What makes a book a good read? Three more independent authors give me their perspective:
Mohana Rajakumar is author of So You Want to Sell a Million Copies?, Love Comes Later and a number of other books. Her latest is An Unlikely Goddess.
Name three characteristics of books that you like. What makes you keep reading a book?
Mohanda Rajakumar: I love the characters or at least want to know what happens next. Books where the writer takes me into a world totally other than my own and I learn something new. And I talk to other people about what's happening in the world of the story — it's that compelling.
Jesi Lea Ryan: I like books with unique characters who don't irritate the crap out of me.
Plot is important, but it is becoming emotionally invested in the characters
that keep me interested. Richelle Mead's books (yes, all of them) are my
best example of this. Her books are action packed and filled with intrigue
and adventure, but she has such an amazing way of tying me in emotionally
that I feel like I am in the book. It's amazing!
I also like books that run at a faster pace. I don't like a lot of pointless
musing. I'm a firm believer in what doesn't add to your story should be cut.
I can give you about fifty bad examples of this, but where I find it most is
in erotica. Good erotica uses sex scenes to further the character or plot.
Bad erotica has little plot or character and things it can survive on
gratuitous sex. It's annoying.
What are some books that you weren't able to put down until you finished them?
Mohana Rajakumar: Gone Girl, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and The Night Circus.
Jesi Lea Ryan: Stacia Kane's Downside series have really unique characters, beautifully flawed.
What makes you keep reading a book?
Mohana Rajakumar: To see what happens next and how we get where we are going.
Do you consciously try to emulate these books?
Mohana Rajakumar: I do try to take readers into worlds they don't know because that's what drew me into reading as a child. And into writing as an adult. There were so many things to think about, I wanted to get out and share them with others. In terms of keeping the reading guessing, suspense I struggle with as a writer but character development I have much more confidence in my ability to deliver.
Jesi Lea Ryan: I don't consciously emulate other books, but I'm sure they influence me to some extent. I read over 250 novels a year, and I don't have a stellar
memory. I can't quote even from my favorite books. Part of this is because
I rarely read the same book more than once. I can tell you that I
consciously try not to write the things that irritate me. For example, I
detest indecisive heroines. And god, there is so much of that in YA and NA
romance. Makes me want to hurl books across the room. Indecisiveness does
not create plot tension, it creates reader tension, and that's not a good
thing! So I don't drag things out too much in my books. If the heroine
needs to make a decision, she's generally quick to act on it.