How books can immerse you in the story

We asked the following question on our Facebook fan page recently: “This was on my mind this morning too. If you could ask your favorite author a question, what would you ask? Oh and who is your favorite author?” Among the responses were sentiments such as “who inspires you?”, “what drives you?” and “are you a mason?” The last response, I assume, is in reference to Dan Brown’s uncanny attention to detail and the specifics surrounding the concept of religious secrets being kept from the public at large in places such as the Vatican.

The conversation got me thinking that about novels like Dan Brown’s that are either very period specific, or category specific. Dan Brown must have done an enormous amount of research for his 2 most famous books The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. It is no secret that Dan Brown put in a whole year’s worth of research before sitting down to pen The Da Vinci Code.

Your typical quick-read novel, while set in a particular time or place, doesn’t immerse you in the history of that time or place beyond the name, generic characteristics and weather, and a vague location. For example, Clearwater Journals is set in Clearwater, Florida and author Al Rennie does go into detail about the characteristics of the area. However, you don’t get into as much detail about its history or even that fun fact of Clearwater being the seat for the Scientology Headquarters. When you encounter a novel such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, you tend to think of it as one of the best reads you have ever come across – especially if you tend to have an interest in history or religion (as I do).

I wouldn’t exactly call Dan Brown’s books historical novels, nor would I term them semi-fiction, but I think they blur the lines enough to give you a taste for the sub-genre. I have tended to like historical fiction, even before meeting the illustrious Dan Brown and his parade of nail biting novels. My first memorable historical fiction novel was The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I was intrigued that the story itself was fiction but that it was fictionalized around people and circumstances that were very real. Since then, I’ve read a few other historical fiction novels, and I am drawn to the kind of story that sinks you deep into the facts but told with a wholly fictional slant.

SciFi and Fantasy novels are all about the setting too just as much as the people. A book like Time Rep immerses you in a fictional world where time travel for pleasure is the norm. It doesn’t need to go into any detail about a particular place or time because the story about time travel for pleasure is enough fantasy immersion to keep you interested.

In fact, just about any sub-genre has the potential to immerse you into the story so fully that you never want to leave, you want to know what happens to your favourite (and not so favourite) characters after the story has ended and you want to know that there is more to the story than these few hundred pages.

Join us here or on our Facebook Fan Page, and tell us a little more about the kinds of books that capture your attention and draw you in.