Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colleen Thompson

Colleen Thompson has written fifteen novels for Dorchester Publishing (romantic suspense) and Kensington (historical romance, written as Gwyneth Atlee), along with articles on the craft and business of writing for Writer’s Digest and the Romance Writer’s Report.

Her most recent release is Beneath Bone Lake.

Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m a voracious reader who enjoys a wide variety of books. I could probably go on all day, but here are a few highlights from my year in reading.

The most recent novel that made me sit and say “Wow!” was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. While some might say this is a look at the early civil rights movement in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, at its heart, it’s the story of growing relationship between three women, a privileged but sensitive young white woman (who insists on getting answers to the era’s “unspeakable” – and incredibly risky — questions), a wise and courageous older black maid named Aibleen, and Aibleen’s smart-mouth, often-unemployed friend, Minny. It’s one of those stories that feels more real than real life, and though I grew up in the North and can’t remember the early sixties, I gained a new appreciation for the ironies, incongruities, and dangers of that period. Stockett grabbed me by the throat with the book’s first paragraph and never let go. I literally couldn’t get another thing done (including my own writing) until I finished this fascinating, touching, at at times hilarious story.

Another book that really impressed me was Mary Ann Shaffer’s and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society. Told entirely through letters, this book is a quirky, amusing, and at times tragic tale of how villagers on a tiny British island survived the German Occupation during World War II. I loved the way the book didn’t simply rely on stereotypes, but developed characters so complex and nuanced, I felt I knew them by the story’s end, and I developed a new appreciation for the hardship and courage of the people who lived through an event that took place long before my time.

I’m a huge Michael Connelly fan, and my most recent read of his, The Scarecrow, didn’t disappoint. Though I write suspense myself and have gotten pretty hard to fool in the mystery department, I literally sat up and gasped in surprise at several shockingly creepy twists. I also loved how Connelly detailed the sad decline of the nation’s great newspapers and incorporated some truly terrifying and all too plausible cyberthreats into his plot. What a riveting read! I couldn’t put it down.
Visit Colleen Thompson's website and follow her on Twiiter.

--Marshal Zeringue