And speaking of elsewhere . . . Cathy Cole of Kittling:Books blog interviewed me yesterday and is reviewing Art's Blood today. Pop over and leave a comment if you will. All you mystery readers out there will find lots of inspiration at Kittling: Books.
Originally I resisted reading The Hunger Games trilogy, thinking that it had to do with teenage vampires or zombies or such. I was wrong.
I've been immersed in this dark world for the past few days and am reporting back to recommend this compelling, well-told story -- highly, highly recommend!
Set in a dystopian future, in a place that was once the USA but is now a highly repressive authoritarian society, the trilogy takes its name from a yearly ritual designed to keep the twelve different districts of the country ever aware of the power of the central government.
Every year each district must send a boy and a girl to compete in the deadly Arena in a fight to the death where there can be but one winner. It's a kind of mash-up of Roman Circuses, the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, and our present-day reality shows.
And it's the story of Katniss, a young girl chosen to represent her district in the Games. The first book focuses on the fragile alliances she forges during the game -- always knowing that eventually she must kill or be killed.
I raced through the first and second books, caught up in the ever-shifting alliances and dilemmas. One truly surreal moment came as I was reading Catching Fire, in which the government is bombing a district that had seemed rebellious. The radio was on and I suddenly realized that the words on the page were being echoed by NPR -- news from Syria of the bombing of Homs -- and that the dystopia wasn't as far removed from reality as one might wish.
When I came to the third book, I began to slow down -- partially because I didn't want the story to be over but mainly because there was so much to think about and so many possible outcomes. I found myself trying to anticipate what choices the author had made.
When I finally allowed myself to finish reading the last book (standing outside in the cold on Sunday morning while at the other end of her leash Willa dug holes in a flowerbed,) I was completely satisfied with the ending.
I don't want to say anything that would be a spoiler but I will say that I think this is a wonderful book, dealing as it does with heavy matters such as the corrupting influence of power, the strength of propaganda, the nature of love and loyalty, the nature of courage, the joy of small things . . . I could go on and on.
The books are brilliantly visual; the author's world-building skills are amazing. I kept imagining the trilogy as a movie and, indeed, there's one coming soon. But I already doubt that any movie could do full justice to this complicated dance of love and loyalty, right and wrong, life and death.
Yes, it's a dark story, to be sure. But a story that's shot through with light, with beauty, and with moments that answer the question of what it is to be human.
As Pat predicted in the comments on a previous post, I haven't picked up another book to read yet -- my mind is still too full of this world, these characters, these moral dilemmas.
June 25-July 1 -- John C. Campbell Folk School. I'll be teaching A Practical Guide to Writing Popular Fiction. Your novel starts here with this intense, week-long class. We will focus on writing realistic dialogue and creating characters that move through and interact with a fully realized setting. We will discuss different approaches to plotting, tricks for building suspense, means of ensuring continuity, and the avoidance of info dumps. We'll also talk about forming or joining critique groups, the ins and outs of self editing, agents and how to query them, as well as the various publishing alternatives available today. All levels welcome. Link to JCC HERE.
All images and content are subject to copyright and are the sole property of Vicki Lane Mysteries. If you would like to use something from my blog on your blog or website, please email me and ask first. I'll probably say yes.
I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/