Anyone who wants to be a writer has to be a reader. I cannot imagine a wannabe writer who never reads. Do composers never listen to music? Do artists not look at paintings?
Surprising for someone who writes mysteries, my own reading taste is all over the place. I go more by the voice or how it sounds. Typically I can tell within the first paragraph if I’m going to like the book.
And it’s books that got me interested in writing—the promise of adventure, the chance to be somewhere I could never go and do things beyond my limitations. Books are what hooked me into spending my evenings and weekends plunking at the keyboard and weaving mysteries. I give you here a list of ten books that influenced my writing.
1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
2. The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
3. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke
4. The Bad Beginning or, Orphans! by Lemony Snicket
5. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
6. Interview with the Vampire by Ann Rice
7. Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. 1984 by George Orwell
9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
1. The Shining by Stephen King
Some of the books listed here I read as a teenager, including the James Bond thrillers. While some may argue that Bond doesn’t fit in with fine literature, the books are still selling well on Amazon. Also, I give credit to Ann Rice who reintroduced the vampire with fresh material back in the 80’s. Anyone wanting to learn the art of suspense needs to read King. He can spend pages slowly ratcheting up a terrifying moment. I mention The Poisonwood Bible because Kingsolver did such a wonder job writing multiple first person point-of-views. And I include Burke because of his excellent Dave Robicheaux murder mysteries.
I saved talking about Lemony Snicket until last. While writing the first two Penelope mysteries, his books were top on my reading list. First he did what most writers were told not to do. He would make aside comments to reader and do it quite well. Second, the things I loved about his books were the over-the-top quirky characters. Probably that influenced the Penelope series the most. The characters you’ll run into in Penelope and The Movie Star and the other books are a bit different, bigger than life, but always fun.
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PENELOPE AND THE MOVIE STAR
By Ron D Voigts
Age Level: Mid Grade Mystery (tween)
To complicate matters, the school has a new cook, and Penelope’s friend Raddy thinks Chef Judy is trying to poison them. The new girl at school steals away everyone’s friends. As always Principal Merriweather keeps finding new ways to expel her. Between trying to get her friends back, starving and keeping away from the killer, she has her hands full in this next Penelope Mystery.
Penelope and The Birthday Curse http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005561FZI
Penelope and The Ghost's Treasure http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005P94IGI
Penelope and The Movie Star http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077UX7LU
Ron D. Voigts lives in Raleigh, NC and sometimes somewhere else. When back in Raleigh, he enjoys time with his family, watches old movies and shoots lots of pool. He has his own private writer's retreat in La Vale, MD where he spends lots of time working on his next novel while enjoying the mountains and eating ice cream.
Giveaway is a Smashwords code for
Penelope and The Ghost’s Treasure
(Ron will later send a coupon for Penelope and The Movie Star once it becomes available on Smashwords)
If you would like to win these two books please leave a comment with your email address
I love this banner Beckie from Bittersweet Enchantment made
(she also happens to be Ron's daughter :-)