Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

A thank you note to Ms. Rowling



Dear Ms. Rowling,

Every once in a while there’s a person who elevates your whole profession. Jerry Jenkins did that for Christian Fiction. You, Ms. Rowling, did that for the entire fiction industry. On the 20th birthday of your Harry Potter series, it seemed fitting to thank you. Though I will never even approach your level of genius, I slog away within the little box of my genre. You, Ms. Rowling, wrote your fantastical series without regard for labels or genres. Perhaps that is why yours is the only book series I’ve ever encountered that enchants kids and their parents. Your series put the match to the reading flame again, reminding folks that an exceptional book can cross lines of age, race, geography, etc. And to think, Ms. Rowling, you produced your first Harry Potter novels without the obligatory Facebook following, Instagram horde, or even a You Tube channel. You unleashed your book on the world without so much as a hint of the crucial writer’s platform. You transported us with your words, your worlds and sent both old and new readers scrambling to pull up a chair and tuck into your stories. Thank you for changing the world of fiction, Ms. Rowling. We owe you a debt of gratitude.


Dana Mentink

P.S. Blog readers, why do you think Ms. Rowling’s books captured the world’s attention?

Are you Harry Potter? Juliet? Find out here.


Harry Potter, I have been. And Juliet, too, though with much more practicality than our fair Capulet. How about you? Have you ever been so involved in a story that you imagined yourself as the hero? Or maybe you’ve just had one of those days where you’d love to step into life of your  favorite fictional hero.  Below are some reasons why I have been Harry Potter.

1. He’s a geek. Really. No one would pick him for the school rugby team (though his Quidditch skills are awesome). He’s not an intimidating physical specimen and his strength is a mental one. Go Harry! Carry the banner for all the pale, scrawny, types out there.

2.  Harry means well. He really does. He wants to defeat evil, support his friends and represent Hogwarts to the best of his ability. The trouble is, it’s sometimes really HARD to know the right path to take. One way and you’re helping your friends. Another, it’s the whomping willow.

So what fictional character can you relate to? Here’s a fun idea. Hop onto this website and find out which literary character you are most like. Would LOVE to hear about your findings! Giving away an Amazon card and a signed book this month!

Villians, why we have to love them (a little.)

Who’s your favorite villain? No really. Readers love their villains and not purely for their evil genius. The best villains have a teensy shadow of something that makes us not completely hate them. The bad guy, after all, does not see himself as a villain. He (or she) is a guy or gal who wants something in opposition to the hero. J.K. Rowling’s Snape, for example, was mistreated by Harry’s father and scorned by Harry’s mother, yet he sacrificed himself for a boy he could not stand. Surely, he’s got some silver lining under his dark cloud with that kind of behavior. Snape is the perfect villain, complex, not all bad, or all good, and that makes him memorable. Bad guys who are too bad run the risk of being caricatures, instead of fully fleshed three-dimensional types. They are the villains edified in the older Bond movies for example, which are parodied so cleverly in movies like Austin Powers.

So which movie/book villians stick in your mind and why? All posts get you entered in the September drawing for an Amazon gift card.

Here’s a link to some famous sympathetic literary villains. villian

Hogwarts without Harry? Oz without Dorothy? The power of settings.

Settings! They can be as rich and faceted as the characters themselves, no? I find myself drawn to stories set in interesting locations. Recently, The Life of Pi swept me away to a mysterious carnivorous island. I’ve also been transfixed by Middle Earth, Oz, Narnia and that remote research base in the Arctic featured in the book whose title I cannot recall at the moment. My reading tastes tend towards the incredible rather than the typical. Setting cannot stand on its own, however, as every serious reader and writer knows. Compelling settings by themselves only yield impressive travelogues without that one of kind protagonist to struggle on through his/her world. Hogwarts must have its Harry, Oz must have little Dorothy. Don’t you agree?

What fictional settings have fascinated you over the years? Comments get you entered in the April drawing for an iTunes card.

Here’s a link to a helpful article with some good advice on how to create a spiffy setting.

Books, growing

Where do you like your fiction to take you? The power of a killer setting…

Snow, footprintsBilbo has his Bag’s End. Harry has his Hogwarts. Dorothy has her Oz. It’s hard to resist an amazing fictional setting isn’t it? Or is it? Personally, I’m a sucker for an unusual setting. Remote base in the Antarctic? I’m there. Canadian wilderness? You bet. Hollywood? The weirdest setting of them all, no doubt. Some readers could care less about an exotic setting. A juicy plot, some multi dimensional characters and compelling dialogue will do nicely thank you.

The books I’m currently writing take place in the Peten jungle of Guatemala, a remote island in the Samoan archipelago and an Amish turkey farm. (Not all in the same book, mind you.) So you can see that I’m pretty setting driven. How about you? When you read or write, is setting very important to you? What book settings have stuck in your mind?

All comments get you entered in the December drawing for an iTunes card and signed book.

Tolkien and Rowling’s shared burden

After The Lord of the Rings was released, Tolkien felt the dark side of fame. Fans were causing problems. They came in droves to stare at his home. Readers would call his house (not realizing they were in a different time zone) at all hours and demand to know if Frodo had succeeded or failed in his quest or any number of questions about the world he had created. He was forced to move to Bournemouth and unlist his number.

I imagine that anyone regarded as a “star” these days has the same problem. Movie stars, however, like Hugh Jackman and Natalie Portman expect this kind of attention. Authors,generally, are quite happy to be behind the scenes people. In her interview with Polly Dunbar, Rowling said, ” You don’t expect the kind  of  problems that [fame] brings with it,” she says. “I felt that I  had to solve everyone’s problems. I was hit by this tsunami of demands.” Ultimately, the super private Rowling sought therapy to deal with the horrors of stardom.

So what do you think about fame? Does creating a project for the public mean accepting the fame that comes with it, wanted or not? If you could choose to be a movie star or a bestselling author, which would you pick? Comments get you entered in the December drawing for an iTunes gift card and signed book.

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Fave book to movie?

Here in the Mentink den, we bears enjoy a good flick now and then. Some of our faves are those movies that came from great books. Recently, I’ve been surveying folks about The Help and the consensus seems to be this is one of those great films that does justice to the book that inspired it. It put me in the mood to survey the bears about their favorite book to movie extravaganza. The results are below.

Papa Bear’s fave–Lord of the Rings

Yogi’s fave – Lord of the Rings

Boo Boo’s fave – Harry Potter

Mama Bear’s fave – The Wizard of Oz

What’s YOUR favorite book based movie? Post a comment and you’re entered to win the August drawing for an iTunes gift card and a signed book.