Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Finds/Guest post by Rachel Keener, author of The Killing Tree

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The Killing Tree is about the life and love that was taken from Mercy on the day she was born and her battle to reclaim it. To do this, Mercy will have to overcome the pain of her family history, one soiled by murder and small town rumor. She will have to fight against her grandfather as well as her own crippling fears which work to trap her on Crooktop. With the love of a man, who, like her, is outside of all that is considered "good" on Crooktop, Mercy will find the courage to wage this battle. On the side of the mountain one stormy night, Mercy will make her last stand.

Dear friends, here is a guest post by Rachel Keener, author of The Killing Tree.
Do check out her website and her book by clicking on both.

Hungry Readers: Guest post by Rachel Keener

Gautami recently posted a confession of book gluttony. I laughed as I read how she leaves every bookstore with at least five new books. But I also wondered, what would happen if she found herself unable to read them? What happens to a book glutton when they are forced to go hungry?

My answer was to write a book. Not because I wanted to be a novelist. Not because I had a light bulb moment, a great plot or character to launch. I wrote because I was a hungry reader. A starving reader.

My need for books began early. I remember reading Sarah, Plain and Tall in the first grade. I felt hot pride when I held that book in my hands. It was my first chapter book, my first experience sinking into a story much bigger than me. After that I marched through the Little House books and later, during Middle School, straight into Steinbeck and Harper Lee. I wrote too. Stories and poems in pencil and notebook paper, folded up and tucked into my backpack. I don’t know that I had a strong need to write as a child. Instead, writing was an extension of my first love. Books.

I never considered the possibility of folding that love into a career. Instead, I believed I could have it all. An academic plan that marched me straight to law school, and plenty of free time to enjoy my “hobby” of books.

But the first semester in law school left little time for healthy meals, much less hobbies. Every day when classes ended, hours of homework waited. There were cases to read, statutes to understand, and briefs to write. Weeks passed this way and I wasn’t happy. But it was part of the process, part of the training. I was supposed to keep my head in the case books, do the work, and become intellectually strong. But then came my breaking point. That moment, hours of work left to do, when all I could think about was my old love. I grabbed Wuthering Heights, shut myself away for a quick escape.

I wasn’t going to quit law school. I wasn’t going to tell my family I wouldn’t be an attorney simply because I missed reading novels. But the hunger inside me had found a name. Something had to be done to feed me.

Walk past any law class and you’ll hear the tap tap tap of dozens of laptop keyboards. Students are taking notes on cases, statutes, facts and holdings. But if you walked past my law school classroom, soon after that quick escape with Wuthering Heights, chances are I was leaving the note taking to my husband. Chances are if you looked at my laptop you’d see notes on cases and statutes, but you’d also see a couple lines about mountains. About a woman in need of a New Song. You’d see poetry.

That’s what this glutton did, when there was no time for books. I wrote my own. Line by line, little by little. My very own fiction tucked in between so much real.

Recently, after I shared how I wrote The Killing Tree, a couple of law students emailed me. Fellow book gluttons. They’ve been typing novels around their case notes too. It seems that, sometimes, books happen when a book glutton goes hungry.

If there was no time for books, how would you feed the hunger?

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Thank Rachel, I enjoyed reading this. And I think I do somewhat similar. I scribble poetry!

10 comments:

violetcrush said...

oh wouldn't it be a nightmare if we wouldn't be able to feed out book gluttony? No, I can't even think about it. It's really great that you found out a way to feed your hunger. I don't know what I would do, I certainly wouldn't be able to write. And writing poetry is out of the question for me, it would be great if I could read one and understand every single word of it.

Great guest post and love the cover of the book. Gautami, I don't think I've said this before, you write beautiful poetry, but I guess you've heard that many time :)

bermudaonion said...

This is a wonderful guest post! I find it hard to go a day without reading - it would be awful to have to go months without it.

Jess said...

Wow, this sounds fantastic. Great find!

Bridget said...

Great post. Just listed this on Win A Book.

Jodie said...

I loved this post, great to hear a real case of book hunger and to see how it was overcome.

Ti said...

Wow. What an interesting post. It's true too. Here at work I am not always able to read when I want to but I find myself reading in different ways and also writing here and there.

I saw this book before but it didn't stick with me. I am going to add it to my Goodreads list now that I've read this post.

Lusty Reader said...

Oh I loved the author's guest post! She described my need to read so well!

Alyce said...

I've often thought of the book starved scenario when people ask what you would take on a deserted island. Of course my choice would be a book, but it got me thinking about what if I was stuck on an island with no reading material. I came to the conclusion that I would have to write to entertain myself - even if it was just creating stories in my head that I couldn't write down for a lack of paper.

Beth F said...

Great guest post, Rachel! As you know, I loved your book. It's one of my top reads this year. Thanks to Gautami for giving us a chance to know you a bit better.

Gwendolyn B. said...

Such an interesting post -- glad I found it. It's inspirational to all of us would-be writers with day jobs! Is the contest still open? This books sounds right up my alley. If I don't win it, it's definitely going on my to-buy list!

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