Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interview Swap: Gossamer Obsessions

Have I mentioned that I love BBAW interview swaps? So much so that I did not one, but two! In addition to Emily at Evening All Afternoon, I also met AnimeJune of Gossamer Obsessions! June and I share a love of Peter S. Beagle and romance novels. Here are my questions for her in bold, her answers, and my responses in italics.

What is the first book you can remember reading?

ANIMEJUNE: That's a reaaaaaally difficult one. I would have to say The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. I started reading early and before that my mother would always read to us (starting with Narnia). I think I remember the Paperbag Princess the most because my mother said she was a lot like me. :)

I'm not familiar with that one! I still love kids/young adult books, and I'm going to have to look it up. Thumbs up for Narnia, too!

I see you're on Twitter! How has it changed the way you blog, if at all?
ANIMEJUNE: Twitter has changed the way I review books in the sense that now I can comment on books AS I read them. Since I put my Twitter widget on my blog, now people can read my up-to-the-page reactions as they surf my other reviews.

That's a really great way to use Twitter. I've got a widget on my blog, but I don't usually tweet while reading. Great idea! Mind if I steal it?

What do you think are the best and the worst things about Twitter?
ANIMEJUNE: I actually communicate a lot more with my fellow bloggers on Twitter than I do my e-mail or comments, so that's one of the best things. When I have a lightning-flash thought that is maybe a little too short to warrant an entire e-mail, I can say it on Twitter and respond to other people. It's all on one page without having to go to separate blogs. Maybe that means I'm internet-lazy. I don't know.

The worst thing about Twitter? I haven't exactly discovered it yet. I'm sure something controversial will come up eventually. That's how things normally happen on Ye Olde Internets.

I tend to communicate with other bloggers a lot on Twitter, too. I usually let people know that I've posted via Twitter. I wonder sometimes if Twitter makes me more concise. Somehow, I doubt it! I think my worst thing about Twitter is how much time I spend there. It's quite addictive.

Congratulations on being published! I am a bit jealous you've got enough perserverance to finish a novel! : ) Anything to say about the writing of your novel? Where can we find a copy?
ANIMEJUNE: I have been published, but not in novel format, sorry. My first publication was a novella called "My Brother's Own Words" that was published in the March/April 2007 issue of Cicada Magazine (the YA sibling to Cricket Magazine). As for the writing of it - funny story. Waaay way back in August 2005, I had my wisdom teeth removed. For an entire three-day weekend I ate nothing but Tylenol 3 and Neapolitan ice cream and I guess it turned my story-filter off, you know - the tiny voice in your head that says, "You can't write about that, it's too weird!"

So I wrote and finished a novella over that weekend about a boy whose father is human but whose mother is a parrot, a boy who has feathers for hair, and can only repeat what other people say. I sent it in to a few magazines and got speedy rejections, then I sent it in to Cicada. I didn't hear back from them until January 2006, in the form of a yellow postcard that said they'd received the story and would evaluate it later. Months after that, I was accepted! And FINALLY, in March 2007 it was published. Two years for a novella. It really brought it home to me how slow the publishing process is. You can probably find a copy in your local library, if they keep collections of magazines.

I'm still impressed. Good for you for being persistent. I love the premise of the story! It sounds like it was a long process to wait to get it published. Thanks for sharing the story--it encourages me in my eventual search for publication.

Who are the authors that influenced your writing the most?
ANIMEJUNE: Well, I read a lot of fantasy before I started reading romance, so I'd have to say Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, and Kate Elliott. They wrote these grand, sweeping epic fantasies that brought to life worlds that seemed familiar, but were deliciously, intriguingly different once you got to really know them. Alice Hoffman is currently one of my influences - I love to read her books before I write something myself, because I adore her writing style and would love to absorb as much of her style as I can so I can use it myself. She's the one who inspired the way I like to mix the weirdly magical with the mundane.

Some of my favorites! I love Robin Hobb & Tad Williams. Have you ever read Irene Radford? Gayle Greeno, Mercedes Lackey, Terry Goodkind, Lois McMaster Bujold? I'll have to check out Kate Elliott & Alice Hoffman! I am always looking for new authors to read, of course!

I have to ask: vampires or werewolves?
ANIMEJUNE: If I had to choose, vampires. I've fallen out of touch with paranormal romance, although I'm gradually reading more of them, so I'm not actually a fan of vampire or werewolf romances. At least not yet. But in terms of other media like television and movies, vampires win - mostly because after 100 years of cinema, Hollywood can't seem to produce a werewolf transformation that doesn't look completely ridiculous (although Underworld came close).

Good answer! I totally agree with you about werewolf transformations.

Other than reading and writing, what are some of your other hobbies/interests?
ANIMEJUNE: Uhh...I watch a lot of movies and television. I love stories and I love to be surrounded by stories. I guess that makes me pretty boring. Oh, I do love singing. I've sung in my university's mixed chorus for about five years now - I'm a Soprano II - and that's always fun. I have a really loud voice so I'm always assigned to the edge of the choir, halfway between front and back. If a choir were a football team, I'd be the linebacker.

Nice description of your voice! My aunt was just like that. Sounds like fun!

Best book you've read so far this year?
I've had about three A+ romance reviews this year, which is pretty lucky for me. The one that edged out all the other ones (even if it was only by a hair) was Laura Kinsale's "For My Lady's Heart." It was my first medieval and the characterization and detail just blew me away. In genres other than romance, I'd say Alice Hoffman's "The Probable Future." She writes these gorgeously lyrical subtle fantasies, where magic is slightly part of the story but really it's how the characters and the setting come together, tenuously joined by magic.

That is a lot of really great books. I don't know that I could pick out 3 that were that great this year. Now I'm really going to have to pick up some Alice Hoffman!

Other than book bloggers, is there any group of bloggers you read--cooking, authors, etc.? Any recommendations for new reads?
I follow I Can Has Cheezburger.com for the LOLcats, and Julie James' blog is cool (she wrote "Just the Sexiest Man Alive" and "Practice Makes Perfect" - and I would suggest those for new reads, they are very funny contemporary romances). Another website I follow religiously is ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com . It's a comedy website where characters such as the Nostalgia Critic review bad movies from the 80s and 90s with such scathing humour.

Yay, LOLcats! I love them, too. I could spend so much time looking at the kittehs! Have you ever checked out Notalwaysright.com or Postsecret.blogspot.com? Those are a couple of my favorites, too.

Congratulations on being nominated for a BBAW award! Good luck in the polls! Is this your first time being nominated/shortlisted?
ANIMEJUNE: Yes, indeedy. I'm very honoured.

I look forward to hearing about whether you won or not!

Is this your first BBAW, or are you an old hat?
ANIMEJUNE: This is my first BBAW, although since I'm only one year behind the so-called "old hats," I don't know how significant that is. I didn't do it last year because I was a pretty solitary blogger back then. It's only been this year that I've actually started networking with other blogs and accumulating readers. The first year I was reviewer I reviewed mainly for myself, but I've discovered it's much more fun to be a social blogger.

I forget that it's only the second year for BBAW! Does that make me an old hat? It seems like it's been going on longer than that for some reason. I participated last year right after I started my blog, and it was a great experience. I love being a social blogger as well. It's been a really rewarding experience, forming relationships and in some cases meeting people in real life at BlogHer.

What are you most looking forward to for BBAW this year?
ANIMEJUNE: There's absolutely too much to look forward to. I'd have to say, maybe an end to the whining that's been going around on the internet. So maybe people and bloggers are griping about BBAW's faults, when they forget about how much it's accomplishing in only the second year of it's inception. People need to chill.

Well said! I hope you enjoy this year's BBAW. I know I've enjoyed interviewing you, and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say about books!

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