Anyone who wants to be an author also needs to be a reader.
I am and always have been a voracious reader, just as Junebug is in Junebug and the Body. I read almost every kind of book that is out there and recently began reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, brought to the screen in the HBO series True Blood.. The novels are set in the fictional town of Bon Temps, La. but if you listen to the distances and references in the books it is obvious that, in the author's mind, Bon Temps isn't far from my home town of Natchitoches, La.
One day I want to meet Ms. Harris and ask her if she ever lived around here because she has done a fantastic job of capturing characters and the ambience of the area.
I was reading one section today and wanted to put it here because I think the language and feel it evokes is great. The language isn't flowery and probably couldn't be considered prose, but it is on the money as far as accuracy.
This is from Dead as a Doornail. The setup is:
Sookie is at the hospital visiting a man who is also a shape shifter, technically a were-panther. The man was shot from ambush by an unknown sniper. In the last book he had indicated that he would like to marry and protect Sookie.
"My Gran would have urged me to accept Calvin's offer. He was a steady man, was a shift leader at Norcross, a job that came with good benefits. You might think that's laughable, but wait until you have to pay for insurance all by yourself, then laugh."
It's a short passage, just a snippet from a longer paragraph, but Ms. Harris has caught a very, very real part of the psyche behind the men in that part of Louisiana taking a particular job. Good benefits.
It is these type of real world details that make her books sing with realism, even when dealing with vampires, were-people, and witches.
I'm putting an Amazon link at the bottom of this post to the 8 book boxed set. I wish I had bought it at the start because I would have saved money