Thursday, October 29, 2015

Reading for Pleasure Easy or Difficult for Author?

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Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon - Thoughts in Progress I’m delighted today to welcome author Cheryl Hollon to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, PANE AND SUFFERING, the first book in her new Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series.

In addition, Cheryl will be talking about if it’s more difficult for her as an author just to read for pleasure. First here’s a brief synopsis of PANE AND SUFFERING.

To solve her father's murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer's carefully constructed façade . . .

      After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs--including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack.
      As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father's apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture. . .

Now please join me in giving a warm TIP welcome to Cheryl. Welcome Cheryl.

As an author, do you find it more difficult to just read for pleasure?

My reading habits have changed dramatically after I decided to become a full-time writer. Typically, I would read between two and three books a week. Usually, in bed in the last hour before sleep. Reading at that time was a bit of a risk since if a book took hold, I would read far into the wee hours. After I began to write with hopes of publication all that changed. 

As a method for improving the quality of my writing, I participated in an on-line group that analyzed a best-selling mystery each month. The lessons learned were invaluable, but it changed the way I read for pleasure. In fact, I have difficulty turning off my critical eye for examining the story’s pacing, plotting, and character development. I eventually determined that I had to separate analysis mode from enjoyment mode and that has made all the difference.
I have also found that it’s easier than ever to abandon a book that doesn’t draw me in right away. I would never have even considered not finishing a book before I started writing. After all, I had taken the trouble to go to the bookstore, look at the covers and jackets of dozens of books before making my selections. It became easier to stop reading a book after I bought a Kindle and found that I could load up a sample first before I purchased it for reading. Even so, I have more than a hundred eBooks stacked up and waiting. 

As a way to enjoy reading again, I select books from another genre altogether. I’m currently on a Terry Pratchett binge and have been enjoying the books about Tiffany Aching, the young witch. I’m reading the last adventure of the series, I Shall Wear Midnight, and will be sad to get to the end as with Pratchett’s death this spring, no more will be arriving.

While I’m deep in the first draft of a new novel, I find it distracting to read fiction. Not impossible, but I really don’t need to torment myself, so I switch to biography, memoir and books about writing and promotion. Luckily, after that ugly first draft is done, I can slip back into fiction.

The other factor that has changed since I became a published author is that my reading time is now very compressed. I write in the early morning, then attend to my social media and promotion tasks right after that. After lunch, I usually write blogs and start revision on the morning’s writing. Sounds just like a real job, doesn’t it? It is. But, unlike a real job, I don’t really leave the office. I’m working on setting aside some time in the afternoon for reading. 

A sheer delight, however, is reading the books that have been written by the many generous friends that I’ve made over the years of struggling to get published. These are books that I save for vacation and while I’m on a cruise with no internet. Writing is easier with no e-mail distractions and when I’m done, I get to spend some time in one of my friend’s story world. That is heaven for a reader – any reader – even a writer reader.

Cheryl, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight. Reading is definitely a pleasure for me.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Cheryl, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Cheryl Hollon - Thoughts in Progress
Author Cheryl Hollon
Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. 

Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

For more on Cheryl and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by today during Cheryl’s visit. Are you familiar with stained glass? Have you ever worked with glass of any kind?


  1. Cheryl I have good news for you. This is indeed another one in the Tiffany Aching series. Called The Shepherd's Crown it was released this year.
    I read for education, for comfort, for escape and for pleasure and am so grateful to the writers who feed me.

    1. Oh! That is good news. I'm only a few pages away from finishing! But before that, I'm going to read the latest Alexander McCall Smith book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, THE WOMAN WHO WALKED IN SUNSHINE.

  2. I know my read time has grown smaller. I don't finish books that I'm not enjoying anymore, either. But, I can turn off the editor and just enjoy.
    Congratulations, Cheryl!
    And - dogs twelve, cats nine.

    1. Thanks, Alex. I'm working harder at turning off my editor. I have to get up pretty early - she's a late sleeper. ;-)

  3. This was really interesting! Thanks, both. I think our perception of what we read, and our way of going about it, really do change once we become writers.

    1. Margot, I was not expecting my reading habits to change so dramatically, but change is good and I'm loving the experience.

  4. I enjoyed reading about Cheryl's writing schedule. Being a full time writer really is a job, although a pleasurable one. I still read for pleasure and read critically as a writer. Sometimes both at the same time. Usually the critiquer in me is noticing things I like, great metaphors, brilliant plotting, that sort of thing. And I have learned to discontinue reading a book that doesn't grab me. It's also a great reminder of why editors and agents stop reading a submission, so I pay attention to that, too.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, it took me a long time to find an effective writing schedule, but it was SO worth the trouble. I now enjoy my writing sprint and look forward to each session. Thanks for commenting here.

  5. Thank you for allowing me to be your guest today. I'll be checking in from time to time today -- I'm on the road and my internet access is miserable. I'm in Ohio and on my way to Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis, IN. Keep Reading!

  6. Congratulations, Cheryl. The story is very intriguing. I can still read for pleasure, thank goodness. And bedtime is a good time for me as well.

    1. Hi Karen, thank you for your good wishes. Cheers, Cheryl

  7. I've found I don't even enjoy movies as much as I once did, sadly. We just learn too much!


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