I can't tell you how happy I am to host my friend and fellow scribe Allison Brennan at the Tao today. Allison is the writer, and woman, I want to be when I grow up. She's embarrassed me a bit below, but you'll get a real sense of what kind of woman she is - a good friend, a consummate professional, and an inspiration to all of us who haved watched her mighty ascent.
Be sure to leave a note for Allison in the comments, because I'm giving away her books today - 5 lucky winners will go home with a Brennan novel of their choice (everything but STALKED, which goes on sale October 30, you've gotta buy that one.)
So without further ado... I give you the one and only Allison Brennan!
How I Met J.T. Ellison
Whenever I blog on someone’s personal blog space, I feel like they’ve invited me into their home. Because this is J.T.’s home, I’m sipping a balanced cabernet, paired with the perfect cheese. She and Randy are so thoughtful, really the perfect hosts.
Because you’re all J.T.’s friends, I thought I’d share the story of how I met J.T. It was on paper, of course. Most of my closest writing buddies I never met in person until years after we started emailing. I can’t remember who hooked us up on-line, or if J.T. simply emailed me out of the blue; I don’t remember why I agreed to read her debut novel – I do remember feeling both flattered and sorely out of my element.
This was 2006. My first book had just come out in January, followed by two more. Because the back-to-back trilogy for a debut author was a new thing (only established authors seemed to be publishing back-to-back books prior to 2006) and because my first book hit the New York Times extended list, there was a bit of buzz. People started asking me to read their manuscripts for blurbs. I thought, “Me? Why me? I’m nobody.” Why would anyone even look twice at a book with my endorsement?
J.T. was one of the first to ask, and I almost said no. I mean, I was not worthy to blurb her book. But, I’m a book addict. I’m hardly going to say no to reading a thriller, especially for free, especially in advance of everyone else on the planet (except her husband, her agent, her editor … ) So I asked her to send it to me. She did, printed and bound. I wish I still had that copy.
I distinctly remember starting All the Pretty Girls while sitting at the Sacramento Airport waiting for a plane. I think I was flying to the RT conference in Daytona Beach. It might have been the RWA conference in Atlanta. Whatever it was, I started chapter one in the airport bar (drinking a beer, not wine) and would have missed my plane if my husband hadn’t called me to ask a question.
I finished All the Pretty Girls on that flight, and was so thrilled to write a blurb for J.T. If you’ve all read this book, you know why I was so excited. It’s a damn good book. (Hmm—maybe that’s what I should have said in my quote? “Read this book. It’s damn good.” LOL.)
Still, I couldn’t help but think, why me? It took me about three years to get over being surprised every time someone asked me to blurb a book. Now, I have more books than I can read, and I don’t get to blurb everything I want. I’m the type of person who has to read books I endorse – because of J.T.
My quote didn’t make it on the cover of J.T.’s first book (replaced by Lee Child, I’m certainly not complaining!) But it did make it on her second book, and I was thrilled. Shortly after 14 came out, a reader emailed me and said that she’d bought J.T.’s book because I’d recommended it, and she loved it.
Wow. That gave me all kinds of thrills – and fears. I’m so glad they loved J.T. as much as I did … and I was relieved that I’d read the book. I had no idea people would buy a book because I’d recommended it, and that humbled and scared me. It’s why I read every book I blurb – if a reader doesn’t like it, I want to be able to say that I honestly enjoyed it. More, I stand by every endorsement. I want my readers to know that when I say, “This is a great crime thriller,” that I really believe that.
When I thought about this, I realized that I, too, had bought new authors based on endorsements. I read books primarily for two reasons: 1) it’s an author I know and love or 2) a friend or my mom recommended it to me. But there have been a couple books I bought because of the endorsements … MONKEEWRENCH by P.J. Tracy for one, which had a whole bunch of blurbs from authors I love, and THE INFORMATIONIST by Taylor Stevens because Tess Gerritsen’s blurb made me pick it up. I wouldn’t have bought either solely on the blurbs, but the blurbs definitely made me check them out. I loved both books.
Have you ever bought a book because of an author endorsement?
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of eighteen novels and several short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.
Allison is currently writing the Lucy Kincaid series about an FBI recruit. The third book, IF I SHOULD DIE, is on sale now. SILENCED will be out on April 24, 2012, followed by STALKED on 10.30.12 and STOLEN in spring 2013. Also look for THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER, an anthology of romantic suspense edited by Sandra Brown.
Allison can be reached through her website. Read her books. They're damn good!