Reading About Other Authors

I guess it depends on the author

By Jeff Salter

Topic: Do you enjoy reading about other writers, their bios and writing processes?

For most authors / writers who are unknown to me — and apparently NOT nationally recognized yet — I think I prefer just a brief summary of their background, education, career, interests, and some sense of how they ended up dealing in words. [In other words, I have no compelling reason to desire any further information on those individuals.]

However, for “nationally recognized” authors — even if I don’t (or haven’t yet) read their material — I’m up for a bit more info and will probably read an interview or two (provided it’s not just superficial trivia.

For authors with a national (or international) standing — who happen to be favorites of mine — I’ll eagerly read interviews, profile pieces, and biographies (if any are available).

Two fairly recent examples are books about two of the premier ghost-writers for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which produced the fabulously famous series Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (among many other titles).

Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the first several of the ND series and I found her life-story quite interesting. Leslie McFarlane wrote the first several of the HB series and he’s a fascinating individual.

Here are a few other authors whose lives and/or writings have interested me enough to do additional reading / research:

Ernest Hemingway

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Janet Evanovich

Bill Bryson

William Shakespeare

Will Rogers

Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost

Harper Lee

I’m sure there are many others, but their names don’t come to mind at the moment.

I also read biographies of certain military figures, especially from the WW2 era. And I’ve enjoyed reading the occasional bio of certain Hollywood stars from the Golden Age.

I guess you could see the lives of certain other people sometimes interest me!

Question:

Do you read biographies of authors? Do you like to read about lesser-known writers?

[JLS # 595]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Reading About Other Authors

  1. I can’t answer that without getting to my post and I am running behind again.
    With all the ‘classic’ authors on your list,I am sure that Janet Evanovich wold be highly flattered to be added to it. (As should Bill Bryson.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      The Evanovich book had an interesting format: basically a reporter asking Janet a series of questions about her books, characters, and writing in general. I don’t recall much “bio” detail… but it’s been some dozen years since I read it.
      Bryson’s “bio” comes not from a separate book — or even from interviews — but gleaned from his books… because most of them deal with Bill’s hike, Bill’s visit to Australia, Bill’s work on that 200-yr old house in England, etc.

      Like

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I don’t care much for biographies in general. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fascinating people, past and present, that should have their stories told. I think it is important, enlightening, and inspiring to read about extraordinary people. I just don’t find myself reading biographies for pleasure when I need to catch up on research and my TBR pile. I wouldn’t rule it out, though.
    As for authors, sure, I’ll read up on them and their writing processes if it is an author that piques my interest. Doesn’t matter their popularity, either. But my attention span isn’t very long, so an article or interview is plenty.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ll grant it’s an acquired taste. And many bio treatments I’ve read would not have even blipped on my radar except for their association with something larger. For example, After Band of Brothers (the book) came out, I found a bio treatment of Dick Winter, the primary hero of Easy company. From there, I found the memoirs of several of the other guys in E Co. If not for my interest in Co. E of the 506th PIR of the 101st AB, I doubt I’d ever heard of those other guys.

      Like

  3. I’m with you, Jennifer. There are several biographies of famous people I’ve read, and I’ve enjoyed each one. But I don’t think I’d pick up the biography of an author, outside of Jane Austen or J.R.R. Tolkien.

    If an author piques my interest, whether famous, popular, or someone I know, I enjoy reading a short piece about them. But if I find their writing in the interview or feature boring or lacking proper writing skills, that kills it for me. Even reading blogs from authors, or responses to blogs by writers, turns me off if they haven’t taken the time to proof their writing.

    Learning from other writers is something I enjoy, when I feel their hearts are in their writing. And you can tell by the way they write. A typo or grammar error on RARE occasion can be overlooked. We all have them, especially if you have a dyslexic problem like I do. But our writing, even in the little things, should show what a reader can expect from the author. Personally, I feel that’s the entire reason for an author to be interviewed, featured, or have their biography written.

    We’re all too busy to spend a lot of time on poorly written pieces about authors and how they go about creating their stories, if they haven’t spent the time to make sure their writing reflects their style and how they care about their work.

    That reminds me. Jeff, I need to talk to you about an interview for my newsletter. PM me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jackie Zack says:

    I’m always interested in my favorite authors and enjoy reading a page or two. Reading a whole book about their life is another matter. It would have to be really compelling! That said, I did enjoy reading Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” It included portions of his childhood, family life, and life before being published.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ve only read a story or two by King, though I’ve seen sev. of the movies which were adapted from his stories / novels. He certainly has a creative mind and a rather twisted imagination… so I suspect his early life would be an interesting story in itself.

      Like

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I think most everyone who’s been here this week has pretty much the same opinion on biographies. They better be compelling, or we don’t want to read them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Yes, those bio treatments need to be well written and capture our attention. I don’t want to read 250 pages of, “I did that and went there and saw them.” That would be tedious.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s