Saturday, March 20, 2010
I'll Know You By Heart
Last Tuesday evening some friends of mine at Valor Publishing Group were holding a massive book launch. I thought that I’d stop by just to lend some morale support. Tristi Pinkston was signing copies of her latest book, Secret Sisters. She’s been the nice gentle boost I’ve needed from time to time in my writing endeavors. Also, Daron Fraley was there. I had recently read the book he was promoting, The Thorn. I will be doing a book review on The Thorn in early April. I had never met Daron and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that.
The last thing that I was planning on doing was buying any books for me. I’m already committed to doing four book reviews. My plate is full. The book launch was cool. There was music, food, and several authors. What’s not to like about an event like that?
As I walked along the long table full of authors and books I saw Kimberly Job sitting at the end of the table with Tristi. I said “hi” to her as I spoke with Tristi and then decided that even though I wasn’t there to buy any books for me, my wife, Wendy, might like something new to read. Kimberly’s new romance/suspense novel is called I’ll Know You By Heart.
As I read the back cover of the book, I hesitated. The story line struck a familiar, uncomfortable chord and I wondered if it would hit too close to home for Wendy. However, when I got home she asked how to book signing was, and I replied, “It went well, um, here’s a book I got for you.”
Wendy started reading the book on Wednesday and by Thursday morning she told me how much she enjoyed it. She finished the book in one day. I had taken Thursday off from work, as it was the first day of March Madness and I knew weeks before that BYU would be playing their opening round that day.
After BYU’s dramatic double overtime win, I casually picked up the book and thought that I’d read just the first chapter. Romance novels aren’t really my thing, but I’m a firm believer that a person should try to read outside of the genre they write in. I think that doing so makes one a better writer in whatever genre they’re focused on.
Long story short, after the first chapter I had to read the next. I didn’t finish reading it in just one day like Wendy did. The book was competing with the single greatest sporting event ever created for my attention. However, when I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m., I knew I wasn’t going to get back to sleep until I finished reading it. Yeah, the book is that good.
It is critically important that a writer writes what they know, regardless of genre. Kimberly understands her subject matter very well. It’s just a small scene in the book, but one of the minor characters suffers a heart attack. Kimberly somehow knows enough about heart attacks to know that a vascular surgeon won’t operate on a patient who has just suffered a heart attack because the heart is too weak at that time. It is always preferable for the patient to wait a few days to let the heart regain a little bit of strength before performing open-heart surgery. Like I said, it’s just a small scene, but it was very accurate. There were several scenes in her book which were equally on point. Scenes like that give her writing credibility and power.
I think that I will get the chance to see Kimberly again in about a month at a writers’ conference I believe we’re both registered for. I hope so anyway. I look forward to comparing notes with her about where she drew her plot from.
Despite feeling my testosterone slip away like a boat leaving a safe harbor, I have to admit that if other romance novels are this good, I just might read another.
Before my maleness completely fades into obscurity I think that I’ll go turn March Madness on again.