I want to be Lisa Kleypas when I grow up. Yeah, I know that’s not an original wish, but the woman is beautiful both on the inside and the outside, has legions of adoring fans, and, according to bloggers who’ve lunched with her, totally knows how to order wine.
(And look at this: according to the marketing campaign enumerated on the ARC of Blue-Eyed Devil, the first print run for the paperback edition of Sugar Daddy is 1.2 million copies. Holy @#$%! I hereby coin a new publication milestone: the Lisa Kleypas call, for when an author gets news that her print run will be 1,000,000+. Sooo, J.K Rowling, how did you feel when you received the Lisa Kleypas call?)
I have irrefutable evidence that Ms Kleypas’s destiny and mine are inextricably linked. How so you ask? Well, I won my copies of Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil right here on this blog. Blue-Eyed Devil releases the same day as my debut Private Arrangements. And Sybil is hosting a book club for Sugar Daddy right after my guest stint, again on the day Private Arrangements hits the shelves. Okay so it was to coincide with Blue-Eyed Devil’s release but it’s destiny I tell you.
It so happens I have read Sugar Daddy. And I had a blast reading it. It was during some of my most desperate hours, with a deadline hanging over my head like a guillotine — and I said screw it and kept on reading. So herewith, seven reasons you should also read Sugar Daddy:
1. Liberty Jones, the heroine. She is the kind of friend and sister you would love more than life itself.
2. The voice. Ms. Kleypas has a great contemporary voice. I didn’t expect it, but I was entirely carried away by it.
3. The vivid writing. “The late afternoon sun was as round and white as a paper plate tacked to the sky.” “Her skin was webbed and furrowed, constantly shifting to accommodate her animated expressions.” “No dirt on earth sticks to you like East Texas red clay. The wind blows it over you and it tastes sweet in your mouth. As the clay lurks under a foot of light tan topsoil, it expands and shrinks so drastically that in the driest months Martian-colored cracks run across the ground.”
4. The trailer park. I admit I had my doubts about a story in which a significant portion is set in a trailer park. But it would turn out to be the setting I most enjoyed. Ms Kleypas made the community of Bluebonnet Ranch Mobile Home Estates — and by extension the nowhere town of Welcome, Texas — come alive.
5. Diana Jones, Liberty’s mother. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, she might come across as foolish and brittle. But depicted by Ms Kleypas’s astute and deeply humane pen, she is a complex and fully developed character and engaged all my sympathies.
6. Hardy Cates, especially in the Welcome years. There have been lots of heroes from the wrong side of the tracks. But young Hardy is something else. From the moment you meet him you know that there is something different and special about him, that he had the grits and brains and the drive to rise to the sky, and charm many a pair of pants off along his way. And there is absolutely nothing emo about him. Hooray!
7. Ms Kleypas herself. The best reading experience, for me, is a kind of communion between the author and the reader, whereby two possibly very different sets of outlooks and opinions and experiences somehow meld into a single beautiful whole. And Ms Kleypas is the kind of author who does far better than coming half way to meet you. She brings such warmth and compassion to the story that it becomes easy for a reader (me) to let go of her cynicism and lose herself in the story, which is all any reader (me) wants.
I could easily come up with more reasons, but I will keep it at the mystical and elegant seven. And here’s to the inaugural success of the TGTBTU Book Club. Long may it prosper and bring great rejoicing to bloglandia. (And may I be the next guest if it works out!)
Comment on any of today’s four Sherry Thomas guest posts with whatever crazy thing you’ve done for love, or give us another reason to read La Lisa, and you could win an ARC of Sherry’s 29 July 08 Bantam release, Delicious, and a Private Arrangements t-shirt! (Two prizes, one winner.)
Remember, only one entry per IP address is eligible for the prize, but you can comment as often as you wish. Winners will be chosen from comments entered between now and midnight tonight, 24 March, according to the blog’s timestamp (U.S. Central).