Before we can write, we read – and, ideally, we never stop! In fact, the first and best advice I can give aspiring authors is read. Read everything! First, read it for fun, but then read like a writer. Figure out why the good parts work, and why the bad parts don’t, and then read more.

Makes sense then, that the lovely Marshal Zeringue hosts a blog called “What Writers Read.” I was proud to check in with what I was reading (below). You can also check it out here:

Clea Simon is the Boston Globe-bestselling author of three nonfiction books and thirty-one mysteries, including World Enough and Hold Me Down, both of which were named “Must Reads” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. 

A graduate of Harvard University and former journalist, she has contributed to publications ranging from and Harvard Magazine to Yankee and The New York Times.

Simon’s latest mystery is Bad Boy Beat, which kicks off a fast-paced amateur sleuth series starring Em Kelton, a Boston crime reporter with a nose for news.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Simon’s reply:

This is such a great topic because, of course, writers are first and foremost readers first. The problem comes when I’m asked to name just one book. Like a lot of us (I suspect), I’ve always got a couple of books going.

I recently finished Caroline Leavitt’s new Days of Wonder and I’ve been dipping into Philippa Gregory’s Normal Women, a massive history of the half of humanity that’s been left out of 800 years of English history.

But the books I keep coming back to these days are Deanna Raybourn’s. I had not thought myself interested in her – too romance-y! Too soft! But after devouring her Killers of A Certain Age, I realized she was one of the smartest writers in any genre! Now that I’ve read through her Veronica Speedwell series, I’m devouring her Lady Julia Grey books. Yes, they are historical mysteries with a heady dash of romance (thanks to the infuriating Nicholas Brisbane), and they’re just wonderful! I’m currently out on the windswept moor with Silent on the Moor and loving it.

Visit Clea Simon’s website.

The Page 69 Test: To Conjure a Killer.

The Page 69 Test: Bad Boy Beat.