I have read many books in my time but like most people I gravitate towards my favourite authors. I enjoy books with defined characters, a personality described so well I feel I have already met them. To nail a character; their habits, attitude, turn of phrase, reactions to situations is a true skill. If an author can get under the skin of a character they have mastered the skill of writing in my opinion.I like a scene described so well I feel I am standing right in the middle of it. Other features I like described in a story are; the type of weather, the time of day, whether daylight or darkness, the smell and sound of a place. If an author can describe a scene where I actually feel as if I have been there then I certainly consider they know their craft. An example of this is Ian McEwan who is certainly skilled in his craft. I recently read his 2005 book Saturday a menacing tale set in modern day London. He has the gift of minutely describing a scene before getting to grips with the plot.
Another author I respect is Deborah Moggach, especially her earlier work. She can describe inner emotions so well you don’t have any choice but to empathise with the character. Deep emotions are her speciality, described so well in her books you understand how the character feels and why they react to situations. I have to say “Yes I know just how that feels” when I read her books. Driving in the Dark is a favourite, which must have been particularly difficult to write as she chose to make the main character a man.Another favourite author is Daphne Du Maurier who lived in Fowey in Cornwall, a place I am very familiar with by coincidence. She captured all the wildness of the rugged Cornish coastline in her stories. Mysterious dangerous seas, smugglers tales and evil characters feature in her books. She tells a good story, leaving you wanting more at the end of every chapter. A master of suspense I particularly liked The House On The Strand. Again a female author writing with the main character as a man, not an easy task.
I’m very impatient when reading a book and the author has to grab me in the first chapter otherwise I give up because I feel I am wasting my time. But a good book that grabs me with its characters, settings and of course a good story will always be a hit with me.Thanks Bev!