This book was such a one-off that I decided that I just had to give it a blog of its own - particularly as I am reading it at this particular point in my life.
Erica James is an author that I have discovered recently - see my previous blog entry on 'Serendipitous Moments' - 'You can't judge a book by its cover?', where I refer to her books.
Well, I went into one of my local libraries the other day and picked up 2 more books by Erica James - if I find an author and/or musician that I particularly enjoy, I like to get to know, enjoy and appreciate more of their work. So, I borrowed 'Hidden Talents' (published by Orion Book, London, in 2002) in this frame of mind, without reading much of what it was about, on the back of the book.
Anyway, I discovered that 'Hidden Talents' is about a Writer's Group. Why this is particularly significant for me right now is because, although I have read fiction all my life, it is only now that I am very seriously turning my thoughts to the idea of writing a novel myself! So, it all seemed quite fortuitous. The Writer's Group in 'Hidden Talents' consists of 5 interesting characters; Dulcie Ballanytne who runs the group and is in love with a married man; Beth King who is facing empty-nest syndrome and is having a relationship with a cyberman (!); Jack Solomon who is rebuilding his life after his wife leaves him for his best friend; Jaz Rafferty, a teenager who writes as a way of escaping from her boisterous family and Victor Blackmore, a conceited man that thinks he is well on the way to writing best-sellers, whilst no-one else in the group rates his work much!
A couple of quotes particularly struck a chord with me.
One is where Jaz Rafferty "...withdrew and immersed herself in books, reading herself into other people's lives, happily escaping her own." (p.8) I know that feeling very well; and I am sure that many other people read novels for these reasons as well. Another is a comment about writers writing about themselves.
"...it was glaringly obvious to Beth that she, Jack and Jaz were writing about themselves. Apparently most writers did this when they embarked on their first novel." (p.148)
Anyway, I won't say any more, other than to recommend the book and to say that, once again, this book also has a lovely cover - this time of a lady sitting on a bench in a park, reading a book.
Here is the cover.