Today please welcome my good friend and guest blogger, Nancy Martin. Nancy and I met first on line then in person at Bouchercon in San Francisco and we’ve been fast friends ever since. I’ll let Nancy tell you about her guilty summer reading pleasures…and a bit about her wonderful light mystery series featuring the Blackbird sisters….and what sisters they are! Total fun.
There’s something different about reading a book while sitting on a beach or rocking in a hammock or huddled in a tent while rain patters overhead. Yes, hot, humid weather can make the pages stick together. The wind can send your bookmark spinning off down the beach. But long ago, in the back seat of the family station wagon on the way somewhere fun, did you ever look up from a book to watch the passing scenery only to get sucked back into a story you couldn’t resist?
Like listening to the Beach Boys, summer reading is relaxed and fun. It’s a totally different experience from curling up with a tome under a blanket in front of a fire on a snowy day. It’s a pleasure to be indulged.
The books are different in the summer, too. I remember the year all my friends and I were reading LOVE STORY, by Erich Segal—an irresistible sobfest. And I can still close my eyes and see the exact spot on the lakeside beach where I turned the terrifying pages of THE EXORCIST! I graduated the year JAWS hit bookstores, and all my fellow grads and I gobbled those pages like slices of cool, sweet watermelon at a picnic. And, oh, how I remember the joy of plunging into the ocean of Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures one summer—without leaving the wicker rocking chair on my sun porch. We like our genre fiction in the summer: Scary books and funny books, too. (ONE FOR THE MONEY!) Westerns (LONESOME DOVE!) and mysteries and thrillers and romance. (50 SHADES OF GRAY!) In summer, we want to be able to leave the book in the hammock while we stroll down the boardwalk for ice cream, but we want to be grabbed again by the story as soon as we crack it open at bedtime–without struggling to remember who’s who.
Summer is also the season when reading isn’t as private as it usually is. While rocking our porches or sunning ourselves on sandy towels at the beach, we can take a peek at what books friends and neighbors picked up to enjoy. Over backyard fences while the sprinklers spray or the kids go tumbling down the Slip-N-Slide, we tell each other about the latest page-turners–books with fast-paced stories and memorable characters. We trade books with friends or buy armloads at neighborhood garage sales. Sharing books is part of summer vacation, right?
Last year was my first year as the author of a summer book. Until then, I’d always been published in the fall or winter. A few years ago, my publisher bumped me to spring, and I picked up enough readers to qualify me as a summer author. It’s exciting that my books are officially Beach Reads—summer mysteries intended to entertain people between dips in the pool. I wrote the book for exactly that purpose–to captivate, to please, to entertain. (I keep two words on my computer screen to remind me of my task: Surprise and delight.) I want my Blackbird Sisters to make readers laugh, catch their breath, give a sigh.
I write a light mystery, yes, set in the world of Philadelphia’s high society that I hope is fresh and interesting to readers, but the story is one with heart and laughter. LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF MURDER will be in stores (from all e-book vendors, too) on August 6th—just in time to be tucked into beach bags or backpacks.
Yes, summer is the time to indulge ourselves in guilty pleasures like hot dogs, slow ball games, and books that carry us away.
What summer book do you remember best? Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS? THE DAVINCI CODE? A Harry Potter book? Last summer’s GONE GIRL? Did you take a Nancy Drew to summer camp? Read GONE WITH THE WIND while drinking sweet tea? Tell me where and when you read a great summer book! And . . . what are you reading this summer?
I just finished TRANSATLANTIC by Column McCann, and I loved it. Share your secret reading.
Nancy Martin is the author of nearly fifty popular fiction novels in four genres. In 2009, she was awarded the Romantic Times lifetime achievement award for mystery writing. She has served on the board of Sisters in Crime and is a founding member of Pennwriters. All the books in her award-winning Blackbird Sisters Mystery Series are available wherever you buy books.
Read the first chapter of Little Black Book of Murder here: http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/little-black-book.html
Get an autographed copy of Little Black Book of Murder, the 9th Blackbird Sisters Mystery, from Mystery Lovers Bookshop. http://www.mysterylovers.com/index.php?target=products&product_id=65262
Nancy’s website: http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/