost always like the story they have to tell, and I've discovered some wonderful new writers that way.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Kareni, I'm glad someone else couldn't get through The Name of the Rose. For a long while it seemed everyone LOVED that book and I was the only one who'd given up on it (although I still suspect a lot of people only knew the story from the movie, because the book IS a slog to get through!) And yes, I suppose there are still some situations in which we have to hedge a bit when sharing what we're reading :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Annette, I'm so glad you discovered romance and mystery. They're two of my own greatest pleasures in life. They make me happy, too. And you're right--there ARE many of those love stories out there in the real world. My parents are living proof of that :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Jane, there are, indeed, SO many books out there! You'll probably have noticed that I rarely add anything to the "What We're Reading" posts myself, because I usually don't read much fiction while I'm working on my own novels, and right now I'm nose-to-the-grindstone on a new book--but I always pay attention to what my fellow Wenches are reading, and I can assure you my own TBR pile grows by leaps and bounds each month with their suggestions...
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Constance, isn't it liberating when you finally allow yourself to NOT finish a book without guilt? I mean, I used to not finish books, but I always felt guilty about it. And then at last I realized that was silly, and I've been happily reading what I please ever since!
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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(I don't like Scarlett, either)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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Binnie, like you, I'm not a Wuthering Heights person. I think perhaps there are Jane Eyre people and Wuthering Heights people, because while I empathize with Jane and would place Mr. Rochester neatly into my category of "Heroes Who Need A Hug", I'm afraid I don't like either of the main characters of Wuthering Heights at all, and have never found Heathcliff romantic. (He's in my category of "Heroes Who Need To Be Served A Restraining Order"...) Still, I know there are those who feel differently, and that's fine. Horses for courses :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2019 on A Memorable Read at Word Wenches
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