When you were a kid, did you like being read to? I LOVED it. Not only did my older sister, Aimee, read to me all the time but sometimes my father read to all of us. Those are some really great memories. (If you'd like to start a read-aloud tradition in your family, C.W. Hawes has some great ideas to help.)
Happily, being read to doesn't have to stop just because you're a grownup. Audio books are in fact the fastest growing segment of the digital publishing industry right now. And Americans are listening in droves. According to the Audiobook Publishers Association, 26 percent of the U.S. population has listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months. (Read the blog post where I pulled this information from.)
You can often borrow audio books on CD from your local library. If you're not a fan though, (too cumbersome, perhaps?) there are other options. You could choose a Playaway--a pre-loaded, small listening device which you can use with earbuds or plug in to your car's auxiliary jack. Or get a subscription to Audible, Amazon's popular audiobook service. There is also another option and this one is completely free: radio dramas.
When I was working full-time at a mind-numbing job, I used to listen to radio dramas like "Suspense," which are really well done. Picture creaking doors, the sound of bat wings flapping, the drip, drip, drip of a leaky roof when a young couple takes refuge in an abandoned house after their car breaks down...great stuff!
This blogger put together a list of Top 10 Best Fiction Podcasts which you might find helpful. I'm sure there are also a lot of fiction podcasts if you search on iTunes, too.
How do you like to listen to books? Please let me know in the comments section.
"The world doesn't need more Christian literature. The world needs more Christians writing good literature." ~C.S. Lewis
For years I struggled with my decision to write "general" fiction rather than Christian fiction. After all, as a believer doesn't the fact that I eschew writing faith-based fiction mean that I'm not using my talents for good? Doesn't it indicate that I'm ashamed of my faith or trying to hide my religious leanings?
A writing friend once told me that I can't not write from my Christian perspective. Everything that I see/experience/write is filtered through that. She also pointed out (when I worried that my books were too violent, gritty, messy) that there is nothing in my books that didn't happen in the Bible. Human nature is human nature, no matter the timeline.
Here's the simple truth as I see it today: I was called to be a writer as my career. And I was called to be light in a dark world because of my faith. If I chose to write Christian fiction for other believers my light would be doing what exactly? Making their light brighter? But if someone who isn't a Christian reads one of my books and sees hope, that's fantastic. If they read it and toss it aside with a "Meh, that was pretty entertaining," and don't get anything else out of it, then that's fine too.
The quote above by C.S. Lewis is one that is hanging over my desk right now. Because what the world needs IS more Christians writing what they are passionate about and what they're meant to write. Not what they think they "should" write or what their pastor or parent or friend encourages them to write.
The deeper exploration into human nature and spiritual issues is something that fascinates me. And I think from reading many of my books reviews, others feel the same way.
The fact is that we're all flawed. We're all broken in some way. And finding people who look and talk and act like us on the page (bad habits, stupid choices and all) means that an author is doing his or her job correctly. Even if it's ugly. Even if it's uncomfortable at times. The important part is remembering that no matter how dark the situation, hope shines through.
You know how you might envy someone who keeps an immaculate house, drives a big, shiny SUV, or has perfectly-behaved children? Well, I envy authors who outline.
Outlining? Not for me. No, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, a rebel. A true jump-in-with-both-feet type of girl. Which is fine and great in its way. Writing fiction is pretty much the only time that I "break the rules," and do things in an un-planned for fashion. It's fun to throw caution to the wind and write freely without thought of what might show up next on the page...until you're not sure what should show up next on the page. Or until the dreaded editing process begins.
Have I mentioned previously that I don't like the editing process much? It's true. Give me the freedom of the empty page and the energy that comes pouring out while I'm working on that messy and imperfect first draft. But then the editing starts and GAH! I want to run from my desk and hide, preferably with a tub of dairy-free ice cream in a room streaming Netflix.
I've just discovered a new way of outlining through, that doesn't hurt quite so much. I still do this after the first draft is written (I know, I'm weird but you've gotta go with what works) and use index cards to track the major points in the novel. Other writers are all high-tech with Scrivener, but I'm more of a Luddite. And that's OK.
I'm really enjoying this new system. Above, you'll see many of the cards spread out for "Pretty Poison," my seventh book (coming 2019). The blank cards at the end of the rows gave away the plot, so I had to flip them over.
Currently, I'm working from another set of index cards. These are helping me to better flesh out the main points in my sixth book, the Creepy Doll Book (*not it's real title). In honor of this book which will be coming out later this year, I thought it would be fun to go on a little Creepy Doll Field Trip. Here are some frightening dolls that I found while browsing the internet. Vote for your favorite in the comments!
Have I told you lately that I appreciate you? Well, I do. In fact, I'm brainstorming ways in which I can show you more frequently that I'm grateful for your interest in and support of my work.
Right now, for instance, there is a special sale going on for readers of this blog. Enjoy Epidemic, for half the regular price. Here's what a few reviewers had to say about this twisty-turning, fast-paced suspense novel:
You can snag a digital copy of Epidemic for only $2.49. Just use this code (YP72S) at checkout.
Hope you enjoy!
Over the past few years, I've had the pleasure of having some visiting authors provide a guest post. It's always fun to learn more about the writing practices of other writers, and to learn more about the topics that they're passionate about, as well as their books.
Hope you'll enjoy this author roundup. I'm always looking for ways to make the blog more fun. If there is an author you'd like to see interviewed, please share in the comments and I'll do my best to feature him/her here.
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?