Monday, January 23, 2012

First Impressions by Stephanie Julian

As we all know, first impressions are so important.

That's especially true with books, where a reader will usually pick up a book based first on the cover. I've been blessed with three gorgeous covers for my Forgotten Goddess series. They perfectly express the sensual nature of the stories inside.

After that, if the reader is like me, they'll flip the book and read the back cover blurb. I can't tell you how many times I've put a book back on the shelf because the blurb failed to hook me. But if it did, I immediately go to the first chapter and start to read. For me, if the first page fails to catch my interest, I put the book down. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I'm sure there are great books out there that I haven't read because the first few sentences simply didn't grab my attention.

The most recent example of one that did hook me...Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST NIGHT. "Every night, death came, slowly, painfully, and every morning Maddox awoke in bed, knowing he'd have to die again later."

Totally sucked me in. I have no idea why I haven't been reading these books since they first started releasing several years ago.

Then there's Suz Brockmann's EVERYDAY, AVERAGE JONES. I remember buying it at Kmart. It was August 1998 (I know this because the book is an Intimate Moments and that's what it says on the cover). My kids were 5 and 3 and I was a binge reader. Two books a day if they were Harlequins or one a day single title. I devoured H/S books by the ton. I was friends with a used book dealer and she kept my addiction fed. I didn't buy a lot of new books because we couldn't afford to supply my habit. But for whatever reason, I picked up EVERYDAY, AVERAGE JONES. I think the uniform on the main character caught my eye first. I flipped it over. "Girl next door," "rescue," "adrenaline rush." Buzz words for the kind of stories I usually like.

Then I opened it up. "It was extremely likely that she was going to die." Which I knew wasn't true because the hero was going to save her and they were going to live happily ever after but I wanted to know why she thought she wasn't getting out alive. And I wanted to know how the hero saved her.

Needless to say I bought the book which resides with all my other Brockmann books on her very own keeper shelf in my office. It's still one of my favorites and it made me scour the used book stores and sales until I found the first three books in the series (which, yes, remain on that shelf, as well. full disclosure, PRICE JOE remains on my bedside bookcase, where I keep the books I'd toss out the window before I would jump if my house was burning).

So what are some of your favorite first lines?

If you're intrigued by the Forgotten Goddesses series, WHAT A GODDESS WANTS is still on sale for $1.99 electronically. Amazon  B&N


  1. Great post Stephanie.
    I've always advocated that first lines and especially first pages were very important. Cover first, blurb second and first page...that's what the reader looks at. Lose them on any one and the book goes back on the shelf.
    One of my newest favorites comes from Joanne Kennedy...a chicken will never break your heart.

  2. Oh, those are awesome, Stephanie! I tend to like the classics.

  3. I have always said that a good cover and few first lines lure the reader in. It is always so for my students. If you don't grab them immediately, they don't like it and won't read it. I, on the other hand, will give it at least 50 pages.

  4. LOL! "I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime..."

  5. I love this post and I'm sorry I missed it when it first posted. I can't think on any one line that grabbed me but I agree that the first line is crucial. BTW...those covers are spectacular.