Monday, July 4, 2011

Hooked from the Start? Part One: Mary Stewart

“Hook your readers from the first sentence.” I don’t know how many times I have heard or read that bit of advice. And I have tried to follow it with my own stories although I’m not sure I always succeed.

But I started to think about some of my favorite books by favorite authors. Did their first sentences hook me from the beginning and was that the reason I read the books? So, I went back and researched some of those first sentences to see if there was any influence on why I read those books.

I will start with Mary Stewart’s My Brother Michael. I read this novel one weekend during my senior year in college. When a friend lent it to me, I thought it was going to be something tawdry and I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. The first line read: “Nothing ever happens to me.” Now for a seasoned reader in the romance suspense genre, this would have rung warning bells because the reader would know that of course something was going to happen to the heroine. But at the time I wasn’t a seasoned reader in this genre.

As I continued reading the book, I was blown away. I had never read anything so beautifully written with so much suspense. I began to read all of Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels, looking forward to the publication of each one.

But the first sentence was not the reason I started reading the book although it is considered one of the best of first lines. A boring weekend at college did that but “the magic of Mary Stewart” captivated me and I wanted to read her other novels.

This series will continue next month with Daphne DuMaurier.


Marilyn Levinson said...

I loved all of Mary Stewart's books when I read them years and years ago.

Palmaltas said...

I read all of her romantic suspense novels but only the first one in her Merlin series, The Crystal Cave. Since then I have lived in Cornwall twice and visited Tintagel, the alleged birthplace of Merlin. So, I may read them now.