Its finally summer and blazing hot in most of the country. Time to escape into a good book by the pool or on our front porch.
All of us, who are getting ready to head to a beach house with all the relatives, really need something to stick our noses into so we can look busy and not answer the questions about jobs, kids or extra pounds.
If it's actually entertaining us while we melt from the heat, so much the better.
So, much like the Holiday Book List, I went in search of books that are good reads, but not the hot topic around the water cooler, just yet. I'm always on the hunt for a list of books that you can not only lose yourself in, but also feel like the first on your block to discover a new treasure.
It's not often than I can do a good summer reads column and only have to list one author, besides myself, of course. However, there aren't many great writers like Lisa T. Bergren, www.LisaTawnBergren.com, who have created enough work to fill a library and already has a lot of readers buzzing.
Bergren has been steadily writing since 1992 when she started in the Contemporary Christian Romance market that was just beginning to bust wide open and become a hot new category. "Romance seemed to be fairly straightforward, " said Bergren, and there was "a lot of room for expansion and new genres to explore " in the Christian fiction market.
Since then, Bergren has written five popular series, several stand-alone children's books, devotionals, two non-fiction books for women and a best-selling children's series that began with "God Gave Us You." "It's a great gift for kids who are wondering where they came from, and gives you a way to tell them before you really have to tell them, " said Bergren, laughing.
Normally, every agent and editor will tell an author to pick a genre and run with it. Ask my agent who had "the talk" with me about settling on political thrillers. The goal is to build one audience that knows our work and wants some more, so that when they see a new title, they not only try it, they feel confident enough to tell their friends.
Bergren has taken a different approach to her entire career, and instead says, "I like to write different things and I get restless. I write whatever God places on my heart to do next. " It's for her.
The newest series, "The River of Time" is directed at 'tween and teenage girls and the publisher, David C Cook, is putting out three of the cliffhangers in one year to satisfy the market and try something different.
It's paying off big for Bergren, and her growing audience that has steadily grown with the first book, "Waterfall and Cascade". The third book, "Torrent" is due out on Sept. 1st, and is hotly anticipated by girls who are tweeting the author and following her fan page on Facebook.
"I've read a lot of books, " said fan, Nicole Gardner, age 14, "and these are the best books I've ever read. "
Bergren got the idea to start the series after going to see "Twilight" with her own two girls, Olivia, now 16, and Emma, 13, and saw how the storyline was captivating girls everywhere. "The River of Times" series has its own twist, though, because the main character, Gabi, who finds herself on a summer adventure thrown back into ancient Italy, falls for the good guy.
"He's really the only guy she looks at, right? Maybe the one she can't deny, even if it appears impossible, " said Bergren
Bergren wanted to redefine what makes a hero and stop teaching girls that danger is an essential ingredient. The combination of romance and young love mixed with a little other-worldly adventure is "pulling on those original roots and coming back around to a new way of writing, using all that I've learned, " said Bergren, who may have finally found her full voice.
"It feels like I've hit a sweet spot to me, and I hope to write more in this category. " Young girls everywhere and readers who like a good adventure story mixed with some romance will be glad to hear that. Look for monthly contests at www.LisaTawnBergren.com, with book-giveaways all summer long.
Tweet me @MarthaRandolph and let me know what you're reading this summer.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at Martha@caglecartoons.com.