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April 12, 2017


Charlaine Harris

Honored to be mentioned in your thought-provoking blog, Carolyn. There have been many books which have affected me profoundly, some of which I could not bear to read again (like "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton). The emotional stupidity of Scarlett -- and the gritty survivor instinct -- had a big impression on me, too. And the Jane Austen books taught me that the details of social interaction are very, very, important.

Dean James

The first book that affected me deeply was "Charlotte's Web." I was ten years old, and Charlotte's death broke my heart. That's how I learned that books could have a huge emotional impact. Later on, in grad school, I had to read books on the Holocaust for a seminar. Again, total emotional devastation over the sheer evil that human beings are capable of. And in junior high, in English class, listening to the audio version of Poe's "The Telltale Heart," I learned how stories can terrify you. And "Little Women," when Beth dies... so many books to wring the heart and touch the mind.

cj petterson

Thanks again, Carolyn, for wonderful insights that cause me to take another hard look at my writing efforts. Best wishes for great future successes. Marilyn Johnston (aka "cj")

Carolyn Haines

You are all writers--and so you have a deep connection with the things you read. I think we are writers BECAUSE of that deep connection. As to "Charlotte's Web," I had been warned what it was about--and I avoided the book for years. But wouldn't you know my great-niece was cast as Charlotte in a stage version and I had to go see it. And it was just as upsetting as I feared it would be! Sometimes those great stories lie in way for us, don't they?


I agree that story has great power for good and evil. However, when authors get on their soap box, I wind up feeling preached at instead of entertained. That will actually turn me off to the cause more than anything else.

Carolyn Haines

There's a big difference between writing from the heart and attempting to manipulate. Changing a reader's heart or POV has to be an unexpected bonus. Telling a good story should always be the first order of business.

Laura DiSilverio

As a novelist, I occasionally wonder if what I'm doing is worthwhile. Should I be working instead at a nonprofit that feeds the homeless or running a company that makes prosthetics for injured people? Thanks for the reminder that what writers do, what all artists do, is important.

Carolyn Haines

In a world topsy turvy with stimuli and feedback, a good book or song to retreat into is vital. I've had more people tell me that while they were sick, the humor in the Bones books made them feel better. Laugher, too, is a powerful force.

Elaine Viets

Welcome back to the Femmes, Carolyn. Mark Twain and Agatha Christie were two writers who made a lasting impression on me. Twain's humor and crisp writing are still relevent, and Dame Agatha's descriptions of characters stick in my mind. Congratulations on your new venture.

Carolyn Haines

Thanks, Elaine. I agree with both of your choices. I love both of those authors.

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