Three Favorite Authors You May Not Know
Writers become writers due to other writers. You can take creative writing workshops or read books on writing techniques, but really authors write because they have fallen in love with other writers’ works and want to reciprocate. We want to join the club.
In Tributary, my heroine Clair Martin loves to read. Tennyson and Rossetti are two of her favorites while she’s unwinding from hard days out herding sheep. Here are a few writers who have influenced me and made me want to join the literary throng. You may not have heard of them, which makes me glad to make the introductions!
Jon Hassler—Minnesota novelist who loves his home ground. And writes about real people in small-town situations who attempt to live good lives, mostly. A Green Journey and Dear John are companion novels which follow the senior years of Agatha McGee—the town of Staggerford’s indomitable sixth grade teacher, now retired—who finds herself in love with a tall dark stranger, who lives in Ireland. The Los Angeles Times said A Green Journey is “a novel to restore your faith in humanity.”
I reread these two novels every few years. I love them right down to the pigeons.
Elizabeth von Arnim—There is something in the great-hearted humor this author creates that soothes me down to my toes. You may have seen the movie Enchanted April. It is delightful. Read von Arnim’s book to get lost in the realistic and magical world of four weary British women who rent an Italian villa for one getaway month. The Enchanted April turns mid-life woes into transformations for all involved, even the recalcitrant husbands, which is no easy feat.
Elizabeth and her German Garden, von Arnim’s memoir of lavishing love on the sorry landscape around the grounds of her Prussian husband’s estate, is funny, fresh, irrepressibly odd and energetic. Meet her husband, “The Man of Wrath,” and marvel at how the birth of an English garden can bestow sanity on a mother of three who just wants her peonies to thrive.
Helene Hanff—I love Ms. Hanff. Yes, I loved the movie 84 Charing Cross Road. I recommend it highly. But before you see that quiet Anne Bancroft/Anthony Hopkins classic, please read the book and also Q’s Legacy. Hanff always wanted to be a writer and writers, as I testified above, need great books in order to become great writers. Q’s Legacy and 84 Charing Cross Road are non-fiction accounts of Hanff’s quest to become well-read. A scrappy New Yorker, she finds her voice and bulldozes her way into perfection with these two slim, moving volumes.
All three authors have influenced my writing. Tributary contains seeds of Hassler’s everyday reverence, bursts of von Arnim’s feisty humor, and the wry basic goodness of Hanff. You have a splendid autumn of reading ahead of you, whichever titles you choose!
And speaking of autumn, visit Barbara’s blog to get her heroine Clair Martin’s yummy recipe for Clair’s Windfall Applesauce. www.barbarakrichardson.com.
BLOG RECIPE LINK: http://www.barbarakrichardson.com/1/post/2012/08/clair-martins-windfall-applesauce.html
Barbara K. Richardson
Guest Blog for DaBooklady’s Reading Life
August 26, 2012
This is a guest post by Barbara K. Richardson of her blog Barbara K. Richardson. She is the author of "Tributory", a new book about the Mormon life of her fictional character Clair Martin.
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