FANatic Friday: Tari Gushes about Mary Jo Putney

August 5, 2011

It’s Friday, which means it’s FANatic Friday, a day on the blog where we take off our writer caps and put on reader caps to gush about the authors and books we love.

“But why didn’t anyone tell me that writing would change the way one reads.”

I almost laughed when I read this line of Mary Jo Putney’s bio on her website this morning. I just finished reading MJP’s book Nowhere Near Respectable and because I loved the book and knew that I would be sharing the love with you, I’d gone to her website to learn more about her as a writer.
I had already started writing this post and had begun with, “I’m no longer reading just as a reader. I’m reading as a writer, studying what I read.” I guess I’m in good company.

Writing does change how one reads. I’m studying the characters, flow and voice. I’m reading not just because I like the author or the story, but I’m reading because I want to know why I like the author and the story. Writing has changed how I read.

I love a good rogue, a man a little rough around the edges but with a strong sense of honor. The kind of man you know you shouldn’t want…but always do. The kind of man I married. Also the kind of man in Mary Jo Putney’s historical romance, Nowhere Near Respectable. Mary Jo’s hero, Damian Mackenzie, is both a rogue and a gentleman. And I’d say no less about her heroine, Lady Kiri Lawford, a first class lady and yet she is bold and takes risks that no true lady should take…or so many of us were taught.

I love that although the hero rescues Lady Kiri (I think I can tell this without revealing too much of the story) she is not helpless or clingy. In fact, MJP has created characters with strength and confidence, but very human weaknesses as well. Although my story isn’t historical fiction and doesn’t have the same drama of MJP’s compelling story, as I do my rewrites, I’m looking for places where these traits can come through more clearly in my own characters. We all want to create compelling relate-able characters, and Mary Jo Putney has a gift for this, a gift I would like to develop.

This is why writing changes how we read. All other writers become our mentors, teaching us technique, voice, characterization, helping us to refine our skills. In fact, before we were ever writers, every book we read, every author we loved had begun our training and led each of us to look for our own writing voice.

Mary Jo Putney, if you happen to read this, I’d love to know more about your writing style. Are you a plotter or a panster? Who were your mentors? What lessons would you like your writing to share with other writers?

For the rest of you? Who are your favorite authors? What makes you love their writing? How has writing changed the way you read?


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