Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest Post w/ Kathy Lynn Harris

What I’m Reading When I’m Not Writing

Thank you, Laura, for hosting me here on your wonderful site this week. I really appreciate it and look forward to connecting with some (or many!) of your readers.

When I was smack-dab in the middle of thinking about what to write about for my guest post here this weekend, a friend and I had a conversation via email about what we were each reading. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of contemporary fiction and rarely do I stray too far from what I love. It’s not unusual for me to be reading three or four novels at one time, even when I’m busy writing and dreaming up my own fictional characters. So my friend was surprised to hear that I wasn’t reading any fiction at all right now.

Why? Well, because I’m busy promoting Blue Straggler, my contemporary women’s fiction novel. And when I’m out talking about the book, I need to be firmly in the world and characters I created way back when I was writing the story. But more importantly, I need the confidence to encourage folks to give my novel a try. In other words, I need to feel good about pimping out my own work. (Yes, I just used “pimping” in a guest post. Yeehaw!)

You see, if I were reading fiction, and it just happens to be mouth-watering good fiction, like, say, something by Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness is still so completely awesome) or Barbara Kingsolver or Lorrie Moore, I’d have a really hard time pushing my own novel on people. There would be this very real, substantial risk that my writing self-esteem would be at or below sea level, and I’d end up at a Blue Straggler book signing event, turning people away and encouraging them to instead head directly to the nearest indie bookstore and pick up the wonderful novel that I’m currently reading. Seriously. I’m that not normal. In Texas, we call that shooting yourself in the foot.

So, now that you see my problem, let’s get back to what I am reading now, when I’m NOT writing and am intent on spreading the positive word about Blue Straggler.

According to my Kindle, I’m about 68 percent done with Anne Lamott’s new memoir, Some Assembly Required,which is her account of being a grandparent for the first time, when her son becomes a father at age 19. I love all things Lamott (Hard Laughter is one of my favorite novels … you should really check it out, if you haven’t.) This latest book is the chronicle of her grandson Jax’s first year of life. It’s wonderful (if you love and understand imperfect people), and as usual with Lamott’s work, I’ve laughed out loud several times. (By the way, did you know that some readers call Blue Straggler laugh-out-loud funny? And it has been rated #1 in comic fiction on Amazon? Oh yeah. I’m getting good at this publicity stuff.)

Another book I’m enjoying is more self-help than anything else — a genre that I purportedly gave up reading after my first mid-life crisis when I turned 30. (You can read about that in a blog post on my website, if you were interested.) But this book has kept me engaged and actually believing that I could change. (I can! I really can!) In fact, I’m actually reading this book over again, just to see if I can try to remember some of the good stuff for daily practice. The book, you ask? Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now by Amy Spencer. It’s a pretty good book if you know you’re a pessimist but would really like to see the “up” side of things more regularly.

So there you have it. I would love to hear what everyone else out there is reading right now. But please, if it’s a can’t-put-it-down, juicy novel, don’t tell me about it until July.


Kathy Lynn Harris is the Author of Blue Straggler which is a chick-lit novel, to check out her book click Here!