Hello, my name is Ella and I'm a romance junkie. But that's not a romance picture over there on the left, is it? That's because recently I've been so focused on my own writing that reading romance has stressed me out more than it has helped me relax. One day, totally fed up with reading my old "keeper" romances for the billionth time, I pulled out my Kindle and did something I really don't like doing: I went shopping. And brought home zombies.
Really, I'm not kidding. I am a huge fan of World War Z (the book AND the movie), and so I started looking at zombie books. And ran across Jonathan Maberry's Dead of Night. I was hooked immediately. Being a romance writer, I wasn't sure I would like the commitment-phobic heroine, but hey, there were zombies, so I read it anyway -- and actually came to like her. :)
At the end of Dead of Night, there was a short introduction to Maberry's Joe Ledger series. The series begins with "Countdown," a short-story introduction. I immediately loved Joe Ledger's "voice." He is a hero both strong and fallible, horrified at what he has to do but doing it without flinching. He is human and, at times it seems, a superhero. I could identify with his pursuit of martial arts to gain control of his life after a tragedy nearly destroyed him as a teen. I could follow his thinking and relate to the fact that he didn't always "get" the science (which thankfully is explained in fairly simple terms!). He is gritty and raw and broken and heartbreakingly deadly (and makes more head shots than I think is probably realistic, lol). This was no romance, but I loved it!
The series begins with zombies, but it doesn't stop there. Plagues, secret societies, conspiracies out the wazoo. It's a smorgasbord of evil with Joe in the middle. And Joe deals with it all the best way he can, which is not to say he brushes all the death and dismemberment off. The man has a therapist on speed dial, for goodness sake! And for good reason. :)
Sometimes, we need a change. We need to step out of our comfort zone and broaden our horizons and feed our creativity with something different. I'm glad I did. And I'm glad there are six books in this series, because I'm hooked. For Christmas vacation I went through the first three, so thankfully there are still some Joe Ledger adventures to fill my downtime in the coming weeks.
What do you read outside of the romance genre? Anything else "float your boat"? I know a lot of writers who read YA novels for fun. Or maybe, like me, you enjoy dark and gritty. Which is it? For now, I'm off to spend my last night on vacation with Joe... ;)