Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm delighted to welcome Pat O'Dea Rosen who will be contributing periodically throughout the month. Pat is a a wonderfully talented writer, a fellow member of West Houston RWA, and winner of the 2010 Golden Heart for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements Manuscript.

Posted by Pat O'Dea Rosen
Late last month, Philip Roth told a reporter with The Financial Times that he'd stopped reading fiction. "I don't read it at all. I read other things: history, biography. I don't have the same interest in fiction that I once did."
Roth's stance didn't raise many eyebrows. Fiction writers hunker down with history books and biographies in the name of research every day. Roth's recent Nemesis, for example, is set in Newark, New Jersey at a time when World War II rages and a polio epidemic terrorizes the homefront.  When he met with The Financial Times' reporter, Roth was probably combing those aforementioned history books and biographies for the time period and setting of his next novel or the one after that.
Secondly, it's common for both baby novelists and the multi-published to take a hiatus from reading the kind of books they write while cranking out first, second, or tenth drafts. Why? Because no one wants to write under the influence of another author's voice. Thus, a suspense writer will unwind with historicals, and a writer of women's fiction will devour thrillers.
Thirdly, fiction writers say the darndest things. How many of us professed to having little or no interest in young adult novels three years ago but now buy or borrow them by the sackful? And that's when we're not writing them.  Those who once pooh-poohed werewolves are now writing about angels, demons, or shape-shifters. We know one great read can electrify us, change us, and divert the course of our careers.
If  Roth hasn't cracked a novel since last month's interview, I hope he does soon. Happy reading, Phil.


Kay Hudson said...

I wish I had more time to read anything at all! Just finished Steve Berry's The Emperor's Tomb, just started Janet Evanovich's Smokin' Seventeen, but I also have some nonfiction piled up, on writing, history, etc. I love it all.

Lark Howard said...

Know what you mean, Kay! The books from NY are glaring at me from my office bookshelf!

Suzan Harden said...

Hey, Pat and Lark! *waves* I think everyone changes up what they're reading for a lot of different reasons. I had to stop reading Colleen Thompson books for a while because of nightmares. LOL

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Kay and Suzan,
On the Women's Fiction chapter loop, the question that generated DAYS of responses was, "What are you reading now." Most of us read compulsively. Kay, I like your recent choices. Suzan, Colleen's first paragraphs exemplify risk/reward: I will be scared/I'll want to keep reading. Pat

ShanaGalen said...

I think Roth has always been a bit pretentious, and this sounds like his typical showing off. he's just too good for fiction. Well, I don't read Roth, and I'm pretty surehe doesn't read me either!

Lark Howard said...

Wow, Shane, are you saying you don't think PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT is the Great American Novel? :-) I don't read him either. I do read you, tho.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I think Roth's holding out for LORD AND LADY SPY, Shana. In the meantime, he won't be asked to blurb fiction. Want to bet he denounced it for that reason alone?

SlingWords aka Joan Reeves said...

Hello, Pat! Enjoyed your commentary. Personally, Roth has never been my cup of tea. I think he was the male reader's choice back in the age of repressed sexuality. *g* I never knew very many women who read him, perhaps because they could not identify with his worldview.

Best wishes,
Joan Reeves

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Joan! You're not alone. When Roth was awarded the Man Booker Prize back in May, one of the judges, Carmen Callil, quit in protest.