Monday, July 5, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Heather Kuehl

I'm happy to introduce Heather Kuehl, author of the fantastic Promises to Keep and Fade to Black.

What I look for in a good book

It a rare thing for me to go into a bookstore looking for an author I haven’t read. No, I haven’t read them all already. I’m just picky. I hate to waste money on a book that’s not very good, so I usually stick with authors I like. But sometimes, I want something new.

I’m sorry to say that I do judge book by its cover. Well, starting out I do. If the cover art interests me I’ll pick it up. I discovered Patricia Briggs doing that (How cool! A main character with tattoos!). Then I read the blurb on the back. It’s a plus if the author or the book has review to go along with it (It can’t suck too bad if Publishers Weekly thought it was good). The last thing I do before running up to the register with my new find is that I open the book to a random page in the middle and start reading. If it can pull me in when I have no clue what’s going on then it’s a keeper. There’s been a handful of times this has failed. My random page ended up being the only exciting part in the entire story and the rest of it fell flat. I cut my losses, make a note of that author on the “library only” list (I’ll borrow them, not buy them), and go back to reading Charlaine Harris for a while.

Another thing that will make or break a book for me is if I can’t get into the first ten pages or so. If those ten pages drag on and it takes me forever to read them, I give up. Maybe that’s not the book for me right now. I’ll put it up to try again later.

I love trying new authors, and love it even more when I find one that I can’t get enough of. Sherrilyn Kenyon was like that; I finished her entire Dark Hunter series in a month. There was something about those books that just did it for me. The romance? The adventure? The danger? Whatever it was, it worked. I can’t wait to see what else she has out there.

What I want to know is, what do you look for in a good book? And what author did you discover that just did it for you?

Heather Kuehl is the author of Promises to Keep, Fade to Black (#1 Bestseller in fantasy eBooks on, and Malevolent Dead as well as numerous short stories and poems. Visit Heather online at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Grab your copy of Promises to Keep today, available from Eternal Press and


Heather said...

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Cate!

Cate Masters said...

Happy to have you here, Heather!

Diane Scott Lewis said...

I'm like you, a good cover will capture my attention right away.
Then I look for books in the eras I love, 18th or 19th century, but I will read earlier periods.
And like you, I want the first ten pages to grab me. Also, like you, if the book's had a great review, that will draw me to pick it up.
I found historical author Sandra Gulland because I loved her book cover in Borders.

Margaret West said...

I like Historicals mainly, but enjoy other genres. The cover draws me, then the blurb, if that catches me then I'll get the book. I like Gillian Bradshaw. Her stories are set in ancient Egypt. Great post Heather.

Alice Audrey said...

I'm like you about my approach, though I don't take the cover art all that seriously. I do grab from the self based on it, and immediately flip to the blurb. Often that alone will get me to buy the book. However, if the author can't pull me in within the first five pages, she or he will never go on my auto-buy list.

Who are my auto-buys? Tarra Janzen, Suzanne Brockmann, Eloisa James, Sherrilyn Kenyon.... It's actually quite a long list.

Heather said...

Thank you all for stopping by.

When I'm shopping I usually start in the fantasy section, since sword and sorcery is my first love. But I don't count any genre out as I make the rounds through the bookstore. I'll have to check out G. Bradshaw, Margaret. Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite historical settings. My auto-buys are a short list, Alice, but that's because I end up using all my book money to spoil my son. LoL. My auto-buys are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs.

Unknown said...

An author I discovered accidently is Lois Greiman. Someone had given me her novel "Unzipped." Not a great cover,blurb on the back was decent, but it was a freebie so I started reading it. I have never laughed so hard reading another book. Yes, it's a romance. And I so wish I could use the type of voice and the wit she used in that novel. A good study book for a humorous romantic romp. So, to me, I have to read the first pages to decide if I want to run to the cash register.

She said...

When I go into a book store the first thing I notice on a book is the cover. If it's interesting or the book has an unusual title I'll pick it up then read the blurb on back. If it sounds good then I'll buy. I don't check the author and have discovered many new authors because of it. I also don't limit my genre. My house is full of all kinds of books--rivals the book store or library. Once I've started a book I want the author to draw my into his/her world. Give me a character I can identify with then let me go. It's sad that there are so many books and so little time to read them all. Many authors are overlooked because of so many good authors out there and so few publishing houses that are willing to give them the publicity they need. I often go to author signings and discussions and have discovered some really excellent authors that way. I was at one Saturday and was the only one there. I had an absolutely fascinating talk with the author. Did I buy the book? You bet I did. I'll probably be reading it later this week after I finish a few other books for some of my book clubs and projects. I'll be going to 3 author discussions and signings this week. Of all the authors I've met only one will I never read again because of her aloofness and "playing to her family" rather than concentrating on the people who came to see/hear her. As for authors who have grabbed by: Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series only--her other books have been so-so to poor), Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series only), Sean Chercover (remembered me from one signing to another), Philip Beard (read his Dear Zoe, you'd swear a 15 year old girl wrote it--also remembered me from an earlier signing), Katherine Miller Haines (Rosie Winter series--also remembered me from earlier signing), Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs series--post-WWI period). There are others but this is long enough.

Cate Masters said...

Such a great discussion. Covers will grab me, but the blurb's more important. Sometimes a review will sway me to at least check further into a book. A combination of all the above equals a must-buy! :)

Kelly A. Harmon said...

Hi Heather! Nice post.

As for your question...A good cover will catch my attention, but I like to read the first few pages to see if I can "get into" the story.

Invariably, if the book is written in first person I put it down.

There are a few exceptions to this rule (Carol Berg and Kim Harrison come to mind), but by and large I don't feel that most people write first person well. I need to hear a distinct "voice" for that.

Heather said...

Hi Lorrie and She! Thank you for stopping by.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Hi, Heather and Cate! As a very visual person, cover art really needs to grab me. But like most of the commenters here, I have to be won over by the blurb and then a few pages in order to buy. In Blogland, when I bump into a new author I generally head over to her site and read some excerpts to get a sense of her voice before I commit to getting the book. Only once has this backfired on me, and I read the book anyway as a how-not-to lesson.

Heather said...

Hey Kelly and Julia!

As a reader, I've found that more and more authors are writing in first person, and as a writer I am one of them. I used to write in third person, but I felt that I got a lot more across using the first person POV. I agree with you Kelly, some writers can do first person really well while others really suck at it. You should check out FADE TO BLACK. I hear the author's really good at first person POV...although I'm a little biased, lol.