|Photo by Dawn Rae|
I read a wide variety of styles and genres. I read every day and the main reason I love to read is for the escape. I want a story that takes me away to the theater in my mind. A scene that the author creates so vividly that I can imagine it with ease. As though I am also in that kitchen, walking near that river, or running from that bad guy. I need characters real enough to feel familiar - as though they are neighbors or family. As though I am privy to their secrets because I am a part of their lives. I want to suddenly laugh, cry, or yell. Both of these authors take me away to those other worlds and to that place of escape.
Author Tawni O'Dell - Pennsylvania
If I remember correctly, I discovered Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell during one of my wanderings through a local stick and mortar book store some years ago. I read the book and related to it so much that I had to read everything she has published since.
Ms. O'Dell describes herself -
"My roots: I'm half Pennsylvania redneck and half southern white trash. Growing up, I never really fit in. I always thought I was a freak because I liked books and living animals."
Her books are set in Pennsylvania, in coal mining communities. While I've never lived in coal mining areas, I do know people similar to the characters she writes about. I love her characters and the way she handles very tough and raw topics. I would describe her writing stark, dark, and humorous. You giggle when you least expect it, right in the middle of some really tough situation.
When describing her writing, others use words such as: raw, tense, captivating, touching, titilating, and unique. I agree. After reading her books, and I have read all of them except the most recent, I feel as though I know what life in coal mining community might be like.
Back Roads - An Unforgettable Debut Novel
Back Roads is Tawni O'Dell's debut novel. The setting is Pennsylvania mining country. Ms. O'Dell tells us the story of nineteen year old Harley Altmyer. He is an angry, unlucky, and did I mention angry young man who is left to raise his younger siblings. This in not a story for the faint of heart. Harley had reason to be angry, and it is unlikely you will forget this story about a dysfunctional family. I will never forget the thoughts Harley had during one of his sessions with his therapist. As someone who works with children, over the years I had already imagined that some of my clients have had very similar thoughts during our meetings. Thank you Ms. O'Dell for taking me for an unforgettable ride down a dark, bumpy, and frightening dirt road to the Altmyer home.
Author Nora Roberts - Maryland
What can I possibly say about Ms. Roberts that hasn't already been said? My guess is that, if you are an avid reader, you've at least heard of her and probably have read her. She is a book writing machine who began her writing career when she was snowed in at home with her young children. I love the story of how she began.
In an interview with BookBrowse she says:
"The blizzard of '79 hit in February, and I was stuck in the house with two small children. Any mother out there knows what it is to weep bitter tears when the radio announces that there will be no morning kindergarten" .... "I'd never thought about writing as a career. I thought everyone made up stories in their heads. But after days of being trapped by the blizzard, I was tired of playing Candy Land and was desperate for some sort of release."
It was then she took pen to paper and immediately fell in love with the process of writing.
I love both her characters and her story lines. With many other authors, I like either their character development or the plot movement, but often I don't enjoy both equally. I do with Ms. Robert's writing. Both the characters and the story stick with me - often for years later.
The Witness - A Story of Good Versus Evil and a Woman's Will to Live
The Witness is one such story, and much more. A young lady, who reminds me VERY much of some of the spectrum kids I've worked with over the years, witnesses one violent crime after another. She is able to escape alive but spends the remainder of her life running and hiding. Because she is brilliant and has certain skills, she is able to stay a step ahead of those who want her dead - despite having no family (who says only step-mothers are evil?) or friends to help her. Years later, she begins to experience the possibilities of love and home. Just as she begins to have a desire to put down roots, evil finds her again.
Nora Roberts - Read more about Ms. Roberts, her books, upcoming releases, and events on her website.
Inn Boonsboro - Boonsboro is a small town that I had driven through on one of my long, winding "Sunday Drives" when I first moved to Maryland. The surrounding area is gorgeous countryside - dotted with interesting small towns. I was surprised to learn that Nora Roberts and her husband own the Inn Boonsboro. Her husband owns the bookstore next to the Inn - Turn The Page bookstore. Someday, I will stop and stay in Boonsboro, rather than just drive though. Perhaps, I will re-read The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy while I'm there.
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