Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 Armchair BEA Interview with Jenn

This interview was given by Jenn to Chey at The Chey Show for Armchair BEA 2011

You work with three other people on your blog. How did this start? Have you all known each other for very long? Do you ever disagree on reviews or posts?

What a perfect question ...and it's an unusual story.

Once upon a time there was a TV show called ALIAS. I was obsessed. So much so that I decided to seek out an online support group. There a small dedicated group of followers discussed the show, theories, our love of books, and our lives. We soon became a close knit group of friends who had never met. When the show and discussion board folded, a steadfast group of us remained friends via email.

Then in 2007 Lisa (NYC) mentioned that she wanted to start a book blog and asked if any of us were interested in participating. Julie (Chicago) and I (Buffalo) hopped on board at once and Alice (Jersey) joined us this past year.

I finally met Lisa a little over three and a half years ago, when she had a brief layover in Buffalo. She's incredibly busy right now and I miss her. I met Alice this year and had a great chat, like old friends, over coffee. However, to this day, Julie and I have never met face to face, though I consider her a close friend. We've talked on the phone, sent emails, texted... One of these days we will meet.

As for disagreements, we're all still friends because we're fairly congenial online communicators ...though every once in a while I forget to think before I type (usually due to a lack of coffee).

Do you and your partners ever make two reviews about the same book because more than one of you wants to read it? What do you do if more than one person wants to read the same book?

If we aren't reading them at the same time, we will do two separate reviews. If I'm the second reader I try not to read our other review before I write mine so as not to be influenced, but I'll read it before I post and add references. Plus, there will always be a link to the other blogger's review.

If we are close to reading them at the same time we do a group review, which are actually some of my favorite reviews to do. I think some of our best reviews are when we completely disagree about a book (like Alice & I regarding Hunger Games).

Do you hold a firm stance when it comes to blogging every day no matter what, or do you only post when you have something really worth sharing?

It's lucky there are four of us, because otherwise we'd have folded long ago. We post as often as we're able. There are some weeks or months when one of us won't have time to read and blog, but there are always three other bloggers to pick up the slack.

Lately, we've been really productive in the reading and blogging department. Our best problem is having to work out a posting schedule because we have too much content.

I see that you give away several books and hold a lot of author interviews. How often would you say you contact authors for interviews, giveaways, or other things of that nature? Do they contact you? Have you ever formed a close relationship with any of them?

Though some of our interviews are arranged though publicists or publishers, a growing number are those we've arranged ourselves. If an author we're reading is accessible, we contact them. Most authors love an opportunity to publicize their books. Occasionally an author will contact us to send us books too. I received one of my new favorite YA series that way.

I would love to say that I have a bunch of authors as my 'best-ies', but as often as I communicate with some of them, I still get giddy when they respond.

What is the book that made you fall in love with books? If you don't have one, how did your passion for books begin?

Growing up, there weren't a lot of kids my age in my neighborhood. I remember starting to learn to read and how enthralled I was with the fact that I could disappear into stories all by myself. When I'd gone through all the books in the children's section of my local library, the librarian started to save the new arrivals for me and ask me my opinion of them when I returned them. Apparently, I've been reviewing books for a long time.

When I was young my mother would read Trixie Belden mysteries to me. I think we read almost the entire series together. From there I moved on to the Nancy Drew Case Files on my own. But the first book I ever really connected with on a personal level was Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock. I truly understood Polly and her plight. I will re-read it usually once a year. I also fell in love with the magical realism in DWJ's writing and I have adored her books, and magical realism, ever since.

Do you finish every book you read, or do you put it down if you don't like it?

A few years ago, I would have been able to say yes. Even if I had to put it down and come back to it, I'd always finish it. But that's when I was selecting my own books. In the past few years, however, I've had publishers and authors send me things and a few of them, I just couldn't get through. It's rare, but every once in a while, I have to say, "I'm sorry, this book's not for me."

You all write very well and make great reviews. Have you ever considered becoming an actual author and writing your own books?

Thanks, we're glad you think so!

I've fantasized about it on occasion. I think I even wrote a 'book' in middle school. But a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and mine usually only have two out of three. Though Shannon Delany says that everyone has a story to tell, I'm not sure mine is worth hearing. In the end, I think I make a better editor than a writer.

(Being an editor is actually one of my dream jobs.)

Who are your favorite authors?

In no particular order, Sarah Addison Allen, Meg Gardiner, Kathy Reichs, Diana Wynne Jones, JK Rowling, Amanda Hawking, Heather Webber, Wendy Raven McNair, Shannon Delany, James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen... I'm probably leaving out a bunch. (I read a lot of female authors don't I?)

What are 3 books you can honestly say are the best you've ever read?

To quote one of my favorite movies, "I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens."

How about my three favorite books so far in 2011?

-The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
-The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hawking
- The Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber

...see even there, I managed to sneak more than 3 in and I still want to mention the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter, and Bargains & Betrayals, and...

When you are not reading or blogging, what's your favorite pastime?

I love to sing and I love to paint but I haven't had much time for either of those things in the past few years. When I'm not playing with three year old daughter, or playing chauffeur for her, I like to experiment with recipes and bake bread.

I'm also a television junkie. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I'm a huge fan of Chuck, Castle, Bones, Burn Notice, White Collar, Leverage... Ok, you get the picture. I love a good story. Be it in a book or on the screen, I just can't get enough.



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