Sunday, January 13, 2008

It Started as A Quick Trip

by Joan Kayse

It was just going to be a quick trip across town to the Borders Book Store. I had the day off, a gift card from Christmas and a burning need to buy the entire backlist of a new author (for me anyway) JR Ward.

It turned into an obsessive quest.

I know, I know. How could I not have read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series already? Naturally backward, I guess. You're talking to the woman who had never read Nora Roberts until 2002 when on at her first RWA conference in New Orleans she was pointed out to her with reverent awe. "That's Nora Roberts," my friend said and I swear she bowed like an acolyte in her direction.

"That's nice," I remember thinking and noting she was wearing a T-shirt that said "Walking in a Wiccan Wonderland." Hmm. Must write about witches?

Then I read "Tears of the Moon" and bam....I was hooked. It took me all of maybe six months to catch up on her backlist. Haven't missed a new release since. And I discreetly bow in her direction at the conferences.

But back to my trip today. My critique partner gave me a copy of "Lover Eternal." It's got great characterization, she assured me. I knew it had to be impressive because my CP is typically not into vampires or paranormal books. So I began to read about Rhage and his brothers.

Characterization? In spades. Add in plot and suspense and soul deep description and no small amount of sensusal tension and you've got a brand new fan.

You know an author is brilliant when you can't stop reading even though it is 1 am and your eyeballs are falling out of your head. When you do force yourself to go to bed but keep wondering what happens in chapter twenty seven.
When you go to 3 different bookstores to get the backlist and actually growl at the manager of one who had NO COPIES OF HER BACKLIST.

I was tired. I had things to do. But I was not leaving the end of town that has all the bookstores until I got what I came for! Heck, JR even lives here in my hometown and I briefly wondered if she had any in her basement :-)

This type of author is the kind I learn from. This is the type of story/series that I want to write. Now if you'll excuse me there is, ahem, a "Dark Lover" waiting for me!

So are there any authors you've discovered by accident that caused you to go wild until you read her backlist?

36 comments:

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, oooh, I can't believe it! I got the GR!! And not by trickery either, this time! Welcome to DC, oh golden fella!

jo robertson said...

He, he, he, he, he. He's back in the States!!! I beat Anna, sneakily I must admit, because I posted Joan's blog for her today.

Okay, so I'm an evil woman!!

But I DID read it first and squiggle all the spaces back in the right places.

And once I saw the mention of JR Ward, I was hooked. She's the most incredible world-builder I have EVER seen.

Joanie, you and I are soul sisters. I came to JR Ward about a year ago and to Nora Roberts only recently. Backward, I guess LOL.

Books I buy in hardback the SECOND they're out? Lee Child's Jack Reacher series and Michael Connelley in any way, shape, or form. They're my idols.

In romance, however, Mary Balogh is a favorite in historical and Brenda Novak in contemporaries. In literary fiction, Anita Shreve and Margaret Atwood.

jo robertson said...

What say? Hey, how'd that happen? Waaaaahhhhhh! Jeanne, are you playing fair???? That's what I get for actually answering the question!

BTW, Joan, great post!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Sorry to beat your post then, Jo. :> heehee. But at least the 'ol GR's back Stateside. Ha!
Books I've found then bought everything on backlist? Janet Evanovich; the Kinsey Milhone books; David Eddings; And now, JR Ward! Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Snicker. That's how I got him. I posted that I'd done the snag. THEN I answered the question! Heehee. Couldn't believe our Oz pals didn't beat us to it. Then again, I'm not usually up at 1:05 East Coast time. And I'm not going to BE up any longer. G'nite Jo! Tawk to you gals in "my" morning...

doglady said...

Terrific post, Joan.Congrats, jeanne on coaxing the GR to our nation's capital. Be sure and take him by the Smithsonian and the Museum of the Native American and the Zoo. Bookstores are like crack for me. I cannot resist and I don't stop until my credit card is smoking! Fortunately I have a great drug dealer, I mean bookseller in our little local bookstore. She hands me the Romance Sells catalogue every month and I just write my name next to the ones I want. She orders them and they go on my own personal shelf in her store to be purchased as slowly or as quickly as I can come up with the money. And once I discover a great author (new to me) she will order their backlist for me. Non-romance books she orders automatically for me - Anything by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, together or separately. Anything by Ace Atkins. I discovered this Southern detective noir writer when my Mom picked up one of his books in hardback at a thrift store. His descriptions of food make you drool! The list of historical romance writers I have read, sometimes by accident, and then gone out and bought their entire backlist is too long to list. Suffice it to say, I am going to have to add a room to my home in order to house my library of romance novels. I very seldom if ever get rid of a romance novel.

Gillian Layne said...

My darling Pam, what are we doing up at this hour? And how could we be up this late and not have that GR??? :)

When Kim Harrison signed her book for me this summer and I started reading it on the plane trip home--hooked! Went out and bought everything she's done the next week. Talk about world building!

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, had to say-- Jo, I agree, Queen Mary is the tops.

If I could read nothing else, I couldn't do without all my Mary B., Elizabeth Peters, and Laurie R. King.

Wulfric, Radcliffe, and Sherlock are my ultimate heroes.

flchen1 said...

Congrats on the GR, Jeanne!

What a fun post, Joan!

I picked up one of Jennifer Crusie's books years ago at the library, and then had to get her backlist--not a super easy task, since a bunch of her category stuff had gone out of print.

Thinking about this a bit more, I think I tend to do this with just about all the authors I enjoy--a couple of more recent-to-me writers are Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. I'm a bit of an obsessive about complete sets of things. I'm trying not to do this with some of the more prolific authors (say Ms. Roberts) because I'm already out of room for my collection!

Helen said...

Joan I loved the post and yes I am the same I read an author love the book and must have the backlist I have been that way with many authors Elizabeth Boyle and Jacquie D to name a couple I have all of Jacquie D's now so I can order the new releases when they come out Elizabeth Boyles's I still have 2 to get plus there are 3 out of print that I have been searching UBS's for Mary Reed MacCall is another author that I only have 1 more book to get and that is out of print as well I have a list which I call my wish list and everytime I go shopping I take it with me just in case I find some. There are a lot of authors on that list.
Confession I have never read a Nora Roberts or JR Ward book and because they have so many on their backlist if I did read them it would cost me a fortune to get all the books and I already have 4 bookshelves and would need to find room for another one. But I am totally with you on the need to get all the authors books.

Congrats on the GR Jeanne have fun with him.

Have Fun
Helen

Joan said...

Here, Helen, Helen, Helen says Joan holding out a Nora and JR....
:-)

It's almost like dogslady said though, an addiction that must be fed. When you hunt down out of release titles and settle down to read it...sigh...it's like someone gave you a cure all for what ails you.

One side effect though of indulging in a binge of a backlist is THEN you have to wait for their next releases! It's painful, I tell ya! Painful!

Caren Crane said...

Joan, obesession is something I wear really well! *g* I am not a person who keeps up with trends of any sort. Plus, I am a bit change-averse. So, when everyone starts raving about an author I am usually slo-o-o-o-w to pick up that author. If a very good friend who knows my taste puts one in my hands, however, I'm usually sunk. Authors I came to long after series (which are like crack!) started and forced me to read their entire backlist:

Elizabeth Peters
J.D. Robb (who knew, back in the day?)
Lavyrle Spencer
Janet Evanovich
Mary Balogh
Liz Carlyle (to die for!)
Rosamunde Pilcher
Jennifer Weiner

And last, but CERTAINLY not least, the mack daddy of middle-class suspense: HARLAN COBEN!!

I have not read JR Ward (naturally), but will probably become an addict at a later date. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, btw, congrats on the GR Jeanne! I thought I felt the world tilt on its axis a bit in my sleep last night. *eg*

p226 said...

I honestly couldn't think of an example where I read an author and needed to go read the backlist.

Ok, well... maybe... sorta.

I read a snippet of Federalist Papers #46, and wound up (and am still reading) all of the federalist papers, and will probably wind up reading the Anti-Federalist papers.

But I don't suppose that counts, does it?

Gannon Carr said...

I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series!!! I can completely relate to the addiction. I started reading when the first three books were out and quickly devoured them. It's painful to wait for each new book--too long! Write faster, JR!!

Caren, if you start reading these, you'll be an addict, too! ;)

I started reading Nora's J.D. Robb books from day one. I read an interview with her at the time, and she talked about the new series she was writing. Since I was already a huge Nora fan, I started reading the In Death books, too. I LOVE that series, especially Roarke!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Doglady, your own personal book shopper! That might be better than having a wife. Well, almost.

Kirsten said...

I love obsessions of all forms, especially those related to books! *vbg* I can't remember which SEP I read first, but it was all over for me after that. I've been hooked ever since and actually bought the last one in hardcover--which I never ever ever do.

When I discovered Eloisa James and Mary Balogh a few years back, I did the same. And Julia Quinn. I tried this with Jenny Cruisie but found I didn't love all her books. Interesting. I haven't loved her partnership with Bob Meyer, though they give great workshops, and some of her books are fabulous and some just don't do it for me. Not sure why.

Fun topic Joanie!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

OMG Joan, I know exactly what you went through. My BF got me the first and the last of The Black Dagger Brotherhood and then I promptly proceeded to make him nuts trying to find the "middle" books. I even had to go on a reading hiatus when I finished them because I couldn't get BDB out of my head.
As with many of you Mary B. is one that I am still trying to get her backlist. The OOP ones are proving difficult due to the cost. NR I have all up to and including her new triolgy starter. BTW, for those of you who are just getting on the NR band wagon, have you read the Three Sisters Island trilogy??? That was the first of Nora Roberts that I read and it started an ongoing affair.
At the moment I have a total of 39 authors that I either have searched out their backlists or am in the process of gathering their backlists. That is why I just about go nuts when we have guest authors here. It starts me off on yet ANOTHER tangent. I must really, really, have an addictive personality, at least when it comes to authors.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh, one other mention here, my daughter is not a reader, the only books she has willing read were the Harry Potter series. I have gotten her to read a book by an author that guest blogged here and now she is hooked, "Dead Girls are Easy" by Terri Garey. She was in Christmas and read her first, but certainly not last, Janet Evanovich. My daughter, the non-reader, went through Metro Girl and Motor Mouth in one week. So this is great news right? No, it isn't. She lives in TX which means I have to send the rest to her which means I WON'T GET THEM BACK!! It took me months to get them together and now my beloved daughter is going to confiscate them. Suggestions anyone???????

Cassondra said...

Let's see.

I did this backlist hunt for Jennie Crusie back in the day when you couldn't get her categories. Now I think I have all of them. But I'm about to donate the entire list to a tiny little one-shelf library in the English department at Western KY University. It's the tiniest university library in the world, and it's open ONLY to those people who have taken the class, "Genre Writing For Publication" which I taught last January with Haley Elizabeth Garwood. A bunch of my Suz Brockman backlist will proably go there as well. She's another writer who I found a few years back and then devoured the whole backlist in like two weeks.

Yes, I hate to see them go, but I have a small house and a desperate need for more space and the ability to clean, which means, the piles must go.

Another was Catherine Mann and her "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime" Air Force crew plane series.

A bunch of the series that have been my downfall were category series. (that's where I found Suz Brockman) Some I have from the early 80s actually, and some of those are what made me want to write in this genre.

And yes, there are customer service people in bookstores who fear me.

"WHAT? YOU DON'T HAVE ANY MORE ANNA CAMPBELL???????YOU'RE SOLD OUT??????WELL, THAT MEANS YOU'RE GOING TO ORDER MORE, RIGHT??????

RIGHT???????????"

P226, if you haven't had the need to get someone's entire backlist, you haven't found "your" writer. BUT you are not a voracious fiction reader, right? I think it's fiction readers who need books like junkies need drugs.

flchen1 said...

So right, Cassondra--I am a bit like a drug junkie with my books... how fabulously generous for you to share yours with your library! Some readers out there are surely going to thank you!

doglady said...

Hey, Gillian! I am a real nightowl on Saturdays as I don't have to work on Sundays and the only church my heathen butt attends is the church of God's glorious creation - my five wooded acres of heaven. I STILL don't know how I missed the GR! Jeanne and Jo were too quick off the draw! Add me to the Mary Balogh bandwagon. I got Slightly Married at a flea market a year ago and that was all it took. I have since gone back and acquired her entire backlist. And I share your love of Kim Harrison!

Caren Crane said...

Okay, I also got sucked into Julia Quinn's Lady Whistledown series.

Gannon, I am scared to pick up any JR Ward - I feel a major new obsession coming on!

Helen, I loved Nora's Irish Jewels series (Jewels Of the Sun, Tears Of the Moon and Heart Of the Sea) series. They are set in Ireland and deal with Irish legends. Her Irish books are my favorites!

Dianna, I loaned a good number of my NR books to a friend (well, her daughter is my daughter's good friend). Since we rarely see them anymore, I don't think I'll get the books back. But I figure if they brought pleasure to someone else, it's better for them to be in those hands than mine (where they would sit on a shelf). I can always find them at a UBS if I need another copy and not feel bad, since I purchased them full price once!

Kirsten, I fell hard for SEP once I discovered her, too! Thank goodness she didn't have a huge backlist yet. Of course, now I want all the hardcovers when they come out, which is even worse.

Cassondra, you are so right about us fiction junkies. Books are like crack! *g* We dashed into Borders the other night so the girls and I could find presents for my dh (we celebrated his birthday last night). By the time we left, we had two books for his gifts, a CD, a DVD, two books for me, two books for my older daughter and a book and a wall calendar for my younger daughter. The girls were begging for more books!

I'm afraid the tendency toward this addiction may be hereditary and the dh and I have PASSED IT ON. Beware!

jo robertson said...

I think a book addiction is a very GOOD trait to pass on to our children LOL.

I remember asking my middle child Tyler what his favorite book was in high school. He spat out a "phhttt" and said he never read a single book in high school. Not what the mama English teacher wants to hear. He said, "If you listen really well, you don't need to read the book!"

Now he's an avid reader -- Vonnegut being his favorite. Those of you who have boys who like to read are really fortunate I think. I always told my students I didn't care what they read -- GQ, skateboard mags, Playboy (JK), as long as they read!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Dianna, the devil and the deep blue sea! I think having your daughter read trumps keeping your copies. But I'd probably see if I could find them in a used book store and send THOSE to her :-D

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Jo, I have to agree, it just warms my heart that she is reading something. My granddaughter reads though, it must have skipped a generation. Daughter has confiscated the two Evanovich but I had loaned the "Plum" series so as I get them back I will send to her and do a search for them as I go along.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Caren, very, very good point, the fact she is deriving pleasure from reading is great. As I usually wait (not very patiently) for a bood to come out in paperback, I still have plenty of time to re-gather the "Plum" series before number 14 comes out.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, congratulations on snagging the GR! You gotta be quick.

The first author I remember madly hunting up a backlist on was Marion Zimmer Bradley. A friend gave me The Heritage of Hastur and The Shattered Chain for Christmas when I was in college. I read them, was hooked, and blitzed through her backlist.

The second such author was Dick Francis, whom I discovered because PBS aired The Racing Game. I'm so glad he's writing again.

I also found Dorothy L. Sayers in the mystery section of the library one day. In short order, I fell in love with Lord Peter Wimsey. I even ordered the short stories from the Spectator on inter-library loan. Alas, Sayers was already dead, so I soon ran out of books.

Put me in the Evanovich corner, too.

terrio said...

I did that same thing with NR but I'm sure I still don't have all of them. That woman is fast!

I have yet to break down and read the Ward books though I have friends (many) who live for them. I picked one up in the bookstore once and couldn't get by the language. Do you really get used to that? I guess with the uber-hot guys, great descriptions and plot, you probably do. Dang, I'll have to give in.

I found Susan Elizabeth Phillips in '06 and I've become a feverish fan. Not only are the books fan-freaking-tastic, this is exactly the type of book I'd love to write someday. Her characters are so real and she never takes the easy way. I almost always don't like at one of the characters at first and even by the end, you still see they have faults, but you're pulling for them, crying for them and praying for them by the last page.

That's schooling.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Joanie.

Oh yes, got that weakness too *grin*. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, JD Robb, Leigh Greenwood and Kathleen Kane (am I the only one who didn't know she and Maureen Child are the same person?!) are a few I remember.

Most recently, Mariah Stewart was an awesome discovery. Her DEAD series was fabulous! I'm devouring the rest of her books.

I also have to go back and read the series in order ... which is so frustrating if finding that first book is hard!

Even more frustrating is finding out about a great author and not being able to get hold of her book ... then having to wait so long for her next one! When I heard about Deirdre Martin's hockey romance Body Check - I went everywhere to find it. I finally found it and read it in one sitting - superb! Now, I wait eagerly for each new release!

flchen1 said...

She is??!! Anna, I had no idea about Maureen Child and Kathleen Kane--I'm learning something new every day... Thanks! Oh yes, and thanks to everyone who mentioned SEP--got hers, too!

Joan said...

Thanks to my fellow addicts...er, I mean Banditas keeping up the flow while I was enjoying a day at work!

Congrats, Jeanne on the GR! I'm so jealous that he gets to go to the Smithsonion!

Thanks, Jo for squiggling the post (Darn thing! I did it myself twice and it still shifted?.

I have found a LOT more authors since beginning my own writing career. Before then, I mainly read historicals. But once I started recognizing names, hanging with the writing crowd who would INSIST I read a certain author then my world just burst open.

To touch on a few things mentioned:

Cassondra, I too discovered Suz Brockmann in a "BACKLIST BATCH". I had had foot surgery and was unable to walk for 3 weeks. My friend gave me her copies of SEAL Team 16 and wow! Major immersion! I really learned about deep POV that way (that or it was the Vicodin :-)

SEP? Um....not yet! (Ducks and tries to evade shocked outcries).

It only takes me a few pages to get into "sync" with the world that a paranormal writer builds. Once I do the story just flows.

Caren, I am all about Nora's Irish based trilogies. I actually told her at a booksigning once that her "Jewels of the Sun" series inspired me to go on my first trip to Ireland. Now, getting ready for trip number 5 I know I'll be packing those favs to take with me.

Christine Wells said...

Congrats to the duchesse!! Jeanne is the hostess with the mostess, so I'm sure she'd show the rooster a good time.

Great post, Joan! Aren't the JR Ward books fantastic? I'm not much of a vampire fan but you don't need to be to enjoy the BDB.

I stumbled on Elizabeth Peters some years back in the library and glommed all of her books, including the ones she wrote under a pen name. Thought I was the only one in the world who knew about these wonderful novels but since then a ton of people have recommended her. Anne Stuart is another whose books I devoured recently. Foanna introduced her to me, so it wasn't a case of accident. I usually love books Foanna tells me I will.

Isn't it the best feeling to discover a great new author? Even better when they have an extensive backlist.

Thanks for a great post, Joanie T!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Evening, Ladies! I still can't believe I snagged the GR. We've been out sightseeing 'round the Capitol today. Took him to a basketball game, but he just wanted to eat popcorn and watch the cheerleaders. (shakes head and grins)

Obsessions. It's SUCH an interesting topic. However, you all are giving me more cool authors to check out. Ummm, have you SEEN my bookshelves? Jeez, like I need more!

P226, I think if you're on #46 of the Federalist papers, it can be considered as much an obsession as any fiction-a-holic. Grins. You should consider Patrick O'Brien's Master and Commander series, if you like that dense kind of reading.

Dianna, that Three Sister's Island series is my fav too.

Cassondra, I had to laugh about your going into the bookseller's and saying WHAT???? NO ANNA?? I've done that and saying, WHAT?? No Mrs. Brimley?? No DOES SHE DARE?? ARE YOU PEOPLE CRAZY??? I asked one of them one day, I thought you wanted to sell books, right? So why....Heehee. Nothing like supporting your fellow Banditas. (And all our guests and favorites!)

Great topic Joan!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wait, wait! Christine...Eliz. Peters writes under a pseudonym? Tell, tell! I must have them! :>

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jeanne, Eliz P also writes under the pen name Barbara Michaels. I'd describe them as mystery with paranormal elements. Hope you enjoy them!