Saturday, August 18, 2012

Interview with Maria




First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to your blog!  And what a lovely blog it is!  It’s very well designed, and your articles are very interesting.  Last but not least, I really like the fact that you have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere on the blog.  I’m very happy to be here!

Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Maria:  I have very eclectic tastes, both in fiction and nonfiction. 

My favorite fiction genres include fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, classics, literary fiction, urban fantasy, Christian fiction, historical romance, and contemporary romance.  I totally dislike the horror genre (a Stephen King fan I’m definitely not!), and the only mysteries I enjoy are the ones featuring Sherlock Holmes.  I also dislike erotica, and am totally appalled by the current furor over Fifty Shades of Grey!  Disgusting!

My favorite nonfiction genres include psychology, theology, philosophy, art criticism, poetry, and literary criticism.  I don’t review much nonfiction on my blog, though, because I don’t think blog readers are as interested in nonfiction as they are in fiction.  I do review such books, just not that often.    I’ve tried reviewing nonfiction books on a separate nonfiction blog, but really don’t have the time for a second blog, so I’m giving it up.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Maria:  Sadly, not that many.  My reading time is pretty limited because I have two jobs…. I wish I could drop at least my night job, but I do need the money.  Now that I have my blog, I have even less time to read, paradoxically enough!   I do try to get in as much reading as I can, though, so I guess I’ll have to say anywhere from 30 to 40 books a year, which isn’t much, I know…

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Maria:  My most recent read was a paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel, titled Midnight Reckoning, written by Kendra Leigh Castle, a new paranormal author.  It tells the story of a vampire, named Jaden Harrison, who falls in love with a werewolf named Lyra Black.  Theirs is a forbidden love, because vampires and werewolves normally don’t mix.  It’s a very sweet, romantic story, too.  Jaden is a wonderfully tender man, and both he and Lyra are also very idealistic.  For her part, Lyra is a very spirited woman, but is also very devoted to Jaden.  This is not a horror novel, in spite of the type of characters involved.  Paranormal romance is actually a great genre to read, although some authors do get a little carried away with the foul language and the very graphic sex scenes.  I do my best to stay away from those, of course.  This particular novel has some foul language, but not to the point where I’d have stopped reading it.  The love scenes were beautiful and not that graphic.  This was just a very powerful, wonderful love story!  I really enjoyed it! 

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Maria:  I have two pet peeves in this area.  

First, I hate reading a poorly-edited book.  Unfortunately, indie authors are notorious for this.  If I were to write a book, I’d make very, very sure it was properly edited.  I hate reading a book and getting involved in the story, only to be constantly taken out of it by grammatical errors and poor syntax.  This just ruins the reading experience for me!

Second, I hate it when authors kill off a major character, especially when they do it because it’s the easiest way for them to solve a problem created by their plot.  I was so disappointed when a young adult writer did this in a book I was reading not that long ago.  I won’t name the author, but I will say that the problem the author ‘solved’ was a love triangle in the plot.  This writer killed off one of the members of the love triangle.  That totally spoiled the book for me!

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Maria:  Oh, my gosh!!  I don’t think I can limit myself to just five.  Well, I would have to mention Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charlotte Bronte, Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Hermann Hesse, Charles de Lint, Thomas Hardy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Lauren Kate, Mary Balogh, Andrea Cremer, Lewis Carroll, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and Lisa Bergren.  And this is just for starters!! 


Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Maria:  I’m so glad you asked this!  Now I can tell your readers just how much I hate them!!  Lol.  I refuse to read them.  I also refuse to buy either a Kindle or a Nook!  Yes, I know all the arguments about convenience, and my printed books are indeed threatening to run over the house.  I still prefer them!!  I love to turn pages.  I love to feel the covers, and hold the books in my hands.  So, no ebooks for me!  In case someone should point out that I do read blog posts, I’ll answer that I don’t mind that at all.  But reading an entire book on a machine is a totally different matter.

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Maria:   The most important message I would give them, in light of my previous answer, is this: “If you must publish your books in digital format, please make them available in printed format, as well.  Book lovers that detest ebooks (like me!) will really appreciate it if you have printed copies of your works available, as well!”

Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Maria:  Oh, definitely!  I’ve actually written some fan fiction, which you can view on my blog.  I did start a fantasy novel some time ago, but sort of lost steam after the first chapter.  I’d like to continue with it, but something stops me.  That something is the possibility of having to go through tons of rejection letters from prospective publishers.   But I guess I should take inspiration from Stephenie Meyer.  After all, her first novel, Twilight, was rejected by several publishers.  I’ll bet they’ve been pulling out their hair ever since Steph hit it big!!  Ha, ha!!  So I’ll go back to this first chapter, and go on from there.  Hopefully, I’ll make publishers pull out their hair, too, after my book starts selling big!  Lol.

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Maria:  Well, I was an art major in college, although I haven’t done much with that.  Again, fear of rejection… I haven’t done any artwork in a very long time.  On the other hand, my love for art is very visible on my blog, which I have designed myself.  The template and background are the work of Josh Peterson and “merrymoonmary”, who are Blogger designers, but I’ve customized their designs, thus making my blog unique. 

As you know from my answer to the previous question, I enjoy writing.  I’ve written some poetry, too, by the way. 

Other talents…well, I love photography, but would only do it if I had access to a darkroom, so I could print my own pictures.  I don’t, unfortunately…I had a couple of photography classes in college, and enjoyed them immensely!

When I get around to learning PhotoShop, I’ll be able to create digital art.  I’d love to combine it with the use of traditional media, such as painting and drawing.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Maria:  I guess I would have to say in my husband’s special recliner, which he needs because he has a bad back.  I use it when he goes into the bedroom to rest out his back.  I wish I had a cozy little corner, but there are none in our apartment.

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Maria:  Actually, no.  I can’t read and eat at the same time.  I am unable to concentrate on the book if I do that.  When I read, I want to get so immersed in the book, that I’ll forget everything around me!

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Maria:  I don’t think I have room here to mention them all!  The thing is, there are two kinds of crying: “sad crying”, and “happy crying”.

One book that made me cry sad tears was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I loved the book, though!  I couldn’t get through The Diary of Anne Frank because every other page made me cry.  Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities also comes to mind, as does Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Crime and Punishment..  I couldn’t finish book six of the Harry Potter series because of the death of a beloved major character…in fact, I haven’t been able to go back and finish the book, and this was more than a year ago!  I haven’t read the last book, either. 

As for happy tears, the first ones that come to mind are the books of The Twilight Saga.  I love, love, love, love these books!!  Two others that come to mind are Sunshine and Shadow, by Sharon and Tom Curtis (husband and wife), and Night Magic, by Charlotte Vale Allen.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Maria:  Hmmm….I’m sure there must be several, but I can’t think of any at the moment…I’ve heard that Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious (as are all of his books), but I’ve never read it.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Maria:  Oh, I have so many!!  Of course, I intend to keep reading my favorite genres.  As for actual titles, here are some: Rapture, by Lauren Kate, Dark Kiss, by Michelle Rowen, Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury, the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare, 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, by Gershom Scholem, Passions of the Mind, by A.S. Byatt, Possession, also by Byatt, Time, Space, and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality, by Tarthang Tulku, and The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Vladimir Lossky. 

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Maria:  I would simply like to say that books are the world’s greatest treasures – printed books especially.  I would encourage all readers to make every effort possible to make sure they never become obsolete! 

Deirdra, thank you so much for interviewing me!  I’ve greatly enjoyed answering your questions, and hope that you and your readers will also enjoy reading my answers!  Happy Reading To All!!!!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Interview with Dana Burgess


Interview with Dana Burgess

Hi Everyone! I'm a forty-something stay-at-home mom who has just about run out of people to stay home for. My four kids range in age from 17 to 25. My amazing husband says we have the ugliest dog in existence (but she is also the sweetest so we overlook that). No grandbabies yet but I do have two grand-puppies to love and spoil. To say I love to read might be an understatement. I also enjoy cooking, quilting, camping and hiking. What else would you like to know? Just ask - I'm an open book ;o).

Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Dana: It seems like I binge on books the way some people binge on food. For weeks all I read will be mysteries, then suddenly, I want to read historical fiction, then biographies. The easier question would be which type of books do I really not like to read – the answer would be erotica and science fiction.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Dana: I read at least two books a week so in a year, I guess that would be about 104 more or less.

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Dana: The last book I read was “Darkroom” by Joshua Graham. The cover quote sums it up pretty well: “…a fascinating, fast paced … story of love and war, murder, terrorism, and a dark conspiracy”. I’ll be posting a review of it on my blog on June 22.

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Dana: Not hiring a professional editor! If you are going to put all that time, energy and emotion into writing a book, please hire an editor before you decide to publish!

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Dana: Very tough question! I guess I’ll say – Lisa Genova (I devour anything she writes); Kate Morton; Paul Coelho; Tatiana de Rosnay and Phillippa Gregory.

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Put your name here: I am a serious holdout. I do not like e-books! I did try but it just isn’t the same as curling up with a paperback. Not my thing.

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Dana: I have so much respect for all authors. To put so much into a project and then send it out to be loved or hated by the general population takes so much courage. I don’t think most people really understand how much work goes into writing a book.

Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Dana: I have thought about it. Unfortunately I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to work. I just don’t have the dedication to pull it off. If I can’t finish it in a couple of months, I’m out.

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Dana: I love to quilt. It satisfies my creative instincts.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Dana: Definitely the tub. No one can disturb me and I can read to my heart’s content. This may also play into my dislike of e-books. They are not exactly water friendly. At least paper dries out after it gets dropped in the tub.

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Dana: If a book doesn’t engross me enough that I forget to eat, I generally quit reading.

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Dana: Sophie’s Choice for sure. The first book that ever made me cry, believe it or not, was Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”. I still think theirs is the most romantic love story in history.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Dana: “Skipping Christmas’ by John Grisham for sure – much better than the movie! “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett is another.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Dana: I have been waiting for a break to read Ruta Sepetys’ “between shades of Grey”. Not to be confused with “Shades of Grey” which is NOT on my reading list at all. “between shades of grey” is set in Lithuania in 1941 and tells the story of a young girl trying to contact her father after they have been sent to separate prison camps in Siberia.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Dana: It amazes me how friendly and kind everyone is. I had no idea that authors, for the most  part, were such down to earth people. I’m still in awe when I get an e-mail from an author about something I’ve written on my blog, or to ask for a review. Thanks for accepting me! And everyone is welcome to drop by and say ‘hi’ at my blog, Lets Book It – http://letsbookit.blogspot.com.



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Interview with Linda Wright




I am an avid reader and enjoy reading all kinds of books. I decided to start a blog so I could keep track of the books I have read with a rating and review, share my love of books with others and get some feedback.

My favorite genres are fantasy, chick-lit, historical fiction, suspense, horror, science fiction, romance, and I guess pretty much anything. My favorite book is “Outlander” by Diana Garbaldon.  I also love “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell.  My favorite series is “The Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan, although I also enjoyed reading Stephen King's “The Dark Tower” series as well as some of his other earlier work, Charlaine Harris' “The Sooke Stackhouse Southern Vampire” series and J.D. Robb's “In Death” series. Plus many, many others like Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, Anne Bishop, Tad Williams and Garth Nix.

I started reading when I was a child and I devoured all the books in “Anne of Green Gables”, the “Narnia” series as well as “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. To me the books were an escape into wonderful and exciting worlds. I shared these worlds with my children when they were little by reading these books to them.

In the fall I am going to start an online book club, called “Discover the Treasure”.  The focus is going to be on uplifting books. I am interested to hear from anyone who knows of any good uplifting books we can add onto our reading list.

Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com: My favorite genre is fantasy, but I love all kinds of books.  I really enjoy reading a good story that includes interesting characters, an exciting and unusual plot and a great ending. Books that end in a cliff-hanger are my least favorite, especially when the next installment isn’t due for several months or years.  I find it really hard to wait to find out what is going to happen next.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I usually read about 10 books a month, so about 120 a year.

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I just finished reading George Orwell’s “1984”.  It is a classic science fiction novel.  At times I thought the writing was genius, but I did not agree with Mr. Orwell’s view of humanity.  Currently, I am reading Margret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake”.  This is a dystopia novel and I am really enjoying the story.  The subject matter is really thought-provoking.

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  For me, the most disappointing thing is when a writer takes the easy way out. Some examples of this include: plot holes, disjointed transitions, a transparent plot, or an unsatisfying or cheap ending. I also find poor grammar distracting.  I recommend all new authors make sure their books are properly edited before they release them.

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  Robert Jordan, Jane Austen, Diana Garbaldon, Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I love reading books on my e-reader because I find it so convenient. I can carry any number of books on a fairly small device.  I also really enjoy listening to audio books.  That way I can get my read on, while I drive, exercise or do housework.

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I would say: Thank you!! I really appreciate all the hard-work and effort that goes into creating a piece of literature.


Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  No, I have never considered writing a book, but I have decided to take a class on creative writing in the fall. I want to have a better understanding of the whole writing process. 

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I love movies, gardening, cooking, animals and my family.  I also have my black belt in mixed martial arts.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com: On a rainy day, I love to sit in a comfortable chair in front of the fire, with my feet propped up while I sip a cup of coffee and read a great book.

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I usually read while I eat my breakfast and I usually have tea and peanut butter toast for breakfast, so that would qualify as my favorite.

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  Sophie Kinsella can usually make me shed a tear or two.  I also cried while reading “Cutting For Stone”, but on the whole I am not a big crier.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I usually laugh out loud while reading Sophie Kinsella books, particularly the Shopaholic books.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  I have several new authors who have asked me to read and review their novels. I am also looking forward to the final installment in the “Wheel of Time” and I plan to read “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Linda@Books-treasureortrash.com:  Thank you for putting your heart and soul into creating more literature for the world to enjoy. Please stop by http://books-treasureortrash.com and drop me a note, I would love to hear from you.