Deirdra:What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Bettina: I think I'll always love the Young Adult, or YA, fiction novel. Sometimes I'll find a good biography or non-fiction book to read, but fiction is what you'll most likely find me reading. Teen/YA fiction has some of the most exciting and inventive stories out there!
Deirdra:How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Bettina: I can safely say that in the last 5 years, my average has been roughly 80 books a year. My best reading year was "The Great 2008", when I read 115 books. If only I'd known about blogging that year! In my first year of blogging, 2009, I read 105 books. Since then, I've read less and less per year. I still have a healthy appetite for good stories. I'm just a little more picky now.
Deirdra:What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Bettina: I actually finished 2 books in quick succession recently: "The Final Warning" and "Max", the 4th and 5th books (respectively) in the Maximum Ride series, by James Patterson. The series is about a genetically modified teenage girl named Max who is 98% human and 2% bird, which means she has wings and can actually fly. She and 5 other bird-kids, her "flock", have all kinds of adventures that mostly involve fighting/running away from mad scientists who want to keep experimenting on them. Oh yeah, and people keep telling her she's supposed to save the world. No pressure. She's a very tough and rebellious character, but she loves her flock and will do anything to keep them safe. In both books I've just read, the kids start acquiring new random powers and team up with some good scientists to combat global warming.
Deirdra:What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Bettina: This isn't just for authors, but for people who make movies, or tell stories in general. I get annoyed when the main character(s) seem too perfect. I like my protagonist with a couple of flaws, so he/she is more human and easy to relate to. Also, I'm disappointed when I can clearly predict what's going to happen next in the story. I like being surprised, and having things take unexpected turns. As a rule, I try not to read books or see movies that disappoint me, so thankfully this doesn't happen for me a lot.
Deirdra:Who are your top five favorite authors?
1: J.K. Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter series (as if anyone needs to be told who she is!)
2: D.J. MacHale, who wrote the awesome Pendragon series and is in the process of writing the thrilling Morpheus Road series.
3: James Patterson, who I love for his Maximum Ride series, but he's written lots of other books for teens and adults that I really enjoy.
4: Dr. Seuss, whose children's books STILL hold up for me as good reading after many years.
Last, but most certainly not least, 5: James Dashner, author of the 13th Reality series as well as the Maze Runner trilogy. He also writes posts on the Dashner Dude, which is actually the blog that got me into blogging in the first place. Almost 2 years ago I won an ARC (advanced reader's copy) of his book in a contest he held on his blog, so that puts him even higher in my favor. He's the author I most hope to meet someday.
Deirdra:How do you feel about e-books?
Bettina: Well, I haven't tried using an e-reader yet. I'd sure like to. For now, though, I think I much prefer reading real books. Just having the weight of it in my lap/hands, and being able to turn physical pages, is a nice, reassuring feeling. Then again... with e-books we wouldn't need to chop down trees to make paper, or need space for storing thick, dusty tomes on our shelves. Still, I consider myself old-fashioned. Give me the real thing.
Deirdra:If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Bettina: If I'm familiar with the author and enjoy his/her work, then I would love to meet him/her! I'd ask for tips on writing as well as advice on how to get published. If I don't know the author at all, I say keep up the good work. I want to be just like you.
Deirdra:Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Bettina: Yes! I've thought about it a lot. I got bit by the writing bug when I was 14, after I read The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. For years I tried to craft a story about my own fictional world, filled with magic and talking animals, but in the last year or 2 I've decided to move on to better, more original ideas. Now I write poetry and short stories.
Deirdra:What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Bettina: I love to sing. I'm not afraid to belt out my favorites in a karaoke place. I like the theater, and have been in a few community talent shows and plays, like South Pacific and High School Musical. I'm an active member of Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that educates people on public speaking as well as leadership skills. I'm also a very computer savvy person, and know lots of programming languages and disciplines.
Deirdra:Where is your favorite place to read?
Bettina: Either at home, curled up in my bed or on a couch, or at the beach, with waves crashing in the background and the smell of a salty breeze. I also like reading graphic novels in a library or bookstore, because I can read through those really fast, and I like the feeling of being surrounded by many, many books. All those stories, all that knowledge, in one place.
Deirdra:Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Bettina: Hmm. I don't often think about what I'm eating when I read. I'm usually too engrossed in my book. Perhaps a sandwich, or some fruit.
Deirdra:What books have made you cry?
Bettina: It takes a lot to get me to cry over something I've read. But I remember that the 7th Harry Potter book did just that. The last installment of a much beloved series. I read it together with my brother and sister, and during the last few chapters (especially the epilogue), I did shed a few tears. I also remember crying a little bit when I read Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. Besides that, I'm not much of a crier.
Deirdra:What books have made you laugh?
Bettina: I don't recall any books that have made me laugh recently, at least not out loud. I like reading funny books, but usually I'll just grin appreciatively at the joke or funny thing, and not actually laugh. Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, which contains 6 books (haha, try figuring that one out!), writes some hilarious stuff. Oh, I also like to laugh at how-to books that have spelling mistakes in them. It's sad, but pretty laughable.
Deirdra:What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Bettina: Well, I'd like to finish the Maximum Ride series, which I'm sure will be very satisfying. My siblings and I might reread the 2nd half of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" for kicks, since the film's coming out in just a couple of weeks. Then I have the second Morpheus Road book coming in from the library soon, so I hope to tackle that. After that... your guess is as good as mine. If you can recommend any YA books that I haven't already reviewed on my blog, I'm open to suggestions.
Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Bettina: For those who love to read, if/when you have young children, teach them how to read earlier than when you first learned to read. Teach them very early, well before they start school, like when they're babies! Fill your kids with a love of reading and learning that will last them their whole lives. It's the greatest gift in the world you can give them.