Friday, 23 April 2010

Emily's First Coffee Break

Hi! Welcome to my first Coffee Break post! Please help yourself to some croissants (I’ve got plain and chocolate) and I’ve got various different types of tea and coffee on the go so please grab whatever you like, get comfy and I’ll begin!

Let me introduce myself first because there are so many new Novel Racers now, I don’t think I know many of you! I’m Emily Tootsweet. I’ve been Emily Tootsweet for a few months now. She’s my fourth ‘identity’ in the blog world. Before Emily there was ‘Awriter’, ‘Paige’ and the short lived ‘Secret Writer’ you’ve maybe seen me floating about in the blog world under one or two of those names. Well, I’m sticking to Emily Tootsweet for now. :o)

Right, onto my topic (and I apologise now if it’s been talked about before!)

I have been an absent member of the Novel Racers lately and I must apologise for not welcoming any new racers that have joined. It’s all my fault that I haven’t got to know any of you and writing this post is making me feel very much like the new girl in the class at school, standing up, introducing herself and hoping she makes some new friends!

I like being in contact with other writers as it’s lovely to get support from people who understand when the wibbles come a-calling or another rejection pops through your letterbox. Friends and family are lovely at picking me up when I’m down but there’s nothing like getting a kick up the backside from a fellow writer who has been there, done that and got so many t-shirts their wardrobe is over flowing!

So on the theme of not knowing many of you, I’d like the chance to rectify that a bit. I’d like to ask everyone what genres do you read? What genres do you write? Are they the same? Do you like to keep the genres you read separate from those you write? Do you like reading different genres or do you stick to the one genre you love most?

Me? I’m a chick lit girl. I love the romance and laughter that comes when you read about a character’s failed attempts at getting the man of her dreams, the job she’s wanted since forever and the things she gets up to with her friends. I sometimes read thrillers but not very often.

As for my writing, I try to write Chick lit but I think I’m probably better under the title of Women’s Fiction. I can’t seem to get the humour needed to make my writing ‘Chick lit-y’ enough. I would never manage to write a thriller as I don’t think I’m clever enough to make it twisty to keep readers reading.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Emily Tootsweet :o)


JJ Beattie said...

Morning all, I'll just grab a tea thanks and dribble a bit at a safe distance from the croissants. You know me... so I'll not introduce myself.

I read pretty widely. Book Club makes me do that and also reading what friends are publishing. I read them because I think it's important to support each other... and I'm naturally nosey and want to read their work!

Mostly I read fiction but I do enjoy non-fiction and biography/memoir in moderation - and a bit of crime. I'm mostly drawn to women writers because I'm interested in the women's condition - end of the world/aliens/guns just don't do it for me. There's already too much of that in the world (particularly in Bangkok right now) and I have no interest in understanding it. I think it's worth noting that there are some good male writers dealing with human relationships so I read them too.

I also read some YA - partly to see what my son's reading and partly because lots of the writers on the blogs are writing it. I think it's a really exciting area of writing right now.

I'm drawn to debuts at the moment - that can be depressing - and I like to check out prize winners too but I'll only do that if they sound right for me.

I haven't really answered your question though have I? I'm writing women's commercial fiction and yes, I do read in that area but also more widely.

Thanks for the great question Emily.

Karen said...

Hi Emily - I'll have half a croissant as I'm being 'good' at the moment :o)

I do read in the genre I write in - women's commercial fiction - especially the humorous sort which I love or the ones with a darker theme running through, but I read literary fiction and psychological thrillers too, in fact anything that to me sounds like a good story.

When I'm writing full-on, I tend to read in a different genre in case I accidentally absorb a writer's style!

Good post.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Hi there, Emily. I'll have a plain croissant with an English Breakfast tea, if I may.

I write paranormal fantasy/humour -- think Terry Pratchett in a London suburb -- though I seem to have more erotid fiction in print than anything else. Perhaps I should combine the two.

I am, however, an eclectic reader and generally avoid reading my own genre. At present I'm reading Gervais Phinn's latest autobiography, Paul Zealand's 'Robin Hood and Friar Tuck against the Zombies' and Pullmans 'Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ'.

Flowerpot said...

Morning Emily good to meet you. I'll have a croissant thanks - haven't had one for ages. Like JJ I read widely courtesy of my book group but mostly I read contemporary women's fiction (Rosie Thomas, Elizabeth Berg, Olivia Lichtenstein) and a few thrillers - the Steig Larsson books have me utterly captivated. I write what I like to read though I haven't written a thriller - I'm new to that side of things though I like a bit of the dark side in my reading and writing - I think it provides a good balance and also helps to keep turning the pages. I've also just read One Day by David Nicholls which perfectly demonstrates JJ's comments about male writers dealing with relationships. Good question!

Flowerpot said...

PS I forgot to say I'm also reading some children's books - by Jill Murphy and Liz Kessler as I've interviewed them recently! That's been interesting as it's not an area I would normally read at all.

Cathy said...

Coffee and a croissant sounds lovely.

I mostly write women's fiction, often with a slightly darker edge and more towards the literary end.

My reading tastes are quite wide. I love authors such as Anita Shreve, Maggie O'Farrell and Anne Tyler, but I also enjoy crime and psychological thrillers as well as accessible literary fiction.

Recently I've been dipping into childrens books and some young adult fiction too, as it is good to know what is contemporary.

Serendipity said...

Hello Emily, lots and lots of coffee for me please to wake me up!
I read so many genres - right now I have three different books on the go - a classic (Room with a View), a chick-lit (Carole Matthews) and because vampires are so big right now... Charlaine Harris - the True Blood novels!
So what do I write? Like you Emily I can't quite get the humour right for chick-lit so it's womens fiction but with an occasional dabble in children's stories. It seems to flow depending what mood I'm in!

NoviceNovelist said...

Hi Emily, Great first coffee morning! Like you I write women's fiction but would love to be able to write a thriller in the style of Michael Connelly/Harlan Coben. Think I might have to keep that as my 'writing' secret' as I have never even had the whiff of an idea for one! I read a lot of women's fiction and lots of thrillers. I also really love a great short story. Welcome!

Ellie said...

If it has words, I'll read it (or try to). I've always got lots of books on the go, spread across a wide range of genres, but usually something from these broad categories:

- contemporary women's fiction (which my current WIP fits into)
- thriller/crime (especially with the word 'book', 'secret', 'Egypt' or words to that effect in the title. I am a sucker)
- pop science (I was at the lecture by Prof Brian Cox at Manchester Uni last night, and think some astrophysics may be popping up in my TBR pile soon!)
- classics (especially funny ones, like Evelyn Waugh or Stella Gibbons)
- something in French or Italian (I'm a language geek)
- a childhood favourite (a Narnia book, something from Swallows and Amazons)
- a bit of sci-fi or steampunk (Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson are particular favourites)
- historical fiction, non-fiction or biographies (I'm particularly attached to the Tudors and all their racy escapades)

Basically, a bit of everything, which may say something about my attention span...

Graeme K Talboys said...

I’ll forgo croissants as it is approaching lunchtime. If I’d been here earlier I would have broken out the apricot jam and scoffed the lot.

My reading is not so much dictated by genre as it is by what I consider good writing (and there’s a never-ending discussion to be had about that) and an indefinable quality that intrigues and excites me the way that writing in New Worlds magazine intrigued and excited me back in the ‘60s. That set the standard for me and I’ve been pursuing books that do that for me ever since - odd, anarchic, quirky, mind-expanding, written with wit, exploring the edges, often flawed, but always inspiring.

I’ll happily read a Sexton Blake pulp (especially those by Jack Trevor Story), science fiction, westerns, thrillers, whodunits, traditional, experimental, literary, children’s… Favourite authors include: Alain-Fournier, Margery Allingham, J G Ballard, Barrington J Bayley, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Angela Carter, Len Deighton, Michael de Larrabeiti, T S Eliot, Alasdair Gray, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, M John Harrison, Diana Wynne Jones, Langdon Jones, John le Carré, Ursula le Guin, Fritz Leiber, Doris Lessing, Michael Moorcock, William Morris, E Nesbit, Jenny Nimmo, Mervyn Peake, Anthony Price, Arthur Ransome, Philip Reeve, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Keith Roberts, Joanna Russ, G B Shaw, John Sladek, Jack Trevor Story, Emma Tennant, P L Travers, Sylvia Townsend Warner, H G Wells, Virginia Woolf. I also enjoy a wide variety of non-fiction (lots of archaeology and early history, philosophy, biography).

As for writing… I have a children’s novel, some spy novels, a sci-fi thriller, a couple of fantasy novels, and several ‘literary’ works under my belt. With lots more to come. One that’s been out of print for a while (a spy novel) will be re-appearing next year, and other projects (mostly centred arounf Charlie Cornelius) will be in print shortly.

Denise said...

Hi Emily, ooh choc croissants, yum.

I'm writing science fiction, and a lot of what I read comes into that genre. I've also started reading a lot more crime, which has influenced my writing a bit.

I try to avoid reading anything too close to what I'm writing, or I do pick up on their style. I'm writing a near future SF novel, so am currently reading one set in space.

Fia said...

I'll read anything as long as I care and worry for about the main character.

Best book I've read this year was Shutter Island - brilliant characters and plot. Last year Kate Atkinson's When Will There be Good News? Year before, The Undomesticated Goddess.

Great questions Emily.

Fia said...

sorry about lousy writing. Hand still not mended but stitches out.

Fia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Lord Brown said...

Hi Emily - good to meet you. Croissants ... mmm why not? I read anything and everything - but love writers like Anne Tyler, Carol Shields. I don't know what genre my work falls into (it was once described as 'not Booker, but not chicklit either' :)

Annieye said...

Hi Emily

Great post. I've always wondered if I was odd in writing in a different genre to my preference for reading, but several writers have indicated to me that they are the same.

I write family sagas and women's fiction. I do sometimes enjoy a good old family saga but my favourite books are thrillers, adventures, sci-fi, fantasy if I'm in the mood, and crime.

I'll read anything though, although I can't really identify with chick-lit.

Sylvia Phoenix said...

I'll give the croissants a miss, as they tend to give me indigestion. A late coffee would be nice though.

It's nice to meet you. I guess most people on this blog already know you. I don't know how you manage so many identities. I had enough trouble setting up my one profile and it's difficult trying to keep up with all the news.

This genre thing is a great question. I like to read a variety of them and sometimes I don't even know what genre to call something. The ones I can name and enjoy reading are (in no particular order): thrillers, crime, adventure, romance, science fiction and comedy. Ones I haven't tried or don't particularly like are: historical, saga, war stories and empty-headed stuff. What do I mean by empty-headed? Well, you know, stuff like the lame plots you get in erotic fiction, silly girly stories with weak heroines, that sort of thing. For me, something believable and significant has to happen. If there's no substance to the book then I get bored, unless the comedy is really funny.

As for writing, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I've done a few short stories with clear genres in each case. Quite a wide range of those, in fact. The problem is I've no idea what genre my novel fits into. That probably means it doesn't fit, so I suppose I'm going to have to think about changing something. At the moment I'm too busy enjoying writing it to worry enough about what market it might sell to, if any.

It's better to travel, than to arrive. At least that's what someone once said. Maybe I'll change my mind about that later.

I notice that some of you are put off by reading well-known authors in the genres you write in, either because you don't want to accidentally copy their style, or because you're put down by how good they seem compared with you own writing. For me, I find I'm inspired rather than put off. I'm not sure why this is.

Lane said...

Hi Emily
Sorry to be late to your first post. I'll hoover up the croissant crumbs if I may.

I'll read anything as long as it grabs me within the first few pages - women's fiction, psychological thrillers, historical - whatever. I'm in the middle of a Sarah Waters binge at the moment and in awe of the sheer skill of her writing.

I also love short stories although good collections are few and far between. Shame as I tend to prefer shorts when I'm writing, simply because there isn't the time to get immersed in anything longer.

Have a lovely week everyone.

LilyS said...

I love reading chick lit and I am trying to branch out into other genres but I am ploughing through a huge pile of books my mum passed onto me. I recently read The Lovely Bones which is anything but chick lit and I really enjoyed it.

I also love auto-biographies, my favourite of all being My Booky Wook by Russell Brand