Author Interviews?

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Authors, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Does anyone know if authors do interviews with lowly bloggers?

I ask because I want to pick up my rusty journalism skills and start practicing again and was thinking it would be fun to be able to interview some of my favorite authors. Of course, that requires some clout, or I’m assuming it does.

I know there are bloggers out there who are well known to the publishing and writing industry. These are the bloggers who get to read the ARCs and review them for publishers. They have a highly rated blog simply by dent of having hundreds of followers, all of whom want to know about the books these people read.

I, clearly, am not one of those people. But it would be nice to find out if authors are willing to interview with a lowly blogger like myself.

Now, it’s also clear that I’m not a journalist. I studied journalism in college for a while, thinking I would double major in business and journalism and find a better job that way. But I dropped journalism shortly after starting the major, perhaps a year into it, due to personal circumstances.

However, my passion for writing has never changed, and since I can’t get a job in a newspaper or magazine at the moment, it would serve me well to keep up my skills by writing for myself and my readers. I merely thought it would be fun if that writing was about established authors and could get me noticed by a few more people in the process.

So far, I’ve contacted my favorite author twice and received one response from her. It was a personal response instead of a form letter, but as Lauren Willig has become ridiculously popular, I’m not sure I could get an interview with her, even one through email.

Other authors I’d like to interview? Ted Dekker, for one. Despite not being happy with the tacked-on ending (or beginning) to his Circle Trilogy (series?), I am curious about how that man’s mind works. His characters are so vivid that I wonder if they’re not people he knows in real life. Not to mention the worlds and situations he creates.

Off-hand, I’d also like to interview one of my earliest “adult” authors: Lori Wick. I started reading her books when I was a child, but those were the books that introduced me to the world of “adult” fiction, or rather, the world of fiction that technically should have been above my reading level. Lori Wick was always one of my favorites growing up, even though I sometimes feel she’s lost some of her touch (though part of that is due to the overwhelming amount of Christian romance fiction that permeates [read: saturates] the market today).

Aside from those three authors, I wouldn’t mind interviewing Orson Scott Card as I find his ability to make me like science fiction fascinating. Francis Chan would be awesome to interview as would Diana Gabaldon.

There are so many authors who I’d love to interview simply to understand their minds and where their inspiration comes from. The unfortunate thing is that many of the authors I’d really like to interview are already dead.

What would it be like to interview C.S. Lewis or JRR Tolkien? To sit down with William Shakespeare for a cup of tea and a chat? To walk along a field with Jane Austen, pumping her for information about Mr. Darcy? Or, if you’re like me, to watch an opera with Baroness Orczy and then stay up late at night with her, sipping whiskey (or whatever alcoholic beverage was her preference) over rousing tales of Sir Percy Blakeney?

Clearly that won’t happen. But I’d like to think that some authors out there are willing to be interviewed by poor bloggers like myself. Does that happen? I’m not entirely sure and haven’t done enough research to see if it does or not.

Who would you interview if you could? And why?

Rae

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Just a Quickie…

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Books, Manuscript Submission | Tags: |

…to encourage those of you wondering if you would ever get published.

I’m not sure how I missed it, but apparently a man submitted chapters of some of Jane Austen’s most popular novels to various agents and publishing companies back in 2007. The response? Mostly a great number of rejections.

This article highlights the story and explains that David Lassman hand typed the first two or three chapters from some of Austen’s works including the most famous, Pride and Prejudice. Lassman changed only character and place names. Of the various publishing houses he submitted to, he received no reply from several houses and varying responses along the lines of the work being original but not publishable.

Only one agent bothered to write back that he might check his copy of Austen and not plagiarize.

Honestly, you should read the article to get the full effects. I laughed when I saw just the title, and the concept is fantastic.

I’m writing this as encouragement. I know everyone always cites authors such as J.K. Rowling and Stephen King as examples of well-known authors who faced multiple rejections in their bids to be published. But the truth is, that doesn’t really encourage me.

What does encourage me is knowing that there are still amusing moments in publishing. When publishing companies don’t even recognize the opening lines of some of the books they’re currently publishing, I think it’s quite entertaining, almost enough to break out the popcorn!

So when you’re wishing that agent hadn’t rejected you or wondering if you’ll hear back from a certain publisher, just remember: at least you’re not blatantly plagiarizing the classics! (And if you are, let me know. I wanna hear about your experiences getting published!)

I know this was short, but it’s been a long day of work and cleaning. I feel rather nasty, actually, and my poor room is still a disaster zone. (They haven’t called in reinforcements cause I finally managed to make a walking path to the door.)

In any event, I hope you all got a chuckle out of this post, and let me know what you think.

-Rae-

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The Favorites Post

Posted on February 5, 2010. Filed under: Books, Classics, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, reading, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

So I’m a bit later to post today. In fact, it’s the latest I’ve posted since I started NaBloPoMo, but I think that’s okay. On a more personal note, I actually had a friend, Desteni, over today for a breakfast that extended to 2 p.m. (See the “Adventuring Solo” link on my blogroll for more info about Desteni.) To celebrate my actual social tendencies, let’s take a look at our favorites today!

Yes, this is a cop-out post because I’m struggling with blogging about anything writing or reading related; however, it does fit the theme. With no further ado, I’ll tell you a little about my favorites.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy

Favorite Book: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Wow, what a concept! I actually have a classic as my favorite? Yes, that’s right. I love the swashbuckling tale of the ever elusive, ever daft Sir Percy Blakeney and his dear, sweet wife. The Baroness’s tale became my favorite in middle school when my English teacher showed us the 1934 version of the movie. I read the book for the first time in high school and was in love.

Favorite Author: Baroness Orczy

I am on a mission to eventually read all the novels within the Pimpernel series to be quite honest. I have only found the first in print at bookstores, but will be on the lookout for others in the future. The Baroness has a true fan in me!

Favorite Genre: Too close to call

I’m eclectic, a word most people (me included) use to describe their music tastes. However, I refer to genres. I’ll read historical fiction, romances, fantasy, general, classical, and a few others. Right now it’s a toss-up between fantasy and romances.

Favorite POV: Third person omniscient

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of first person unless it’s done incredibly well. Third person is my standard, and if it’s omniscient, it’s even better. I like getting an overview of all the pertinent players instead of sticking in one person’s head.

Within the genres–

"The Hawk and the Jewel" by Lori Wick

Favorite Romance: Toss-up between The Hawk and the Jewel, The Princess, and Donovan’s Daughter all by Lori Wick

Honestly, I love a ton of romances. But these three represent three very different things to me. The Hawk and the Jewel represents my adoration for historical British fiction. The Princess represents my introduction to the romance genre. And Donovan’s Daughter represents all the good things I love in romance.

And, yes, these are all Christian romances. Perhaps I should add a Christian subcategory, but I don’t want to go into that much depth!

"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis

Favorite Fantasy: Toss-up between Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Anyone else seeing the pattern here? I don’t know about you, but I’m curious. Why do all these authors only use their first initials? Is that the mark of a good fantasy author? (If so, I’m in trouble!)

That’s beside the point. Lewis introduced me to the world of fantasy as a child. Tolkien made the fantasy come to life. And Rowling reminded me of what it is to feel childlike faith in a fantasy again. I think they offer a good mix.

"The Secret History of the Pink Carnation" by Lauren Willig

Favorite Historical Fiction: Any of the books in Lauren Willig’s series

I won’t rant and rave here. Honest. I’ll just point out that Lauren Willig not only revived my faith in authors trying to channel the classics but she also channeled the one classic I adore: The Scarlet Pimpernel. Willig’s series of bumbling, dangerous, deadly, and humorous French Revolution spy novels is lovingly coupled with the young woman who sets out in modern times to discover their secret identities.

Plainly put, I love this series of books, and I plan to write about them in due time. I just have to do them justice, which will not happen today!

Favorite Classic: Outside of The Scarlet Pimpernel, I am a Jane Austen fan.

Simply put, Austen’s classics do not bore me to tears, make me want to burn the books, fill me with despair, or leave a bad taste in my mouth. Instead, they make me smile with amusement at the antiquated wit and whimsy she writes into her tales, and I find myself feeling light and cozy. It’s the perfect pairing for a rainy day (like today).

"House" by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

Favorite Suspense/Thriller: Three by Ted Dekker and House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti

Ted Dekker knows the art of suspense. His books are chock full of it. He weaves the art of storytelling with the art of suspense-writing and creates vivid worlds where the best response I can give is to turn the next page until I’ve reached the end. Combine Dekker’s suspense with Frank Peretti’s art of addressing the supernatural, and you get chill-inducing fiction which thrills and frightens.

In conclusion…

I do believe that is quite enough of my favorites for today. I’m planning a later post with my least favorites (which will hopefully gain a more entertaining title by then), but I want to hold off on that for a while. So we’ll see how that goes.

Feel free to let me know what your favorites are! I’d love to hear about new authors that I can check out and books that you enjoy. (Come to think of it, I’ll have to make another post on my nonfiction favorites as well.) And if you have any comments about my favorites, I’d like to hear it.

-Rae-

P.S. In case you’re curious but don’t want to spend money, you can read the e-book version of The Scarlet Pimpernel here.

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The New “Pride and Prejudice”?

Posted on February 2, 2010. Filed under: Books, Classics, Fantasy, Vampire Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , |

While it might be a bit passe to write another blog about the virtues of vampire fiction, I have a slight beef with a nameless person whose comment on a local news station rankled.

To set the stage: When New Moon came out in theaters this past November, I was one of the lucky ones to be in Knoxville, TN, where two of the stars visited for a charity premiere. Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner came to one of Regal Cinemas’ theaters to help promote both the movie and the event, which was nice enough, but of course all the news stations were there to video the event.

I watched with my mom, and this was before I considered reading the novels, so I wasn’t too impressed either way by the shrieking fans. However, one such fan, a mother, was caught on film, and what she said made my blood boil.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"

“It’s wonderful! It’s amazing! It’s Pride and Prejudice!”

Let’s get one thing straight, lady. New Moon has absolutely nothing on Pride and Prejudice.

I’m all for bringing back classics and attempting to write like the classics, but honestly, has this woman ever read a classic in her life? I don’t think so. Especially after reading the novel myself.

I’ve read them both, and Jane Austen is a class act. Her writing is truly classic in the best way, and I’m a fan. Stephenie Meyer has a lot to learn.

However, I had a conversation with someone who pointed out a few interesting points about all the screaming ‘Twihard’ fans.

  • They’re young; so have they really been exposed to classics? – Sure, there are a few older women out there who have joined the throngs, but for the most part, these are young girls who have mainly fallen in love with either Edward or Jacob. Have they read some of the greats? I can’t say for sure, but if they’re comparing the Twilight Saga to Austen or the Bronte sisters (or even Shakespeare), I have to seriously wonder.
  • Meyer cheats a little: she compares her own stories to classics. – It’s not like the comparison isn’t already there. Let’s review. Twilight had a plethora of references to the Bible. The whole theme of New Moon was Bella’s inane comparison to Romeo and Juliet. And Eclipse? It was rife with excerpts and allusions to Wuthering Heights. The only one I haven’t figured out is Breaking Dawn, which is almost too convoluted to have a comparison in the first place.

So with those two points I have to conclude that perhaps that mom was just a little deluded. I’ve read the books Meyer compares her plots to. It’s been a while since I’ve read Wuthering Heights (middle school to be exact), so I’ve put it back on my reading list just to make sure my assessment is correct.

However, my opinion is set. Classics are classics for a reason. Meyer has nothing on the classics. And, yes, I still think you’ve never read a classic in your life, lady. Don’t go by the movies, either. Get the books, grab a dictionary, sit down, and read it.

Thoughts, comments, questions? Think I’m evil to have such a horrid opinion of the Twilight Saga? Let me know.

-Rae-

P.S. New Moon has been nominated for four Razzies this year including “Worst Supporting Actor” (Robert Pattinson), “Worst Screen Couple” (The threesome), “Worst Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel,” and “Worst Screenplay.” Interesting, isn’t it?

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