How many times have you participated in CBR? Has it changed the way you read?
I was a CBR lurker for ages but officially joined up for CBR6 in 2014. Cannonballers introduced me to romance reading (Malin and Mrs. Julien are largely to blame) and even today, 5-star reviews on CBR account for ~70% of my book purchases. Murderbot Diaries, The Hating Game, Saga, Fangirl, etc.: many of my all time favorites came directly from the rave reviews of other Cannonballers.
You wrote a book! Cannonballers loved it! Tell us about that process.
A few years ago a reputable book agent reached out to me about representing me to traditional publishers. The concept of writing a book had never crossed my mind until this opportunity popped up. I did what any right-minded person would do and freaked the f&$k out about it for a few weeks. I delved into research about publishing, bought a whole bunch of “so you wanna write a book” books, emailed famous authors for advice (many who were amazing and responded). After much angst and flapping about on the issue I gratefully declined the agent and decided to write a book and publish it myself.
All in this was probably a 5 year process. It took so long because self publishing meant I had to do everything: raise funds (thank you Kickstarter), find excellent help (illustrator, editors, interior layout, ebook conversion, cover. etc.), and because I was wracked with self-doubt and overanalyzed everything. Finishing this book was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
The book has been generally well received and I’m enormously grateful for that. It is both the biggest piece of work I’ve ever created and also the most public. Most people don’t have jobs where their work is open to public criticism and it’s a vulnerability I never understood until I wrote a book. It doesn’t matter how many 5-star reviews I get, I obsess over the negative ones. From what I gather this is fairly universal to all authors. I will never write a negative review of another author on Amazon (or anywhere outside of CBR really) ever again.
Do you have plans to write more books? I would imagine a blog and a podcast keep you plenty busy, but maybe it’s like tattoos…once you have one, you immediately start planning your next one…
I definitely have ideas that I kick around on occasion, but I think it’s unlikely that I’ll actually do it. Researching and writing the book was a fairly intensive 3.5 year process that was immensely isolating. While I’m proud of the outcome I definitely did not enjoy the process. Also the topics that I’ve considered for a second book would have a much more limited audience so it’s not clear if the potential book revenue would warrant a multi-year investment of time. So it’s possible but unlikely.
You’ve mentioned you’re sticking to escapist fluffy reading to survive the Trump years. How’s that going? Do you miss diving into a weighty tome, or are mildly-ridiculous paranormal romances keeping you sane?
DO. NOT. MISS.
Blauracke recently wrote a review of The God of Small Things that at one time, was my favorite novel. Roy is an immenselytalented writer who puts words together with staggering beauty. But the review reminded me that newp, am all done #nothankyou.
There is enough heaviness in life that I don’t need to pile on with more heavy in my media consumption (tv, movies, books). Romance, fantasy, and sci fi is where it’s at, and while you rarely see the word craft of more prestige reading in these books, some are in fact incredibly well written. Maggie Steifvater, Naomi Novik, Mark Lawrence, Courtney Milan, etc. are all authors in more “frivolous” genres who combine immense talent with escapist reading.
What place (actual or fictional) that you’ve read about would you most like to visit?
I got Crazy Rich Asians from my Cannonball Book Exchange and have never been anywhere in Asia (the book takes place largely in Singapore). Lavish descriptions of food abound and now I want to go and eat all the things. I also have a dream to someday hike to Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.
Love this line in your blog bio: “And I believe you can never have too much wine, cheese, or Game of Thrones.” So: favorite wine, favorite cheese, favorite character?
Our wine choices emphasize “best bang for the buck” generally means avoiding wines from California or France. You can often find a solid Malbec or Syrah from South America or Australia in the $10 – $15 range. I love a creamy blue cheese with crusty bread. Of course I love most cheeses with crusty bread.
We’re just wrapping up a full Game of Thrones rewatch and it’s been a delight! I find myself reluctantly adoring The Hound. He’s a bit of a tragic character, but he’s got such a strong code of honor. His misadventures with Arya are heart wrenching. For sheer joy factor the looks between Brienne of Tarth and Tormund are just brilliant. Most people focus on the violence and sex for obvious reasons, but there are so many great moments of humor in this series.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I plugged this in a recent review but I want to replug the Fated Mates Podcast. It is an utter delight and I think would appeal to many Cannonballers. Listening to author Sarah MacLean and critic Jen Prokop break down romance novels with love, feminism, and humor is a delight. While the focus is the Immortals After Dark (Kresley Cole) series they cover a wide range of romance novels as both fans and experts. 10:10 highly recommend.