Forthcoming Features and Poll

I am looking to give the Library of Erana a bit of an overhaul in 2018. What would you, my followers want to see more of here?

Reader Interview – Melanie Fraser

Welcome to Melanie Fraser

Where are you from? Born in South Africa but have lived in the UK since the age of 10.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m an Actress (and former singer and dancer) and performed in theatre, TV and film for several decades. I started my professional training aged 5 in Cape Town before moving to England. I have a  recording studio in a peaceful part of the Isle of Wight where I record voice-overs and narrate and produce audiobooks.

 I have two pet rabbits and also enjoy jazz music and reading – mostly historical espionage and crime thrillers.

On average how many books do you read in a month? Oh, usually one and a bit as I read fiction and non-fiction although I don’t get much time to read so it takes a while to complete a book.

Where is your favourite place to read? At night at bedtime!

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? My favourite genre is espionage (love the mystery and intrigue)

Other favourites are historical fiction and non-fiction (one learns so much about the world’s past events – if only history lessons had been so interesting)

Crime/thrillers I enjoy too as I like to guess whodunnit and enjoy the suspense.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Those with non-fiction elements are the most important. Reading is my special treat at the end of the day.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? I have many favourite books and authors – too many to mention here. However, the following are some of them:

 Rachel’s Shoe by Peter Lihou
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6…
Rachel’s mother’s ingenuity in protecting her daughter and Rachel’s admirable strength of character in dodging her former captors had me hooked.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/960
The graphic detail of the killer’s methods and the pursuit of the Illuminati were compelling.

Birth of An Assassin by Rik Stone
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1…
Great atmosphere and descriptions of the terrain as a backdrop to Jez’s dangerous challenges – one of the best books I’ve found so far.

I also love the styles of authors, Simon Sebag Montefiore and BenMacintyre.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I prefer hard copy as I like the feel of a book. However, e-books are convenient for downloading and as one can increase the font size, that helps too.

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? I browse bookshops and charity shops as well as finding them on Amazon and Goodreads – the latter through information in groups. Once I find an author whose style I really like, I follow their upcoming books. Recently though, I found Ted Allbeury’s “The Twentieth Day of January” after hearing about it on BBC Radio 4 and loved it.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? The blurb will attract me if it is a subject that intrigues me. Then the first page has to capture my interest for me to continue to read it. The cover isn’t vital but it helps if it is suitable for the story.

What makes me turn away is if there are glaring grammatical and editing errors – I feel this is insulting to the reader and shows sloppiness and a lack of professionalism. If the book doesn’t capture my interest on the first page – as mentioned above – or the writing is clumsy, I move on.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? Yes I do read reviews but usually after reading a book as I prefer not to be influenced by anyone.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” No. Often a cover can be ghastly but the writing is superb and vice versa. The writing is much more important to me.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? Short sentences, good grammar and spelling and excellent research are vital as well as the plot and believable characters. I like a good pace to the book. Too much description hinders pace and can be monotonous which would definitely put me off.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?No, I don’t think so.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? I think it’s fine for other people’s books but I don’t think authors should give ratings or reviews for their own books – that’s bizarre.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be? I’d say the three I listed above! Although I’m currently reading a wonderful book which meets all the criteria I mentioned above called “Beneath Sunless Waves” by Stephen Makk so If I could squeeze in another one, that would be great!

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Hopefully not. I’m sure there will always be a need for actual books for us in venues.

 

Reader Interview – Victoria Zigler #Reading #interviews

I don’t often do reader interviews these days, but it’s great to be offering this. As an author readers are vitally important – they are our customers, our critics and our audience.  Many authors are avid readers, but of course, not all readers are authors.

Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Victoria Zigler (or Tori, if you prefer).

Where are you from? I’m originally from South-West Wales, UK, and was born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains… Well, other than a short time in my teens when I lived on the South-East coast of England, and again later in my teens when I lived in Canada for six months.  But these days I live on the South-East coast of England, UK… Yes, the same part of it where I lived in my teens.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a bookaholic.  Seriously! I’ve loved to read since I learned how, and been writing almost as long.  If I’m not either reading or writing, chances are I’m either spending time with my hubby and pets, dabbling in one of the other activities that sometimes manage to capture my attention for a while, such as watching movies, listening to music, playing roleplaying games (like Dungeons & Dragons, and that kind of thing) or doing crafts.  Either that or it’s because I’m sorting emails, putting in an appearance on social media sites, pretending to work while really playing Scrabble or Solitaire on my computer, or it’s because I still haven’t managed to get a house elf and am therefore forced to worry about things like housework and household errands.

Oh, yeah, I’m also completely blind, having lost my sight to Congenital Glaucoma.

On average how many books do you read in a month? Judging by the 317 book total for 2016, I read on average something like 26 books a month.  Of course, that varies, since some years I read more than the 317, other years I read less.  Basically, it depends on how long the books I’m reading at the time are, and what else is going on in my life that may cut in to my reading time.

Where is your favourite place to read? I’ll happily read anywhere, but most of my reading is done in my bedroom, which is where my stereo is, and where my Kindle spends most of its time.

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? My favourite genre is fantasy, because anything can happen in it, and I enjoy the experience of being carried off to magical lands.  I’ll read almost anything though, regardless of genre or age range.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a children’s book or an adult book, or if it’s a fairy tale or a historical romance.  As long as it’s not Christian fiction, chances are I’ll give it a go.  I tend to be more concerned with whether the story appeals to me, rather than what genre it falls under.  Like I said though, the exception is Christian fiction.  That’s the only genre I completely steer away from.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Reading offers me an escape from reality when I don’t want to face it.  It also allows me to see the world in a way I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.  Not to mention, reading is one of the few areas where I’m not at a disadvantage from others due to my lack of sight; reading is one of the few activities where being blind doesn’t change the amount of information I absorb from the experience compared to a sighted person.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? To be honest, I have several favourite authors and books, and we’d be here all day if I listed them all in this interview.  Besides, my favourites depend on my mood to some extent.  Although, having said that, I fell in love with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “A Little Princess” when I first read it as a child of maybe ten or so, and have adored the book ever since.  I don’t know what it is about the book, but it’s always my go to book when someone says I absolutely have to pick a favourite.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Most of my books are eBooks, because they’re cheaper than audiobooks, and easier to get hold of and store than Braille books.  Of course, with my lack of sight, reading a physical book is only possible if it’s in Braille, otherwise I’d be perfectly happy to read my books in any format.  I literally only stopped reading paperback and hardback books when I couldn’t see to do so any more.

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? Mostly it’s either from following authors I already know and love, or getting recommendations from friends or family members.  Other times it’s from someone randomly buying me a book they think I’ll like, from seeing a movie and learning it’s based on a book, or from being bored and typing random keywords into the search box of online bookstores or Goodreads.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? It’s usually the title that I pay attention to first.  Sighted people may judge a book based on the cover, I do so based on a title.  If the title gets my attention, I’ll check out the book blurb.  If the blurb makes it sound like something I might enjoy reading, I’ll give it a go.  At least, I will as long as the blurb isn’t filled with typos and things; I’m always reluctant to read a book if the author can’t even make sure there are no editing issues in their blurb.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? I pay attention to reviews of family and friends on Goodreads, because I like to know what my family and friends have been reading.  When it comes to choosing a book to read though, I only sometimes glance through reviews, especially if they’re by people I know, but only usually if the book has already captured my attention, and I’m already thinking of reading it anyway.  Bad reviews don’t generally stop me buying a book, unless the bad reviews are because of poor editing, in which case I’ll think twice about reading something, and be reluctant to do so.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? All those things are important, and it depends on the book in question to which matters most to me when I’m reading it.  Things that turn me off though are poorly edited books, and excessive use of curse words in inappropriate situations.  When it comes to the editing, I can let some mistakes slip by, since I do appreciate that even the best editors can miss things, but when there’s a mistake every other word – or it feels like there is – it stops me enjoying the book.  When it comes to the curse words, it’s not that I’m prudish or anything, it’s just that some people seem to use curse words excessively, in situations where people wouldn’t normally swear, or just to save themselves the trouble of thinking of better replacement words.  There are also times when it feels like the curse words were only added to make up the word count.  While I can accept the use of curse words in some books… Especially during steamy scenes in books of an adult nature… Excessive and inappropriate use of them seriously irritates me, and the use of them at all in books aimed at middle grade readers or younger is entirely unacceptable to me.

If you are a reviewer why do you review? I write reviews to help other readers decide if an author’s book is worth reading, and to help out other authors looking for some attention for their books.  I admit some of my reviews are vague, and most of them are really short, but at least I do them.

If you’re wondering, I post my reviews on Goodreads, as well as in a monthly review round-up post I do on my blog, and sometimes post reviews on Smashwords too (the latter only being if I got the book via Smashwords, of course).  I’ve also done reviews on Amazon and Audible on request.

What factors are important in a review? This is a tough one.  If I enjoyed a book enough that I gave it the full five stars, I feel just a few words saying how awesome it was is enough (though I’ll expand on that if I’m dealing with a review request, or feel there’s something I want to specifically compliment).  If I gave it less, I feel it’s important to explain what stopped me giving it the full five stars.  Beyond that, I think it varies from book to book.  Although, it is often helpful to say something about the quality of the writing and world building, and the believability of the characters, I think.

Do you think it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review? No.  Reviews are about the books, not the author’s behaviour.

What are your views on paid for reviews? I don’t agree with them.  By all means give someone a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but I don’t think you should pay them to review your book.  I’ve never been paid for a review, and never expected to be.  I mean, I’ve been given free copies of books in exchange for reviews, and there are a couple of authors who regularly send me advanced review copies of their books because they know I’ll want to read their books anyway, and have learned that sending me copies in exchange for my review will get their books bumped to the top of my to-read pile.  But, as I said, I’ve never been paid for a review.  I’d also like to stress that any review I write in exchange for a free book is an honest one, based on my own personal opinion, and nothing else.

Some readers believe all 4 and 5-star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? Some people just like to find a reason to criticize others, and whether or not some books have all four and five-star reviews that are genuine or fake is just another example of this.  Sure, it’s possible that some of those reviews might be fake.  But for the most part I don’t think they are, and don’t think it’s fair to assume they are.  For the most part those books are just examples of authors who did a great job in producing a book worthy of high praise.  If people can’t see that, then they’re obviously blinder than I am.  Either that, or they’re the kinds of people who only feel pleasure when saying or doing things to hurt others, in which case I feel sorry for them, because it must be a lonely existence only feeling pleasure when causing others pain.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=Victoria+Zigler&sitesearch_type=STORE
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Personal Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/tori.zigler
Facebook author page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com
E-Mail: keroberous2004@gmail.com

New Features! New Interviews! New Friends

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Over the coming weeks, I will be changing and expanding the interview and promotional opportunities available here. There will still be great features and some of them will be available at no charge but for the enhanced/expanded features then there may be a small charge. Of course, for that, you get more. More tweets, more choice of features, promoted on my new author interviews promotion page. Of course, if you simply wish to participate in one of the free features – that’s great as well.

There will be a range of the following:

Swift Six – short author or character questions

Book spotlights

Dirty Dozen – author or character interviews

Reader interviews

Editor, cover artist or narrator interviews

Top Tens

Guest posts

‘Weeks With’ a particular author

Days in the life of characters or authors

Zweihanders – double interviews with character lovers or siblings

Good cop/bad cop – heroes and villains going head to head.

Here’s the new Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Erana-Interviews-and-Features-215319805541102/

And there will soon be ‘Friends of Erana’ page listing useful services, contacts and allies of The Library of Erana.

If you’re a blogger and willing to co-host, feature or help or your an author, cover designer, audio book narrator, or of course a reader then do get in touch.

You can either use the ‘contact us’ link in the page menus or drop me an email at libraryoferana@gmail.com

 

 

#Reader #Interview 21 Micah Goettl

Welcome to Micah Goettl.

Where are you from? United States

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’ve been playing violin for about 7 years; writing for about 8.  I love ballroom dancing. I love sewing. Most artsy things are on my radar. I’m not good at math but am constantly looking to improve myself, so am reading educational books nonstop, though my true love is fiction.

On average how many books do you read in a month? I’m weird with this. Sometimes I can read a 400 page book in 2 days and then other times I’ve got a 150 pager and it takes me 3 months. I guess it would average at 1 – 2.

Where is your favourite place to read? Anywhere with good lighting and a comfortable chair. I generally curl myself into the living room armchair next to the window.

*What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? I prefer mystery/thriller and fantasy. I like some dystopian too. I avoid erotica. I’ve read some romances with erotic elements (sex scenes) but if anything gets too steamy and graphic, I put the book down.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? I think books teach you a lot about life, even crazy, out-there things that seem to have no base in reality. People are people and fiction portrays elements of their truth. Books provide a place to meet people without having to leave the house, so there’s a plus.

Do you have a favourite book or author? Why do you think you like this book/author so much? Favourite author would have to be Timothy Hallinan. He writes with such humor and genuineness. Many parts for his books (I love the Poke Rafferty thrillers) have moved me to tears. Every character, no matter how despicable, has a kernel of humanity in them. It’s wonderful. But, oddly enough, my favourite book, the one I’ve read over again and in which I’ve marked my favourite passages, is Howl’s Moving Castle. For some reason the story calls to me. I think the heroine finding her confidence is what does it. And the hilarious banter between characters. And the slow-building love story. Basically everything about this book is wonderful.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I prefer paper. Nothing feels more precious in the hands than a good solid hardcover. E-books have their place though. For example, if I’m eating a taco while reading, just propping up my Kindle in front of me and keeping one pinky finger clean for swiping the screen is ideal.

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? Recommendations come into play big time, but for the most part I just browse through the shelves of a subject I’m interested in and pick up the book that appeals to me most.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? A great cover pulls me in. Turns me away? Scanning the first chapter and getting a flat, average main character. Also, a good back-cover blurb is important. I don’t prefer the “excerpt” blurbs.

*Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? If a friend has not recommended the book to me then I do read reviews to help me make a decision. I don’t want to waste money on something that won’t appeal to me. Just like I scan the Parents Guide before watching a questionable movie, I leaf through positive and negative reviews to garner whether or not the book might be up my alley.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” Sometimes. But there are books I’ve read with kind of lame covers that are honestly good.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? I think all of these are important but character is paramount. No matter how cool the world, no matter what an awesome plot you have, if I don’t like your characters, the book is relegated to the unfinished shelf.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books? Not really. I may not approve of actors sleeping around and divorcing every few seconds, but I still watch their movies. Similarly, the dubious actions of authors don’t negate the fact that they write well.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? I don’t think it is necessary. One author can’t reply to every single review, so a thank you here and there or a flame on a bad review doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in my opinion. People know that an author is going to be thankful for a positive review and they also know they’ll be put out at a bad one. It goes without the author’s confirmation. Let people say whatever they’re going to say and read the reviews quietly from behind the computer screen.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?Well, Howl’s Moving Castle, of course. Austenland. Percy Jackson. (Oh, this is hard because I love Rick Riordan’s books; they are hilarious and it’s hard to pick just one.) The Lightning Thief. Start from the beginning I suppose.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Maybe the small ones, but places like Barnes and Noble will stick around. Like everything, though, I think the market will rise again, then fall again, then rise again. It’s a cycle. In the words of Stephen Fry: “Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Interview Number Twenty – Amanda Kent

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a reader interview so it’s great to be running one again.

*Welcome to Amanda Kent

Where are you from? United Kingdom

Please tell us a little about yourself.
Retired IT Programme/Project Manager. Labour Party activist and ward chair, currently campaigning to remain in the European Union. Member of local Amnesty International group. Fluent in French and German as well as English mother tongue. Married with two sons.

On average how many books do you read in a month? Approx 80–90-120 per year. Of these, I read a small amount of books in French and German each year, maybe 5% and hope to add Italian to this eventually. I don’t read translations of books that I can read in the original French or German.

A quarter to a third of the books I read will be re-reads, mostly genre fiction to unwind. A quarter to a third of the books will be by women. With a conscious effort, I managed to make it half and half last year, but it doesn’t really seem worth a conscious effort, because it was lowering the overall quality. More of the women authors I read seem to be crime or SF/fantasy than serious.

Where is your favourite place to read? Anywhere and everywhere. I almost always carry a book.

*What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid?
I have no prefered genre though I’m finding that I read more non-fiction as I get older than I used to. As well as novels and non-fiction, I quite often read plays but only a little poetry, usually short poems.

I don’t like horror/ghost stories at all, or misery memoirs. I rarely read chick-lit/romance. I’m not usually much interested in travel books.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life?
Fiction, notably genre fiction, provides escape and relaxation. Non-fiction provides information and food for thought which may influence moral and political choices, as does quality fiction.

Do you have a favourite book or author? Why do you think you like this book/author so much?
No, I would spend hours trying to work out even a top 100.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this?
I prefer physical books, paperback or hardback. If I re-read a paperback too often, I may need a hardback replacement because it fell apart. This happened to my childhood paperback of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings – and the hardbacks of it which my sons have shared are now showing a pale skin pink under the leather of the binding.

Good covers, presentation, illustration do contribute to the pleasure of reading. I don’t like e-books, possibly because I was in IT: screen-reading is work not pleasure to me. I never really got into audiobooks – unless you’re travelling a lot by car or have a visual handicap, they just take too long compared with reading. Also most audiobooks are abridged and I want to read the real thing. That may, of course, change if I go blind in old age.

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?
I read things I’ve earmarked from the Guardian’s Saturday Review of Books, friends recommendations and further works from authors I already know.

I buy books firsthand from Waterstones, Foyles, Daunts, second hand through Amazon marketplace(not from Amazon direct if I can possibly avoid it) or charity shops and I borrow books from friends and from the library, especially books where I have any doubts if I’m going to like them. Occasionally if I love a library book, I may later buy it to re-read.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away?
Mostly I read books I’ve already identifed I want to read so what attracts my eye is a known author or title, very occasionally an intriguing cover and blurb.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?
I rarely read on-line reviews but read some newspaper/magazine ones.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?”
Occasionally a cover will put me off reading a book, which sometimes I may return to a later edition of, but not very often and very occasionally a cover & blurb will attract me to a book I might have overlooked, but it’s definitely secondary .

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off?
Plot and the construction of the story is important in fiction/drama, except in poetry where form to a large extent takes over from plot. I hated Stephen Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane because after a really interesting opening idea it went into chapter after chapter of he met some strange beings, did some unconnected stuff (repeat, repeat, repeat, stop) with no linking or development of character or apparent point to the tale. Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet I couldn’t read because of the absence of plot; there were beautiful passages but the lack of overall shape made it well nigh impossible to remember what you’d read 10 pages ago – it can only really be done as a kind of poetry and that’s hard.

Plausible characters and events are critical in fiction whether in a totally imaginary or a realistic tale. Style/narrative approach matter, at their best they reinforce the story e.g. Primo Levi: the Periodic Table or Jeannette Winterson: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit; at their worst they give a gimmicky feel to the book.

The way some authors write can put me off, if their style is very ‘look how clever I am’ for example or outright pretentious – I’m not a big fan of Salman Rushdie or John Fowles because of this. Stylistic tics and bad proofreading can be an irritant – for example it is sadly obvious that Bloomsbury gave up proofreading JK Rowling after book 3 and the quality is affected even if the overall narrative is still strong.

In non-fiction, I like information to either to be a story eg biographies or to present a coherent argument on an issue or issues.
My favourite books tend to be ones that give you some food for thought on issues of ethics, politics or approach to live.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?
Potentially yes. If the author is obnoxious in real life, it’s likely to come through in the books. And there are so many other books… If I hate the first book I read by an author, it takes a personal recommendation to get me to try another. I have an accumulated ‘To read list’ of about 500 titles so why waste energy on things I probably won’t enjoy!

It’s only rarely that I give up part way through a book, though, and that’s partly because I read quite fast. However, some books I couldn’t finish are supposed to be very good e.g. Don Quixote but I was so bored by the end of part 1 I just couldn’t manage any more.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads?
I wish they would keep away and I absolutely hate it in when they promote their books, it almost guarantees that I won’t read them: if their books were any good they wouldn’t be doing it. I don’t buy from door-to-door salesmen for the same reason.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?
I doubt if I could really, but for example Mrs Gaskell: North and South; Victor Hugo: les Miserables and Erich Maria Remarque: A Time to Live and a Time to Die (sometimes mistranslated as a Time to Love because of the film).

Or on a different day, Hermanne Hesse: the Glass-Bead Game, Antonio Tabucchi: Pereira Maintains and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline?
They have been but seem to have stabilised at a lower level and physical books are not in decline, at least here in Britain.

 

Reader/Reviewer Interview Number Twenty – Joselyn Moreno

*Welcome to Joselyn Moreno.

Where are you from? Panamá

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m just an average girl who loves to read and craves lots of books. I’m bilingual and I like blogs a lot too. I’m 30 years old, and have been reading since I could, a trait from my mom since she is a elementary teacher.

On average how many books do you read in a month?
Usually depends on the length of the books if they’re short I can read 3 to 5 of them if they’re more full-length maybe 2 a month.

Where is your favorite place to read?
Anywhere I can find to read, being my bed, my car, the mall.

*What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid?
My favorites would be romance because which girl doesn’t sigh with a good one, terror/horror love to scare myself ajajaaj, dystopia since it seems so real but at the same time sci fi and interesting.

Why are books important to you, and what does reading bring to your life?
Because they can lift my spirits whenever I need, for me they’re like my drug and well they bring a lot of good things to my life, like friends and lots of reads.

Do you have a favorite book or author? Why do you think you like this book/author so much?
Jovee winters, I love her sexy retells of classic children tales.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this?
Ebooks mostly, audiobooks are good too so I can go in the traffic hearing something cool, paperback are nice only when you have space at your home for them.

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?
Following authors more than anything and with my blog I receive a lot of request to read.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away?
For me the covers and the blurbs are it, that can convince me to give a book a try. For me to turn away a book it mean the blurb didn’t catch my attention or it was too heavy for my liking.

*Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?
Yes sometimes I do, and not really but they could always make a book seem more interesting.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?”
Jaja well sometimes, I do love cute covers it’s a great catch to my eyes, however I do try to buy them for their story.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off?
Plot and characters for me is what makes a book good or bad.
Too much roundabout can make me turn off since I get bored.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?
Only if they do something bad to me personally if not well people are people and we can’t control them, but it doesn’t mean the books are bad.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads?
I think it’s awesome, they get to know their fans and interact with them, that is always a good thing.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?
Fields of Elysium, The Veil: Awakening, Red and her Wolf

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline?
Yes and no, Yes because they’re so few you can get to really like bookshops, and no because lots of business sells books so they are like miniature bookshops inside stores, I’m hopeful they never disappear.

If you are a reviewer why do you review?
Because I like to help people discover new books and authors to know people out there likes their books.

What factors are important in a review?
That the plot is good more than anything in my case.

What are your views on paid for reviews?
It will depend if you’re paying for a good review then it’s bad it should be honest, if you’re paying for the time someone took for reading your book it maybe be more like a donation to that person to keep reading and doing what they love.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice?
Not really, I do see what other people think and it’s a matter of points of view.
What influences my choice in a book will be the cover design if it is appealing to me and if the story is enticing.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot? Which factors do you overlook? (if any)
My criteria, plot and character making, I do overlook editing sometimes since we are humans and can make mistakes.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive?
Positive because that shows they care and are willing to learn from those reviews and grow as authors.

Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice?
NO its not, a review should solemnly be what you think about a book, no hard feelings in it.
If you need to say something about behavior you can always talk with the author directly.

A lot of readers comment about a book with all 4 or 5 star reviews and nothing below as being suspicious? What do you think about this?
That they really liked these books, it’s not unheard of, I guess.

Do you give negative reviews?
I do try not to be negative about my reviews but if I don’t like a book I try to be professional and polite about it and I never blame a book for not liking it, it’s just not my taste that’s all.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone?
I usually stick with my genres but from time to time I like to try and explore a different thing, it can surprise me.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? NO I review them the same way, they’re books and shouldn’t be treated differently just like people.

Have you ever been a victim of an ‘author behaving badly’? How did you deal with it?
Just one time and I think it was kind of my fault too, but I think that she was too harsh and judgmental the way she looks at things, well I did apologize to her and all but after that I didn’t want to read her anymore.

Reader Interview Number Nineteen – Jessica Jackson

Where are you from? (Country)
 -U.S.
On average how many books do you read in a month?
-I tend to read a book a day, so, at most, 31.
 
Where is your favourite place to read?
-Just at home, in bed, with my music blaring out of my laptop.
 
What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid?
-Anything Young Adult. I will basically read anything in YA.
What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this?
 -Paper! I love to have the actual book in my hands, and yes, I love the smell. I do like ebooks, though, as ebooks are generally very cheap and  it makes it easy for review copies, but nothing can beat Paper books. I do listen to audiobooks, but it generally takes too long and I only do it for multitasking.
 
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?
-Goodreads and Blogs mostly. Goodreads is my favorite website and I follow numerous blogs that introduce me to new books.
 
When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away?
-I hate saying this, but the cover. The cover initially attracts me, then if the blurb features any unique ideas I’ve never seen before, I’ll want to read it. Especially if it includes parallel worlds.
-Things that are overdone, hints at love triangles, or forbidden romance. I’ll still read them, sometimes, but I’ve either seen them too many times or I’m just no longer a fan of the trope.
 
Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?
-YES. I follow so many blogs, that I definitely read a lot of reviews. I try not to let them influence my choices, but if I see a lot of positive/negative reviews for a certain book, it will affect my reading.

Reader Interview Number Eighteen – Cas Peace

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Cas Peace.

Where are you from? I’m a Brit, I live in the south, in the county of Hampshire. It’s where I was born.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Right now I’m an author and freelance editor. I’ve written the triple-trilogy fantasy series Artesans of Albia, and the first three books have been published. The fourth, The Challenge, is scheduled for publication in April 2014. I’ve also written a non-fiction book, For the Love of Daisy, which tells the story of a beautiful and mischeivous Dalmatian I used to own. I’m also a folk singer/songwriter, and have written songs to accompany my fantasy novels. They can be downloaded from my website. Before any of that I was a horse-riding instructor. And before that I was an avid book reader, which I continue to be to this day!

On average how many books do you read in a month? Due to pressures of work, I only get through about one novel a month. Pleasure reading has been relegated to the hour before I go to sleep. But I can also count editing, because although I’m working on whatever book it is, I still get a good sense of the story. So make that two books a month!

Where is your favourite place to read? For pleasure reading it’s either in bed or a quiet place in my garden. We’re quite rural and we have many seats in our garden. I love to pick one and relax with a great book.

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? I’ve always loved fantasy and most of the books I read are in that genre. But I also enjoy crime, thrillers, adventure, romance, sci-fi, mystery, and especially historical drama. I occasionally read horror. I don’t read vampire stories much, and never erotica.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? One of my earliest childhood memories is of curling up in a big comfy armchair in front of the fire on a cold and rainy winter day with a wonderful library book and a bag of chocolate buttons. This is still my idea of heaven. Books are so important because they are a way of communication that is unparalleled anywhere else. A reader can get so much out of a book, and often more than the author intended or realized was there. The written word can take hold of the imagination in so many diverse ways, allowing each reader to gain a unique and totally personal insight into the world contained within that cover. Art can do the same thing, but many people feel that art can be false and pretentious. I guess books can be too, but they don’t generally gather much of a following if they are!

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I still prefer paper books. I don’t know if it’s simply my age, but even though I have an e-reader and spend much of my reading time looking at a screen, I still don’t consider a digital file to be a ‘book’. It’s not just the feel and smell of a paper book, it’s the fact that you can see illustrations and maps and the book cover better. I also like to be able to keep one finger in the map page or glossary so I can flip back and forth as I read the story. This is not as easy with an e-reader. And I do find print on paper more restful on the eyes, especially as I spend most of my working day (whether editing or writing) looking at my laptop screen. So it’s definitely ‘real’ books for me. But I do value e-readers and also audio books. My late grandmother got so much enjoyment from her audio books, and I hope to release audio versions of my own books soon.

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? These days, most of the books I read come to me from friends and authors I know. But I also like trawling through Amazon to find new books. Years ago I used to use the Library a lot, and although it’s much easier looking online, I do rather miss going to the Library!

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? The first thing I look for is the genre. The second is the cover, and the third is the back cover copy. I will always be attracted by a well-designed cover, but that’s not the only thing that makes me pick up the book. The author’s name will do that too. However, liking the author and the cover will not overcome bad cover copy. I have to feel excited or engaged by it. If I’m not, it’s unlikely that I’ll open the book and read a few lines. A badly designed or unattractive cover will always make me turn away.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? Definitely, to both. Although I’m rarely completely put off by bad reviews. Pretty much all my favourite authors have some bad reviews, it’s only natural. And I often find scathing reviews quite funny. I might not find scathing reviews of my own books so funny, but fortunately I’ve not had any yet!

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? As an author myself, I always think it’s a mistake to make any kind of comment on someone else’s review. All I ever do with reviews of my own books is maybe write a ‘thank you’ under a 5* review, or click the ‘was this review helpful to you’ button. I would never engage in an argument about a less than favourable review. I really don’t see the point. Arguing is not going to make the reviewer retract or change their bad review, and it only makes the author look a bit desperate. I appreciate it must be soul-destroying and upsetting to have someone slate or revile a book you’ve spent years perfecting, but there will always be people who don’t like even the most popular book.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Sadly, I think they are. We had a few independent bookstores in our area and they have all now closed. We do have the two major English bookstores – W H Smith and Waterstones – in our nearest large towns, but nothing else. I guess they find it really hard to compete with the online stores, both on price and on the space books occupy. I used to adore browsing through bookshops, but I didn’t realise, until the Internet, how limited the choice was. I’d often go looking for a sequel from a loved author and not be able to find it; now I can very easily order it over the Net, or find out from their website when it’s due out. It’s hard for brick and mortar shops to compete with that.

For reviewers. I’m  going to answer these questions too, because I also write book reviews

If you are a reviewer why do you review? I review mainly because I like to help the authors of books I’ve enjoyed. I feel I’m giving something back to someone who has worked hard to produce a book that gave me enjoyment. I also enjoy reading reviews, and if I can draw other readers to a good book, then I think I should. It’s all part of the reading experience.

What factors are important in a review? I’m not one of those reviewers who writes a synopsis of the plot, or who quotes the back cover copy before getting to the actual review. I don’t see the point of that. What I like to do is mention what I enjoyed about the book, and what I got out of it. I often mention the writing style, and whether I thought it added to my enjoyment or hindered it. Many fantasy writers have wonderfully lyrical prose, and I love that. I also believe reviewers should never give spoilers, even if they put a warning first. It’s too easy to miss the warning and have your enjoyment marred!

Do you think it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review? I would never do this. I think this only happens in bad reviews, and I don’t give bad reviews. If I don’t like a book, I don’t review it. If it’s a book I’ve been asked to review, I’ll email the author and explain why I won’t review it. Bad reviews are pointless and often hurtful. Adding comments about the author’s behaviour is inappropriate.

What are your views on paid for reviews? Again, I think they’re pointless. Many people consider good reviews to be fake anyway, so why would you pay for one? I’d much rather get honest reader reviews, even 2 or 3 star ones, because honesty always comes through and I think other readers appreciate that. Having said that, Amazon’s marketing machine is geared around book reviews, so I understand why some authors would pay for them. It’s a system that encourages false reviews.

 

 

Reader Interview Number Seventeen – Matthew Jacobs

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Matthew Jacobs

Where are you from? Minnesota, USA

Please tell us a little about yourself. 32, Male, 2 yr AAS degree, primarily audio book listener or normal reading so I can multitask

On average how many books do you read in a month? ½ a book paper, 4-6 audio books

Where is your favourite place to read? Read in bed, listen while driving

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? Prefer: fantasy and magical realism. Because of the interesting situations and creative rules the authors put on the fantastic elements. I enjoy a creative set of guidelines the characters must face to use their magic that allows for interesting and honestly dangerous situations.

Avoid: Horror and Romance. Because both focus too close on 1 or 2 things and miss opportunities for wider ideas and interactions.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? New thoughts, creative ideas, and new ways of looking at problems.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? I really enjoy Orson Scott Card, he has several series that I have or am enjoying. Including the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow sagas, The Tales of Alvin Maker, and others. His characters maintain a very realistic balance of personalities. They feel like consistent people who have different moods. Some writers, when a character’s mood changes, don’t feel like the same character, but Card’s always do.

I also don’t know anyone who claims to like fantasy who doesn’t at least appreciate Tolkien. I enjoy his full word choices and deep descriptions. Along the same lines, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson are both very enjoyable reads.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I greatly prefer audiobooks as they allow me to enjoy more books because I can listen and enjoy the stories while completing other tasks that would be impossible to read during. Also, I have always enjoyed a good story telling and this is just a more portable form. Finally, because many fantasy novels use very uncommon names for people or places I don’t lose track of the story by trying to guess how the author meant the name to be said – I can hear it from a good reader.

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? Following authors is usually a good way, but for new stuff I read interviews with authors I like and see who they note in their own reading pile. There is also the website SUVUDU that each year does an imaginary cage match between characters where you get short introductions to them and sometimes bits from the authors.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? Take a second look: Interesting hook, or set or rules.           Turn away: Too much focus on one thing

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? Yes

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” What else can you do at a bookstore when your browsing for a new title?

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? Plot is important, but if I don’t care about the characters (love or hate), then it won’t hold my interest.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?Not unless they have made it clear they are using the books to push an agenda.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? They have every right to freely make any comment they like, but readers are free to choose to or not to read the book based on it.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?

Can I have 3 series?

1 Lord of the Rings

2 The Tales of Alvin Maker

3 The Wheel of Time

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline?  Yes, as are almost every other kind of store.