A warm Coffee House welcome goes to our first guest, Jan. She’s a Northern lass, like myself, and an avid reader. A little bird tells me she was once a book buyer for a well known UK book retailer, so she knows a thing or two about the industry. Jan, while I pop the kettle on, can you give us a little insight into who you are? i.e. job, hobbies, life in general, and tell us why you love books.
I work in the beautiful market town of Hexham where I manage an outdoor shop selling clothing and equipment. 4 kids , 4 grandies and a full time job leave little time for leisure activities but of course there is time everyday to read something. I’m more of an outdoor type preferring to roam the hills of Northumberland and delve into local historic sites than watch television.
What is your favoured genre or are you an eclectic reader?
I do read a wide range of books but it’s easier to tell you what I tend to leave on the shelf. I’m not a great lover of crime. (ha ha, that’s my books out the window then) I hate reading about children going missing etc, and graphic murder scenes horrify me. I prefer stories set in England (I can’t tell you why) and I don’t read ‘Chick lit’ My most often chosen genre is historical fiction.
So difficult to select only 5. But here goes 1) Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. 2) Sarum by Edward Rutherford. 3) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 4) Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. 5) Chocolate by Joanna Harris. (Pillars of the Earth is my all time favourite too)
Your favourite author?
I don’t have a favourite author although I have more Phillipa Gregory novels than any other. That’s because of the Genre rather than the author.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading 2 books at the moment 1) The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom and 2) Constantinople . Istanbul’s Historical heritage by Stephanie Yerasimos. (Click the links to find the books on Amazon)
How many books would you normally read in a month?
Sadly not as many as I would like. On holiday I will read 4 in two weeks but otherwise I have 2 or 3 on the go for maybe 6 /8 weeks or more.
Which do you prefer e-books or paperbacks?
Books not e-books.
Do you have an e-reader, if so, which one?
Where do you buy books, online, bookshops or other?
Always bookshops, independent if possible but I do enjoy browsing around Waterstones.
Do you use your local library?
No, I will only read a new book. I can’t even bear to borrow from a friend.
What first attracts you to a book by an unknown author? Cover, Blurb, Recommendation? Are you influenced by publisher name?
An eye catching cover does attract me. I subscribe to New Books and often take reader recommendations from there. The publisher has no influence at all. The blurb has the biggest influence of course.
What puts you off?
Covers that have photographs or scenes from subsequent films. I don’t like too many characters in the plot. I also prefer dialogue lead story line, rather than descriptive. I prefer a narrated story rather than first person.
What do you think is fair price for a novel length e-book/paperback?
I usually pay £7.99 for a paperback and have no grumbles, although I won’t buy a short book at that price. I don’t buy from supermarkets.
After reading a book do you ever leave a review? Only when you really enjoy it? Only when you really didn’t enjoy it?
I do sometimes review books for New Books. I never give bad reviews. Although try to be as honest as possible making sure the reader knows it’s not to my taste. If I don’t like a book I feel it’s because it’s not my thing rather than not worthy.
Are you influenced by other reader’s reviews?
Yes, very much so. A strange reply given my previous answer, but that’s exactly why I won’t slate someone’s effort.
Do you recommend books you’ve enjoyed to friends?
Are you a member of any reader groups, book clubs i.e. Goodreads?
Goodreads & New Books are two but I don’t have the time for much more.
Do you subscribe to any e-book promo newsletters? If so which ones?
One or two on Facebook. Free books and Goodreads. Also Goodreads by email and Newbooks. (a bit of a trend showing here.)
Thanks for dropping in and sharing all things booky with us, Jan. As a writer, I’d also like to offer a heartfelt thank you for taking the time to review the books you read, as reviews do influence reader choice. I think we can safely say from your answers that you prefer historical fiction in printed form and you’re happy to give a new author a shot if the cover is eye-catching and the blurb is hot. If anyone has any recommendations for Jan (must be available in paperback) then by all means leave your suggestion in a comment.