A reader on BN.com recently called my book, “Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition,” a “trashy summer read type of book.”
The fact that she gave it a one-star review suggests she considers that a bad thing.
Except I have a confession to make: I love trashy summer read type books.
And I don’t limit my love just to the summer, either.
There was a period in my life (i.e. most of the late 1990s) when I spent a disproportionate amount of time on airplanes. I was working for ABC Sports (and later TNT) as a researcher for their television figure-skating broadcasts. Which meant that, every other week or so, I was off to France or Russia or Japan, either to cover a competition or to shoot an Up-Close-and-Personal profile of a skating star. (Watch this piece on Russia’s Irina Slutskaya. I’m not only the one translating her interview with Dick Button at the end, I’m also the one faking a bad Russian accent to dub over her voice).
Here’s the thing, though: I hate airplanes. I hate the way they look, I hate the way they smell, I hate the way the seats feel and the food tastes and the windows never open right (this does beg the question of why I chose to write my 1988 contemporary romance for AVON, “Annie’s Wild Ride,” about pilots, but that’s a topic for another time). I can’t sleep on airplanes and, back in the dark ages, kids, Walkman batteries didn’t last long enough for you to listen to music all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.
So that only left reading. The sole thing that could distract me from my overall misery while on an airplane, was reading.
But, not just any reading. It had to be a book compelling enough to keep my attention and make a 22 hour international flight feel like a local hop.
When people would ask me my goals as an author, I would tell them it was to write “airplane books.” Books that make flying less traumatic for the reader. (Granted, that’s not quite up there with Bringing Peace to the Middle East, but I was starting small…)
And for me, the best kind of airplane book was a “trashy, summer read type.”
I loved Sidney Sheldon and Belva Plain and Judith Krantz and Ruth Harris and Michael Korda. Big, sweeping, melodramatic family sagas with plenty of plot twists and surprises. In other words, if it was a soap opera between two covers, I was there. (When I wasn’t covering figure skating, I was, in fact, working on soap operas, first at ABC Daytime, and later at P&G Productions with “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”)
Which is why when another reader wrote about another of my books, “Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga” that: This book harkens back to the good old days of high end glamour and drama, the kind of books that Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz did at the height of big hair and big shoulder pads, I definitely took it as a compliment. (The fact that he gave it five stars suggests he meant it as one, as well.)
But, “Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga” isn’t just my 2012 version of an “airplane book.” It is also an experiment. Because, you see, I’m not writing the book… you are.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. I’m still the one sitting in front of the computer, typing away madly to meet a deadline. But, I am doing it based on your feedback.
“Counterpoint” is exactly what it promises, an interactive book. I started the story with “Volume One.” But, reader feedback will dictate the events of “Volume Two,” and “Volume Three” and so on.
Right now, it’s the story of a wealthy family with secrets, and the fate of a pair of siblings that get pulled into the intrigue while falling in love with most definitely the last people they should be falling in love with.
What happens next is up to you… (But, I do hope you’ll make it nice and trashy. Just perfect for Summer. And my next airplane trip.)
Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga. In addition to turning her own backlist into enhanced e-books, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at Alina Adams