The other side of writing…

Ask any writer about their passion and they will talk about the pleasure of crafting words, developing characters, and creating plots. The past few weeks, this writer has set aside work on her own novels. Instead, I’ve been busy with the other side of writing: reading.

Part of my work as an author is encouraging the work of fellow writers. This month that meant leading a workshop for new writers, helping them polish their work so that it is ready to submit to an editor. In addition, I’ve been a judge for the Golden Scroll book awards, reviewing almost a dozen novels that were released in the past year. And, as if reading ten or twelve books for the contest weren’t enough, I’ve also read and reviewed another book that is yet to be released.

Rachel J. Good’s “Change of Heart” (Charisma House) is the first in her new series of Amish romances. To be honest, I have never been a fan of this genre. Too often the characters are from a dusty stockroom, the plots are predictable. However, Rachel Good’s character Lydia faces honest conflict between love and forgiveness, between obedience and passion. The author deftly handles the difficult and lifelong consequences of youthful choices, consequences that impact not only the chief character but her entire extended family.

No book is perfect, however. Not even my own! This reader wondered if Lydia’s attraction to Caleb was too much based on his physical perfection. Has he no flaws? Even a single zit or an irritating habit might have made him more human. The resolution of the plot in “Change of Heart” felt rushed. What triggered the sudden change of attitude in Lydia’s father?

Few books answer all the reader’s questions, but Rachel Good has managed to lift Amish romance to a higher level: I actually enjoyed it. Now, as I at last turn to pick up work on my own novel again, I hope readers can say the same for my writing.

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