This week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week and festivities include today’s blogger interview swap, in which we were paired with another book loving blogger and (surprise!) interview one another. My interview partner is Nicole Zoltack is a medieval fantasy romance author, book reviewer for Long and Short of It Reviews and reviewer and editor for Dark Diva Reviews. (She’s posted her interview of me here.)
Nicole and I had never bumped into each other before; despite that, she was game to answer even the tough questions — including somethings you may have wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. *wink*
Please share a childhood memory that captures your joy of reading.
One book that I read repeatedly was called Tiffany the Disaster. I loved the title character. She was so pretty and got into a lot of trouble. Nothing seemed to faze her! I loved her so much that for awhile, in all my stories, the main female character’s name was Tiffany. You might think that means that if/when I have a little girl that I’ll name her Tiffany but no. I’m all Tiffany-ed out! But I’ll be sure to read her the story.
Nicole, has any adult situation compared to that first ‘falling in love’ with reading you experienced as a child?
Nothing truly compares to that first ‘falling in love with reading’ moment. I read as much as time allowed when I was a child. Now, with the responsibilities of being an adult, I don’t have anywhere near the amount of free time that I had to devote to reading. The best part of growing up and being a reader is that now that I’m an adult, I don’t get the faces from going to read the classics or other more adult books that I used to receive when I was younger. I love being able to read whatever book strikes my fancy, regardless of the subject matter or the genre. And I have more money to spend on books than I did as a child. So it balances itself out.
Has being an author changed your relationship with books? Do you view book reviews differently? Are you more critical when reading? Have your reading tastes changed?
Being an author has definitely changed by relationship with books. I often have to turn off my internal editor button so that I can enjoy what I’m reading instead of thinking, too much back story or too passive or too many adverbs. I am able to look at books at a different level, as a reader or as a writer. I can learn more from reading than I did before, what works, what doesn’t, how to incorporate back story into the story instead of just dumping information. I am definitely more critical but I still love to read and always will. My reading tastes haven’t changed as I’ll read anything. As for book reviews, I appreciate them more now as an author than when I was just a reader. I understand how much a review means to the author and since I am a reviewer myself, I look to other reviews when I want to buy another book.
Do you think the increase in popularity of romance & fantasy fiction, especially historical varieties, is symptomatic of a deeper desire to escape “today” and the stress in our lives?
I would agree that many people today want to escape from their problems in today’s world and turn to reading as an outlet and that’s reading in general, of any genre although romance is the biggest seller out of all the genres. Last year, romance fiction generated $1.37 billion in sales. When people need a break from stress, they need to find an outlet for that stress. What better way than to bury their nose in a book? Yes, the stories may have a fairy tale ending but an uplifting ending can make the reader happy and hopeful.
Some say that as a culture we’ve become delusional, dependent, upon the notion of romance & romantic fantasies in general (not specifically the genre of books, but other media, such as films); these people blame such fantasies for contributing to the high divorce rate. Not to make you the defender of all in your genre, but do you think there’s any truth to that? Why or why not?
This is a difficult question to answer and I’ll do my best.
I love romances. Obviously, or else I wouldn’t write them.
All forms of the media, from romance novels to movies to television, give the public a skewed idea and representation of love and relationships. Love is always idealized, prefect, pure.
It’s important for readers to keep from having unrealistic expectations concerning love and relationships. Books and movies are not like real life; we read or watch them to escape the real world. We read and see a fantasy. It’s fun and wonderful to read about Prince Charming but your boyfriend or husband is going to burp and do other things you really wished he wouldn’t. He’s not going to be romantic all the time. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you or that you aren’t in a good relationship.
You can’t sit around and wait for a prince to rescue you and whisk you away on a white horse. It isn’t going to happen, and you’ll experience heartbreak after heartbreak. No one is the perfect romance hero. But that doesn’t mean that you should just settle either. Wait for someone that makes you happy, not just warm and fuzzy inside. The warm fuzzes disappear after your hormones die down. Real relationships will have ups and downs and need communication, compromise, and hard work. Anything that’s worth having is worth fighting for.
You have to keep your expectations realistic. Hollywood and romance novels should an unrealistic ideal. But you can still have love and experience it. Only in a different fashion.
So people can enjoy the romantic ideal that is portrayal in movies and books so long as when the movie is over or they’ve finished the book, they know that their love not going to be as simple or easy as it was portrayed.
Just so you know, I think any subject/activity/food is fine; delusions, addictions, etc., whether chocolate, porn, or book genres, are a matter of moderation &/or mental state! But for those who eschew romance novels, give us a list of “classic romance fantasy” titles people should read before they form or state an opinion about the genre.
1. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
2. Anything by Tamora Pierce, especially her Lioness Quartet
3. Anything by Mercedes Lackey
4. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Anything you’d like to add, Nicole?
If you think you might like a book, pick it up and read it. What do you have to lose? And who knows, it just might become your favorite book.
When Nicole isn’t working on Knight of Glory, Book II in the Kingdom of Arnhem series and sequel to Woman of Honor, she spends time with her husband and adorable little son. Her love of everything medieval led to her having a Renaissance wedding and a ever-growing sword collection.
I’d also like to take a moment to alert BBAW folk to my New Vintage Reviews Carnival; if/when you review “old” books, please submit them to the carnival!