Thursday, September 18, 2008

Books Among Friends

One of the neatest things about this whole writing gig has been the chance to meet people who share my passion for words. Granted, I've only been in the industry for a year, so I can hardly claim the sort of bond that Madeleine L'Engle and Luci Shaw shared. All the same, I have met some amazing people who I definitely consider my friends, and I'd love to take a few minutes today to introduce you to them and encourage you to read (buy!) their books.

Travis Thrasher was one of the very first people I met after I signed my contract with Tyndale. A few months after the papers were complete, I flew out to Chicago and spent a few days with my editors and all the other fabulous people at Tyndale House. At that time, Travis was the Author Relations Coordinator. He was funny, well-spoken, and very understanding when I made a fool of myself by not knowing that he was an author, too. Since then, Travis and I have continued to keep in touch via email, and we were able to spend some time together at ICRS this summer.

One of the things that I like best about Travis's books is the fact that he's not afraid to try new things. Often authors get pegged in a certain genre and never leave. Travis writes romance, adventure stories, horror, you name it. Since I don't always feel as if I know myself as an author, it's nice to know that someone like Travis likes to experiment, too. His most recent book, Isolation, has just been released from FaithWords. If you like Stephen King, you'll love this book. I read it on the plane home from Florida this summer and was scared to death. I think that was the point. :)

Lisa McKay and I met online. How very modern of us. Anyway, it all started with an email, and from there Lisa and I have built an incredible friendship. We spent four days together at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, and had such a wonderful time that we did it all over again at ICRS in Orlando. Lisa is brilliant, witty, and a great conversationalist. Our complete lack of sleep whenever we're together attests to our ability to talk and talk and talk... Mostly we talk about the fact that we are both debut novelists and have no idea what we're doing!

To date, Lisa only has one book out, but it's a doozie. My Hands Came Away Red is gripping, fast-paced, and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Apparently, neither could the judges for this year's Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Hands was nominated for a Christy in the suspense category. If you haven't read this book, you're missing out.

Last, but not least, I'd like to introduce you to Chris Fabry. It might be a bit of a stretch to call him a friend since we only met briefly this summer during ICRS. But he made an impression on me and I love his book, so Chris is a friend. (Can I just claim him like that?) The few times we spoke at ICRS, Chris struck me as a very happy, genuine, fun-loving guy. He's the sort of person you just want to be around.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm not familiar with Chris's earlier work. He is the author of more than 50 novels for children and young adults, but Dogwood is his first adult novel. And I just devoured it. The prose is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking and multifaceted, and the ending will leave you breathless. It's one of those books that you want to read twice just to make sure you caught all the clues and innuendo. A very fun read.

Well there you go. Click on the links, buy the books. I promise you won't be disappointed.

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