Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Guest Author: Tracey O'Hara

Today we've got debut author Tracey O'Hara on the blog. I was lucky enough to read NIGHT'S COLD KISS before publication and thought it was deliciously dark and intriguing! Follow the link if you want to check out an excerpt. Tracey's website also has a book trailer.

Please welcome Tracey to the blog everyone!

To Read or Not to Read

I hear a lot of writers say they started writing while still in their cradles. Okay exaggeration there but you get the idea. They always wrote, they always wanted to be a writer and that is all they really wanted to do.

Well not me.

I hated English in school, with a passion. Mind you, I’ve always been a reader, but I hated technical construct that went into learning about sentence structure, verbs, adverbs, propositions and pronouns. I was a math and science geek from way back. Nothing was more torturous for me than having to write an essay. I’d sit there looking at the blank page having no idea what to write. So having failed English at school – how did I become a writer. Answer – my love of stories and books.

There have been a few books, and we all have them, that have not exactly changed my life but changed the way I viewed books. The first book that transitioned me from a child reader to reading more adult books was William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES. I was eleven or twelve at the time when I read it, my first year in High school. And OMG it blew me away. It wasn’t nice and the children didn’t go home for tea after a lovely trip to upside down land like they did in Enid Blyton’s ENCHANTED FARAWAY TREE series. No these boys turned wild, hunted pigs and even committed murder. I just couldn’t go back to childish books after that.

My father was an avid Wilbur Smith reader and we had a shelf of his books. So I picked up the first – MEN OF MEN. I was soon transported into the world of colonial Africa. I went to war with the Zulus, hunted elephant and went on many adventures with the rugged Sean Courtney – I think he was my first crush. I wanted to go to Africa so bad, still do, because of those books.

A couple of years later after I had devoured every single Wilbur Smith I could get my hands on, I saw a movie called Carrie. Apparently it was a book, and the book was better. So I picked up this book and soon found a new love -- Stephen King. He scared the living daylights out of me, and I loved it. Even now I can’t walk past a street drain without fear of some insane clown grabbing my ankle and dragging me down to my death. As with Wilbur Smith, I began to read everything I could.

Then I discovered fantasy. All my husband’s fault. He gave me THE MAGICIAN by Raymond E. Feist and again I couldn’t get enough of Midkemia or Kelewan through Janny Wurt’s DAUGHTER OF THE EMPIRE books. So I tended gravitate towards authors I guess as we all do. I read other things as well, sci-fi, classics, contemporaries, historical. I have read widely, but none of those books had as much an impact on me as the authors I’ve mentioned. Well Maybe Kurt Vonnegut.

Today there are so many to choose from, so many books. Nalini and Keri Arthur were such an inspiration to me as a writer. Not only did they write really great books, they were from downunder—Keri the Aussie and a Kiwi Nalini. In fact one of Keri’s earlier releases, the Ripple Creek werewolf series, was the first paranormal romance I read.

Then I discovered writing — caught the bug, so to speak. Unlike when I was in school, I found I actually liked putting words done on the page. I love learning how to structure the sentence to have the most impact. But the down side is I don’t have as much time to read as much as I used to. I really don’t think you can be a writer you must be a reader. When I am stuck, I read and that tends to bring back my muse.

Is there any one or more authors that have really influenced what you read or changed your approach to reading?


Natascha said...

Charlaine Harris, J.R.Ward, Stephanie Meyer, and Suzanne Collins were the first authors I read that completely influenced the path of my reading interests. They led me to Nalini Singh, Jessica Andersen, Richelle Mead, and many other wonderful and original authors.

Shannon said...

"Is there any one or more authors that have really influenced what you read or changed your approach to reading?"

Welcome Tracey!

V.C. Andrews and Dean Koontz were the first books I read completely at the age of 18, and they both influenced my reading preferences of romance and paranormal. I then discovered Charlaine Harris and Stephenie Meyer who in part led me to Nalini Singh(of course!), J.R. Ward, and Lora Leigh, but I'm still keeping the reading door open to other authors who write in the same genre(s)!

Maree Anderson said...

I started off with Wilbur Smith, too, Tracey. My favorite one of his is Eagle In The Sky, about a pilot who's terribly burned when his plane crashes, and a heroine who was blinded in a terrorist attack...must get my hands on a copy!

And after Mr Smith and similar styles of books from various authors, I got hooked on Fantasy - Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings.

The SFF author who had the biggest impact on me is Stephen Donaldson. He inspired me to start writing -- I don't know whether to adore him or hate him for that at times, LOL!

Lovely to see you here, Tracey -- Nalini's blog is a cool place to be!


Una said...

I must say when I was younger I devoured Dean R. Koontz, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and Stephen King. However, some how I lost my love (or passion) of reading during college and through Stephenie Meyer's Twilight (last year), found my love and passion of reading, and more wonderful authors I love; Nalini Singh, J R Ward, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, etc. In fact, it was Twilight that changed my mind about romance novels. It is so true that you cannot judge a book by its cover (or genre). Thank you for joining us today!

orannia said...

I just adore Janny Wurts. To Ride Hell's Chasm always makes me cry. Another fantasy author who has blown me away is Sarah Monette. And, when I was a teenager - Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald Mage!

Leaving fantasy and heading into paranormal romance & urban fantasy - Nalini Singh (it's true :) and Patricia Briggs!

All the best for the release :)

Chelsea B. said...

You know, I never liked to read vampire books until I read Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight' series. Now I can't get enough! :)

NiNi said...

Hi Tracey

I gotta say Stephenie Meyer paved the way for me. From there I gradually moved from YA books to Patricia Briggs, then Nalini!, Kresley Cole, Charlaine Harris...and so forth.


Tracey O'Hara said...

Wow - these are all wonderful authors. I love Charlaine Harris and J.R. Ward, thought I have started to wain on her later books - I will still buy them.

I haven't read Stephanie Myers - but she is amazing in that she ahs influenced a genteration of readers like J.K. Rowling.

Maree - sweetie - How could i have left out Anne MaCaffrey. OMG when I started reading her I couldn't get enough. She is a mulit read- i.e. I will go back and re-read her books.

girrlit said...

Jack London, Ursula Le Guin, Harper Lee and John Marsden as a kidlet, as an adult, this is a bit embarrassing.. but Christine Feehan, I only read a couple of Carpathians but it re-introduced me to romance novels and I have been stuck here ever since.

And down-under gals rock!

Erica Hayes said...

I vote for Stephen King and Anne Rice, for sucking me into the paranormal vortex. From which I've never quite emerged yet :)

Bridget Locke said...

I'm not saying this to suck up, but because it's the truth. Reading Nalini really opened my eyes to really, really good paranormal romance.

After her I got into so many different authors that I probably wouldn't have tried

Another author that changed things for me is Kim Harrison. Before her Hollows series, I'd never read Urban Fantasy. Now it's one of my favorite genres. :)

Tracey O'Hara said...

Bridget - I so understand Nalini has been an inpiration to me too. And Kim Harrison's Hollows series is Awesome. So is Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. I have the extreme good fortune to share an editor with those two very lovely ladies.

There are so many books I want read I just need more time. sigh.

Julia said...

I, too, started with Stephenie Meyer. Since the day i read twilight I can´t get enough of paranormal romances. Nalini was the second step!

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for sharing Tracey & thank you for having her here Nalini.
Authors who have influenced my writing and reading interests are:

David Eddings

C.J. Cherryh

C.S. Friedman

Tanya Huff

Jack L. Chalker

Arthur Conan Doyle

Robert Louis Stevenson

Louisa May Alcott

Guy Gavriel Kay

Stephen King

J.R.R. Tolkien

Piers Anthony

Rudyard Kipling

C. S. Forester

Lloyd Alexander

John Wyndham

Mercedes Lackey

Andre Norton

Ursula K. LeGuin

Anne McCaffrey

Diane Duane

Mark Twain


David Feintuch

Lois McMaster Bujold

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Roger Zelazny

Isaac Asimov

Harlan Ellison

Rod Serling

Dorothy Dunnett

Jim Butcher

Michelle West

George R.R. Martin

Tad Williams

Frank Herbert

J.K. Rowling

L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Julie Czerneda

All the best,
twitter: @RKCharron

Anonymous said...

I love The Magician. Jimmy the Hand! Nakor! Oranges!

Anyway. Authors that have changed the way I read:

As a child, Carolyn Keene introduced me to genre books and sparked my love of romance (Nancy and Ned). Enid Blyton started my addiction to series books. Hugh Walters introduced me to science fiction.

Kathleen Woodiwiss was my intro to epic romances, thanks to Mum's recommendation. Laura Kinsale upped my standard for all romances (and remains *the* gold standard.) Kathleen O'Reilly upped my standard for the contemporary heroine (She has sex! A lot! OMG!) and on her blog recommended Eloisa James...who started my love for Regencies. Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook made me understand how good paranormal romance can be. Ann Aguirre on how first person POV can work in a romance. Emma Holly showed me that it's possible to get an HEA in erotica.

And finally, Patricia McKillip because her words are so good they're practically edible.

Cathy M said...

Lora Leigh caught me up in the shifter stories, LKH got me for vampire/paranormal, and Stephanie Laurens snagged me for historical romance.

Christina said...

I've devoured books all my life. My reading level was always higher than my grade level, so I picked up the classics and just read as much as I could. Since I've been reading things like Last of the Mohicans, Count of Monte Cristo, since I was in 7th grade, I don't have a 'moment' per se... Austen is one of my all time favorite authors (if I could write a social commentary that lasts for over a century, I'd be happy as a clam)

But I have the book that got me into the romance Genre was Julie Garwood's The Secret. It was such an amazing book to my 16 year old self, and got me loving romance novels since then. Kresley Cole and Nalini really solidified the paranormal romance genre for me.

Princess Bumblebee said...

Hey, everyone. Welcome, Tracey!
Me, I've been reading and writing since i was in the craddle, hehe. Hope to become a published author someday. I remember sitting in my grandma's lap as she read to me and my twin and she would point to the words she was reading. That's how I learned to read.
Tracey, I kinda liked structuring sentences and grammer. Then again, it came easy to me. I always recieved good grades in Grammer and English. What I hated was the books they made us read, hehe. They were just plain boring, hehe. "The Old Man and the Sea" Snooze, hehe.
I have always loved to read and my Grandma gently introduced me to the romances I love. I think what really hooked me was Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I think I still have a dog-eared copy of one of her books I would read over and over again! Now it's Nalini, Suzanne Brockmann, Kresley Cole, and Tara Janzen that top my list of faves!

Diane said...

I started reading Harlequin books in my early teens, expanded my reading to V C Andrews and Danielle Steel, have now gone on to read not only fiction but paranormal romance, romantic suspense, mystery and fantasy though I no longer read either Andrews or Steel. I enjoy reading and friends have given me names of authors but I've found new authors through the websites of favorite authors too.

Morning Glow said...

I would have to say.. author Jennie Crusie really changed things for me. Yeah, I had dabbled a little in the romance genre before.. but it was Jennie Crusie that really got me into romance, especially authors who write with a little humor. After that, I think it would be Laurell K. Hamilton that really shoved me into the whole.. vampire, werewolf, etc genre. And I've been there ever since!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Well it all started with those Little Golden books - LOL! seriously then the fantastic Roald Dahl and it's just webbed out from there.
- Judy Blume
- Stephen King
- Mary Higgins Clark
- Jennifer Roberson
- David & Leigh Eddings
- Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Robert Jordon
- JRR Tolkein
- JK Rowling
- JR Ward
- Diana Gabaldon
and my writing buddies out there....

Anonymous said...

Really great ideas. I like every example. Just might have to try these... So cute! Thank you!
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