First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to your blog! And what a lovely blog it is! It’s very well designed, and your articles are very interesting. Last but not least, I really like the fact that you have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere on the blog. I’m very happy to be here!
Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Maria: I have very eclectic tastes, both in fiction and nonfiction.
My favorite fiction genres include fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, classics, literary fiction, urban fantasy, Christian fiction, historical romance, and contemporary romance. I totally dislike the horror genre (a Stephen King fan I’m definitely not!), and the only mysteries I enjoy are the ones featuring Sherlock Holmes. I also dislike erotica, and am totally appalled by the current furor over Fifty Shades of Grey! Disgusting!
My favorite nonfiction genres include psychology, theology, philosophy, art criticism, poetry, and literary criticism. I don’t review much nonfiction on my blog, though, because I don’t think blog readers are as interested in nonfiction as they are in fiction. I do review such books, just not that often. I’ve tried reviewing nonfiction books on a separate nonfiction blog, but really don’t have the time for a second blog, so I’m giving it up.
Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Maria: Sadly, not that many. My reading time is pretty limited because I have two jobs…. I wish I could drop at least my night job, but I do need the money. Now that I have my blog, I have even less time to read, paradoxically enough! I do try to get in as much reading as I can, though, so I guess I’ll have to say anywhere from 30 to 40 books a year, which isn’t much, I know…
Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Maria: My most recent read was a paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel, titled Midnight Reckoning, written by Kendra Leigh Castle, a new paranormal author. It tells the story of a vampire, named Jaden Harrison, who falls in love with a werewolf named Lyra Black. Theirs is a forbidden love, because vampires and werewolves normally don’t mix. It’s a very sweet, romantic story, too. Jaden is a wonderfully tender man, and both he and Lyra are also very idealistic. For her part, Lyra is a very spirited woman, but is also very devoted to Jaden. This is not a horror novel, in spite of the type of characters involved. Paranormal romance is actually a great genre to read, although some authors do get a little carried away with the foul language and the very graphic sex scenes. I do my best to stay away from those, of course. This particular novel has some foul language, but not to the point where I’d have stopped reading it. The love scenes were beautiful and not that graphic. This was just a very powerful, wonderful love story! I really enjoyed it!
Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Maria: I have two pet peeves in this area.
First, I hate reading a poorly-edited book. Unfortunately, indie authors are notorious for this. If I were to write a book, I’d make very, very sure it was properly edited. I hate reading a book and getting involved in the story, only to be constantly taken out of it by grammatical errors and poor syntax. This just ruins the reading experience for me!
Second, I hate it when authors kill off a major character, especially when they do it because it’s the easiest way for them to solve a problem created by their plot. I was so disappointed when a young adult writer did this in a book I was reading not that long ago. I won’t name the author, but I will say that the problem the author ‘solved’ was a love triangle in the plot. This writer killed off one of the members of the love triangle. That totally spoiled the book for me!
Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Maria: Oh, my gosh!! I don’t think I can limit myself to just five. Well, I would have to mention Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charlotte Bronte, Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Hermann Hesse, Charles de Lint, Thomas Hardy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Lauren Kate, Mary Balogh, Andrea Cremer, Lewis Carroll, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and Lisa Bergren. And this is just for starters!!
Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Maria: I’m so glad you asked this! Now I can tell your readers just how much I hate them!! Lol. I refuse to read them. I also refuse to buy either a Kindle or a Nook! Yes, I know all the arguments about convenience, and my printed books are indeed threatening to run over the house. I still prefer them!! I love to turn pages. I love to feel the covers, and hold the books in my hands. So, no ebooks for me! In case someone should point out that I do read blog posts, I’ll answer that I don’t mind that at all. But reading an entire book on a machine is a totally different matter.
Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Maria: The most important message I would give them, in light of my previous answer, is this: “If you must publish your books in digital format, please make them available in printed format, as well. Book lovers that detest ebooks (like me!) will really appreciate it if you have printed copies of your works available, as well!”
Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Maria: Oh, definitely! I’ve actually written some fan fiction, which you can view on my blog. I did start a fantasy novel some time ago, but sort of lost steam after the first chapter. I’d like to continue with it, but something stops me. That something is the possibility of having to go through tons of rejection letters from prospective publishers. But I guess I should take inspiration from Stephenie Meyer. After all, her first novel, Twilight, was rejected by several publishers. I’ll bet they’ve been pulling out their hair ever since Steph hit it big!! Ha, ha!! So I’ll go back to this first chapter, and go on from there. Hopefully, I’ll make publishers pull out their hair, too, after my book starts selling big! Lol.
Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Maria: Well, I was an art major in college, although I haven’t done much with that. Again, fear of rejection… I haven’t done any artwork in a very long time. On the other hand, my love for art is very visible on my blog, which I have designed myself. The template and background are the work of Josh Peterson and “merrymoonmary”, who are Blogger designers, but I’ve customized their designs, thus making my blog unique.
As you know from my answer to the previous question, I enjoy writing. I’ve written some poetry, too, by the way.
Other talents…well, I love photography, but would only do it if I had access to a darkroom, so I could print my own pictures. I don’t, unfortunately…I had a couple of photography classes in college, and enjoyed them immensely!
When I get around to learning PhotoShop, I’ll be able to create digital art. I’d love to combine it with the use of traditional media, such as painting and drawing.
Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Maria: I guess I would have to say in my husband’s special recliner, which he needs because he has a bad back. I use it when he goes into the bedroom to rest out his back. I wish I had a cozy little corner, but there are none in our apartment.
Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Maria: Actually, no. I can’t read and eat at the same time. I am unable to concentrate on the book if I do that. When I read, I want to get so immersed in the book, that I’ll forget everything around me!
Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Maria: I don’t think I have room here to mention them all! The thing is, there are two kinds of crying: “sad crying”, and “happy crying”.
One book that made me cry sad tears was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I loved the book, though! I couldn’t get through The Diary of Anne Frank because every other page made me cry. Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities also comes to mind, as does Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Crime and Punishment.. I couldn’t finish book six of the Harry Potter series because of the death of a beloved major character…in fact, I haven’t been able to go back and finish the book, and this was more than a year ago! I haven’t read the last book, either.
As for happy tears, the first ones that come to mind are the books of The Twilight Saga. I love, love, love, love these books!! Two others that come to mind are Sunshine and Shadow, by Sharon and Tom Curtis (husband and wife), and Night Magic, by Charlotte Vale Allen.
Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Maria: Hmmm….I’m sure there must be several, but I can’t think of any at the moment…I’ve heard that Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious (as are all of his books), but I’ve never read it.
Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Maria: Oh, I have so many!! Of course, I intend to keep reading my favorite genres. As for actual titles, here are some: Rapture, by Lauren Kate, Dark Kiss, by Michelle Rowen, Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury, the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare, 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, by Gershom Scholem, Passions of the Mind, by A.S. Byatt, Possession, also by Byatt, Time, Space, and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality, by Tarthang Tulku, and The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Vladimir Lossky.
Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Maria: I would simply like to say that books are the world’s greatest treasures – printed books especially. I would encourage all readers to make every effort possible to make sure they never become obsolete!
Deirdra, thank you so much for interviewing me! I’ve greatly enjoyed answering your questions, and hope that you and your readers will also enjoy reading my answers! Happy Reading To All!!!!