Today we have a very special guest post from Gretchen Archer! Gretchen’s book Double Whammy is currently available in paperback and e-book format. I haven’t had the chance to read it, but I did purchase a copy and can’t wait to get lost in it later this upcoming weekend.
We also have a giveaway, more information located below her post.
My work in the publishing industry began at a very early age. Five or so. My first job was End User. Decades, and much reading, would pass before I crossed to the dark side to write, and while I love what I do, which includes a ton of work-related reading, I miss reading for pleasure.
My bookshelves are a testament to my favorite genre. I have complete and beloved collections of Carolyn Keene, Lawrence Sanders, Sue Grafton, and Janet Evanovich. The mystery series, my true loves, are the least of the hardbacks I’ve collected through the years—my home is a very booky place—but they’re also the ones I’d be tossing out the window (after the kids and pets) if the house caught fire. Sprinkled in the hundreds and hundreds of books (alphabetized, several signed firsts, including a John Steinbeck) are single titles that grabbed and shook me so hard I lost an entire night’s sleep over them.
Drum roll, please.
1. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. A true crime masterpiece. Kansas. 1959. Herb Clutter, his wife, and his two children are brutally murdered by two paroled criminals. It’s not the story that got me, it was the Capote’s brilliant telling of the story. It’s been dubbed a “nonfiction novel,” and it will, indeed, make your blood run cold. I was a terrified teenager under blankets with a flashlight when I read it and learned the power of the written word.
2. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. Manderley, Mrs. Danvers, Maxim, and Mrs. DeWinter held my attention past bedtime, but it was the brilliance in the character development of Rebecca that kept the lights on all night. The time in my life when I read it? Several months into what would be the eight years I dated my future husband, so, forever and a day ago.
3. The Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Oprah’s interest in this one piqued my interest. (I can count the additional number of times I’ve been sucked into the total morbidity Oprah bullied the public into reading on two fingers.) My question: how does a mother, a marriage, a family, survive the kidnapping of a child? Jacquelyn Mitchard’s answer: they don’t. I stayed up all night with this one when I was a young mother.
4. The one thousand layers of Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full put it on my Insomnia List. It’s a dazzling society piece set in Atlanta that takes jabs at everything and everyone—big business, little business, greed, relationships, depravity, poverty, religion, politics, karma, forcing the reader to choose the book’s hero: Charlie Croker or Conrad Hensley? This book leaves you with a burning question: Where is the happy place between too little and too much? I read it the year my husband’s business would either close the doors or go national.
5. Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You. JoLayne’s winning lottery ticket worth $14 million is stolen by the two raging idiots who won the other half of the jackpot, and it was better than any sleep I’ve ever had. Mr. Hiassen is simply brilliant. At the tippy top of my reading list, always, and he’s who I recommend to self-proclaimed non-readers. I can honestly say that this is the one that planted the seed for me. I read it the same year I stared at a blank screen asking myself, “What if?”
Other all-nighters: Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan. Anna Quindlen’s Black and Blue. All things J.K. and most things John Grisham. Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone. John Irving’s A Widow for One Year. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier.
Go read a book that’s not on your work-read list. You might find something that really resonates. And keeps you up all night.
Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently. Double Whammy is her first Davis Way mystery. Stay tuned for Davis’ next crime caper, Double Dip (Henery Press, November, 2013)
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Gretchen is offering a signed copy of Double Whammy with swag for one lucky commenter (18 yrs or older, USA only, & void where prohibited by law). Just comment with the last book that kept you up all night and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday May 22nd using random.org.