Does Life Influence Your Reading?

Melissa FosterMelissa Foster is the award-winning author of four International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women’s NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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When I thought about visiting Lelia’s blog, I wanted to write something that was interesting to her readers, so I scoped out the blog, of course, and read all sorts of guest posts about books and writing and reviews of different genres…and it got me thinking…Yes, I’m a writer. I’ve written four International bestsellers and my books have won awards, blah, blah, blah. Okay, let’s not bore you to death. I became a writer for my love of reading, so let’s talk books!

I am fascinated by people who can read just about any genre and enjoy it.  I wish I was one of those people. Imagine the doors it would open for me if I could read science fiction or fantasy and jump into those worlds and then create new ones. My brain is not wired that way. I also cannot read horror. I can’t even watch horror movies, but so many people LOVE them! What is it that makes readers enjoy one type of book over another?

I wondered if enjoyment was based on characters, setting, time period, or something else all together. So I began evaluating what I liked about the books I was reading, and then WHY I liked that aspect. What I learned about myself changed the way I read and the way I write.

I realized that what pulls me into books are the connections with the characters, but those characters have to be people (as opposed to say…aliens), and their plight needs to be connected to the real world in some way. I think that’s why I don’t enjoy science fiction and fantasy—it’s not real life. I wish I did—I can only imagine how great of an escape that would be! To live in a whole different world for a few hours? WOW! Fantastic! I try, but I can’t do it.

Traces of KaraDoes anyone else find that when they’re reading? Are there certain genres that just don’t suck you into their worlds? I have a theory about why I don’t love them. I grew up with three older brothers who took control of the television when we were stuck inside, and I ended up being made to watch Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica, and the like. Think there’s a little rebellion in me? If you know me well, then yeah, you know it’s probably spot on! And regarding horror, well, I’m a big chicken, so it’s no wonder that I climb between the sheets with a horror villain in my head.

Realizing and understanding this brought me to a realization about my own writing. I write emotionally compelling stories about women (primarily), stories about women’s worst fears and things that can happen in real life. One of my brothers has begged me to write a science fiction book (with women blessed with ample bosoms, and space crafts, of course), but I just can’t do it. I’ve finally given that up and accepted that I’m a real life writer. If I can’t imagine it happening here on earth, you won’t find it in one of my books. Although, the paranormal/spiritual aspect is certainly explored in my books with regard to characters and their intuition.

Traces of Kara, my newest release, is a much darker book than any of my other titles—it’s a true psychological thriller. The villain is violent and aggressive, and someone who I would not want to encounter in my life—but he’s also someone who could easily exist.

I don’t recommend reading Traces of Kara alone at night, but if you like emotionally driven characters, you’re in for a real treat.

Thanks for stopping by Lelia’s blog, and I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

Melissa