Friends, I’d like to welcome Mary E. Pearson here today! Her latest book THE KISS OF DECEPTION is amazing. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.
What has inspired your writing style, particularly for The Kiss of Deception?
There are so many things that affect the writing style of a book. First and foremost, is probably something the author has little control over—their own particular voice that has developed from years of writing, reading, and their own world experience.
It’s such a slow organic process it’s hard for me to point to specific books, but I can tell you the kinds of elements in books and writing that leave a lasting impression on me. You’ll notice that most of the examples I list below are older books. It’s easier to see from a greater distance how they’ve stuck with you.
For me, prose is so important. I am putty in an author’s hands if they disarm me with their prose. The way they bump together two words, the rhythm of the narrative, the surprise of a perfect metaphor, the clarity. That’s what I love.
Examples: The Distance from the Heart of Things by Ashley Warlick, Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett, and Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor.
Poetry would also fall under this heading because of its precision, the choosing of the perfect word or group of words to convey a thought. I loved poets like Dickinson, Millay, Whitman, Frost, and Cummings.
This is a harder quality to identify, but I feel like the author is sitting me down, saying “be patient, we’re going on a journey.”
Examples: The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, Master of the Game by Sydney Sheldon, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoesseini, House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.
I love a book that has some element of uniqueness that not only sticks with me but is integral to the story. It elevates an already great story a notch.
Examples: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (vocabulary), Rules by Cynthia Lord (rules to live by), Stained by Jennifer Jacobson (time shifts), The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin (the title could refer to two different characters and says a lot about the plot).
The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, The Giver, and The Crystal Cave are just a few of the many books that set my imagination on fire.
Of course, all of these elements are just that, elements, if the story doesn’t also have careful crafting that includes great characters and plots. Those are deal-breakers.
The writing of my own books has also been an influence. What came before definitely influences what comes next. It might just be some little seed that was planted in the writing of a previous book, or a slow evolution over time that affects how a story is written. For instance, I tend to explore a lot of gray area in my novels. That’s what makes choices so difficult and complex for the characters. If choices were easy they wouldn’t be interesting—or real. Life hits us with a whole lot of gray. I also try to give a fair glimpse of the “other side” of an issue. I think writing from three different viewpoints in The Kiss of Deception was a natural fit for me.
Another earlier book of mine, The Miles Between, was probably influential in another way. It’s completely different in setting and tone from TKOD, but that story had an unreliable narrator. What you see is not necessarily what is. An unreliable narrator withholds information, or only gives it from their unique viewpoint leaving the reader with an incomplete picture. While I don’t have an unreliable narrator in The Kiss of Deception, with the differing viewpoints, it is clear that none of the characters have a full grasp on the entire picture—and neither does the reader.
And I can’t leave out the direct writing advice of other writers themselves as an influence. I’ve had some incredible advice from crit groups and writer friends over the years. Make sure every word counts. Keep the main thing the main thing. Trust the process. And all kinds of nitty-gritty nuts and bolts stuff that made me reevaluate the way I had written something. This goes hand in hand with my editor and wise copy-editors who have helped me learn to say what I want to say in the best possible way over the years.
I’m also a bit of a writing craft junky. I love to read thoughts and advice on writing. Certainly it doesn’t all click with the way my brain works but there are always a few nuggets to walk away with. A few of my favorite books on writing are:
Story by Robert McKee
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lemott
The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler
And last but not least, every book requires its own writing style too. Again, to a degree, this comes about organically as the characters and premise mold it. When characters have unique voices and goals and they move through a specific world, that affects structure and word choice.
I began writing The Kiss of Deception in third person point of view, but I soon realized that first person pov was a better choice in order to let the reader experience this world more fully and with the same limited viewpoints of each of the characters, and frankly, I love the intimacy of first person.
So there you have it, a mere thousand influences, plus the kitchen sink!
Thanks so much April, for hosting me at your blog and for sharing The Kiss of Deception with your readers!
-Check out her website!
–Read an excerpt of Kiss of Deception now!
The Kiss of Deception Blog Tour Schedule
Monday July 7
Icey Books (Review)
The Starry-Eyed Revue (Guest Post)
Tuesday July 8
Adventures of a Book Junkie (Review)
Cuddlebuggery (Guest Post)
Wednesday July 9
Two Chicks on Books (Guest Post)
Thursday July 10
Winterhaven Books (Review)
Tales of a Ravenous Reader (Guest Post)
Friday July 11
Alice Marvels (Guest Post)
Monday July 14
YA Bibliophile (Review)
Bewitched Bookworms (Guest Post)
Tuesday July 15
That Artsy Reader Girl (Review)
Jenna Does Books (Guest Post)
Wednesday July 16
My Friends are Fiction (Guest Post)
Thursday July 17
Birth of a New Witch (Review)
Good Books and Good Wine (Guest Post)
Friday July 18
Google Hangout with Mary Pearson hosted by Belle of the Literati (More info to come)