June 14, 2014

Guest Post with Author Allie Burke {Saving Thyself from Literary Arrogance}

An American novelist from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.  Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales. From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.  Book 2 and 3 of the Enchanters series will be published by Booktrope Editions Spring/Summer 2014.  

To learn more, visit Allie at http://allieburke.wordpress.com

Saving Thyself from Literary Arrogance

Due to human nature, I think it’s very easy in any situation where we are knowledgeable about one particular subject to boast said knowledge to the point of disparagement. Where I live, in a place that is less than 20 minutes from the Forbes-deemed hippest place on earth, this feat is made even easier for us.

I’ve never written a YA novel, but my shelves are overrun by them (and I have a lot of bookshelves). Even in a genre as mainstream as YA, literary criticism tends to go beyond just reviewing a book and travels into the territory of insulting people, more accurately, readers. I have “good” books too: Hemingway can be found on my shelves, Dickens, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, even Bukowski (though I’ve always had my reservations about him and the message he sends), but I was a Twilight fan, when it was big. There’s no reason to lie about it. I read the books over and over again, took my friends to see the midnight showings; obsession after obsession until it was over. Is it a good book? Absolutely not. It sends a bad message to young girls and it’s written badly and vampires don’t sparkle, what the, etcetera etcetera. But what other subject of popular culture connects so many people from so many corners of the world? Does such a book have the capability to make you feel something positive that you didn’t feel before? It could, yeah. That’s the thing about art. It is supposed to make you feel something. That’s not to say that Twilight should be considered art, because I don’t think it should, but in an era wherein extreme intelligence is beautiful and idiocy is the most unattractive thing in the world, I think we may lose sight of what art really is. Art’s main function is supposed to make you feel something. So yes, I do think that it is easy to write someone off as the antithesis of someone who is well read because what? Because they are a Twilight fan or because they don’t read literary fiction every day?

Tiffany King recently said at RT14 that New Adult Fiction was not erotica. Based on my reservations with the genre and what it has represented, I couldn’t have been happier that one of the biggest names in New Adult Fiction felt it important to make readers aware of this fact. Her admission may very well label her as an author who cares about real, good books in literature—which I think would be a fair statement—but a fact that some readers might know when reading of a comment such as this one is that Tiffany King is one of the biggest Twilight fans there is.

I think, as big readers of a community which is one of the biggest supporters of human connection, it is our responsibility to stop allowing people, teens especially, to be put down just because they don’t read Neil Gaiman (who is awesome, obviously). That the big men of the horror genre (one especially arrogant soul that will not be named—his name rhymes with Wing or Sing or Bing, ah-hem, King) and who write literary fiction, should stop insulting humanity by making themselves out to be better than someone who reads paranormal romance. There is great beauty and darkness in telling a story, regardless of the context.

Read whatever you want to read, whatever it is that makes you happy, because if you don’t have that in life—happiness—you don’t have anything. 

Look into the world of the Enchanters, where water has a sense of humor, trees scare people, and love… is destiny.  Beautiful Jane is hovering at the edge of content in her life of solitude in the quiet town of Jasmyn Lake, but when her energy sends her on a journey to meet the man she has been dreaming about for months, she cannot resist. Meet sexy artist Elias, who moved to Hazel Grove, California to get away from the rain, his parents, and everything that was taken from him in Hayward, Washington. But he thinks he may be losing his mind when he starts seeing purple glitter in the air, the scent of rosemary is everywhere, and he is hearing a beautiful voice. But all is not flowers and ease for the newly joined couple. With a woman who prefers night to day and a man with heartache from his past, they must learn how to create their own world with grace and the occasional water feature. Written with humor and intensity, book one of the three part trilogy will leave you yearning for more and daydreaming shades of purple.

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