Every year I re-read certain books, all stories I first encountered and adored as a kid, and which have probably all influenced my writing in certain ways. Like many people, I fell in love with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice early on, and there’s a deliciousness to the language that I still enjoy. I also love The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare, which tells the story of a high-spirited young During the pandemic, I’m re-reading the mystery novels of Colin Dexter (paperbacks available at woman trying to acclimate to the chilly Puritan climate of 17th century New England, who befriends a Quaker on the outskirts of society and ends up on trial for her actions. Lastly, I’ve always loved Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles which tell the story of Taran, a young assistant pig-keeper who grows to greatness. When I was in grad school I learned that these stories were based on the famous Welsh legend of The Mabinogion, although I far prefer Alexander’s re-telling. I don’t know if adults could pick this series up if they didn’t read it as a kid but it is a classic hero’s quest, complete with romance, which I’ve always found satisfying.
Words of Wisdom
Like everyone, I’m finding it harder to read and write right now. For reading, my family has a set time at bedtime where we all get our books and read for a while. Just the process of doing that makes me ready to read. For writing, I try to break tasks down. Think about one scene. I might even draw it out (literally with pictures) showing myself how ideas connect. Or if the writing isn’t happening, I turn to writing-adjacent stuff, like researching different things on the internet (I write historicals, so there is always something to look up). Usually researching objects and locations will inspire me to keep writing. Be patient with yourself, the writing will happen.
About Susanna Calkins
Susanna Calkins writes the Lucy Campion historical mysteries set in 17th century London and the Speakeasy Mysteries set in 1920s Chicago. She did a lot of cocktail research and listened to a lot of Twenties music while writing MURDER KNOCKS TWICE, so that one might be a good escape. The second in that series, THE FATE OF THE FLAPPER will be out July 28, 2020.