Talking To Luke: Haunting Gets Personal. Talking To Luke discussion

So much to say

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Lisa So I read "Taking To Luke". It wasn't a genre I would have gone for but when I got into it I couldn't put it down.
I was particularly impressed with the descriptions - so vivid and graphic. I've never 'seen' war like I did in this book nor have I ever 'experienced' someone dying like I did. I felt what Luke felt. I felt depressed and empty with Tania. I wanted to hit Phillip and asked him out loud if he was for real. (I'm all over the book here)
On the other hand, I could have done without the graphic description of Phillip's web browsing. If making the reader sick and disgusted was the intention well it worked and personally, I could do without expletives. I would have enjoyed the book just as well without them.
I would love to hear what parts of this book other readers loved best.
Then I have so much more to say.

Carol Kean I love everything about this novel! True escapism is what I want most, and this novel is a great trip away from my every-day life. Having devoured sepia photos from the Civil War and the Old West (Karl Moon!), I know how it is to stare into the eyes of a long-gone face and dream of meeting him in the flesh. Dreamy - okay nightmarish too, but above all, dreamy - is "Talking to Luke." Tania, Lily, Chris, Phil, Evelyn, Geoff--for me to remember character names off the top of my head is unheard of. This novel stays with me like few novels ever do.

message 3: by Diane (last edited Jul 14, 2016 10:10AM) (new)

Diane Lisa made a great suggestion privately about something that might happen if Luke and Phillip come face to face in the sequel. I've been on the fence about this. There are some issues I'd have to address for readers who may read Wingspan before TTL. . .but there would be quite a bit of satisfaction, I think, for readers that HAVE read TTL.

Mary Thornburg Well, if you don't want to see the f-word in print (or virtual print!), then you don't want to, and that's that -- you are perfectly within your rights. Lisa, I'm trying to think of a way to say this that won't sound like I despise you for feeling that way, because I certainly do not, but... well, I'm guessing that there are many readers -- in fact a great majority -- who would NOT think the description was either graphic or sickening and disgusting. In my own opinion, it was remarkably mild. Just seeing the names of the porn sites Phillip had been visiting is, of course, shocking to Tania, for reasons that are obvious to the reader (but which I don't want to reveal here because of the spoiler). But the content of the sites is not described at all, nor does Tania look at the sites; she recognizes what they are from their names.

May I at least suggest that this very small portion of the book, like the very small portion that describes Luke's dying experience and the (somewhat larger) portions that convey Tania's feelings of betrayal and emptiness, is part of the very real world that Diane Ryan evokes so well and realistically throughout the book. Her discovery of what Phillip has done, and his "so what?" response when she confronts him with it, are things that women all over this country (probably all over the world where the internet is available) experience, sadly, every day. I very firmly believe that, if we want our reading to reflect life as so many people actually experience it, probably we shouldn't cover our eyes and try pick and choose between truths we don't mind seeing (like war, like dying) and those we don't want to see. Particularly when they're presented with the sensitivity and restraint that the author has used here.

message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane I was advised by many people in the early stages of this novel to nix the f-bombs and take out the description of what Tania finds, because doing so would broaden my audience. So I debated it. Mercy, did I debate it. But I kept going back to reality, and how people really talk when they're upset, and how in the world I would ever create the utter sense of disgust and outrage Tania felt if I didn't show the reader what she saw. So I was back, forth, back, forth, back, forth. . .then I finally just hoped readers would understand that none of the characters ever pretended to be perfect or admirable and if potty mouth was one of their flaws, it was one of their flaws. What I LOVED about Lisa's comment was that the scene of Tania and Phillip's computer made her soooo uncomfortable, evoked such feeling of outrage and disgust. . .YES. Exactly what I was going for. Clearly I'm not a pornography fan. But at the same time, a large demographic of people exist who would think she was overreacting if I did not give readers the depth of what she experienced, at least through her eyes.

I've also struggled with the fight she and Luke had in Part 3, when he comes very, very close to defending Phillip. In an earlier version of the manuscript, he crosses that line and actually does raise the question to Tania: "Do you think you may have overreacted just a bit?" But that had women readers ready to bean me over the head so I edited that part out.

Lisa Oh yes Carol, the whole concept of this novel was fresh and different. I found myself thinking about life and death; the living and the no-longer-living; examining my own thoughts and beliefs with the ideas in the book and settling on what I think may be plausible and I concluded that it is the mark of a great writer to leave readers thinking, grappling, giving and taking then settling on their own ideas. (Maybe I think too much but I have always been fascinated with life after death.)
This novel also touched on many issues - religion, learning challenges, physical challenges, marriage, divorce, true love, death, science, animal care. Maybe the sequel will have a tiny bit of comedy so Luke can make some quip about the earth opening and scare Phillip half to death. Or maybe he could let the earth open and close again quickly then Luke and Tania could pretend that only Phillip saw that.
But how sad is this line: "I am alone in this bunker with a corpse - and it is my own."

message 7: by Lisa (last edited Jul 14, 2016 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Actually Mary the content of the site was described and as Diane said, it probably would not have generated such a response from readers if it hadn't been described. The truth is it wouldn't have, not even from me. I would have thought she was overreacting as well... I mean she even fainted. So I get what you're saying in terms of writing but as a reader as you said I'm free to not enjoy certain parts. It's very personal to me I know but I have always had an aversion to expletives so I always say it.
I'm in two roles here and I was writing as a reader but as a writer I understand making the characters real and not perfect. I accepted them all and disliked Phillip more for his insensitivity than his weakness. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word graphic but I totally loved the vivid descriptions throughout the book. That was a positive point I was making there.

Mary Thornburg Lisa ~ Sorry, I intended to respond more quickly, but wanted to go look at the book again first, and couldn't find my Kindle! Took me almost 36 hours to locate it, right where I'd looked ten times at least. Old age will do that to you... :-D (Why am I laughing?)

I stand corrected -- there IS a brief description of one of the sites' content. I hadn't remembered that, I think because it was so cleanly and clinically done that it didn't shock or even take me aback, as I think it would have had it been written by a lesser writer. It's almost coldly medical. And "graphic" isn't the wrong word, but it suggested, to me, something that's frequently almost pornographic, especially when it's used about anything related to sex or violence. I tend to dislike "graphic sex" in romance novels, not because I have anything against sex, but because too often I've read scenes that the writer apparently intended to be sexy, arousing, and to me are anything but that; I don't find them shocking or disgusting, but rather embarrassing. Maybe that's just me -- I'm embarrassed for the writer who's made a kind of clumsy, amateur attempt to turn me on and instead has turned me off!

And the reason I objected to your comment was that it seemed to me likely to give the wrong impression to people who haven't read the book and would, on the basis of your comment, decide not to. Sorry!

Diane, I'm very glad you decided what you did. One of the great strengths of the book is that it's faithful to reality, so much so that the reader is persuaded by the reality of everything else to accept the reality of the ghost. And as a writer, I believe that to change anything you honestly believe in solely to "broaden your audience" is selling out, a mistake. You can't please everyone!

Mary Thornburg Diane ~ Wanted to add this, which someone just posted on one of my Facebook groups; she says it so well: "I'm just starting to get feedback from my beta readers. It's so interesting to see the wide variety of comments. Some are polar opposites, which is a good reminder for all authors that no book will ever please every reader and if you try or think you write for "everyone," you're fooling yourself. Better to find your audience and be true to your writing."

message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane I am reading (or trying to read) a book that has hundreds of five star reviews and only one or maybe two three stars. Nothing lower. Everybody is raving. They love it! I am struggling. I may not finish. I despise the male lead. He "got clean" in rehab but is still a horrible person. He's disgusting, the way he thinks and talks. Ick. But man--other women are just eating it up. Profanity in this book is almost every sentence. Not just in dialogue, but in narrative. There is no beautiful prose, no lovely turns of phrase. Just "eff" this and "effing" that, and #$*($^ my #(*$^ every other paragraph. Other people actually like this stuff???? Not me. Even I have my limits.

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