by Mindy McGinnis
Confession time—I'm kinda a lit bitch.
You know the type—the ones that like to carry around obscure authors in trade paperback and read them in really public places. Yeah ... that's kinda me. Or at least, it used to be. I had a breakthrough session with my sister a few years ago, when I was a post-college grad with two shiny degrees in English Literature and Religion, reading Euripides in the backroom at Hallmark on my lunch break. (Sidenote: Yes, BBC worked at a Hallmark. No, we're not going to talk about it.) Meanwhile, big sis is clocking in as the chair of the English department at a rural school, and rollicking around in the YA market that is about to explode.
BBC'S Sister: You really should read this Harry Potter book sometime. It's pretty good.
BBC: Yeah, that's what I hear.
BBC'S Sister: No really. It's good.
BBC: Right, okay.
BBC's Sister: Stop blowing me off. You might actually like it.
BBC: Sorry, I've got some big person books to read.
BBC's Sister: You're just being pissy because it's super popular and you don't want to look like you've bought in to it.
BBC: You're just being pissy because I like to read books with words like "transubstantiation" and you don't know what that means.
Well, if any of you have sisters then you know that the conversation totally degenerated from there. For the record, I did not wizen to the awesome until ORDER OF THE PHOENIX was released, at which time I sullenly asked to borrow the series from big sis. We made a summer deal—she gave the smoldery hot and intelligent OUTLANDER series by Diana Gabaldon a shot, and I gave JK Rowling the time of day.
Uh, yeah. We spent the summer sprawled on beach towels untangling tiny plot details and discussing these amazingly talented authors whose backstory weaving is remarkable. We also both ate a lot of crow, but that's besides the point.
My next lesson. Lit Bitch status aside, the OUTLANDER series has had my heart since word one. Whenever anyone (adult) asks me for a book recommendation the conversation goes like this:
BBC: Alright, I'm going to talk to you about an awesome series, but you have to get past the first phrase out of my mouth without losing interest or mocking me.
BBC: It's a time travel romance—
Friend: *eyes glaze over, nods politely* Okay
BBC: No seriously. Here, just take it. You have to promise me to read past page fifty before giving up.
Friend: Yeah sure. I'll give it a try. *gives it dubious glance, tucks it away into purse*
TWO DAYS LATER—
Friend: Hey, I'm bringing this back to you.
BBC: C'mon now—did you read past page fifty like you promised?
Friend: Er ... uh ... I'm done. *blushes* Can I get the sequel?
It's also true that the magic isn't always there for everyone. I haven't found a vampire attractive since Gary Oldman played one, but I'm old school like that. The point is—don't be a snotty snot face when it comes to your reading material, like I did. You might miss out on some awesome.
And the same goes for your writing. Are you cracking away at a piece of historical fiction that will need appendices, but there's an erotic paranormal romance lurking somewhere in your gray matter?
Hey, that's what pen names are for ;)