The unexpected joys of being a writer – other writers!

One of the great joys of becoming a fiction writer has been meeting other writers.  I am a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Sisters in Crime and through them, I have met many wonderful women who make the sometimes lonely business of writing a joy.

But…

Knowing other writers brings with it an unexpected anxiety.  These days I often buy books written by people who I know and while I celebrate their releases with genuine excitement and buy their work with anticipation, in the back of my mind, there is a lurking menace.

It’s the fear – never spoken – that I won’t like their book. 

The fear is not so much that I will think the writing bad.  My writing friends work very hard on their craft.  But previously, I have always chosen books based on subject or style (or whim, it must be said).  When you choose a book because you like the person who wrote it, you are likely to go to fictional places that are new and unexpected and possibly well out of your comfort zone and… who knows if it will be fun?

Recently I had one of those experiences.  The book is set in a post-apocalyptic Queensland, there are zombies involved (well, virus-infested ex-people out for your blood) and erotic romance involving not one hot guy but two (and one girl).  All of these things are uncommon on my bookshelf.  And I dearly love the writer. So I was all of a jitter.

Fortunately, I LOVED IT.

Okay, so why did I like it so much? (Please note, reviewing is not my long suit.  If you want a proper blurb, you can find it here or you can check out the cheat’s guide – with pictures! – on Kylie’s blog.)

First, I loved Ali, the heroine.  From the beginning,she felt very real to me. She is a modern girl, trying to be tough and manage but without any special skills that would help her get by in a nightmare world and she’s terrified.  Kylie’s writing made me feel that.  Her characterisation at the beginning of Flesh is one of the best openings I have read this year.

Second, it has to be said, the sex is smokin’ hot.  I don’t read a lot of erotica, partly because I find there’s only so much sex I can read about without getting bored*.  I have to say, though, that I was NEVER bored with Flesh. I had to fan myself with the iPad quite regularly, but I was never bored!  Admittedly, towards the end, the sex went a couple of places (well, one place, really) that didn’t do anything for me, but that’s a personal preference. Each to their own! And the scene overall was so well done and I was so invested in these characters by then that I didn’t care.

I also liked that the story explored the danger posed by the non-infected as well as the zombies.  There are some genuinely scary zombie encounters and as a fantasy reader from way back, I did enjoy them.  But possibly a bigger danger to our merry band comes from the ‘good’ guys and I thought that was very real.  Until I met these guys, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to life in a post-apocalyptic world.  But now that I do, I can see that other people would be one of the biggest risks.  Jealousy and self-interest and such things wouldn’t go away just because there was a common enemy and the less-than-pretty side of people plays an important part in this story.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the hot guys yet. There are two (and yes, Ali gets to keep both of them).  Daniel is a bona fide sweetheart and just the sort of man I like in my romances.  Finn is more complicated.  He’s a cop and a hero type but also adorable in his way.  I’m not going to go into any more detail, because you can always read the book. 😉 What I will say is that, hot sex aside, what I LOVED about this menage set-up was the way that, by the end, the three of them had become family.

Yes, there were zombies and bad guys and sex, but in the end, this is a story about finding a safe emotional place to ride out the storms of life – whatever that looks like.  Gotta love that.

If you’re up for something different, give it a try – and if you do, let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear from you!

Imelda

*It must be said that I this happens less with the erotic romance writers I have been introduced to in more recent times.  It is that there is more story in the sex?  Is it possible that previously I have been reading bad erotica?  I think perhaps so!

8 thoughts on “The unexpected joys of being a writer – other writers!

  1. You’ve made me all teary eyed. I’m so f*cking delighted tickled pink over the moon happy that you enjoyed it. I loves you. (P.S. You would have been totally fine if you hadn’t connected with it. Our friendship is made of sterner stuff.) x

    • You’re welcome, lovey! And now I have finally got my head around what I wanted to say, I can go and leave that review on Amazon! It would have been yesterday, but the internet connection failed partway through and I LOST the actual review part! There was swearing!

  2. Well there’s erotica and there’s porn, lol. You may have been reading flat out porn. No plot, or if one, flimsy at best. There’s plenty of story to sink your teeth into with Flesh, and other similar female erotica books out there. IMO of course. 😉

    • You’re right, of course! The good stuff does have story as well and there is plenty of it about. I know many good writers of it now! I do find I need to mix it up with really unsexy stuff as well or I get an overload. Luckily, I also like crime…

  3. I really love the book and like you Imelda I’m not totally into either zombies or menage’s. But I can tolerate anything if it’s well written and this was great. I got totally invested in the main characters and the world building was very well done. (considering I’m practically a local.)

    • I’m with you Fi. It’s one of the hallmarks of good writing, isn’t it, that you’ll follow the writer wherever they take you, even if it is into the zombie nightmare! I liked your goodreads review, it encapsulated my feelings about it too!

  4. I enjoyed Sylvia Day’s ‘Bared to You’, a freebie in my last conference bag. If something is well written, even if it’s in a genre different from my usual reading, I’m likely to go on and read more within that genre. My book club has been great for broadening my reading, although I’ve always read fairly widely anyway, but other people’s interests and passions have led me to some wonderful books I’m certain I wouldn’t have found under my own steam. But while I believe it’s necessary to push your boundaries as a reader, (I expect there may be a couple of genres I won’t ever cope with) I am always willing to give a new book or author a ‘go’. Looking fwd to trying “Flesh” soon; adding it to my TBR pile. 🙂
    Cheers,
    Susanne

    • I love being pushed, too, Susanne. You may not always love someone else’s suggestion, but it’s great to get out of your groove. I used to sometimes choose 3 or 4 books at random, from sections I don’t normally frequent, to get around that. Now, with all the writing and reading people that surround me, it’s more a case of keeping up! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

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