I love an author who inserts tributes into her books, and tributes to the things I'm
In the space of a few pages, CE Murphy's latest, Walking Dead, references Star Wars (lightsabers), Supernatural (shotgun loaded with rock salt, holy water in sprinklers*), Firefly (big damn heroes), and The Princess Bride (rodents of [un]usual size).
CE Murphy is so cool. (And powerful. I wasn't allowed to say "My hair was doing its Hermione Granger impression" in one of my books, and hers is peppered with pop culture--even some things I have to look up!)
*Salt and holy water are standards in mythology, so it's likely she came up with these before the SPN writers did. It still feels like a tribute. :)
I paused in reading to write the above, and planned to leave it at that. But I loved the book so much that my geeking out made me not pay attention to what I was reading, so I decided to write more.
Generally speaking, I don't want to be the next anybody. I have my own voice and my own style, and I want people to chomp at the bit to get the new Natalie J. Damschroder book because it's not like anything else they read. But there are a couple of authors I want to emulate. I want to make readers feel the way I feel when I read them. CE Murphy is one.
Though I have a lot of friends who are authors, she's not one of them. She doesn't know me from Adam, but I read her blog. What she says there makes me marvel even more. I'm reading this book, and it's so perfect. The balance of action and introspection, the level of humor, the characterization, the progression of events. Nothing lags or fluctuates.
The thing is, because I read her blog, I know this book didn't start out this way. Most of her books, she talks about rewriting a third or two thirds of the original. Her agent gives her revisions, then her editor gives her revisions, sometimes twice. She works really hard. But it's skill that makes her hard work result in such a good book. I thrill to it as a reader, and I'm challenged as a writer to achieve her level, eventually. The little bud of despair that I might never make it? I refuse to water it or offer it any sunlight.
So that's all. Now I'm going to debate myself over spending the rest of my time in the auto service waiting room reading this awesome book, or writing my own.