L.J. Sellers is my guest today. We decided to do something fun and trade places for a day, so I am guesting on her BLOG today. I hope you enjoy what she has to say today, and please do check out her books. She writes some terrific mystery/suspense.
I recently posted on my own blog about what makes me put down a novel, so to be fair, I thought I’d post about what makes me keep reading.
1. A great opening in which something unusual, unexpected, contradictory, or violent happens. For example, in Secret Dead Men by Duane Swierczynski, the third sentence caught my attention. “..but a couple of kids organized an impromptu club with a mandate to experiment on her corpse.”
2. Intriguing characters who are unusual, unexpected, contradictory, complex, or compelling. From the first page of the same story: “Then again, what do I know? I was a dead man impersonating an FBI agent.”
3. Characters who don’t fit the current clichés. I like cops who aren’t cynical, FBI agents who aren’t workaholics that can’t handle relationships, private investigators who aren’t alcoholic loners, and women who are soft on the outside and tough on the inside.
4. Complexity! I like parallel plots, interwoven stories, and multiple points of view. And if it all comes together in a way that surprises me and makes perfect sense, I pick up the next book by that author.
5. Passion about a subject. I like politics, religion, and social issues in novels as long as it works for the story and doesn’t overwhelm it.
6. Multiple plot points and plots twists that leave me thinking: Wow! Stunning, but believable.
7. Moderate levels of crime and violence written with sensitivity to the subject, the victim, and the reader.
8. Just enough detail (setting and character) to make the story real. I like Elmore Leonard’s approach: Only write the parts that people will read.
9. Believable relationships of any and all kinds.
10. Fast-paced narrative with a great balance of dialogue and action, in which the surprises just keep coming.
Of course, these are the kind of stories Maryann and I write. (smile) What makes you keep reading a novel?
L.J. will give one lucky person an electronic copy of Passions Of the Dead. Leave your e-mail address in the comment box and we will draw the winner at the end of the week.
L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series. The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, and Thrilled to Death have been highly praised by Mystery Scene and Spinetingler magazines. Her fourth Jackson story, Passions of the Dead, has just been released. All four novels are on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has two standalone thrillers, The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.
About Passions of the Dead -- A working-class family is brutally attacked in their home and only one survives. Detective Jackson is assigned to investigate and soon uncovers a blackmail scheme. But the forensic evidence is confusing, and the girl who survives has no memory of the horrific event.
When another home invasion occurs, Jackson is confident they’ve nailed the perpetrators. Yet the case grows even more entangled. When the survivor disappears, Jackson fears for her life—but can he find her in time to save her?
Read an excerpt HERE http://ljsellers.com/wordpress/jackson/passions-of-the-dead