Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is Alma Katsu reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Alma Katsu, author of The Taker.

Her entry begins:
I’m in the middle of revisions for the second book in The Taker Trilogy, and that means I’m doing little reading for pleasure. But man cannot live by his own writing alone, so I’m sneaking in a couple books in my rare free time:

Property by Valerie Martin. This book, which won the Orange Prize in 2003, is the story of a woman unhappily married to a brutish plantation owner, who has had two children by one of the family’s slaves.

I heard about this book from another writer. I have a ‘thing’ about books with unsympathetic narrators, probably because I am drawn to create these characters myself. I know how hard it is to create characters that are so well developed and real and compelling that you can’t stop following them, and I am intensely curious as to how other writers pull it off. Property’s subject matter is off-putting, but the book is so well written that I couldn’t stop reading, because...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Taker:
"Alchemy and love prove a volatile mix in Katsu's vividly imagined first novel, which toggles between the present and the past. While working the graveyard shift at a rural Maine hospital, Dr. Luke Findley discovers that patient Lanny McIlvrae has miraculous self-healing powers. Lanny then relates the incredible tale of her life: sent packing to Boston by her family in 1817 to give birth to her illegitimate child, she fell in with the entourage of Count Adair, a centuries-old alchemist who saved her life with an elixir of immortality. Decadent and domineering, Adair took Lanny as his mistress—a role she accepted until Adair's scheme to use her true love, Jonathan, to perpetuate his unnatural existence forced her to a desperate ruse to thwart his formidable magic powers. Katsu shows considerable skill in rendering a world where Adair's unspeakable evilness and Lanny's wild passion make the supernatural seem possible. The result is a novel full of surprises and a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love."
--Publishers Weekly
Learn more about the book and author at Alma Katsu's website and blog.

Writers Read: Alma Katsu.

--Marshal Zeringue