“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) an American author best known for his novel, The Catcher in the Rye (1951),
Have you ever felt like Salinger? My favorite books—even when I re-read them—have me wishing I could call up Stephen King (The Stand) or J.R.R. Tolkein (The Lord of the Rings) and just chat. About the book, certainly, but also about nothing, as you do with only the best friends.
What makes me want to do that? I think it’s that the authors have put so much of themselves into their work. After spending that much time with them, I feel I know them—even though I don’t. That’s what we should aim for, though, as authors—to leave our readers with that emotion.
What do you think? What author and book has given you this feeling?
Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line
I’d love to sit down with Leif Enger and chat about Peace Like A River. A cup of afternoon tea with John le Carre would be a treat. I’d like to discuss his character George Smiley (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy; Smiley’s People). Both authors are true craftsmen. And there’s several others, too numerous to include here.
When I was researching my novel Moe, I met the real estate agents who sold Stephen King his place on the Sarasota Keys. So I know where you can find him–if you can get past the guard at the gate. 🙂
Jim, I’ve never read LeCarre…not a spy book guy. But Leif Enger’s book … well, need to re-read it I think.
Oh, and I’d take you up on that location in the Keys, except I might end up a King novel…
I just finished Dan Walsh’s newest release The Reunion. All I can say is WOW! I can’t wait to see the movie!! Dan poured his heart out onto the [pages of this book. It’s one of my all time favorites! And when I get to conference, I’ll sit with Dan and his wife and have a lovely natter.
Natter … is that a Southern word? In context, I’m assuming it means a chat. But I’ve never heard it.
I’m reading Dean Koontz – “Strangers” right now, and will follow that up with “Odd Apocalypse”. I read slow because I tend to immerse myself into the story. That slowness translates into time. When you spend time with someone you resonate with, even vicariously, a kindred spirit develops.
And, I start to see deeper themes in the stories. Now that may just be my imagination playing off of what’s there, but it’s deeply satisfying. If there’s a shared view of the world, a common use of language, and resonating voices – then I’m down for the friendship.
I will say too, that with this ethereal online world in which we live, I would love to have lunch or dinner with Dean Koontz, to hear his “voice” in person and get to know more about him. He’s a literary hero to me partly because he has a knack for bending genre and making it work.
I’d even scrounge up the coin to make the trip Cali to meet him. Dean? Are you listening? 🙂
David, Love the Odd Thomas books. Not all of Koontz’ stuff speaks to me, but those books do. Haven’t picked up the latest yet … also want to get the short stories Amazon published in advance of ‘Odd Apocalypse’ elaborating on the Odd universe. And he’s done graphic novels, too.
Okay, so don’t laugh, but when I read Stephenie Meyer’s THE HOST, I had tons of questions about how she brainstormed that whole sci-fi meets human scenario (I’ve since heard that GATTACA inspired her!). She just seemed accessible, as another writing mom. Of course, now she’s utterly INaccessible (and rightly so!). Oh, and two others I’d love to meet are Thomas Hardy and Margaret Mitchell. And Daphne du Maurier. And Tom Rob Smith. Okay, I gotta stop.
(This is me, trying desperately NOT to laugh…) But I know exactly what you mean … after some books you just feel like Salinger. I wish that author was my buddy.