I recently discovered a seriously awesome blog inspired by Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of novels- Outlander Kitchen, in which fan (and chef) Theresa creates dishes inspired by the books she loves.
I can't even tell you how many ways I love this idea. The Outlander novels are full of fascinating details of life across numerous countries in the 18th century (and the 20th, for that matter), including vivid descriptions of the foods of the time. What's particularly engaging is that (like every other detail in Diana's books) the food is always intimately linked to the characters and their situations. That's what makes it stick in your mind- and that's exactly what Outlander Kitchen harnesses.
Go have a look- the blogger starts each post with a snippet from the books where the food is mentioned, then follows it up with fascinating research, anecdotes about the background to the food or the hunt to perfect it, and ultimately something concrete- a recipe, and gorgeous pictures that bring to life the foods we readers have wondered about for years.
And you know, I think this is the way of things for the future- value-adding for novels. Every day I see more and more authors popping up on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, where they can add a third dimension to the way they express their stories. Starting blogs that cover the mechanics of writing and the specifics of the story, but also spin fascinating tales about the stories behind the stories. Having linked Facebook pages to allow further interaction and even more different modes of expression.
I must say, I love it. I love what it brings to the experience of reading, to see the world of the stories through the author's eyes in a more visual way. And I think it does great things for an author's "brand" to be accessible in many different ways, and to show enthusiasm for the things about which they write. It strikes me as very savvy marketing to get into these platforms now that the internet is revolving around new ways in social media.
Several authors from this blog have additional places where you can experience more of their stories through their eyes, so for your interest, an incomplete list:
Kristen's website here contains plenty of fascinating detail about the gothic world of Firelight, Moonglow and Winterblaze, including an awesome webzine and romance trading cards.
Kristen is also pinning fabulous story details to Pinterest,
As is Rachel, here, sharing intriguing details of the 19th century Paris and Victorian London settings that are brought to life in Blood of the Heart.
And Susan, too, picking out the best of the Napa Valley, and the Vietnam era, from her novel Requiem for a Warrior.
I think I'll join Pinterest myself soon, but in the meantime I've been working on a new blog called The Road to War and Back to share the stories of WWI soldiers like Tom Lockyer and the Bleakley brothers, following real-life newspapers, records and photographs from the era of my novel Between the Lines to unravel the myriad experiences of Australians in the First World War. Stay tuned for new stories there in the next couple of weeks.
How about you? Are you using these new ways in social media to extend the way you share your story? And are you enjoying them as a reader? Any favourites you'd like to share?