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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Shameless About A Few Of My Favorite Things

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I have a wee bit of news before I get into the meat of my post for the day.

First, I have to thank Stacy of The Cat’s Meow for sending me Alice I Have Been. I follow Stacy’s blog, and through that, I won a copy of this book by Melanie Benjamin. Benjamin’s debut novel tells the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Carroll was a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and he shows up as a character in Benjamin’s book. Ironically enough, Melanie Benjamin is also a pseudonym for author Melanie Hauser, who has written two contemporary novels.

Because I’ve never actually read Carroll’s classic, I went out and bought it today. So now I own my own copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I plan to begin reading it tonight.

That said, I finished reading Kathy Tyers’ Crown of Fire tonight, so I’m officially done with that particular series. It’s lovely and well done, but I believe I’ve had my fill of sci-fi for a while. Although I have learned that I tend to increase my book list by two books for each book I finish reading. That, of course, means I won’t be finishing my book list anytime soon. I believe it’s numbering upwards of 40 books now. Granted, I’ve read some, but still–it’s a little excessive to have that many books piled up against the wall of your bedroom.

All right, onto something more interesting!

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

I’m a romance fan. I have been ever since I read my first romance novel back in middle school. Not that I was really emotionally ready for an actual romance novel back then, but my hormones being what they were, I felt like I could take on the world. So I ditched my childish stories that wouldn’t even classify as YA or teen novels in today’s bookstores and began searching for something more along my reading level.

I found Lori Wick. To elaborate, I was searching through my church’s library for some new material because the church library doubled as a school library for the private Christian academy I attended. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be writing a book report (those were the days!) on a book of my choice, so I began looking through the library for something interesting to read. It might have been seventh or eighth grade, but I was attracted to the adult books.

The book I picked was a standalone book of Wick’s titled The Princess, a heartwarming tale of a couple set in a country very much like the United States or England but very much a made-up country. Let me clarify that by saying that this was not anything like sci-fi or fantasy. Wick just chose to create her own country that could have been an island nation set off from the Western United States. In fact, her character mentions visiting New York on a school trip, so perhaps it’s set to the east. Either way, it’s a ‘what-if’ type of story.

Pendaran is a humble kingdom where the prince or princess is required to marry before he or she can assume the throne. There is, of course, a cut-off date for marriage; in this particular story, Prince Nikolai is a widower, having lost his wife two years after marrying her. He mourns her several years after her death.

Unfortunately for Nikolai, the time is rapidly approaching for the fated birthday by which he must be married. Unwilling to go searching for a princess of his own, Nikolai entrusts the task of finding a suitable woman to his parents. They make a request of a good friend to send out feelers among his own web of friends, and lo and behold, they find Shelby Parker.

The daughter of a deaf father and a very capable mother, Shelby knows sign language and regularly translates for her father, who gives motivational speeches about disabilities. Shelby has one brother who is in college, graduated with a nursing degree, leads a ladies’ Bible study, and is an all-around sweetheart.

Running out of time and unable to pursue the topic under any normal circumstances, the king and queen make a decision to approach Shelby directly. After a bit of time and a few letters pass between Shelby and Nikolai, Shelby decides to accept this unusual proposal of marriage. In a very quiet ceremony, the two wed, and Shelby begins a totally new life as princess of Pendaran.

Meanwhile Nikolai, overwhelmed by his grief and the newness of another woman, retreats in the only way he knows how: by making himself unavailable and taking on added appointments to his already busy schedule. The result? A comic moment in the kitchen of the couple’s suite in the palace a few weeks after their marriage.

When he doesn’t even recognize his own wife dining in the kitchen, Nikolai realizes his own grief has driven him too far from someone he should be making an effort with. Thus, he begins attempting to court his lovely, red-headed wife, whose innocence is both touching and refreshing.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but Shelby and Nikolai suffer their fair share of heartache and tragedy before realizing that love can transcend loss and lack of trust.

After having read quite a few romances in my day, I’ll admit it’s the picture-perfect formulaic romance. It follows the regular pattern from a Christian point of view, but it was the first romance novel I ever read, and as such, I have a certain fondness for the book. I’ve read it multiple times over the years, and I’ll probably read it again.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I know this is the happy ending story, but I usually pick up The Princess when I’m feeling a little down and don’t want to read anything new. I crave the comfort of an old friend, and this is, indeed, an old friend.

What about you? Do you have any old friend books you return to time and time again for comfort or escape? Does it change depending on your mood? I know mine certainly does. Let me know what you think. And, of course, I don’t mind if you disagree with me on The Princess; it is, after all, targeted to a rather limited audience!

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Quotable

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: Historical Fiction, Musings, Romance | Tags: , , , , , |

I just finished watching the 1934 production of The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Leslie Howard. I only realized after watching it that Leslie Howard also starred in my favorite movie: Gone With The Wind. He played the role of Ashley Wilkes in that particular movie, which works well for his rather effeminate appearance and mild-mannered temperament. Those same attributes made him a dead ringer for Sir Percy in the Pimpernel film.

It strikes me as interesting that my favorite book would actually be a script. Technically speaking Orczy wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel as a play first before writing the novel. And if I’m recalling correctly, the play was produced on stage before it was set into the annals of classical novels.

But, of course, this isn’t the big point of the day. The title of this post is to refer to one of my favorite things. I tend to quote movies; it’s a habit I picked up as a kid, and since it was a simple thing for me to pick some lines from movies to use later, I developed the knack for it. Typically speaking, I’ll pick up at least one quote from any movie I see.

Oddly, enough, though I don’t generally pick up quotes from books. I’m not sure if it’s the difference between hearing and seeing or if there are just too many things I might want to pick out of books to quote at later dates. Either way, I generally don’t remember quotes from books.

That’s why I like The Scarlet Pimpernel.

The movie version incorporates my favorite quote from the book. I was reminded of it as I watched today. Sir Percy, dimwitted as he is, has a habit of being the most inane character you could meet. Due to the rising curiosity of Londoners towards discovering the elusive Pimpernel’s identity, Sir Percy has written a small ditty that he uses to both charm the ladies and annoy the French ambassador.

It goes a little something like this: “They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he in heaven? Is he in hell? That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.”

I always thought that a rather clever little line. It seems trite and silly just reading it in this context, but in the context of Sir Percy the Pimpernel using it to taunt the French? It’s quite brilliant.

As I was thinking about other quotes from movies and books, I was caught by one more book quote. It’s from one of my favorite authors, Lori Wick. Normally I’d remember plots and locations (not to mention names) from her stories. But this one took me off-guard.

It’s from her book Pretense, which is by far the longest book she’s written to date. It’s also one of the more interesting as it follows the love story of a mother and then those of her two daughters. I’ve always been attracted to this particular book and have read it several times now simply because of the two daughters.

Marrell Bishop has daughters that are a year apart in age. The oldest, Mackenzie Rose Bishop, grows up to join the Army. She’s rejected everything concerning God and wants nothing to do with the God her mother used to despise. Her younger sister, Delancey Joy Bishop, hasn’t got the same qualms as her older sister, but she doesn’t see a need for God and goes off to art school.

As this is probably at least 400 pages in length, I’ll shorten the plot and say that Mackenzie becomes an author, my biggest dream, while her sister becomes an illustrator. Together they write two different series of children’s books that become bestsellers. The sisters change and grow, and of course, they have their own set of romantic entanglements.

At one point, after various struggles and hardships, Mackenzie is visiting her step-father and his new wife for lunch one Sunday afternoon. She went to their church and wore a very nice blazer and met the son of her step-father’s wife. After being invited over for lunch, she runs home to change and shows up in jeans and a sweatshirt, curls up on the couch, and lounges with Jackson, her step-father, and Tucker, his step-son.

Without seeming to notice them near her, she mutters softly, “Roughing the kicker,” scuffing her foot against the couch.

It’s something I remember for a couple reasons. One: the first time I read it, I had no idea what she meant by that statement. You can imagine my confusion. Two: the whole scene is actually a very sweet portrait of the family Mackenzie’s been ignoring for years and comes home to. It’s one of my favorite scenes in that book. And three: it’s the beginning of Mac’s romance.

Why do I remember that particular quote? I have no idea. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with other book quotes, but all I have on recall are quotes from my favorite movies.

Either way, I’ve read quite a few quotable books. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the best quotes. But there’s something about a book that’s quotable that makes me want to reread it. Thus, things like Harry Potter, which I just glanced at and remembered a quote from the lovable Dumbledore, have become part of my rereads group.

(Said Dumbledore quote, that most people will know, is the following: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Granted, it’s also quoted in the movie, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I remember it more.)

Do you have any favorite book quotes? Honestly, probably some of the best books I have to quote are non-fiction, but like I said, there are quite a few fiction novels that could be quoted for various reasons.

Anyway, I thought that was an interesting concept: remembering movie quotes but not having recall for novel ones.

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know.

-Rae-

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Travelocity: Acceleration by Fiction

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | Tags: , , , , |

Here’s my Short Sunday Blurb followed closely by my Regular Daily Post.

In church this morning, we sang a rather beautiful song that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of the lines of the song stood out to me, though, and it paints an incredible picture of what I believe.

“Love has paved the way for grace.”

It’s simple. Short. Think about it. Isn’t it true in your own life? And couldn’t it be true for others as well? Love is such a selfless action when you get right down to the nitty-gritty details of it that the only way for it not to open itself up to other things like forgiveness, generosity, and grace is for it not to truly be love.

Personally, my life has been changed by love, and I want to share it with everyone else, but here is not the place. I simply wanted to share that little line and see what you thought of it. Does it make you smile like it does me?

Okay, onto the Regular Daily Post!

In keeping with my post yesterday, I thought I’d elaborate a bit on my desire to travel. I think I accurately titled today’s post because it’s true: my love of travel and desire to see the world was only accelerated by my love of fiction.

It doesn’t make an incredible amount of sense to me now, but my historical fiction debut into the Holocaust was followed swiftly by a foray into what is one of my favorite ‘eras’ of historical fiction: Victorian and pre-Victorian fiction set in the merry old land of England.

It started easily enough with reading things by Lori Wick, specifically her Kensington Chronicles series. Through this series, I began reading a lot of the history behind England and her monarchs, and I learned to love the ages of long dresses, satin slippers, and horse-drawn carriages.

This is a fairly large jump from reading about the Holocaust, but at the very least, I was still reading about Europe at large. And I grew to adore the idea of high England with her monarchs and politicians bound by the dream of defending the realm, her Eurocentrism, her conquering nature, and her dukes and duchesses.

It all fascinated me in middle school because it was so far removed from everything that we have here in the United States. Monarchs and duchies, kings and queens, duels and quips – these things all brought out that childlike joy that can only come from meeting a new fantasy.

If I had my way, I’d travel all of Europe, but I’d linger especially long in the United Kingdom. Even more so than in Germany, I want to explore the halls that kings tread upon, see the castles built to serve as bastions of strength during troubled times, explore the countryside where young ladies grew up before debuting in London, and visit those hallowed halls where the ton spread rumors, coquettishly flirted, and made advantageous matches.

The great thing about visiting the United Kingdom? Getting lost in a country where I speak the language. Even if the accents are different, I’m sure with a bit of patience I could understand and gain directions to wherever I needed to go.

I will have to write another post about finding fictional aspirations through places I’ve traveled, though. Despite the fact I haven’t yet made it to England or past an airport in Germany, I have visited other parts of the world where I found literary inspirations.

In the meantime, I’m still reading my fabulous Lauren Willig books and wondering about something.

Akismet caught another spam comment, which I managed to check out in my filter. Has anyone heard of Drakz? I’m not really sure what it is, but the comment that was posted to my blog has some sort of tag back to the website (first of all, the comment made no sense). I clicked on the tag and realized part of my blog yesterday had been posted to this website with a “read more” function that brings the reader to my actual blog.

Should I be concerned? I have no clue. The original re-post is here, and the main US news site is here. I can’t find an “About” page for the website, so I don’t know whether to be flattered my blog warranted re-posting or annoyed someone didn’t do much more than leave a very confusing comment on my post about it. Any thoughts? I’d appreciate some insight!

Happy Valentine’s Day (or whatever holiday you’re celebrating today)!

-Rae-

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