June 23 – 29: “How do your reading and writing habits change in the summer?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5Summer is upon us! This week we ask ITW Members Cat Connor, Susan Israel, Kate White, Kym Brunner, Tim Waggoner and Amy Lignor how their reading and writing habits change in the summer?


WANTED - DEAD OR IN LOVE MEDIUMcoverKym Brunner has been writing action-packed novels for young adults for ten years. An active member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), she spearheads two writing groups. When she’s not writing, Kym teaches reading and language arts for seventh graders––which is an action-packed thriller all on its own. She’s repped by Eric Myers of the Spieler Agency and resides in the Chicago area. WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE (Merit Press, June 30, 2014) is her debut novel.


deep like riverShirley Jackson Award finalist Tim Waggoner has published over thirty novels and three short story collections of dark fiction. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program.



The Charlatans Crown_Final Online(1)As the daughter of a career librarian Amy Lignor grew up loving books; ‘Patience & Fortitude’ at the NYPL are still her heroes. Beginning in the genre of historical romance with, “THE HEART OF A LEGEND,” Amy moved into the YA world where her first team from THE ANGEL CHRONICLES became a beloved hit. Moving into the action/adventure world with TALLENT & LOWERY, Amy has created a new, incredibly suspenseful, team that has once again exploded with readers everywhere. Born in Connecticut, Amy is now living in the bright sunshine of Roswell, NM, delving into her next adventure.

eyes on youKate White is the New York Times bestselling author of six Bailey Weggins mysteries and three stand-alone suspense novels, Hush, The Sixes, and the upcoming Eyes on You (June 24). She was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 14 years. She is also the editor of the upcoming MWA cookbook.




Cat Connor lives in Upper Hutt, New Zealand with her husband (Action Man) and their youngest two children (Squealer and Breezy). She is the author of The Byte Series published by Rebel ePublishers, USA. An FBI thriller series about the life of SSA Ellie Conway.

Cat hosts a fortnightly writing workshop at the Upper Hutt City Library. She’s coffee addict and a lover of red wine. Recently described as irresistible, infectious, and addictive. Cat believes music is essential. She knows where to hide the body and where you hid the body.

Over My Live Body - SIsraelSusan Israel lives in Connecticut with her beloved dog, but New York City lives in her heart and mind. A graduate of Yale College, her fiction has been published in Other Voices, Hawaii Review and Vignette and she has written for magazines, websites and newspapers, including Glamour, Girls Life, Ladies Home Journal and The Washington Post. She’s currently at work on the second book in the Delilah Price series, Student Bodies.




  1. I have to say, one of the best things about living in the Southwest is that there is only a ‘tad’ bit of difference weather-wise between the seasons…so, sunny weather is usually a constant. (No ‘polar vortex’ keeping me indoors). However, when the summer arrives, my reading habits do go down considerably. There is so much to do, and being with my daughter—whether it be watching movies or heading out and enjoying Mother Nature—is the first priority because her schedule is far more open when college classes are out. The writing habit stays the same, however. That is one of those avenues I cannot slow down on when the idea is percolating or arriving on the scene. It’s a good thing, actually, because it says to me that no matter how much 100+ New Mexico heat I’m receiving, my brain is still working in there somewhere instead of melting. (LOL)

    1. I’m the opposite – my reading habits go UP considerably since I don’t have to work. Of course, I don’t have young children around the house anymore as my kids are all in college. But I LOVED that special time with my kids, so enjoy summer with them while they’re little because all too soon you’ll start to hear, “See ya later, Mom!” as they head out the door with friends. (Of course, that’s when you can sneak in a little reading or writing time). 🙂

  2. As a full-time teacher who squeezes in writing time every day before and after school, I have to say summertime writing unencumbered by the stresses of a 40-hour work week puts me into a different sort of writing brain.

    No longer having to glance at the time to see how many more minutes I have, nor having to quit in the middle of a scene to be continued later, I feel that having long stretches of time helps me to figure out the pulse of the story and really dig deep. Often we recognize when the story seems dull or the characters not quite coming alive, but we don’t have the time to really examine what’s not working.

    I love to open a new document called “Plotting Problems,” and really have a discussion with myself on what’s working and what’s not. An HONEST discussion. I know it in my gut when the story makes me want to take a nap. And even though I have time to take a nap in the summer, I have to stop the avoiding game and step up to the plate.

    Living in the Chicago area, I also take advantage of bringing my fully-charged laptop with me in my convertible and sitting outside to write by a nearby lake. Ahh…heaven!

  3. I was so thrilled to see this concept because I’ve always thought it was a little weird that I love writing in summer more than any other time of the year and it was nice to know I might not be alone.
    First, reading though. I definitely do more guilty-pleasure reading in the summer. And I also re-read books during this time of year–for some reason summer seems to be a good time to do it. I just got the new thriller I Am Pilgrim today and can’t wait to tackle it. But first I’m going to finish The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey, which, of course, is considered one of the great mysteries of all time. I read it years ago and I’m thrilled I don’t remember how it ends. But I can’t put it down. Brilliant.
    Okay, here’s the thing about writing in the summer. I LOVE IT. Which is kind of surprising because as a girl I was a nerdy, dateless, yearbook editor, valedictorian type who used to sit at my bedroom desk and dream of playing outside like the other kids one day -when I no longer had endless assignments. So you’d think I’d cut myself some slack June through August. But I write every day in summer, even Saturdays and Sundays, and crazily it’s because for some bizarre reason I write better in the heat. I don’t even use AC a lot of the time, just an old GE fan I found someplace. I like what Kym says but unlike her I have the same stresses in summer as I do in winter but the heat just makes me feel more creative. I wish I knew why. Sometimes I wonder if in another life I lived in Nairobi or Jakarta and I just feel more at home in my skin when it’s hot.

  4. At first I was tempted to say there is no difference for me. I write full-time, so I write full-time. I read every night summer or winter.
    Then I thought about it some more.
    It’s not so much a seasonal change for me but the school holidays that change my reading and writing pattern. We have four lots of school holidays a year(summer, autumn, winter, spring). Summer holidays run from mid-Dec until early Feb – the other holidays are two week breaks. That’s a lot of interruptions of my writing time! 🙂
    I usually take the kids home to Mahau Sound (Marlborough) during the school holidays – both summer and winter.
    I write more in the winter holidays – something really nice about being in front of the fire writing especially in the evening with a glass of wine!
    Summer holidays are spent on the beach (sea and sand are not friendly toward laptops). I read more during the day in summer – on the beach or out in the garden and write less.
    Although I do find that summer in Mahau tends to up my creativity and I make a lot of notes.

  5. I’m predominantly a night writer, which makes it challenging in the summer, when there just isn’t much night. That would explain why I’m writing this blog entry at 3 a.m. and working on finishing my second novel most nights (or would that be early morning?) at roughly the same time. I wrote my first novel in a college computer cluster, mostly mornings- there were no windows to indicate what time of day it was, but that cluster was closed from late May until classes started again in September, so I wrote late at night then too. During the day, though, I’ll research and/or write in a composition book and transcribe what I’ve done at night.

    Summer is my favorite season and it just so happens that my work in progress takes place during a steamy couple of June weeks in New York City, so I have more of a ‘you are there’ feeling as I’m heading toward the finish line. I love summer details, even the sweaty smelly ones.

    I read more during cooler months and usually not when I’m deep into writing, Most of my summer reading is centered on catching up on magazines, staying on top of what’s current so my characters are savvy. The magazines I read to relax usually also spark questions about my characters (and as a Cosmo reader, Kate, I strove to make sure my character would come off as ‘fun and fearless.’) Leisure as research. Summer heat does loosen me up so that I shut out my inner critic more easily and get more done.

  6. I’m not sure my reading habits change much during the summer. My teaching and writing schedule tends to remain the same throughout the year, which means I only have so much time for reading. These days I tend to read more short fiction than novels, simply because I don’t have much unbroken time to devote to long stories. When I do read novels, I tend to pick shorter ones for this reason. I’d love to be able to lose myself in a vast tome of a book the way I did when I was younger. Maybe someday!

    In summer, I pay close attention to those books being promoted as “beach reads.” I always find it interesting to see what publishers and readers consider the current crop of intriguing, entertaining, fast-paced novels. I’ll often pick up one or two of these books to get a sense of what’s really popular at the moment and see what tricks or tips I can pick up for my own writing. So in that sense, I guess my reading habits do change a little during the summer.

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