Today she tells us about her Six Books.
At the moment I'm reading Jonathan Dimbleby's Operation Barbarossa: The History of a Cataclysm. I read a lot of military history (and just plain history), both for research and because reading nonfiction helps turn off the "editing muscle" inside my head so I can just absorb the words without being distracted or wanting to rearrange. That's one drawback to being in publishing-one starts to get that little internal twitch when reading prose, and that can be exhausting after a full day's work.
I had the chance to read an ARC of Genoveva Dimova's Foul Days recently. It won't be out until winter 2024, I think, but it's amazing and I can't wait to see it on the shelves. It's like The Witcher meets Shadow & Bone, sort of? Just really fantastic work, chock-full of Slavic folklore.
I've been feeling the urge to go back to Tanith Lee for a while now. She's my very favorite author; she rates an entire bookcase to herself in my library, and I'm always picking up different editions of her works. She was prolific and utterly unlike any other writer in English; her prose is so luxuriant and her stories so layered, dense, and psychologically complex. I think a good session with The Birthgrave and a few Secret Books of Paradys is in order, as well the Don't Bite the Sun duology. Really, any Tanith Lee book will make me happy.
I read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea when I was in my mid-twenties, and none of it stuck in my head. I was in fact disappointed by the experience, though it wasn't the book's fault. It wasn't until earlier this year-two decades later, how time flies-that I went back to it knowing more about Rhys's life and work, and also having a few more reads of Jane Eyre under my belt in the interim, too. (Jane has always been one of my comfort reads, along with military history and Tanith Lee.) And this time I not only saw what the book had been trying to accomplish, but was the type of reader who could appreciate it.
Nothing in the text had changed, I had. Reading is bloody magic, you know?
The summer I was eleven, I read James Clavell's Shogun and Stephen King's IT back-to-back. I bought them from the shops with saved-up pence because they were the biggest paperbacks there, and I figured I'd get a maximum of reading time with the minimum outlay of cash. I was right, and the experience was deeply formative.
Readers of my work will be nodding and saying, "that explains so much", I'm sure.
There was also a Hitchcock-brand anthology of horror stories (Monster Museum) that had Ray Bradbury's Coming Home, a Manly Wade Wellman story, some Stephen Vincent Benét, and other stories like Henry Martindale, Great Dane and The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles. Just classics, real bangers, and I loved every one. I've written homages to no few of the monsters in there.
My latest book is The Salt-Black Tree, which finishes up The Dead God's Heart duology. I think it's awesome because it's a story about growing into adulthood, especially as a young woman in America. There's also divinities, rebirth, a giant tree burning on a bayou island not quite in this world, artists named Georgia, midwives, the end of a roadtrip, and a gangster god's bloody-glittering heart. Not to mention an extended play on Stephen Vincent Benét's short, eerie, and unsettling King of the Cats, which has lived in my head rent-free for decades now.
Thank you, Lili!
POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.