A few days ago, I finished reading the twelfth, penultimate book in the entertaining confection that is the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. It took me about a month to get through all twelve—not bad. If you don’t know, the books are the basis for the HBO series True Blood. And if you don’t know True Blood, then you are missing out on funny, sexy, gory goodness! Of course, it’s not for everyone. I can think of a few grandmothers who wouldn’t be pleased to watch it.
The 13th book is out May 7, 2013
The books are different although the voice of the heroine, Sookie, stays true in the TV show. While I was reading the series, it struck me how tiring it must be for author Charlaine Harris to have to repeat information in each and every book. How many times did I get introduced to Sookie’s telepathy or the fact that she’d killed a major nemesis in her kitchen with a shotgun or a description of her gorgeous yet scary vampire boyfriend’s long blond hair and blue eyes?
Since I’m working on a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell, I think about how much old information I’ll need to relate. I kind of want to approach the new book as a stand-alone, but I think that can be tricky as well. To use an example from a totally different genre, Louise Erdrich recycles characters and settings all the time in her novels—they are like real people living their lives on a different plane of existence, and Erdrich drops in now and then to record for readers in her lyrical prose when something dramatic happens to them.
It’s a fine line a writer has to straddle in giving too much away or not offering enough information. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to stop over-thinking and just write.
By the way, there’s still time to enter my Amazon gift card giveaway! Click on the Giveaways link above or here. The drawing in this Sunday, February 10, 2013.
So, I’ve been obsessing about this whole e-book phenomenon, and it’s no wonder as I plow through the first Sookie Stackhouse novel (yes, I’m one of those True Blood fans who’s finally found her way to the source material) on my iPad. The app that truly legitimizes this basically rather expensive toy, although my kids would argue accessing Disney movies and Angry Birds is reason enough, is OverDrive Media, which I highly recommend to anyone who is an advocate of library usage. Through OverDrive, you can “check out” e-books and audible books (i.e. books on tape) for free. You get the file for 3 weeks and then it disappears. No late fees! Pretty awesome. Oh, and the app is free.
Anyway, e-books haven’t completely replaced real books in my personal library. An author I admire can’t sign my e-book, can she? I recently scooted down to a wonderful local bookstore, Bookshop West Portal, because I knew one of my favorite authors Ann Patchett had done a signing there for her new book, State of Wonder, and I’d be able to get a lovely autographed copy. Granted, I have yet to read her book (but it’s going to be good! It’s getting excellent reviews) because the e-books I requested keep rolling in from the library, and I have to accept them or they disappear from my “hold shelf.” But I’ll get to Ms. Patchett’s book soon. Don’t you worry! And for now, I can admire the lovely cover.
Of course, there are e-book publishers out there that specialize in digital books, and because this whole indie e-book publishing thing is kind of daunting (just found out, for example, that hiring an editor is going to cost mucho dinero), I might give one of these publishers a try. Yes, give them a chance to reject my beloved book one more time, then head off on my own, as Planned B. Let’s see…if I send out my manuscript by tomorrow to the editors, it could take three to four months before I hear back from them.
What say you, dear readers. Should I do it? Should I invite more rejection into my house?