Erin Blakemore learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
A testament to inspirational women throughout literature, The Heroine’s Bookshelf explores what classic heroines and their equally admirable authors have to teach today’s women how to best tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence, grace, vitality and aplomb. This collection of unforgettable characters—including Anne Shirley, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara, and Jane Eyre—and outstanding authors—like Jane Austen, Harper Lee, and Laura Ingalls Wilder—is an impassioned look at literature’s most compelling heroines, both on the page and off.
Stick around after Erin’s guest post to learn how you can win a copy of The Heroine’s Bookshelf for your very own!
Erin Blakemore on a book that changed her life….
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Let’s get one thing straight: mere days before the biggest deadline of your life is no time to get sucked into a book. But opening Kristin Lavransdatter just one of the mistakes I made in fall 2009.
The first mistake? Saying yes. I’d been at home helping plan my grandpa’s funeral at the time when the New York number flashed across my phone. It was my editor. Could I possibly, pretty-please consider moving up my deadline from mid-January to November 15? Call it debut author syndrome or mere hubris…the answer was yes. I was eager to please, numbed by grief, and happy to oblige. Until I got home and realized that I had no idea what the hell I was doing.
The second mistake? Working 24 hours a day. From that moment on, my schedule was brutal. Every morning, I’d turn on the computer and work on the tasks related to the company I co-own and operate. Around nightfall, I’d take a quick break for food, fitness, and something like conversation with my long-suffering boyfriend. Then I’d turn on the computer again and get to work on the book, a document that had once seemed half worth reading. Now it looked more like a pile of random, incoherent and unimportant thoughts.
The third mistake? Opening the book. Near tears with frustration, convinced I’d never do it, I laid across my bed one afternoon three days before my deadline and picked up a book I’d been meaning to read.
Never mind the undone laundry, sink full of dishes, untrimmed bangs, full voicemail inbox. I’d made my mistake. Now I plunged into the story of another woman’s mistake, one that happened to take place in medieval Norway, aka the opposite of modern-day Boulder, Colorado. Never mind the gnawing grief I’d felt since my grandpa’s passing, my fear that I’d screw it all up. In well beyond my depth and committed to something bigger than I could imagine, I made the glorious mistake of giving myself completely to Sigrid Undset’s tale of indiscretion, stubbornness, and grief.
Many hours later, I looked around me. Fall day had faded into the darkness peculiar to impending winter. I’d devoured the entire book in one marathon session.
Act of escapism? Absolutely, but I can’t help but believe that my last-minute fling with Kristin L was something more important. One could argue that my precious hours were much better spent sleeping or making a few final edits. But I wouldn’t undo my last-minute book binge for the world.
As I closed the book, I felt reconnected to my writer’s purpose, to the women I was trying so desperately to honor and understand in my own book. Somewhere through the exhaustion and daze that accompanies hard work and impassioned reading, I saw a flicker of myself again, the reader and the fighter, a young woman who can’t be beat by death, pain, or mere deadlines.
I put down the book and got back to work.
With writing that beautiful, how can you resist checking out The Heroine’s Bookshelf? There’s purchasing information at Erin’s website, and you can hang out with her on Twitter, where, among other things, she gives out inspirational heroine quotes for free!
Want to win a copy of The Heroine’s Bookshelf? Leave a comment on this post (don’t forget to include your e-mail address!) – the winner will be announced in our November 21st News Flash!