Saturday, November 9, 2013

Laura Strickland, author of Daughter of Sherwood, takes over The Most Happy Reader and offers a giveaway!


by Laura Strickland

We don’t talk about being happy much, anymore.  Nor do we work very hard at achieving that state.  We do talk about being miserable and all the details that contribute to it: the traffic on the way to work and the driver who was glued to our back bumper; the amount of work in our inbox; the fact that the kids never put their dirty laundry in the hamper; the undisputed fact that no one else ever takes the dog out or puts the laundry away .The media and the internet both are flooded with stories of heartbreak and mayhem; they assault us every time we turn on the TV or go online.

It’s almost as if unhappiness has become our default, go-to emotion.  We make conversation with our friends and colleagues by complaining, sometimes ruefully, sometimes even humorously.  We share our misery.  It’s become increasingly easy to be critical, almost as if a kind opinion denotes weakness.  But what benefit comes of seeing faults in others or sharing discontent?  And how far do we need to reach in order to gather up some happiness?

I gave some serious thought to that question when asked to write a guest post for this site. It occurred to me that avid readers have a real leg-up in the happiness game.  Most of us know we only need to find a really good book to gather some contentment.  Which of us hasn’t delighted in a rainy afternoon curled up with the latest offering from a favorite author?  Which of us hasn’t looked forward all day to that moment when we can cuddle up in bed and read for a precious half hour before going to sleep?  Which of us hasn’t, then, stayed up way too late to finish a chapter because we just had to know what happened?  Which of us hasn’t discovered a new author with a flash of excitement and then devoured all his/her back catalogue?  Who hasn’t sighed a little when a cherished story ends?

Long before I became a writer, I was an avid reader and I still am.  In fact, the love of reading is what made me take up a pen in the first place.  As a child, my older sister would take me to our local library every Saturday where, precisely like a kid in a candy store, I had the delectable pleasure of choosing. I can still remember the smell of the library and the sheer excitement of checking out with half a dozen books entrusted to me by the librarian, knowing I had the inestimable pleasure of reading them ahead.  Every so often I’d find a real treasure, a book like Sally Watson’s Witch of the Glens or Louisa May Alcott’s Rose in Bloom that drew me into its world so completely I never wanted to reemerge.

Eventually it occurred to me that if I made up the story, it wouldn’t have to end too soon and I could make anything I wished happen.  In third grade, I penned my first mystery novel, The Haunted House, hand-printed and with a construction paper cover.  But what I truly wanted to do was create literary worlds that might capture my readers as I had been captivated in turn.

When I conceived of the idea for writing a Historical Romance based on the legend of Robin Hood, I told myself I must be crazy.  For one thing, it’s been done on both the large and small screen.  Ever since the days of that master writer, Howard Pyle, stories about Robin have been legion.  But oh, I said to myself, what an opportunity to create a world!  My Sherwood, I decided, would be a place of magic where the Saxon fight against Norman tyranny was rooted.  And my characters would be descendants of the legendary Robin and Marian – I wouldn’t take on the original story so much as extend it.  Soon I was lost in the writing, and in that world.  And so far many of my readers tell me they’ve become pleasurably lost there as well.

But what about achieving happiness?   Well, I happen to believe we’re faced with a choice every morning when we open our eyes: we can be happy or we can be miserable.  Let’s face it, we have to be something and if it’s up to me, I’ll choose happiness every time.  So, my fellow readers gather up your books and gather in some happiness.  Enjoy the stories you love and share them.  We who treasure the written word and revel in sending our imaginations on far flights of fancy have a great advantage in the fight for happiness.  We’ve discovered a secret, magical door and have only to crack it open with the covers of a book – or the buttons on our Kindle – to gather in a whole, heaping helping of happiness.  Read on!

Laura is the author of the newly released, Daughters of Sherwood, enter below for a chance to win a copy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. A really fantastic post. I especially love this line- 'We who treasure the written word and revel in sending our imaginations on far flights of fancy have a great advantage in the fight for happiness.' So very true! I've always felt like people who read a lot ARE happier. It gives us a chance to escape our own heads for awhile. =)


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!!

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