THE COMFORT OF LIES releases today and we’ve got a copy, fresh off the press, for one super-lucky reader. Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered!
Update: the winner of THE COMFORT OF LIES is Melissa Crytzer Fry. Melissa has been notified by email. Thanks to all who entered!
What is the relationship between reader and writer? I’ve been a reader for far more hours of my life than I’ve been a writer. As a child, I made twice-weekly trips to the Kensington branch of the Brooklyn library nearest my home (my haul limited by the rules for those who held children’s cards.) Writers were gods to me, purveyors of that which I needed for sustenance. Food. Shelter. Books. Those were my life’s priorities.
Naturally, I liked some books more than others, and those etched themselves on my young soul (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Jubilee by Margaret Walker.) I felt as if these books reached inside and wrenched out my truth.
As an adult reader I still feel that way; I’m constantly foraging for books that offer glimpses into a character’s psyche, that go deep enough to make me part of the choir, saying, “Oh yeah, me too, tell it, writer. True that, uh huh. ”
Now that I am a writer, I’ve learned that reaching so deep isn’t always comfortable. Hey, my daughter’s gonna read this! Hey, husband: this isn’t you! It’s far easier to skate on the surface. And, honestly, there is a place on my shelf for those soothing books. Sometimes I want a comfort read, a total escape, a warm place to rest.
I believe there should be a covenant between writer and reader. What is it that me-the-writer is offering me-the-reader? (I can’t imagine a writer who is not also a reader.) Am I offering the reader the same qualities I want when I’m the reader? Am I giving my best?
My books I repeatedly return to are those holding the grit of emotional truth (which is very different than the truth of events.) Thus, I try to write with a knife held to my own throat, so that my work will hold as much emotional truth as possible. Genre doesn’t matter—fiction category owns it’s own truth and depth. I suspect the best writers in each genre are readers of the same.
Books are precious—at time they are my very best friends. Recently when I turned the page of The Headmaster’s Wager, Vincent Lam’s book had me so hooked, the emotions were so deep and unsettling, that putting it down was impossible. But I needed to travel, the book was heavy, and my back was sore—so I bought a copy for my eReader.
That’s exactly what this reader wants: writers who have dug deep, whatever their genre, and given me those best hours of my day. They kept their covenant with me and for that my love can extend to buying their book twice.