November 29, 2008

Hearing Voices

What is it about an author’s voice and style that allows a loyal reader to read an excerpt of their latest work and be able to identify the author? Not that I can do that, I’m only just beginning to compile a list of my favorite authors. It seems I’m finally coming out from under the rock I’ve been living under since I began having babies back in the ‘80’s, (please don’t tell my children I said they crawled out from under a rock) and am only now discovering authors whose writing voices ‘speak’ to me. A couple of these are:

W. Dale Cramer

Barbara Kingsolver

Susan Meissner

Randy Ingermanson

Sara Gruen

I enjoy these author’s voices, but I sure don’t write anything like them. I’m leery of “branding” my writing any time soon; in fact, after reading Chip MacGregor’s latest post on branding, I’m not too worried about defining my writing brand for quite a while. The only definition I can give my writing at the moment is Nicholas Sparks meets Karen Kingsbury at an off-beat little comedy club. A little more Nicholas than Karen. Gayle Roper read an excerpt and synopsis of my first novel and told me I’d written “an intelligent romance.” I took that as a compliment, although I didn’t actually check to see if she’d meant it as one. So I really haven’t written enough to analyze. Right now, I am enjoying reading and analyzing the work of others.

So there are many more books on my TBR list. These are a few topping the list because I have a feeling I’m going to hit it off with them too:

Lisa Samson

John B. Olson

Michael Snyder

Jamie Langston Turner

My question to you: Do you know these authors and their work, and if so, do you see a pattern to this list? If you are familiar with their work and know of other authors with similar elements of voice and style, I’d love to hear some reading recommendations.

4 comments:

carla stewart said...

Hey Camille, It's good to see you out from under the rock. You've named a LOT of my favorite authors. There are only a couple on your list that I haven't read. I think there is a pattern - great writing, something unusual about the stories (original??)and the "voice" that everyone talks about.
A couple of additions that I would make are Anne Tyler (The Accidental Tourist, Back When We Were Grownups, Breathing Lessons, Saint Maybe, and many others) and Billie Letts. Billie is a Tulsa author who made it on Oprah with her first book - Where the Heart Is. Also her latest is excellent - Made in the USA. Some language, so be warned, but the writing is exquisite. Also Charles Martin is one of my favorites, and for fun, Ray Blackston. (Giving the CBA equal time here) Peace Like a River made me bawl. Leif Enger's newest book not so much. I have a trillion or two books in my TBR pile and will never get to them all, so I pick and choose and am now choosing what I like over what I "should" read. Trouble the Water by Nicole Seitz was a great read as was Painted Dresses by Patricia Hickman.
Probably TMI for you, but you did ask, so . . .

Dal Jeanis said...

Your John B Olson links to Jamie Langston Turner's site. Probably should point here http://www.litany.com/author.html

Camille Eide said...

OOoops, thanks for catching that, Dal. Fixed it.

I've got Lisa Samson's Embrace me up next, then Olson's Shade. Oooo, I heard it's too scary to read alone.

Thanks for the ideas, Carla. Not TMI, I did ask. Adding them to my TBR pile now. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know about a pattern, but I do know I like voices that are unique and thought-provoking, and that rivet me to the page. I like voices/stories that I can get lost in, and a lot of the authors you listed do that for me.

I second Carla Stewart's recommendation of Billie Letts. I love her, too. You have GOT to read her!

Then there's that Camille chick. . .she's awesome!

ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.