Book Exclusives, Guest Post

How Bad Books Make Me a Better Writer | Guest Post from author Kathryn Troy

Kathryn TroyGuest Post | Kathryn Troy
Curse of the Amber by Kathryn Troy ccame out yesterday! I was offered the chance to read and review it but I’m so behind with my current stack I had to do the smart thing and say no even though I’m really interested in the synopsis. (Full book and author information within the post)

But I also don’t know how to say no completely, so instead I have a wonderful guest post for you from Kathryn herself.

Keep reading to find out why bad books made Kathryn a better writer!

Kathryn Troy

I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, horror, and weird fiction.

Find her at: Goodreads | Website

When asked about what inspires them, authors tend to name their favorite books, the ones that cemented their love of reading and became definite for them in their favorite genre. While I certainly have my favorites, and they are influential to my writing voice and style, they are only a piece of the puzzle in terms of what drives my creativity. I write the stories that I want to read. That is in large part shaped by books that have left me unsatisfied.

If I have a craving for something – a good vampire romance, or life-changing epic fantasy, and I can’t find what I’m looking for on a bookshelf, at some point I just accept that the story I want to read only exists inside my head. The process of writing a book is very much a process of falling in love with a story that I wish I had found in someone else’s book, but hadn’t. If I really hate a book, if it makes me so angry that I have to put it down because it makes no sense or I can’t relate to the characters, then I’m really itching to set the record straight.

That kind of thinking does allow for more originality and creativity on my part. It’s a different prospect than saying to myself, “I loved this book so much, I want to write it all over again, or something very very close to it.” That kind of mentality leads to genre writing to become stale, as we’re all just being derivative of each other. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, I say. But when you’re able to see a glaring hole or flaw in the body of genre work, either because a topic isn’t treated well, or isn’t treated at all, then I see that as an opportunity to push genre writing forward, to keep it fresh and innovative. I always have the hardest time answering people when they ask me, “what other book is your book most like?” because my answer is usually, “there are no other books like mine. That’s why I wrote it.” For my latest book, Curse of the Amber, I was thinking about how much I disliked a great deal of books about paranormal and time-travel romance, and the lighter side of romantic fantasy. The books I was reading just weren’t hitting the spot. So here we are.

Being original and unique is a huge part of my process, and it drives my reading habits as well. When I see a promising storyline I haven’t heard before, I’m more likely to pick that up than I am another iteration of the same plot beats that I’ve heard over and over again. I want to continue to be surprised by books, and if I can surprise my readers, then I’ll feel it’s a job well done.

Curse of the Amber by Kathryn Troy
Genre: Fantasy | Romance
Length: 295 pages
Published on 28th May 2019 by City Owl Press
Purchase*: Amazon | Wordery | Blackwells
*these are affiliate links
Rick Remender: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Received for free from ___ in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: A curse, a resurrection, and a centuries old witch hell bent on revenge.

Quintus is a dutiful son and soldier, sent to Britannia to improve his marriage prospects and ensure the Druids never rise again. Roman soldiers destroyed the last Druid stronghold in a battle of blood and fire. So, he never expects to be sacrificed to their sacred bog, trapped forever by the gods below.

Two thousand years later, Asenath Hayes discovers the most well-preserved body in history. And the last thing she needs is for him to wake up.
As the young archaeologist delves into Druidic rituals to grasp why Quintus was offered to a Welsh bog and then resurrected, she is forced to complete her research with the “missing” body, dodge her ex-lover and mentor with his own agenda, and keep her gorgeous new houseguest under wraps.

But, smitten with her as he seems, Quintus says he wants to go home.

Asenath is drawn to Quintus by the secrets they share, even if it scares her. As Asenath is pulled deeper into the mysteries of the bog, she must risk everything to keep him from hell’s cold grasp as she uncovers forbidden rites, awakened deities, and an attraction that transcends the ages.

Can also be purchased from: Amazon US | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books

Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed this. I’d love to do more content like this too because supporting authors like this is great when you’re over run with books and barely reading.


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16 thoughts on “How Bad Books Make Me a Better Writer | Guest Post from author Kathryn Troy”

  1. Hallo, Hallo Lauren & Ms Troy!

    I can definitely relate to this post – mostly as a book blogger, the hardest posts for me to write are the ones where I’m gushing all over the place about what I love about the story + characters, the world-building and the author’s style. I love writing them, mind you, but I sometimes find them a bit more challenging to write (because #spoilers! – seriously I hear River Song in my head if I’m on the fringe of crossing that line I never wish to cross!) – however, on the flip of that – whenever I read a story which is missing the mark and boy! some really do for me – I readily call out the context of what made that story #notmycuppa.

    I find those reviews are a bit easier to write because of something you shared here – if we can see what disconnects us from the story and/or the character’s journey or even if the world itself seems to have broken its 4th wall or has inadvertently taken a left turn outside its own perimeters – you can find the words to describe those exits and faults. You can put your words into sentences that explain that disinterest and disillusion because you can understand what went wrong for you.

    Being a writer whose moonlighting as a book blogger, sometimes I think I see those lines in the sand a bit faster because I am especially critical of my own writings — I try to push myself equally as hard as what you were outlining – to not just write a story we want to read but to write it well enough to where it stands on its own without necessarily having a direct link to another person’s [story].

    I *loved!* this guest post — the only concern I had with the book which is being highlighted is if it has a lot of graphic violence? I do shy away from those kinds of stories… I have a threshold and I try not to cross it. Still. As a writer.. I can definitely see myself in what you’ve shared because I honestly thought, isn’t this how most of us approach our craft to write the stories which are fuelled into inspiration to come from our pen?

  2. Thanks for all the love guys!
    Yes you’re right sometimes it’s easier to be critical, especially when you’re a self-critical writer, and it becomes easier to articulate flaws. If you think you’re flawless, the you’re just delusional. I’ve learned the hard way that criticism is always constructive.

    And no- no graphic violence. You’ll have to read my horror for that

  3. I love to take every single thing I read and apply it to my writing. I think it is such a good learning tool. Recently, I began taking notes on why I don’t like a book, rather than why I do. I keep it in a journal that I pull out when I am working on my own writing, in hopes of improving on my craft. I loved reading this guest post!

  4. Lauren I love that you offered a guest post as an option, that is such a cool idea! I honestly feel so guilty when I have to decline review requests for books I really would like to read because of time. Going to have to remember this!

    I love that Kathryn uses books that missed the mark for her as inspiration, great post!

  5. This was so interesting, it’s a perspective that I’ve never had or heard before. Brilliant post!

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