Raising a Reader by Guest Blogger Susanna Fraser

Susanna Fraser, authorAlmost nine years ago now, when I found out I was pregnant with a girl, practically the first thing I thought was, “I can’t wait to introduce her to the Little House books! And then Little Women, All-of-a-Kind Family, and Anne of Green Gables!”

Now that the blur on the ultrasound has grown into a third grader, I look back upon my hopeful expectant self and laugh. It’s not that Miss Fraser isn’t a reader—she’s a voracious and gifted one. But all my efforts to make her the kind of reader I was growing up have been met with quiet yet firm rejection. She won’t touch Little House in the Big Woods. I couldn’t even get her to try Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind by pointing out that it’s all about a horse, with gorgeous pictures of said horse, though I still keep my copy on her bookshelf, hoping she’ll pick it up some rainy day and get hooked as I was. After all, we live in Seattle, where there are so many rainy days needing good books to fill them!

Instead she’s read Erin Hunter’s Warriors series about the adventures of feral cat clans. She will at least try any book starring a dog or a cat, she loves fantasy and science fiction, and she has an insatiable appetite for manga and graphic novels—and the longer and more epic the series the better. She doesn’t see much point in a stand-alone book. If she likes a book, she’s almost offended if it doesn’t have a sequel or five.

Which isn’t to say there’s no overlap in our tastes. Back before she could read long chapter books on her own, my husband and I read the entire Narnia series to her, plus the first three Harry Potter books. I think they’re what motivated her to go from a decent first grade reader to tackling long chapter books in second and third grade—they showed her what awesome things could be found between the pages of a book, and she wanted to be able to read them herself rather than waiting for Mom and Dad to get through them at the glacial pace of one chapter a night.

So I may never get to share my love of classic girls’ literature with her, but I’m looking forward to sharing more and more of my favorite fantasy and science fiction novels with her as she grows in maturity and reading ability. I figure she’s almost ready for His Majesty’s Dragon, and maybe the Vorkosigan Saga, too.

As for romance? Well, she’s eight. She’s not interested yet, and still gets a bit annoyed when there’s too much kissing stuff in a book. But if she follows her pattern, she’ll probably enjoy it someday–just not the same subgenres I prefer. It wouldn’t do to be too much like her mother, after all!

What about you, dear readers? If you have children, are they readers, too, and do they share your tastes? And who taught you the love of reading?

An Infamous Marriage cover

I’ll be giving one copy of my new historical romance, An Infamous Marriage, to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of the tour I’ll be giving one commenter on the tour as a whole grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s Books. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule!  If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.

I look forward to replying to your comments, but it’ll be late in the evening in most North American time zones before I get a chance. I have a full-time 8-5 day job and don’t get much time online till the evening.

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About the Author

Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.

Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still tends to give her heroines great hair.

Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, watches Chopped, Castle, and The Legend of Korra, and cooks her way through an ever-growing cookbook collection. Learn more about her and her books at http://susannafraser.com/