Reader Interview Number Eleven – Mia

Welcome to Mia Darien.

Where are you from?  United States

On average how many books do you read in a month? Oh, that’s too variable. Some months I don’t read any, while other months I read eight or ten.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Books are particularly important to me because I’m also a writer, and it’s the life blood of creativity to keep reading, but I’ve always been a reader.  I started before I went into kindergarten and I have yet to stop. It brings such colorful characters and worlds into my life, is immersive escapism. Just brings entertainment and enlightenment.

What genres do you prefer and why?  Oh, I read almost anything. I don’t think I can name a favorite! If something looks good or catches me in any way, I grab it and read it. I do love epic fantasy, got that early on. Hard to say why, precisely. It just grabs me. I also enjoy stories where large animals eat people…like Jurassic Park or the Meg series by Steve Alten.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? From the traditional publishing world, my favorite author is Joe Abercrombie. His First Law world and series is epic fantasy at its darkest, grittiest best, with morally gray characters and surprising turns. From the self-publishing world, my favorite author is Diantha Jones. Her Oracle of Delphi series has so many elements that I love: a feisty heroine, a tortured alpha male hero, immersion in Greek mythology and some fun twists on it, romance and heroism and action and adventure.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Ultimately, print books always hold a special place for me, but I like ebooks and audiobooks as well. Not sure I have an actual preference. Whatever suits the story and my mood at the time!

How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know?  All of these. Sometimes just browsing through publishing websites, and reading the works of authors I happen to know, or browsing a book store outside the computer.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? I do sometimes read reviews. Just to see what they’re pointing out, what I think I may or may not like. Picking books is instinctual for me. Something either grabs me or it doesn’t. Usually I don’t follow reviews too much, because reading is so subjective, but actually, if a book has ALL five star reviews, I won’t read it. It might well have earned them on its own, but when there is not a single negative review out of more than a dozen? It won’t feel as earnest. You can’t please all the people all the time. I might be jaded, but it’s just how it feels. And I’ve been burnt before by books that other people raved about but drove me nutty.

What is the most important aspect in a book for you? Plot? Characterisation? Well written etc?  All of the above? Character is important. If I get a ways in and just don’t care about the main character/s? I’ll stop reading. I have to give a damn. Plot is a close second, though, because I have to be engaged. Being well written (to me) usually will mean those first two things, being able to convey that. I can overlook some difficulties in the technical structure of the prose if the story is good and the characters are engaging.

What aspects turn you off from a book? Are there things you avoid? I don’t like the cavalier use of sexual violence against women. I’ve read some books where it was not treated in what I thought was a realistic way, just put in there for the “shock” factor, and that bothers me. I’ll stop reading because of that. The same for other shock tactics that seem to have no real purpose. I don’t mind gore, violence, or gruesomeness but there is a thin line between there being a place for it and it just being over the top to shock the reader. And if something like that does happen, the characters better damn well react and be affected by it. I hate it when they aren’t.

Oh, and bad things happening to kids is tough for me. Some post-apocalyptic stuff is too much for me in that kind of thing, even if it’s a good book in all other aspects.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Yes and no. I think they are not ever going to be what they were, but I don’t think they’re all dying. If you saw the Book Barn (when I lived in CT, this was the most incredible used bookstore in the state) or my local Barnes & Noble here in AL now on any given Saturday, it would say as much. I think print books will always be loved, and bibliophiles will always want a book store to walk through. There might end up being less, but there’ll always be some.

Here is Mia’s reviewer interview.

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