My Inner Voice

surrounded by booksWhen I tell people I’m a writer they automatically assume I read a lot. And so they should. How strange would it be if a musician told you they didn’t enjoy listening to music? I do read a lot. I’m not fast but I always have a book on the go.

There was a time, however, when I was a new writer  and I found reading difficult. I used to get so distracted by other books. I only had space in my head for the story I was writing. If I did dare to read another story, I found it influenced me too much. I was afraid of copying other people’s work, but not only that, the author’s language used to creep into my subconscious!

If I was writing third person and read a first person story, suddenly the POV switched in my own book. My characters sometimes took on different voices, the mood shifted, and I didn’t realise I was doing it until I’d stuffed up a few chapters.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t read while I was writing. So I’d save my reading pile for when my manuscripts were finished, then read like crazy while editing. Once the editing was finished I’d put the books down and start my next draft.

For a few years it worked just fine, but a writer is nearly always writing and I was missing out on a whole world of amazing stories! Still, I accepted that was the way it had to be. Maybe I was just more easily influenced than others.

It was only during a recent conversation with a writer friend that I realised this wasn’t a problem anymore. After spending a good eighteen months editing the Shadow Series, I had a good run at reading again. So when my books were finally published I kept going, even when I started writing a new manuscript. And now, all those other stories don’t influence me anymore.

Upon reflection, I understand where the problem lay. I was a new writer and I hadn’t found my own voice yet. I was searching for myself,  and accidently taking on the style of other writers was really just a process of trial and error.

Now, I know myself. I have my own style, I have confidence in my stories and know what works for me and what to stay away from. In the end, I guess you really can have it all. I read until my heart is content, and write without losing sight of myself.

But now I’m curious, have any other writers out there experienced this too?

Soul Ties – Book Review

Soul Ties CoverSoul Ties By Lisa Swallow

Published by Limitless Publishing 2013

On an English university campus Ava is hunting Keir. She needs his Nephilim soul to trade for her freedom.

 But Ava didn’t expect to find terrible secrets about the fate of the souls she takes. Or fall in love.

Soul-hunter Ava has retrieved hundreds of souls from demons but has never been assigned the dangerous mission for a Nephilim soul. When she arrives on campus and meets Keir, she discovers he has secrets more valuable than his Nephilim soul—secrets she could trade for the life she wants. She also meets Dahlia, the human girl with an inexplicable hold over Keir, and secrets of her own.

When she uncovers the true fate of the souls she takes back to her superiors, and what Keir is doing to try and prevent it, Ava’s world is turned upside down.

Forced into battle where the lines between good and evil are blurred, Ava is faced with the choice between saving herself by betraying those around her, or helping Keir and risking her life.

Ava’s ultimate choice: retrieve Keir’s soul and live, or join his battle and risk going to Hell.

 

This book was given to me as a gift, in the interest of paying it forward I decided to write a review about how much I loved it!

I was really excited about reading this book after hearing great things. It’s right up my alley with a paranormal plot and kick-ass heroine right in the centre. I have to say it didn’t disappoint! For me the most important part of any story is the characters, and Ava drew me in right from the first page. While she possesses some mean fighting skills and an attitude I wish I had, she also has a hidden vulnerability that makes us like her—despite some of her mean dialogue.

I found her intriguing as a character on her own but the way she interacted with Keir and Dahlia often made me laugh out loud. All the characters in this book are well developed, they are very different from each other and the author did a great job of keeping their voices distinct.

While I think love is important in a story I hate when it overwhelms the storyline, and although there is a strong romance in this book it never reached the point of overbearing for me. There is great chemistry between Ava and Keir, it never felt forced and it became a crucial part of the story rather than just being put in there for the sake of it.

Finally, the plot was well planned out, from the beginning it brought up enough questions to keep you wanting more and gradually revealed secrets as the book went on. At no point did I find it predictable and it leads nicely into the sequel Torn Souls, which will be published later this year.

Overall I gave this book 5/5.