I’ve opted out of NaNoWriMo this year. I rarely finish when I do sign up, so I don’t intend to suffer FOMO. When the muse pokes hard enough I’ll get back to work, but in the meantime I’ve devoted what little free time I have to reading. Earlier in the year I pledged to read Danielle Steel’s adult fiction book list.
So, why Danielle Steel? Well, there are a number of reasons, and I’ll do my best to explain without straying too far off tangent into a St. Olaf story – extra credit if you get that reference.
I had originally planned this endeavor as a podcast. I would read a book, then podcast a general summary and my thoughts on how the related to me and events happening in my life. I registered an account on a podcast site. I typed out scripts for about six episodes. I even set up a Ko-Fi for the project, already thinking people would actually contribute money to this. Then I attempted to record a show, and holy crap podcasting is difficult. For me, anyway. I recorded on different devices, held them at different lengths from my big mouth, I sat in an inner stairwell thinking that might improve the sound. Forget it – it sucked, or I sucked, but long story short I decided this project was better served in a series of blog posts.
So here we are. Rather than pen 50k of a novel, I’ll dig my way back into a regular writing schedule with words about somebody else’s work.
I am an avid reader. I’ve worked in publishing under many different hats – author, publisher, editor, and reviewer. On average I read 75 books a year and I love most genres. I enjoy non-fiction, romance, mystery, historicals…if the premise grabs me I’ll read it. I read my first Danielle Steel novel about 20 years ago – I’ll talk about that one in a future
episode blog – and I’ve read her work sporadically since.
Am I a super fan? It’s hard to say. I’ve enjoyed some of her books, others not so much. I can say that about other authors, though. I believe I have read more books by Danielle Steel than any other author. Dick Francis is second, and since he is no longer with us, there’s no chance he’ll catch up to Danielle.
I think what draws me to Steel most is her ability to present an interesting premise. She is an author, but moreover I find she is a storyteller, and that brings us to reason one.
If you’re familiar with Steel, you know she rarely does interviews or appearances. Not long ago, an article on Steel was published that touched on her incredible work ethic. She works at a pace now that allows her to publish 4 to 6 novels a year. This is because she sits her tush down at her desk and writes anywhere from 20 to 22 hours a day. Seriously. She gets by on a few hours of sleep at a time, and spends the rest at her desk, at her manual typewriter, and produces her work.
Reading this article just…wowed me. I’m amazed and a tad jealous of her prolific nature and that she has the time and luxury to write all day. Of course, she’s worked hard to get to this point, so I definitely don’t begrudge her this success. As for what readers think of Steel’s work…well, if you hang around review sites you know. Some love her books, some don’t. Some don’t like her style, some don’t mind it. Myself, being in awe of what she’s accomplished…I became inspired to read her novels.
As a reader, I set goals. I do the Goodreads challenge every year – came up short once, and I have other reading bucket lists. I’ve pledged to read all the fiction Pulitzer winners, for one, and that’s taken some time. As much I love making lists, however, I don’t always finish them. So, this
podcast series of blog will act as accountability. I’ll read Steel’s books, and talk about them. That said, this won’t be a straight review thing where I’ll give this book five stars and that one two. I’m not going to redline her work, but I’ll talk about the stories Steel tells and how they relate to me as a reader or author, or just as a person in general.
This segues into the second reason for doing this. The inspiration came from a tweet by Kevin Smith following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Such a dark time…not one but two tragedies occurring in a short time. The last thing you want to do is indulge in entertainment or work or write, but Smith sent out this message imploring people not to stop creating. Art, be it books or film or comics or music, brings beauty into the world. If you can create, you bring beauty and positive vibes to somebody who needs it, and I found that a bright message during an otherwise grim time.
The third reason was podcast related, so it doesn’t really apply anymore. If you want to set up a Danielle Steel podcast, though, I’ve love to be a guest.