Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Day I Dodged

It should be my day today (Catriona), but I'm handing over the blog to my friend and fellow writer, Lori Rader Day, as she celebrates the publication of her third novel THE DAY I DIED, the follow-up to the Mary Higgins Clark winning LITTLE PRETTY THINGS. I was lucky enough to read TDID early on, and it's absolutely fandabbydozy. 

So, without further ado, over to Lori.

What authors inspire you? Do you read them when you are working on a book?

Which writers inspire me? This is not sucking up. I will read anything Catriona McPherson cares to write. Her grocery list? Bring it.

But since she is my host today, I should probably think of other writers who inspire me.

My first mystery/suspense inspirations were Lois Duncan, Agatha Christie, and Mary Higgins Clark. Imagine the 12-year-old me carrying my Mary Higgins Clark library copy of A Cry in the Night onto the school bus to seventh grade to share with my friends. Yeah. That really happened.

Today I’m still inspired by the careers of those three women and by those who follow in their footsteps: Tana French (The Likeness is my favorite) Megan Abbott (The Fever), Lisa Lutz (Heads You Lose with David Hayward is a book more people should read), and Ann Cleeves (I love Vera!). I also read male authors, of course. Favorites include Charles Todd (I’m cheating there, I know) and William Kent Krueger.
I do read fiction when I’m writing, or I wouldn’t read fiction at all. But let’s be honest: I do sometimes put off reading books that I think might influence me too much in what I’m writing. Instead, I might read a novel that is so different from my style that I’m unlikely to borrow. (M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series is great for this, or Alexander McCall Smith’s Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency.) Confession: I have not yet read Lou Berney’s award-winning The Long and Faraway Gone because I’m pretty sure it’s going to give me a severe case of Why Botherism.

I don’t have time to feel more insecure than I already do. Thanks anyway, Berney.

What I read most when I’m trying to get my head out of my own work-in-progress for a while is nonfiction. The best kind of nonfiction is work that may spark ideas for my own project, but that’s hard to predict. The best examples I’ve had of this are the Jon Curran Agatha Christie notebook books and a recent read that blew me away, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin.

Not all of my nonfiction reads have to be about my favorite authors, of course. I’m also a fan of books by Erik Larson, Melissa Fay Greene, Sarah Vowell, David Grann, and books like Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of Remarkable Meetings by Craig Brown and The Fiddler on the Subway by Gene Weingarten—essay collections that have nothing to do with what I write but send my mind pinging all over the place. That’s what I’m looking for in anything I read, whether I’m drafting or not: distraction, energy, and that excitement I used to get as a kid, finding a new favorite story. It’s hard to get as an adult, as someone steeped in books all the time. But when you find it, it’s just as magical as it always was.

Catriona again: Over to you all, Criminal Minds readers - who inspires you?


Kristopher said...

There is some wonderful reading on this list of inspirations. No doubt, a few of them are inspired by Lori Rader-Day in return.

Can't wait to share my review of THE DAY I DIED with the world tomorrow. It's another hell of a book!

Lori Rader-Day said...

Thanks, Kristopher!!

catriona said...

Ohhhhh, Margery Allingham, DLS, Michael Innes, Kate Atkinson, Ann Cleeves, Stephen King . . . Hpw do we ever find time to write?!

Triss said...

Nice post, Lori. When I am deep in writing a mystery, I mostly read non-fiction, as far from the WIP as I can get. Recently, that was the letters of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald. Books about food or travel work well. Next up, after I start the next book, might be the Chernow bio of Hamilton, on my list for quite awhile. Or Stacy Schff's book about the Salem witch trials.Right now, when my mind is freed up, I catch up on mysteries and other fiction. And I sure am familiar with Why Botherism! Sometimes I know we are not only not on the same playing field, we are not even in the same game. Sigh.

Susan C Shea said...

Welcome, Lori! On a day when you've just been singled out (again) for your wonderful writing, suck it up and read Lou Berney's novel. It's so smart and so sly that it will inspire you.

Your non-fiction list interests me. I too read non-fiction at certain times in the manuscript process, but I hew toward science, history, and biography. I'm going to riffle through your virtual bookshelf next time.

Congratulations on the new book.

Unknown said...

You shouldn't miss Lou's book. It is really excellent. Now I am off to read yours ❤📖❤

Ellen Kirschman said...

I loved Lou Berney's LAAFG. And, funny, I think of it often as I'm reading The Day I Died. You are both brilliant at layering in a complex back story as you build tension in the present. I write in first person too and I'm taking notes. Okay. Back to your book.

Kathy Reel said...

Lori, I'm so glad to see you read Sarah Vowell, too. I'm in Honolulu right now, and I was recommending Unfamiliar Fishes to her. She was just leaving Hawaii, but it will still be an awesome read about Hawaii's history and how the good ole United States screwed the Hawaiian people. Oh, and please do read Lou Berney's The Long and Faraway Gone. It's so fantastic. But, you should never think you don't measure up to the finest writing.