Thursday, 19 April 2012

Q is for Quite Contrary by Suzannah Dunn



Link to the Goodreads page



It was a big relief when I realised I had a Q for this challenge - it was one of the first letters I had, to be honest - are you jealous?

Suzannah Dunn has been a huge influence on me. Before she started writing historical novels, she wrote quite dark contemporary novels. Her first publication was a novella called Darker Days Than Usual - although I can't remember what it's about, I read it a long time ago! What I do remember is that it was published by Serpent's Tail, which was a publisher I thought was perfect for me, because they published Suzannah Dunn. I remember it was 20,000 words long - and again, that seemed perfect. (I was going to link to Serpent's Tail, but they don't seem to mention her on their web site anymore... there's a lesson to us all!)

Then I read an interview where she described Quite Contrary, a novel of 56,000 words. If you're just passing through for the A-Z Challenge, you won't be aware that I write too short (I've also mentioned it here) and I'm obsessed with word count, so this in itself was reason enough for me to be interested. And then, by chance, I found it in a bookshop and bought it.

I've actually read this book several times. I like the quiet thoughtfulness, the rhythm of her voice, the speech patterns. I love the timeshifts, and how each new memory alters the reader's perspective, and also the main character's perception of her childhood. If you like a lot of action in your fiction, this might not be the book for you, but if you enjoy exploring a character's erm... character, then check it out, and - as always - please let me know what you think!

25 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of the book before. My current WIP is also going to be on the too short side and I'm obsessed with word count. :)

    I'll let you know what I think of the books. I love learning of new books/authors/genres to read.

    Great post,
    Michelle :)
    www.michelle-pickett.com/blog

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I hope your WIP goes well.

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  2. Yes, I am jealous that Q was one of the first letters you had. I didn't have a topic for today until about an hour ago.

    My WIPs are all entirely too long. That's the bane, I suppose, of writing epic fantasy.

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    1. I think anything with the word 'epic' in it is allowed to be a little longer than normal!

      I'll be over to check out your Q soon - I'm curious to know what you came up with!

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  3. I've never heard of this author or book, but it might be something I'll check out. I prefer my fiction with more action, but there is nothing better than a work about characters that 'works'. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. She's mostly known for historical novels now - but some of her books have equal likes and dislikes on Goodreads.

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  4. I tend to write short, too, but only for novels. I find it easier to add to the novel ms than to cut. For stories, though, I find it easier to write long then cut. It's just how I work, at least for now. :)

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    1. I'm always adding scenes - I find it easier too. I don't consider the length for short stories, they are what they are!

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  5. One of my all time favorite books is "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" and it's short. We should worry less about the count and more about the substance.

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    1. I've not heard of that book. I do worry less now than I used to - my novella is... erm... novella length, and I never considered making it longer because I would have just been padding the story.

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  6. 'What I do remember is that it was published by Serpent's Tail, which was a publisher I thought was perfect for me, because they published Suzannah Dunn.'

    What a compliment.

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    1. Another one for my holiday pile. Would you mind paying my excess baggage?

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    2. Unfortunately, Suze, Serpent's Tail disagreed with me :-)

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    3. You're going to need a longer holiday, Linda!!

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  7. This sounds like an interesting read... I agree with the previous comment - we should not worry about word count... But publishers do!

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    1. Good point about the publishers, Pat. I bought this book in 1994-ish, when all books seemed to be very long - people like Jilly Cooper were still riding high in the book charts. I was relieved to see another size.

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  8. I haven't heard of this author or this book. It's wonderful when you find an author who hits all the right notes for you. Writers need to be inspired.

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    1. She has a great imagination to be inspired by.

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  9. Thanks for the tip about the book. It sounds great. I'll have to try and find a copy. Best of luck in the rest of the A-Z Challenge! (And yes, I'm jealous about Q!)

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    1. There have been loads of great Qs today. I'm popping over to see yours now :-)

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  10. I love the summary of this book on Goodreads, sounds excellent. Another one to add to my list. :)

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  11. I remember you mentioning this book before. I have not read it, but I think I'll pick it up:)

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    1. I completely forgot I'd mentioned it before - I was just so excited I had a Q :-)

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  12. Yes I am jealous - Q was Quite... umm Quirky! Ended up being a fun one though...keep up the great work! ~ Kate

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Please comment - I love a good chat!