First and Lasting Author Impressions

When you pick up a book in the bookstore–or browse one online–how long does it take for you to get an impression and decide to read further or move on?

Version 2Authors build stable careers by creating a reliable experience and delivering it, time and time again.

But it all begins with a first impression.

New books and magazinesThese days, a publicist begins a year or more in advance to create a new author’s image and determine a consistent “brand.”

“Think of an author brand as a bundle of perceptions and expectations that form in readers’ minds over time. A brand is a promise; it’s what readers expect from an author.” Publishers Weekly

Even before the first book hits the stands, social media and personal appearances develop an author’s audience, ready to snatch up the first book and make it an instant best-seller. Five thousand copies sold before publication ensure that it will take center stage when it debuts.

That wasn’t the way of it when Emilie started her career.  When her first novel was published, this two-inch ad appeared in the New York Times, Boston Herald, and nationwide.

1922 Trail of Conflict ad by Penn
First advertisement, 1922

That’s it. Just a simple ad.

People read the newspapers page by page then, and when they saw a book that looked good, they went to the bookstore and bought it–or they checked it out of the library.

If it wasn’t an ad that caught their attention, sometimes it was a book review.

The Book Page, Fresno Republican

 

“[The Trail of Conflict] in itself is an unusual type of East and West story and is a human, searching study of character development under change of environment, seasoned with action and told in a forceful, stirring style.” Barnstable Patriot, Barnstable, MA

“The book is well written throughout, and the interest is held with masterly skill.” Daily Times, Davenport IA

The Trail of Conflict … is a novel of much interest and intensely modern in the way it tells the reader how love manages the true road of a dreadful situation.”  Fresno Morning Republican, Fresno, CA

“After reading Emilie Loring’s The Trail of Conflict, one is certain that it is destined to rank high among the list of stories dealing with love and life in the ranch country of the far Rockies….. Once having begun reading the story of Geraldine and Stephen, particularly if the start be made after the evening dinner, the safest thing to do is to pause a moment, set the family alarm clock at “repeat” for the customary rising hour, and prepare for hours and hours of delight. The Trail of Conflict is one of the sort of books that grips one at the beginning and never lets go until the last page.”  Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY

 

By spring, 1923, The Trail of Conflict appeared on bookshelves in London. With customary British reserve, The Observer wrote: “The author straightens out an extraordinary tangle in clever and satisfactory fashion.”

Character, action, stirring style, masterly skill, clever, books that grip one at the beginning and never let go… Already she was making an impression on the reading public.

When The Trail of Conflict required a third printing after only a few months on the shelves, attention shifted to Emilie Loring herself. Who was she?

Painted in Waterlogue
“Gardening and raising poultry”

Back to the Fresno Morning Republican:

“Emilie Loring, author of The Trail of Conflict, a successful novel, was born in Boston, has traveled over most of America and Europe, and then settled down on a bit of land gardening and raising poultry.”

That was the impression (not fact) she made with her homemaking articles, not the impression she would make as a romance and adventure novelist.

George Baker Baker's Dozen
Her father’s influence

The Hartford Courant took a different tack:

“Mrs. Loring is the daughter of George M. Baker, whose plays are being acted all over the English-speaking world.”

To frame a woman writer as a successful man’s daughter was typical, and it was also fair, in her case. Emilie’s father inspired her whole family to lives of purpose, humor, and writing, and she often recalled that legacy.

But neither place nor parentage transmitted the romance and adventure of Emilie Loring. Her books did that for her.

“Beautiful places and lively dialogue, stories so “rattling good” that one burned more than one’s share of the midnight oil, unable to put them down… a sense that adventure and romance and challenge pave the way to worthwhile and vibrant living.”  Happy Landings

One felt it from the opening pages…

 

Trail of Conflict cliff

“That is your ultimatum, Glamorgan? My boy for your girl or you scoop up my possessions and transfuse them into yours?”

Peter Courtlandt tapped the arm of his chair nervously as he regarded the man who sat opposite in front of the fire. The two men were in striking contrast.

The Trail of Conflict

 

1924 Here Comes the Sun wprThe engine shrieked a warning. Porters shouted, “All Aboard!” As the train shivered into action, a black cocker spaniel jumped from the baggage car. Long ears flopping, red tongue hanging, the blue tag at his collar flapping, he dashed into a trail which zigzagged up the hillside. With an exclamation of dismay, a girl on the step of the Pullman jumped to the ground and gave chase. The man on the forward platform of the car behind executed a spectacular leap and followed. The conductor of the train yelled a protest.

Here Comes the Sun!

With Banners wprWith a nice sense of dramatic values, the heel of Brooke Reyburn’s shoe turned sharply as she ran across the street. She went down on one knee just as the traffic light turned green. She had a confused sense of an automobile bearing down on her, the screech of brakes, of panting cars, of arms lifting her to the sidewalk.

“Hurt?” a voice demanded.

With Banners

To Love and to HonorShe was waiting at the Gift Shop for the films she had left to be developed when she became aware of the man standing beside her looking at bracelets… “Not that one,” she whispered. “It’s been here for ages.”

He turned. The clearest gray eyes she had ever seen keenly interrogated hers.

To Love and to Honor

 

high-of-heart-coverPeter Corey stood on the hilltop in a world transfused with enchantment by the magic glow of a late winter sunset. He thoughtfully regarded the mouth of the girl who faced him… It could be lovely, that mouth, but during the months of their engagement he had learned that its present tightness foreboded trouble. Something was coming. It came.

“I won’t play second fiddle to Constance Trent, Peter. Either you put her out of your life entirely or our engagement ends here and now,” Lydia Austen threatened.

High of Heart

For all your life paperbackThere was an outsize gold-and-crimson maple leaf of weatherproof metal attached to the trunk of a gigantic oak. Its tip pointed east. TO THE MOUNTAIN, it directed.

The girl at the wheel of the open cream-color convertible took the curve indicated at reckless speed. Since she had entered the wood road she had imagined she was being followed. Perhaps it wasn’t imagination. Perhaps she had heard the muffled sound of tires on a dirt road which stopped when she stopped to listen.

Makes you want to read one, doesn’t it?

Now that Emilie Loring novels are coming out as ebooks, new readers will get their chance to gather a first impression of Emilie Loring. I wonder if they, like I, will imagine her as a younger woman?

Romance and Adventure

 

 

 


16 thoughts on “First and Lasting Author Impressions

  1. So, I decided to pick up “I Hear Adventure Calling” after my last post. Between how my day is going and local weather is progressing, I just might hit that big storm that Fran gets caught in as it begins to pour here! We shall see.

    You ended up with bonus granddaughter time as a result of covid. That’s one of the few great gifts in all the strain on every one. Wonderful!

    Good luck on book progress.

    [I am happy to “like” your comments but it now wants me to log into WordPress to do so…I’ll look for an easy way to do it.]

    Happy Landings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a para from Fran getting caught in the storm when it started to pour here. I got to her crashing thunder, then not long after it did thunder here! Good timing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha!

        A beautiful morning after, here. Too bad I’m not ocean front! I did walk along the river trail today. Barges and tugs traveling the Mighty Mississippi are not quite as scenic as the ocean. We work with what we’ve got.😃

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the many memorable snippets. I fell in love with Emilie Loring’s writings as a teen, like many other fans. Her writing is so refreshing, optimistic and–yes, wholesome, which we could use more of today. I wish young girls were exposed to her writings. Yes, her fiction describes life as it was. [Historical fiction written today is often unbelievable b/c 21st century ideals are imputed into , eg, 18th century characters. But young people don’t know that.]

    For all the wholesomeness, I thought there were some rather exciting, racy, heart-beating scenes in her early novels in particular. Just the smoldering passion and attraction so well described by Emilie. Some examples come to mind:

    * When Tony Hamilton surprises Rose Graham on the balcony. My first EL novel. (Solitary Horseman)
    * When Jerry Glamorgan and Steve Courtlandt’s eyes meet over a piano, and they agree to marry. (Trail of Conflict)
    * Geoffrey Hilliard’s obsession with the base of Nancy Caswell’s throat. (Gay Courage)
    *Bill Jerrold’s fevered reaction to Nancy Barton’s red hair (Keepers of the Faith)
    *Greg Hunt reaching for key in new bride Gail’s robe (When Hearts are Light Again)

    The adventures are great as well. The character development is believable as is the progress of relationships and plot development (not just the romance, but the various characters and action of the story).

    She is just a terrific and important writer. She didn’t need to produce “bodice-rippers” to get devoted fans.

    Thank you for the reminders. I need to pick up a book and enjoy on the deck. We have nice dry warm, not super hot, weather so far this summer.

    it is neat to hear from new readers as well.

    Happy Landings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And “Credit that to the silent policeman.” She wrote those passages so artfully that, in those breathless moments, the line between reading and experiencing disappears. The feeling lingers into the following days… “I can’t! I think of it all the ti—“ She’s all the more effective for backing away rather quickly and escaping the moment with a flash of rebellion or a splash of humor. Is it any wonder we read them over and over again?

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      1. Yes! I forgot that “silent policeman”!

        Emilie Loring was a master of the principle “less is more.”

        She let the feeling/situation develop and simmer.

        Yes, there are many less skilled ways to tell the same stories, to describe scenes, character feelings and reactions.

        That is her gift as a writer. She is in a fairly small group of such writers, I think. That is, she writes in “plain English” and doesn’t spew gobbledy-gook to attempt to impress. She knows just the right word and the sense she wants to convey. Sometime it’s a “big” technical word; sometimes it’s the most mundane of words. That’s what good writing is all about.

        Enjoy the summer. I hope you can travel where you need and make progress on the book.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Peggy. I’ve gotten to watch my granddaughter grow to three months—completely adorable, of course 😊—and now it’s time to carefully return home and get to work.

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  3. So interesting to find this website and to see the comments from women who have been avid readers of Emilie Loring’s books for decades. I first read her books in the 1970s, and collected paperback copies in the late 1980s. I look forward to reading my favorites again, and to reading the biography when it comes out. Like so many other readers, I understood Emilie Loring to be a special person and a unique writer, especially because of the optimism, hope, beauty, the total absence of cynicism, the actual positive energy of the books. Yes, her books are dated by what could be construed as racism, but I never felt that the author was racist. On the contrary, she was realistically portraying life as it was in her time, with good will towards all the characters (except perhaps the villains). As a writer who was born in the same decade as Grace Livingston Hill, and one who has been compared to GLH, she stands out as someone who was so very much less judgemental in regards to religion. GLH has a much bigger fan base, but Emilie Loring is such a brilliant jewel of a writer. I’m a reader who even loved the later, ghost-written books. For the purist fans of Loring, I understand why they don’t measure up, but some of them are still memorable. “A Key to Many Doors” has always been one of my favorite Loring titles. Even “My Dearest Love” is a great story, in spite of the idiotic kid-knapping episode. The ghost writer may not have been as talented as we could wish, but she wasn’t without talent. Not Emilie Loring, but she gave us stories to remind us of a great talent. Very possibly, one of the reasons why Emilie Loring’s books have not been re-published on a wider scale in the last 30 years is that they aren’t religious enough to go into a Christian category, and they’re old-fashioned in the best sense. Optimistic, patriotic, no sex scenes, stories about good people.

    Best wishes to Patti in getting her book published.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Illiana. I agree with you about the good will Emilie Loring had toward all, and I wish I had written these: “… the total absence of cynicism, the actual positive energy of the books… Emilie Loring is such a brilliant jewel of a writer.” Well put, Illiana! Let me know when you’re ready to write a guest post for us.

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  4. Because of the pandemic, a summer visit to Maine is off the calendar this year–but reading “Give Me One Summer” is almost as refreshing! Like other Emilie Loring books set in Maine (or Cape Cod, “Fair Tomorrow”), her descriptions of the rocky coast and fragrant spruce trees are vivid and colorful and appeal to all the senses.
    I’m enjoying your blog–I just signed on. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Beverly! I’ve been holding out hope that I could make it to Maine in September, even though signs are not positive for that. I long for the sights, sounds, and smells that we all know so well from reading Emilie’s books. Your comment suggests my next post, though–a virtual trip to Maine, for all of us who wish we could go.

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  5. I love how the snippets you share remind me of why I have loved Emilie Loring books through the years. How are you coming on her biography? Is this the year you’re getting your marketing strategy ready? Make sure you let me know so I can order one. Thanks for everything.

    On Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 6:37 PM The Emilie Loring Collection wrote:

    > Patti Bender posted: “When you pick up a book in the bookstore–or browse > one online–how long does it take for you to get an impression and decide > to read further or move on? Authors build stable careers by creating a > reliable experience and delivering it, time and time agai” > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on *The Emilie Loring Collection* > First and Lasting > Author Impressions > by > Patti Bender > > When you pick up a book in the bookstore–or browse one online–how long > does it take for you to get an impression and decide to read further or > move on? > > [image: Version 2]Authors build stable careers by creating a reliable > experience and delivering it, time and time again. > > But it all begins with a first impression. > > [image: New books and magazines]These days, a publicist begins a year or > more in advance to create a new author’s image and determine a consistent > “brand.” > > “Think of an author brand as a bundle of perceptions and expectations that > form in readers’ minds over time. A brand is a promise; it’s what readers > expect from an author.” *Publishers Weekly* > > Even before the first book hits the stands, social media and personal > appearances develop an author’s audience, ready to snatch up the first book > and make it an instant best-seller. Five thousand copies sold *before* > publication ensure that it will take center stage when it debuts. > > That wasn’t the way of it when Emilie started her career. When her first > novel was published, this two-inch ad appeared in the *New York Times*, *Boston > Herald*, and nationwide. > [image: 1922 Trail of Conflict ad by Penn] > > First advertisement, 1922 > > That’s it. Just a simple ad. > > People read the newspapers page by page then, and when they saw a book > that looked good, they went to the bookstore and bought it–or they checked > it out of the library. > > If it wasn’t an ad that caught their attention, sometimes it was a book > review. > > [image: The Book Page, Fresno Republican] > > > > “[*The Trail of Conflict*] in itself is an unusual type of East and West > story and is a human, searching study of *character *development under > change of environment, seasoned with *action* and told in a forceful, *stirring > style*.” *Barnstable Patriot*, Barnstable, MA > > “The book is well written throughout, and the interest is held with *masterly > skill*.” *Daily Times*, Davenport IA > > *The Trail of Conflict* … is a novel of much interest and *intensely > modern* in the way it tells the reader how love manages the true road of > a dreadful situation.” *Fresno Morning Republican*, Fresno, CA > > “After reading Emilie Loring’s *The Trail of Conflict*, one is certain > that it is *destined to rank high* among the list of stories dealing with > love and life in the ranch country of the far Rockies….. Once having > begun reading the story of Geraldine and Stephen, particularly if the start > be made after the evening dinner, the safest thing to do is to pause a > moment, set the family alarm clock at “repeat” for the customary rising > hour, and prepare for hours and hours of delight. *The Trail of Conflict* > is one of the sort of books that *grips one at the beginning and never > lets go* until the last page.” *Democrat & Chronicle*, Rochester, NY > > > > By spring, 1923, *The Trail of Conflict* appeared on bookshelves

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lorraine. The book is written! The only thing on my end holding me up is distance from my notebooks, so I can finish up the reference citations and a little information in the appendices. On the publishing end, as you can well imagine, offices have been closed and limited work on new projects is being taken up. I’ll be home soon, and when those references are finished, I’ll see what my next options are. It may be different from what I planned, but it will get into print and under cover!

      Like

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