What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
I just finished SMALL GAME by Blair Braverman. It’s about a group of people participating in a Survivor/Naked and Afraid-style reality show where things suddenly start going wrong. It’s a gripping, suspenseful story, and Blair’s writing style is compulsively readable.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
Not lately, no!
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
I love comfort reads! They’re like slipping into a warm, comforting bath. My last re-read was THE UNDERTAKING OF HART AND MERCY by Megan Bannen. I’ve already read it twice, and I know it’ll be one I return to more than once. I want to live in this world that Megan has created.
What are your go-to genres?
Romance is definitely my go-to, specifically contemporary romance. But I also love fantasy, historical fiction, and the occasional non-fiction.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz (both movie and book) as a child, and when I learned that Baum had written a total of fourteen Oz books I was in HEAVEN. I still have my tattered copies.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
FEELS LIKE HOME: A SONG FOR THE SONORAN BORDERLANDS by Linda Ronstadt.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
I prefer to bookmark, but if I can’t find one and it’s my own book I’ll dogear. I don’t mind if my books show that they’ve been loved.
What is your ideal reading setting?
I’m in Arizona, where really cold days are scarce, but I love curling up on a couch or comfy chair in front of a fire, with a throw and at least one cat in my lap, and tea or cocoa at my elbow.
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
Indie bookstores can be hit or miss for me, since so many turn up their noses at the romance genre. But I’ve been fortunate to have great ones in my life. Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora, Florida was my mainstay for years and hosted my first book launch. Mostly Books in Tucson, Arizona has been so welcoming, and is an absolutely charming shop.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
In a college creative writing class, I wrote a poem about my grandmother who died when I was four. I thought it was a mediocre poem until it was time to read it aloud. I cried so much I couldn’t continue, and another student had to read it for me.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I don’t know that I’ve gone on any literary-themed trips. When I travel, I love to learn the history of a place, whether it’s Boston or Colonial Williamsburg or finding the tiny local history museum in a small town that’s run by volunteers.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
I don’t have a dedicated space yet in our new house. So for the near future, it’s my laptop and me on a lap desk on a recliner, at a table on the back patio, or meeting up with friends at a local coffee shop. I do well with a change of scenery anyway.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It can exhaust or bring me to tears if the words or story aren’t coming out right. But when the puzzle pieces of the plot come together, it’s energizing, like a shot of espresso. I can’t stop walking around the house and scribbling down notes!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Maybe four or five. Sometimes I go back and mine them for side characters or descriptions. No writing is ever wasted. Even if they aren’t published, I learned something from each manuscript.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t check Goodreads or Amazon or go looking for reviews. Social media can bring anxiety. I love to connect with readers, but it can be a minefield when each notification is a chance for someone tagging you in an adorable picture of your book with a puppy with the caption, “I hated everything about this book.” When I’m tagged in a negative review, I take a deep breath, let the negative energy go, and quietly untag myself. But when I’m tagged in a piece of fan art or cosplay, it makes my day.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep writing. You’re playing the long game here, kiddo.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
I love to knit, and I’m re-teaching myself crochet. I get fidgety when I watch TV, so it’s nice to have a project to work on. If it’s football season, I’m yelling at the television on any given Sunday. If the weather isn’t scorching, I’m on a hiking trail. If it’s a day that ends in Y, I’m mediating a disagreement between the cats.
What are your three favorite things right now?
My cats, my new home, and my butterfly necklace I got at a Renaissance festival.
Your favorite travel destination and why?
Saint Augustine, Florida. It’s got that perfect mix of cheesy tourism and history with T-shirt shops and museums, and the Oldest House in America. There’s this great little coffee place across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos, so you can grab an early morning coffee and then watch the sunrise over the Bridge of Lions.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
The Pollo Rosa Maria at Carrabba’s Italian Grill with a side of fettuccine alfredo (yes I know it costs extra), and a hard cider, please.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
Shakespeare (and put this whole “who wrote Shakespeare” thing to rest at last), Brendan Fraser (Let’s talk about the Mummy films!), Sting (I’d love to pick his brain about his evolving style and career), my mother (she passed 12 years ago, and I’d love another evening with her), Joe Elliott (the lead singer of Def Leppard) (for Mom), and my paternal grandfather (the son of Slovak immigrants, he died before my parents married, and I’d love to know more about my family history).
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, and who would play you?
A comedic drama. I don’t know who’d play me, but I’d love for it to be directed by Rian Johnson.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
I’m a huge fan of GHOSTS on CBS. I need to check out the original on BBC as well!
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
“Stay” by Lisa Loeb. It’s what I sang the one time I did karaoke and I didn’t completely butcher it.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Is that cheating?
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