Monday, 24 February 2014

Read Someone New

Vintage lady reading

We always have our favourite authors--comfortable go-to stories we enjoy over and over again.  I love drinking through a Marion Chesney or Julia Quinn.

We might have discovered these authors based on someone's recommendation, or we might have been hooked by the cover and/or back cover blurb.

As I spend an occasional hour or two working at a library, I have access to all the new fiction that comes through the doors.

Because of this, I'll often read someone new.

How often do you seek out new authors, especially ones you've never heard of?

Kind of scary, isn't it?  What if I don't like their book? What if their style doesn't gel with me?  What if I don't get along with their characters?

And I say, how will you know unless you give them a try?

Every author, EVERY. AUTHOR, was once a debut author with no backlist, no reputation, nothing.  Yet they made it because plenty of readers thought, "Ooh, I ought to read that book."

Today, with the advantages of the Internet, we can scout out a potential author's online presence.  Maybe they've got a few short stories you can read.  Amazon and GoodReads might have reviews.  Also speaking of Amazon, there might be a preview of the first chapter of their debut book.  You can have a taste. If it hooks you, give that author a chance.  (If you give them a chance, do them a favour and leave an honest review of their work somewhere.)

Jennifer Jackson gave me a copy of an Ace/Roc Sampler, featuring several debut authors.  Being in Australia, I don't get as much exposure to debut authors from the US.

This is who they are:

M.L. Brennan  Generation V (American Vampire #1)--urban fantasy.  First page caught my interest not because the main character Fortitude Scott (what an American name!) was a vampire, but because he had a degree in film theory.  (My degree is in film studies, essentially the same thing, only my degree featured a whole lotta hands-on film experience.  Extras don't end up on the IMDB, but film crew does. Not much street cred, but street cred nonetheless.)  Also, the voice was fresh, flowed well and was hooky.  Would I read this book based on the first page?  Absolutely.   M.L. Brennan is a win.

Stella Gemmell  The City--epic fantasy.  Turns out this is the wife of the late David Gemmell.  The style is very rich, and didn't quite hook me at first.  would I read this book based on the first page?  Probably not.  But that doesn't mean I wouldn't persist for a few pages to see if it grabbed me.

Django Wrexler The Thousand Names--epic fantasy.  Now, why do I know this name? Wracking my brain to figure out where I've seen him before.  (Possibly the Online Writing Workshop? Or maybe Podcastle? Can't recall.)  Anyhow, his epic fantasy style is not as heavy as Gemmell's, so it hooked me better.  Also immediately, we meet three weary soldiers with very different personalities.  Yeah, I'd read on.  (Man, I wish I could recall where I've heard this name before!  Driving me nuts.)

Luke Scull The Grim Company--quest fantasy.  Ooh, wizards challenging gods. I likes me some of that.  Also a sucker for quest fantasy, as long as there's interesting twists in there.  I was spoiled by the quest fantasies of the 1980's.  This, however, didn't grab me as much as I wanted it to.  Still, I'd persist in hopes that it would grab me. The character Brodar Kayne might appeal to me on further reading. He's a man with baggage.

Alan Averill The Beautiful Land--urban time travel sci-fi.  The plotline sounds wonderfully complex.  Takahiro O'Leary's Day Job is to investigate other timelines for his company.  Then his company wants to exploit some of the info he brings back, thus threatening the existence of the woman he loves--who has PTSD from the Iraq War.  Then a third party comes along and wants to destroy everything so they can get to one of the alternative realities called The Beautiful Land.  Man vs everything that wants to mess up his life. First page caught my interest, but the genre isn't my cup of tea.  Would I keep reading?  Probably not, purely because of my personal taste.

But then I read this.   And this completely changed my mind.  It's a star-crossed love story!  I'm totally up for that.

Also been scrolling through his blog.  I like this guy.  Go check him out.

Anthony Ryan Blood Song--epic fantasy.  Battle monks.  Deprived heritage and family abandonment (with reluctance).  The chance to lose oneself in the saving of the world. Oh, the conundrums!  The premise sounds good, and the first page was even better. I love a good blend of setting, character and plot. This was well-balanced and drew me in.  I'd definitely read more of this.

Overall, these look to be fascinating books, regardless of my taste.  I am sorry that there was only one woman among the five men. I would have liked to see more female debut authors in the mix.

Her Grace wishes she had more time in the world to read.  There are so many good books out there waiting for love.  Because she can't read them all, she encourages you to help shoulder the burden.  Go find a debut author and read them.  Be kind, leave honest reviews.

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