Thursday, September 3, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Writers Read What? by Jami Gray

The Write Way Café welcomes Jami Gray, who never eats what she's writing.

Confession: I’m a writer, and I can’t read in the genre I'm writing in, until my story is done. Weird, right? Maybe.

Writers are told, if you write, you must read. And read I do. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest blessing of having an e-reader is that it doesn't take up as much space in my purse/backpack/luggage as paperbacks, nor does it encourage my Igor impression since one e-reader weighs weigh less than five to six paperbacks.

I'm a huge reader of a wide variety of genres because, if the story's good, I'm there. Those characters and worlds that suck you right in and haunt your every waking moment are like boxes of the finest chocolate for me. So, imagine my surprise when, early on in my writing career, I discovered what I read impacted what I wrote.

Now, I wasn't going around repeating word for word what I read, but my developmental process on story arc or character motivation would take turns that weren't true to my story. For a bit, I worried perhaps I'd lost my writing mojo or my Muse had decided to go into the witness protection program. Then, one day as Raine and I were discussing a potential situation, I realized why her voice sounded...well, off.  Somehow, she was channeling the heroine of the book I was currently reading.

Horrified, I immediately cut of all communication with Raine and sent her far, far away.  Then I quickly finished up the book I was reading (because you do not quit half way through a damn good book, ever), took a deep breath, and began examining the puzzle pieces of my creative process.

When I identified the exact moment, the actual decision Raine made that was completely foreign to her nature, I was then able to correct it, and get my story back on track.

Phew, crisis averted. I then had to deal with the very real withdrawal effects of not reading for the next few months as I finished my story. No way did I want to fall into that sneaky little trap again.

Of course, after the words THE END were typed, I engaged in a reading binge to end all reading binges. When I finally surfaced, I realized that because my creative process is a constant spinning mess in the back of my mind 24/7, I needed to keep a clear line between my current works in progress and what I read when working on them.

When I work with Raine, Xander, and Natasha, I suddenly devour romantic suspense or non-fiction pieces. When Cyn took up residence, I went right back to my first love, Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. So long as I can stay away from the same genre I'm writing in, I'm okay, and my story lines tend not to tangle. Plus, I find some really cool books out there. (THE HERETIC by Joseph Nassise is awaiting my dining pleasure).

Right now, I’m in-between projects, and am pondering a new series. I’m indulging in the finest selection of chocolates books—offerings by Joseph Nassise, Christine Feehan, Jennifer Ashley/Jennifer Lyon, Suzanne Johnson, Cristin Harber, John Patrick Kennedy, and oh so many more.

However, I'm not starving, because as soon as those are gone, I have a very long list to pick my next entrée from. So long as I don’t eat what I write, I should be good to go.

Since I know I'm not the only one out there, here's a question:

Readers--do you tend to stick to one genre at a time or do you mix it up?

Writers--what do you find yourself reading when you're in the midst of writing?

Find Jami at:      Black Opal Books          Muse It Up Publishing          Website

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You can find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at:


HiDee said...
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HiDee said...

I often have two books going at once (one on the Kindle, the other a paperback that goes everywhere with me) and sometimes they are in different genres. Just depends what I'm in the mood for! But in the midst of writing, I agree that it is easier not to read much so I don't flavor my book with another authors writing. Thanks for being with us today, Jami!

Lynn said...

Very interesting post! I find myself reading whenever I can. I have been known to steer away from the genre I'm writing in, but sometimes I read it anyway, to help me set my tone.

Jami Gray said...

Thanks for having me, HiDee. It was so weird, because when I first started writing it didn't bother me as much, but the more involved I got with each of my series, I found it harder to read in the same genre.
Lynn, I don't think you're alone on that. Sometimes we need a little peek into what we're doing through a different voice.