Once again I’m pleased to introduce a new author. A few days ago Jessie Bailey Andersen had her debut book At What Cost released by Astraea Press. Let’s read about the road she took to get here.
I come from a long line of readers, people who encouraged education and the love of books from an early age. A while ago on my own blog, I wrote about my mother’s reading habits. You see, she reads the last page first. To me, this is a mortal sin.
Please let me stress that my mother is a wonderful, Godly woman, and it’s really only on this one vice that we disagree. But no matter how much I try to convince her, she’s taken to reading the last page first, the last chapter, even! For the full story of my mother’s humorous attempt at abstaining from the last chapter for once in her life, click here: http://therabidwriter.blogspot.com/2011/10/last-page-first.html
I fear many of you are like her, skipping ahead to find out what happens. Maybe this is because in life we have no such luxury. We must take each day, each moment as it comes, not knowing what may be hiding around the corner. So, I guess in a way, I can understand someone who wants to have a little bit of control over his or her future, but in my opinion, it ruins the excitement. Not knowing is part of the fun. Sure, it’s scary and sometimes even downright terrifying, but knowing before hand, ruins the emotional journey.
In recent years, I’ve become a writer. I guess that’s a lie; I’ve always been a writer, but now I can say I’m officially an author. My first book, AT WHAT COST will be published by Astraea Press later this year. After six years of writing, cutting, learning to write better, cutting, editing, revising, and learning to write even better, I’ve finally settled on a style and method that works for me. It is why this whole Last Page First concept is maddening. When I construct a story, my goal is to create The Experience. You writers know what I’m talking about. We want our readers to become wrapped up in our words, in the emotion of our characters. We want the ends of each chapter to hook the reader into reading just one more chapter even though it’s 1:00 AM and they have to get up for work in five hours. Readers, seriously, this is our goal. To make you as tired as possible and inefficient at work because you’ve read our book! (Just kidding…or maybe not.)
I pour myself into choosing the perfect word to create a response in my readers. I struggle with creating the experience, giving my readers the emotional highs and lows that come with reading a novel from beginning to end. Are any of my writer peeps with me on this one?
Well, to continue the story about my mother’s experience with reading the last chapter first, I finally got the chance to get her back. You see, when I wrote AT WHAT COST, I told her I was going to withhold the last chapter, but—can you believe this—I forgot! She called me that night to tell me she read the last chapter. So, now years later, I completed my most recent work. Mom, of course wanted to read it, so I gave it to her…minus the last chapter. Oh, she was mad! (In a totally loving way.) I literally did the happy dance in her kitchen, which includes the head bob and the butter churn dance moves. Oh yes, I can rock it out. J My father was thoroughly impressed with my little trick and supported me wholeheartedly. You know what? Mom still read it. And she liked it! And I went home with the satisfaction of knowing she’d experienced what I wrote in the way I intended it to be read.
For those last page first readers, I wanted you to know what it’s like on the other side. That we writers really do try to create an emotional experience for you that will carry you to the end. If you are one of these people, I encourage you to try reading it straight through. Maybe you’ll discover something new.
So tell me, dear readers, which of you read the last chapter/page first? And why? Do you skip the flowery language? The details? Do you thumb through the whole book reading bits and pieces or do you take it one word, one page, one chapter at a time?
During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.