Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BBAW Blogger Interview: Literary Escapism

Thanks to BBAW, I got to meet and interview Jackie from Literary Escapism. She has a very cool blog that features a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal romance - both genres I have yet to explore. She also interviewed me on her blog which you can check out here.

So Jackie, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved writing book reviews?
I am a 28 year old stay at home mom with an 18 month old son. I've been married for 5 years this October and my husband and I still enjoy spending our nights together sitting on the couch with our laptops. It's actually kind of amusing. We're in a chat room with a lot of our friends and even though we're sitting next to each other, we'll have conversations strictly online. My son is quite active and loves to be outside whenever he gets a chance, so I've been getting a lot of fresh air this summer and I'm starting to worry how he'll take to being indoors more this winter.I love to read and I could easily do it for a living if I knew how.

I also love to travel. I've been lucky enough to visit Costa Rica and Mexico during college and I would love to go back to Mexico. I was able to spend 6 months going to school in Guadalajara and it is an amazing city. I'm planning a trip to Argentina with my sister, at least I hope I am, and we're thinking of going in 2010. I have a degree in Spanish and International Relations, yet I have no idea how to use it now. My original plan was to go into the US State Department and work with their embassies, but my husband doesn't like to travel as much as I do, so I've had to re-evaluate my plans. Now I'm really interested in Bilingual Education and would love to go back for my Masters in Education.

I got involved writing book reviews the easiest way there is...I wanted to share my opinions. Originally, I was just posting my reviews on my everyday blog, but it got to a point where my blog had nothing but reviews on it and my husband made a comment how not everyone reads the same kind of novels as I do. So I decided to start up a new blog. At first, it was just someplace where I could do my reviews and hope people would see it and share their thoughts. Then I realized that people were actually reading it and it was giving me something more to do, kind of taking the place of a job I didn't have. I've been staying home with my son since he was born and I'm not the type of person who likes to be bored. My daily life started getting very monotonous and once I got involved in Literary Escapism, it gave me a chance to escape for a little bit.

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite novels?
I have a lot of favorite authors since it all depends on my mood at the time. One author that I will go out and buy the hardcover novels is Diana Gabaldon. I love her Outlander series. I'm also a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost (Nighthuntress), Karen Chance (Cassandra Palmer), Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry), Patricia Briggs (Mercedes Thompson), and Jenna Black (Mogan Kingsly). I grew up reading a lot of romance novels, so I also enjoy Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Jane Feather, and Linda Lael Miller.

What genre do you prefer to read and why?
Right now I'm really into reading Urban Fantasy or anything in paranormal fiction. I love the idea that the monsters walk among us and our reality isn't always what it seems like. If vampires or magic were to actually exist, what would the world be like? Would it be chaotic or would people just shrug and go on with their lives. It's amusing to read each authors take on how the world would react to the presence of the supernatural. Not only that, but each author has their own twist to our reality that new two authors would have the same world. Regardless of which novel I pick up, as long as they are two different authors, I'll always be jumping into a new world where there are new possibilities and new characters to meet.

If you were only allowed to recommend one novel, what would it be and why?
This is kind of tricky for me since I rarely recommend only one novel. A lot of times, when I try and recommend something to someone, I'll ask what they prefer because something I love may not be what they like. For instance, if someone loves werewolves, they wouldn't be as interested in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series since it involves vampires and ghouls. However, if I had to recommend something without talking to someone first, it would definitely be Jeaniene Frost. I love her Night Huntress series. There's just something about them that make them stand out in my head. The writing is wonderful, her characters make you care about them, and all of the situations are fun yet they still have a dangerous quality to them. She only has the two novels out so far, but I continuously re-read them whenever I get a chance.Other than Frost, if anyone wants to know what else I would recommend, it would definitely be this - http://www.literaryescapism.com/2008/05/26/197/

What is a book reading experience that really stands out in your mind?
I think the one experience that stands out right now is when I found Jeaniene Frost's Halfway to the Grave. Whenever I go into the grocery store, I always browse the book section to see what they have. I kept seeing Frost's book and finally one day I picked it up. I was looking for something new and the cover kept catching my eye. Halfway to the Grave grabbed me so quickly that I think I had it finished within one night. Once I finished it, I started looking for more from her and was disappointed when I realized I was going to have to wait.

What are 5 books that are on your wishlist right now?
How about 5 series that are on my list, since I don't have any of them right now...
Katie Chandler series by Shanna Swendson - There are currently 4 novels, but her publisher is waiting to see what the sales are like before contracting for a fifth novel. I really want the fifth novel though.
The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop - This actually starts out as a trilogy, but Bishop has been adding to the series.
Study series by Maria Snyder - These just captivated me from the moment I picked them up. This was another series I saw at the grocery store, but since they were in trade paperback format, I didn't buy them. There are currently three, but she's working on another one.
The Werecats series by Rachel Vincent - Another great series that I stumbled upon and have been kicking myself for not buying.
Mona Lisa series by Sunny - This series is actually a new twist to the whole shapeshifter idea and I like it. I'm still reading the novels that are out, but I'm really hoping to get them some day.

Name a couple of book blogs that you like to visit. What makes them so special? One blog I watch pretty closely in Amberkatze's Book Blog (http://amberkatze-amberkatze.blogspot.com/). The two of us seem to have pretty similar tastes in novels and it's really rare that I don't like a book she's recommended. Now there was a time that happened, but it was a book in a series we both liked (Undead and Unworthy by MJ Davidson), but Amber lives in Austria, while I'm in the US, and we both had different covers. I'm of the firm belief that the covers are the reason for our disagreement.
Another site is American Bibliophile (http://americanbibliophile.com/). I was friends with one of the brains behind this project and she asked me to join it a couple of years ago, where I ended up meeting her sister. They actually gave me my first taste at book reviewing and I had a lot of fun with it. We really don't have the same preference in novels, but I'm always curious what's being reviewed over there.
Here are a few others I enjoy: Vampire Wire (http://www.vampirewire.blogspot.com/), Urban Fantasy Land (http://urbanfantasyland.wordpress.com/), Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/), Darque Reviews (http://darquereviews.blogspot.com/), and Sidhe Vicious Book Reviews (http://sidhevicious.wordpress.com/). All five of these sites have really good reviews and interviews going on all the time. There's always something fun to read.

Who is someone you really appreciate?
My husband. Cheesy and corny I know, but he puts up with my reading addiction so well. When it comes to books, I have no will power and I often buy books when I shouldn't. It gets on his nerves, but he knows this is something I enjoy doing and it's been helping me mentally while I stay at home with our son. He has also been totally supportive of Literary Escapism and has been trying to help me come up with ways to make it even better. He's even been helping me by writing a few reviews on books I normally wouldn't read. At the beginning, I was using Blogger has my review site, but once I determined that I wanted something a little more polished, and moved to Wordpress, he went out and bought my domain for me as a surprise. I love my husband dearly and I so wouldn't be able to do this without his support.
So sweet! Thanks, Jackie. I'll have to check out a few of your recommendations since I really know nothing about your preferred genre.


Anonymous said...

Great Interview!! My BBAW interview is up. I did a podcast of our telephone interview.


Anonymous said...

Lenore - thanks for the kind words about the blog!!


Michele said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for introducing us to Jackie! Love the blog name! I liked reading about how her husband is supportive of the time she puts into blogging, and even writes reviews once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks for including us in your favorite sites Jackie! ;)

Serena said...

Jackie's interview really highlights her dedication to her family and her reading and book blogging habit/passion.

I'm going to check out Jeaniene Frost's books just on her recommendation alone.