A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy
I have a confession to make:
I have read Weyland's Charly and Sam (when I was at my aunt's house in Spokane at the end of one summer and my cousins all started school during my stay-- I didn't know there were books about fictional Mormons the way there are books about fictional everyone else... Kennewick, WA was not a hub of LDS literature for 12 year olds at the time), Yorgason's The Greatest Quest (in college), and Card's Lost Boys (when my oldest was crawling, borrowed it from my dad). My mom-in-law hesitatingly gave me Evans's The Christmas Box after we lost a baby girl. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton, by Kay Lynn Mangum and one called Place of Sage by someone else, and Wright's Christmas Jars were introduced through a book club I belonged to in Walla Walla years ago, and Lund's The Fire of the Covenant (got it for Christmas). That's about it. Oh, and his first 5 books of The Work and the Glory, and Kingdom and the Crown. Oh, wow, and the amazing Great and Terrible series by Chris Stewart. I have read lots and lots of LDS non-fiction. We inherited piles of it. Not so much fiction, especially LDS romance. It just wasn't available to me in the areas we have lived, and so, unfamiliar.
When I took the challenge to write fiction at my writer's club, and then completed the first draft of The Orchard, I gave it to my friends and asked, "I have no idea if this fits with what others have written. I feel like I should be reading other LDS romances to compare."
"No," was the reply. "Not yet." Carla suggested it might be better if I didn't until I was sure of my voice.
So, it wasn't until last spring, after I completed the Finding Home trilogy, that I borrowed Stansfield's Gables Faces East, and Gables Against the Sky, then Nunez's Chasing Yesterday. Then, I bought Stansfield's The Sound of Rain, to get a feel for her modern romance. Next, I ordered Counting the Stars and it's sequel, All the Stars in Heaven, by Michele Paige Holmes, after learning about the Whitney Awards and that she had won Best New Author for Counting, and Jennie Hansen's Beyond Summer Dreams, because she has written SO much and I was curious. The Last Waltz, by G.G. Vandagriff, rounded out my exploration, for now. All, new names to me.
I am very glad I waited. It was fun and interesting, reading the words of these women. I found myself, instead of comparing, just reading and enjoying these stories with a new appreciation for the craft. That these women succeed in pursuing their love of writing gives me hope. Their styles are unique. Of course they are.
So, that list to the right, of LDS Authors? I don't really know them, and they certainly do not know me, although G.G. and I have sent happy and gracious emails to one another, and M. Gray knows I love to travel and she doesn't, and she likes my rhythm (thank you, M.). I am unpublished (for now... thinking positive), so why would they even check me out?
The list is for me. I read their blogs, learn about this business, find great tips and links, and sometimes comment, like I did when I read G.G.'s book and let her know I reviewed it here. I am getting to know these authors and adding to my reading list. I sense their apprehension in sending out a new book, relish their excitement when the box of new copies arrives on their doorstep, and pay attention to their marketing strategies. I like how their names appear frequently on one another's blogs. These women are friends and weave a tremendous support network for each other. And, they're funny. I feel refreshed and inspired after my weekly "stalking", running down the list.
And this is only a fraction of LDS authors I could add. I am still exploring, listening, and hoping.
Has this had an effect on my voice? I don't think so. It encourages me to stick to my own. Following is only good for Blogs and Commandments.