Feelgood Fiction

Feelgood balloonChristina here. I recently attended a writers'/readers' conference in Sweden called the FEELGOOD FESTIVAL. 200 readers congregated in the very picturesque town of Sigtuna (founded by Vikings in the 10th century and full of runestones so paradise for me!) to hear a day-long series of chats/discussions about various aspects of feelgood fiction. To me that term means romance, but as I listened to the authors being interviewed it quickly became clear that to Swedes it has a much broader meaning.

Sigtuna townRomance as a genre is severely under-represented in Sweden, where the largest sections of the book stores are devoted to crime/thrillers/Scandi Noir and more literary oeuvres. The upswing in popularity of what they call feelgood books is a recent (and to readers like me a very welcome) development that seems to be growing in strength every day. And yet, when I visited the biggest book store in Stockholm afterwards, they didn’t have a dedicated section for such stories – not even a table with recommendations. Not good!

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Emoting over Books

1f972Nicola here. I’m in deadline territory so I’ve dusted down and added to a blog piece from 9 years ago on a topic that really interests me – books that make us cry. This is intended to be a cheerful blog, not a miserable one. It’s not about the latest craze in what has been dubbed “sad girl books” which are apparently about millennial women who are unhappy in their lives. I haven’t read any and the present time isn’t the right moment for me to start. No, it’s about authentic emotion and the way that can touch us.

A while ago I spent a day on writing retreat with a very good friend of mine, also a romance writer. Over lunch, we got chatting about the books that make us cry. We weren’t talking about those books that drive us to tears of frustration as we’re writing them although there are plenty of those. Nor were we discussing “misery lit”. We were talking as readers about the scenes that can make us cry every time we read them, even though we know them back to front and word for word. Not all of our favourites were romance books although some of them were. Others were thrillers, crime stories, even biographies.

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Ask A Wench

Muse_reading_Louvre_CA2220_(cropped)Pat here, with this month’s question from Karen:

I very much enjoy the monthly What We're Reading columns, and I began wondering about books that you, the Wenches, do not mention. I'd be happy to hear the answers to any or all of these questions: Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin? Do you read a significant number of books that you don't mention for any reason? Are you a slow or quick reader?


Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin?

 I’m quite a hasty reader in the sense that if a book doesn’t grab me reasonably quickly I will probably abandon it. I’m certainly not the sort of reader to battle on regardless on the “I’ve started so I’ll finish” premise.  I think I may miss out on some good books this way by not giving them the time to get going, so sometimes I will come back to them for a second attempt. Once I’m into a book it’s very unusual for me to give up on it but if something happens in the story that makes it a wall- banger then it’s all over! I recently read a top 10 bestseller that I was really enjoying until very near the end and then (to my mind) it took a completely wrong turning and I wanted to give it up. However I also wanted to know what happened at the end so that was a real dilemma for me!

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Books—A Love Story

AD horses bookAndrea here. Books have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother was an avid reader and lover of words and pictures, so I know I had books read aloud to me from a very early age (though that I don’t came to remember.) By age five I had written several books of my own, lovingly preserved by my Mom. “Horeses” became a family joke for many years. (Yes, I’m still a bad speller!)

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Musing on Writing Part 1

HeadPat here—I’m bogged down in a book that won’t end, so I’m spewing whatever comes into my head today. If you’re looking for educational research, you may stop reading now. If you want to see inside an author’s empty head, this one’s for you.

Once upon a time, in a place faraway. . . I itched to write the stories in my head when I couldn’t find anything new to read (which was often; we had no library). Once I was old enough to write whole sentences, I had ink pens with lovely turquoise ink and notebook pages meant for homework, and I scribbled my hea1024px-Fountain_pen_writing_(literacy)rt out. My fifth grade teacher was pretty useless at teaching grammar—I rudely corrected hers. But my sixth grade teacher encouraged creativity and politely corrected my ignorant outpourings. I even had a university professor to correct my letter to the editor—which taught me I’d better learn grammar if I wanted to write for anyone but myself. I stuck to writing for myself. 

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