Author Interview 107 – Dean Mayes – Paranormal/Thriller

Welcome to Dean Mayes.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and raised in country Victoria, Australia. In the mid 90’s, after I completed my degree in Nursing, I moved to Adelaide in South Australia and I’ve been living there ever since.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has crossed genres since I was first published back in 2010. My debut, “The Hambledown Dream” (2010, Central Avenue Publishing) was a romantic fiction novel with a paranormal undercurrent that explored reincarnation. My follow up novel “Gifts of the Peramangk” (2012, Central Avenue Publishing) was a more literary fiction/coming of age story about an Aboriginal child prodigy living here in Adelaide. For my upcoming novel “The Recipient” (2016, Central Avenue Publishing), I have gone in the direction of an action oriented psychological thriller but I have reintroduced a paranormal theme relating to organ donors and their recipients.

Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration comes from many places and it is usually unexpected. I find that if I go looking for inspiration, it is rare that I find it. “The Recipient” was actually inspired by a very intense and vivid nightmare where I was witnessing a violent assault and then, at one point, I couldn’t discern between whether I was witnessing it or whether I was actually experiencing it myself. When I woke from the nightmare, I madly began scribbling as much as I could remember down in a notebook I keep beside my bed. Before too long, I had the rudimentary beginnings of what has become “The Recipient”.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I think that all my characters have been favorite – especially when I have been in the thick of writing them. Casey Schillinge, my protagonist in “The Recipient” has definitely been the most interesting character to write because there are several facets to her persona that make her complex. She is highly intelligent and technically savvy and she is also stubborn and dogged. When she latches onto something – a suspicion or a gut feeling – she will follow it through to the end, despite encouragement from others to slow down. She is also pragmatic and empirical which makes the nightmares she experiences at the beginning of the novel so frightening for her. She cannot quantify them so they knock her off balance.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I actually don’t. All of my characters are created in service to whatever story I am telling and their roles are important. If I infuse my characters with a certain level of evil or “badness”, there is a context to that which I value.

Are your characters based on real people? Some of them are. Over time, I have infused some of my characters with the qualities and mannerisms of people who have been and are important in my life. I like to be able to do that because I think it gives them more gravitas, it makes them more real to life and tactile.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Maybe peripheral characters but, in the main, all of the characters I have created have remained integral to my works.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do! Even with the more fantastical story writing I have done, the importance of creating a real world feel cannot be understated.

“The Hambledown Dream” featured the dual settings of Chicago in the United States and the South Coast of New South Wales here in Australia. I’m familiar with the South Coast because I spent a lot of time there growing up so it wasn’t a stretch to recreate that in the novel. For Chicago, I did a lot of visual research into things like the architecture and the socio-economics of the inner northern suburbs which is where a lot of the early part of that novel takes place. I also have friends living in that part of the city so I had eyes and ears on the ground there and they were great in helping to visualize the feel of the city. And then there were subjects like cancer which required me to refresh my knowledge about disease process and treatment modalities. I have been an Intensive Care Nurse for over a decade now so I was able to tap into a lot of resources in order to bring that to life in the novel.

For “Gifts of the Peramangk”, I spent about a year on pure research into the White Australia policy and the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Australians. These remain sensitive subjects in our national conversation and I didn’t want illustrate anything in the novel that would disrepect the gravity of those issues. Additionally, I spent a lot of time researching the Peramangk people. This is a nation state in our Aboriginal nation for which not a lot is known, so I needed to ensure that I could present them in such a way that was respectful and authentic.

In “The Recipient” I have returned to a more medically oriented story so here I tapped into a number of resources in the field of transplant surgery and after care. Getting that aspect of the story right was important because it allowed me to introduce the paranormal elements seamlessly. Some of the early feedback I’ve had from medical professionals has been really positive in that they were totally convinced of the possibilities of what I was throwing up. Police procedure also featured heavily in the novel and so here I talked to a number of law enforcement agencies here in Australia and they were really grand in helping me to portray procedures accurately.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I don’t set out to convey a message in my writing. I am more compelled to create a really good and satisfying story. If I were to consider it though, “Gifts of the Peramangk” probably contains the most powerful message that says no matter who you are, if you apply yourself and you work hard, you can achieve anything. It’s not a conscious message on my part though. I think it depends on the topic and the motivation of the writer as to whether a message is important to impart in a work of fiction.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) For me, great characters are the kernel of great story writing. If I can believe in the characters then I can believe in the story. How they see the world influences the world building aspect so I guess world building is the next most important aspect. The plot has to be solid of course. For me, the plot of my stories is set out in a rudimentary fashion when I begin and I allow my characters and their motivations – to an extent – to drive the story forward. Technical perfection comes afterwards but it is no less important for me than any of the others. It is just that this is how I write and how I edit so I guess I am setting out my process in the steps that I follow. I won’t release a product until I know that it is technically perfect.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Presently – print and digital. My publisher and I have focused on these two branches of the market primarily because of production costs and the obvious reach of those branches. Audio is attractive to me but the production costs are prohibitive right now. If I were to attain significant success that would allow me to invest in audio production, I would definitely consider it.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do! It’s one of my OCD quirks! I have gotten better at focusing on pure writing, getting the words and the ideas onto the page but I still go back often and review and refine. I really enjoy the editing process and regard it as one of the most important aspects of writing. Professional editing is essential to a good end product and I do believe a book that has not been professionally edited suffers in the long run. That is a lesson I have learned through experience.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think they are. It comes down to the sad fact that, with the explosion in self publishing, we’ve seen all manner of people producing works featuring varying levels of quality. It is a sad fact that many of those works have come from self published authors who have not invested the time and the money in having their work professionally edited and proofed before proceeding to publication and they do themselves a disservice because of it. That said, poor editing and proofing is not confined to self published authors. I was reading a book just last month (January, 2016) from one of the major publishing houses and I came across several instances of grammatical errors, poor sentence construction and confusing paragraphs. So poor editing is not confined to self published authors by any stretch.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I have. There are several self published authors whose work I really admire and have returned to subsequently. It is clear to me that they have invested in their work to ensure they have produced the best product possible.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? When I started out, I did read and comment on reviews but I don’t anymore. I think an author runs the risk of being misinterpreted in their responses to reviews and I have seen cases where and author has responded in a respectful manner to a review and it has been totally taken out of context. I keep myself at arms length from reviews now.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No. I usually pick up a book based on a recommendation or if something about the title or the liner notes strikes me as interesting. I’ll avoid reviews because many of them will contain spoilers and that it definitely a killer for me.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I’m really not sure about that one so I’ll just say that I don’t have a view.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Books work on a subconscious level and they fire our imagination in ways that a video game or movie can’t. I requires effort and engagement to ‘see’ the world an author has created whereas a game or movie presents it to you in all its technicolour glory. That said – I am a casual gamer and I love movies  soooo…does that cancel my answer out?

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas and notes as they come to you – and only write in pencil. Forget about social media, word counts, group discussions and marketing advice and just write.

Have a basic story structure but don’t be dictated by it. The is more than one way to get from Point A to Point B.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Marketing should be all about the Pull. In the first instance, you should a have product that is professionally edited and proofed. You should have a website that is simple but engaging. It should reflect a little bit about you and the information there should be concise and easy to find. Pick three social networking platforms and stick to those. Don’t allow yourself to be overrun by the false notion that you have to be everywhere and across everything. It will not make you happy and you’ll end up resenting it.

Don’t Push! Don’t Facebook or Tweet or G+ incessantly with “BUY MY BOOKS” You will find yourself muted or blocked or even reported. Social Networking/Marketing should be all about building relationships and, in the first instance, you shouldn’t even mention your works. If you’ve structured you platform correctly, you’ll have relevant links that are easy to see and find. If your connection wants to discover more about you, they will.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished a gorgeous romance novel set here in Australia called “Summer Harvest” by Georgina Penney. It was just a joy to read.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I keep returning to the works of John Jackson Miller who has writted a lot in the Star Wars universe. He is a really great author. I don’t have a favorite indie but I do read a lot of them.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it is an essential part of an author’s marketing strategy and I will often do giveaways. This should be dictated by cost/benefit considerations as each author will have flexibility in what they can offer as to what they can’t.

Do you have a favourite movie? Two words = Star Wars.

Do you have any pets? My writing partner is a spaniel named Sam.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I’m not sure if I should answer that question. I will say that I did learn a lot from it and I did use it in my writing.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I love romance novels.

Links to Dean Mayes:

 

Official Website: http://www.deanfromaustralia.com

Publisher’s Website: http://centralavenuepublishing.com

Facbook: https://www.facebook.com/Dean-Mayes-The-Hambledown-Dreamer-263088081779/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hambledown_Road

 

9781771680387

Author Interview Number Forty-One – Rita Chapman

Welcome to Rita Lee Chapman

Where are you from and where do you live now? I live in Queensland, Australia.  It’s hot and beautiful.  I live near the sea, so the breeze is always wecome.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I have two self-published books, Missing in Egypt, which is a romantic travel mystery and Winston – A Horse’s Tale which is for horse lovers from teenagers upwards.

Missing in Egypt is about an Australian working for a Member of Parliament who falls in love with a constituent.  She travels to Egypt with him to look for his brother, who has disappeared whilst on holiday.  It contains vivid descriptions of Egyptian sites and temples.

Winston – A Horse’s Tale is told by Winston himself and tells of his life in Australia and the different people and horses he meets along the way.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Winston – a horse of course!

Are your characters based on real people? No, my stories are purely fiction but I try to include some real places and facts to give them some realism.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? There was in Winston – A Horse’s Tale, because I am trying to put across the horse’s point of view in understanding our demands and expectations.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these? (If applicable) Missing in Egypt is available as an e-book, paperback and large print edition.

Winston – A Horse’s Tale is available as an e-book and a paperback.  I would be happy to do a large print edition if there is sufficient interest.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Yes, I do self-edit, although I can see the advantages of using a professional editor as you tend not to see your own mistakes, whereas other peoples are always obvious!

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? A review should always be honest and unbiased, whoever is doing it.  The fact that we all have different tastes can make it hard to know whether a review is helpful to you when choosing a book.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Edit, edit and edit!

What are your best marketing/networking tips? Publish in paperback as well as an e-book.  It gives you more options and you can’t beat the feeling of seeing your book in print.  Join Goodreads and do a giveaway promotion; have your own website.  My website has a Guest Author page so if anyone would like to be featured they can contact me through http://www.ritachapman.com.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? What book(s) have you just finished? I enjoy romance, thrillers, mystery, autobiographies and books about animals.  I love Australian authors Kate Morton, Bryce Courtney, Colleen McCullough as well as Fiona Walker and Jeffrey Archer.

I’ve just finished a Reader’s Digest Select Editions book featuring The Loop by Nicholas Evans, The Kremlin Device by Chris Ryan, Somebody’s Baby by Elaine Kagan and The Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver.  I’m a big fan of the Reader’s Digest Select Editions and also Encounters (which are true stories).

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I still think I look as I did when I was thirty – I don’t know whose face it is looking back at me in the mirror!

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Winston – A Horse’s Tale

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9QOZGE

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/372140

Missing in Egypt

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Missing-in-Egypt-ebook/dp/B007JOUIIE/

LARGE PRINT EDITION: http://www.amazon.com/Missing-Egypt-Rita-Lee-Chapman/dp/149121872X/

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/263417

Website: www.ritaleechapman.com

Facebook: rita.chapman@facebook.com

Smashwords interview: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/RChapman1

 

Spark Blog Tour – Jennifer Ryder – Erotic Romance

 

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Welcome to Jennifer Ryder who stops by on her Spark Blog Tour.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m an Aussie girl, born and bred. I’m in my dirty-thirties (my prime if you ask me), and I’m married to a man who can put any book boyfriend to shame. With our two cherubs, we live on a rural property a couple of hours from Sydney, Australia.

Tell us about your books: I write erotic romance, with the stories based in Australia. My debut novel, Spark, is book one in a five part series, the heroes, for the most part, centering around the Motocross world.

Here is a blurb for Spark: Not many people know that I, Eevie Lawson, have a problem. An addiction to romance novels. I eat them for breakfast. I hide it the best I can, but I need them to breathe. It’s how I cope.

 I’ve had a swag of book boyfriends, but now that I’m free from the responsibility of caring for my three younger brothers, it’s time to find one in the flesh.

In real life, no girl meets their hero on page one, or even at the end of chapter one. I should know.

 My journey is real. It’s not perfect, and it sure as hell isn’t easy—but the fight for something worthwhile never is.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? I absolutely adore Abbi Glines and Jamie McGuire, but more recently I have found such great books through talented Aussie Indie published authors. Their stories rival those published through traditional means, and shouldn’t be valued as any less. Of those Indies (and I’ve already mentioned Belle Aurora), I love the work of David Michael, Lola Stark, Carmen Jenner, Lauren McKellar, Kasey Millstead, Bella Jewel, Lila Rose, Max Henry, Rebecca Berto, the list goes on. And they are also beautiful people, who I like to think I can call a friend.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I love all my characters, and Eevie should be my favourite being her journey, but I love writing Aidan Stone. He’s totally swoonworthy, funny, devilishly handsome of course, but he’s a down to earth guy, a country boy, with a heart of gold who’s loyal to his family and friends alike. He’s your typical Aussie bloke, but since a young age he pushed himself, in his career as a Cabinetmaker, as well as a professional Motocross rider. I think he’s very different to any hero I’ve ever read, and I hope people love him as much as I do! *whispers* I have my own Aidan Stone at home.

Are your characters based on real people? Yes, most definitely. This book will probably be more personal than any other book I will write. I can relate to Eevie in more ways than I will publicly admit. So yes, I’m funny, a little quirky, love M & M’s and totally have that sexy librarian thing going on! No, really, in all seriousness, when I think back to what my life was like at twenty, I sometimes wonder how I coped. Writing aspects of this book has been good therapy, but there are of course, events in the book that are fiction.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? LOVE research! It is one of my favourite parts, and it’s crucial to get things right. In writing the Spark series, I’m lucky to have some amazing friends and beta readers. It certainly helps to have a former detective from the Australia Federal Police as one of my closest friends, as well as nurses, experts on drug analysis and a hubbie who rides dirt bikes (and taught me!). I’ve watched countless Motocross clips on YouTube, much to my four year old son’s delight. It certainly gives me a break when the writing gets too much!

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? I guess, hope to find that Spark with someone. Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan, but it’s important to be positive, and always hold hope for something special with someone. I believe that there’s somebody special out there for everyone, it’s just sometimes the journey to get there is a bumpy road.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these? (If applicable) Spark is currently available in ebook on Amazon and Kobo, and paperback through either myself or Createspace. My husband keeps asking me when it’ll be in Audiobook, as he’s not one to sit and read. He even offered to be the voice over for Aidan Stone.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I used a professional editor, Lauren K McKellar, and I cannot recommend her highly enough. I think it is important to have someone edit your work, as well as go through a beta process, because you have an idea in your head of how the story is, and how the characters are perceived, but having someone review it from a fresh perspective is gold. I’ve had close to ten people read Spark, at varying stages, and it would be where it is today without that valuable input.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I think reviews are literary gold. I am lucky to have received some beautiful 4 and 5 star reviews for Spark. The only comments I have made on those reviews, have been to thank those people for posting a review. I’m grateful that they have taken time out of their day to do it, as our lives are already so busy. I understand that my book may not be for everyone, and I respect that some people may not rate it as highly as others. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I’m just grateful that people have taken a chance to read my work in the first place.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Imagination. It is SO important! Different people interpret a character in so many different ways. I like being able to have my own personal vision of a character. Myself, I almost always prefer the book.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

1.     Plan to write every day, even if it’s only 100 words. I know it’s not always practical, but if you keep your head in the story every day, the words come easier, and of course, typing ‘the end’ on your MS happens that much quicker.

2.     Another tip is not to self-edit when you’re writing your first draft. Even if you think your writing is complete drivel. The idea is to let the words flow while you have the inspiration, and not get bogged down with commas, and formatting, etc. That slows you down, when you’ll be editing down the track anyway. So gag and tie-up that inner editor until it’s time to edit! Then let her have her way.

3. Read! Sometimes you can get into a rut with your writing, but trust me when I say reading can help with that. Try something different to what you are writing, get a feel for other author’s writing style. I read at least 1-2 books a month, sometimes more, and it inspires me to do better! Even gives me fresh ideas!

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? What book(s) have you just finished? I mainly read erotic romance, but I’ve started to branch out into paranormal and contemporary romance. Really, any story that can capture my attention, has a good flow and a storyline that keeps me turning pages is a winner. I love to read to break up my writing.

I recently finished RAW by Bella Aurora (amazeballs!), but am now reading a paranormal romance by Max Henry called Battle to Become.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Book links:

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00IOQQECA

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IOQQECA

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IOQQECA

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/spark-spark-series-1

www.createspace.com/4661583

Author links:

Official facebook author page, www.facebook.com/jenniferryder01

Twitter: @jenniferryder01

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/eeviepaige

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/jenniferryder01

Top ten book boyfriends
Jared Ryel from the Providence Series by Jamie McGuire

Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster / Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Brayden Carmichael from On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Beau Vincent from The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Cage York from While it Lasts by Abbi Glines

Drew Evans from Tangled by Emma Chase

Rush Finlay from Fallen Too far by Abbi Glines

Elijah Cade from Welcome to Sugartown by Carmen Jenner

Nox from Willing Captive by Belle Aurora

Christian Grey from Fifty Shades by E L James

 

Five fun facts about Jennifer Ryder

  1. I got married in a little white chapel at the top of a hill on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, Australia.
  2. I can ride a dirt bike. No, seriously.
  3. My favourite cocktail is a caprioska – vodka, sugar, fresh lime… delicious!
  4. I would rather shop for books than for clothes.
  5. I once had a job a security guard, and fell asleep on the job. Luckily, no one noticed!

Excerpt

Excerpt

“Thank God I didn’t drop the towel. I would have literally died from embarrassment,” I mutter, shaking my head. We stand in such close proximity in the narrow hallway, barely clothed and dripping wet. Aidan’s tongue darts out, wetting his bottom lip, my eyes unable to move from his luscious, now wet, lips. Fuck. I step back towards my bedroom, trying to make my getaway.

Aidan raises an eyebrow, and leans up against the doorway to the bathroom. “Yeah, that would have been somethin’ else,” he says in a gravelly voice.

My eyes skim over his firm, muscular torso.

Gulp.

Ryan Gosling, eat your heart out.

“There are spare towels in the cupboard if you want to dry off. I … I need to get dressed.”

“No worries, I’ll sort it.”

“Night, Aidan,” I mutter.

“Yeah, night,” he says softly. I struggle to pull my gaze away from the longing in those dreamy eyes. Fuck, that look is doing wicked things to me. I revel in the moment briefly and then remember … yet again, that I have a boyfriend, he has a girlfriend, and I smile politely, and march into my room. I let out the loudest of sighs as my back thuds against the back of the door.

What the fuck just happened?

Did I run over a black cat? Did I royally fuck someone over in a past life? The tall, dark, handsome stranger in the very next room, has upset the basic rhythm of my heart, and has me craving things I shouldn’t … not with him. This is cruel. So very cruel

 

Author Interview Number Nine – Jamie Campbell

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.

Welcome to Jamie Campbell

Please tell us a little about yourself. I have been writing for about 6 years. I love writing anything and everything, it consumes my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am based on the Gold Coast, Australia and love using the diverse culture as inspiration.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write Young Adult Paranormal novels, usually with an element of mystery, intrigue, and romance. My latest novel “A World Without Angels” is the first in a series revolving around guardian angels and their war with demons. My next novel, “Dark Eyes: Cursed” tells the story of a fifteen year old girl determined to break the witch’s curse on her boyfriend.

Where can readers find your book?

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/World-Without-Angels-Aron-ebook/dp/B00CIX1R7W/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1368838556&sr=8-1&keywords=a+world+without+angels

How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? I’ve been writing professionally for six years. I always loved it, from the moment I could hold a pencil, I was writing something. I have always had a vivid imagination so writing was something productive that I could do with it. I started off writing adult murder mysteries (I sometimes still do) but I found myself being pulled to the younger audience. Now, I think I fit there nicely.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? Inspiration is found everywhere – things I overhear, things I see, songs I listen to. Anything can prompt a character and story to appear in front of me. I have always been inspired by J.K. Rowling’s story and her books, they take you into a wonderful world and I hope to be able to do that for my readers.

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? I get wonderful emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed my book. Every one of those is special and I treasure it. A negative one has to be if I get a not-so-good review from a reader, they are a punch to the gut. Thankfully, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? I print all my full-length novels as well. I am a lover of books, I love the way they feel in your hand, their smell, and having that tangible thing in front of you. I love e-books too, but I don’t think anything beats holding a good book. To me, they’re important for that reason.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? Yes to both. I like noise so I always have to have something on in the background. Although, I get a lot more done when I listen to music rather than watching TV.

Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? Books are stories that are played out in your mind, they are therefore unique to every single reader. A book fosters an imagination, let alone the benefits of expanding your vocabulary, your spelling, your literacy. With video games, all the work is done for you, there is no uniqueness to it. What one person sees, everyone does. 

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I am obsessed with television and truly believe the characters are real, they just live in TV land.