Welcome to part one in my reader series! Author interviews are everywhere but what you rarely see are reader interviews and for an author those can be really important. What do readers like, what drives them away, how do you pull them in… and then keep them?
Today’s reader is very special to me. Dee is an inspiration and one of the driving forces behind my hobby of a reader and my career as a writer. She originally hails from Southern California, the land of sunshine and movie stars, but now spends more time tromping through the snow and storms on the East Coast. Her house is tucked full of books that she, her husband, and teenage son enjoy on a daily basis. She reads over one hundred books a year and shows no sign of slowing down.
She was generous and sat down with me on one of her recent trip to Washington and we sipped sangria and chat about all things literary.
Q: What genres do you read?
Dee: I like fiction. As far as genre, I will read anything except horror. Sometimes the mood calls for a good Harlequin. Depends on the mood, depends on the author, but they are not for everybody.
Q: What makes you pick up a book? What would make you pick it up if it were outside your standard genre?
Dee: I have my favorite authors and it doesn’t matter what it is, I will read it if it’s by that author. As far as new things, the nook, or ebooks is really good for finding free or .99$ books that maybe just the synopsis sounds really cool, or if another author has recommended them. I will try new authors based on price and recommendations, that way if it’s not my thing I haven't invested a lot, and with it on ebook I don’t have to worry about it. A lot of the mysteries and romances that I read, the authors will write short stories in anthologies and I will find a lesser known author that will write with them and read their stuff. That helps me find new authors.
I will never read a book based off of the cover itself
Q: Do you judge a book by its cover?
Dee: I will never read a book based off of the cover itself, because with the kinds of things that I read, a lot of books will have the same or similar covers. A lot of times the cover will have nothing to do with the content of the book, and I don’t like to judge it that way anyway.
Q: What pulls you out of a book, breaks the suspension of disbelief, etc. What makes you put a book down and how often.
Dee: It’s very rare that I will not finish a book once I’ve picked it up. The one thing that makes me put down a book is stupid women. If the heroine is dumb and wishy-washy or a doormat I won’t get into it. If the protagonist is weak and wishy-washy, both male or female, it doesn’t matter. When I read a book I want them to be heroic, I want them to have morals and values and character depth. I might finish the book, but I won’t get into it or relate to it.
better, or what I expect them to be. If it’s a new author, sometimes I’ll read a little bit more. Sometimes I’ll skim and I’ll cut out pieces and try to get through it faster to see if it has more depth. A story that has no depth or character development will make me put it down.
Q: How often do you read? What gets in the way of your reading?
Dee: My goal was 175 books last year and I didn’t make it, I think I hit 165 but I broke my goal multiple times and kept moving it forward. This year I’m already at 56 books, that’s 32% of my goal at 175. So that’s how often I read, I basically read every single day. To reach 175 I read 14-15 books a month and those are full sized stories. I can get through a 350 page book in two days, but I read every single night. The only thing that keeps me from reading is if I have a function or something and I can’t be home to read before I go to sleep. That’s basically all that keeps me from it.
Q: What is your go to book on a rainy day? The perfect book you always have with your or you’ve read multiple times.
Dee: Mary Stewart, This Rough Magic. That is the book that stays next to my bed. I’ve read it probably twenty, thirty times since I was fourteen years old.
Q: Where do you get your books and if you bulk buy, what’s your desired format?
Dee: Well, here’s the deal, I have specific authors that still publish in hardback and I will always get their hardback when they come out. There are other author who I have multiple copies because I want them in every cover, there are only a few of those though, and it depends on the book. I will read ebooks, but I will not read my favorite authors in ebooks because I want their books on my shelves. Ebooks I reserve for those new authors, or what I call my filler authors. They are ones that I like, but I am not as dedicated to them. They are the ones that fill in the gaps between the other authors I like and have read everything that they have written and it’s six months before they publish anything new. My filler authors, if I see their paperbacks I’ll read them, if they happen to have a hardback I might pick them up, but I tend to read them as ebooks. My good authors I have to have the hardbacks.