Welcome to our weekly feature,
This week, it’s our pleasure to present an interview with … a reader! We thought it might be nice to include the reading habits and points of view from this most-important part of the business of writing and publishing. A former colleague and our friend of some twenty years, Marcia Miller, graciously agreed to be the first up at bat. So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!
First, let me show you Marcia’s bookcases. Well, they’re not really her bookcases, but take my word for it: Marcia’s home is chock-a-block full of bookcases just like this that have books from floor to ceiling. She’s been a voracious reader ever since I’ve known her, and she’s a great cook as well 🙂 Now, on with our interview….
Marcia, were you an early reader and do you remember how old you were when you learned to read? I don’t know how old I was when I learned to read but I can’t remember ever not being able to read. That is probably more a memory problem than anything else. However, when I was young, kindergarten was meant to socialize children and prepare them for first grade and the learning experience and we weren’t required to read until the first grade. I do remember the first grade readers.
When you were a child, who or what encouraged you to read? When I was very young I had a lot of medical issues and my Mom encouraged me to read since I couldn’t go out and play with the rest of the kids very often. Both of my parents were readers and it was a normal thing for us to sit and read books. We also didn’t have a TV when I was very young. I remember my Mom taking me to the library about once a week to get new books. She didn’t drive so we would walk to the library which was quite a ways from our house.
What were your favorite books to read when you were a young child and why? As a teen, same question? I read all the Dr. Do0little books by Hugh Lofting. (Today they are considered politically incorrect.) For some reason I also enjoyed reading plays like the King and I and Carousel and Oklahoma. I also read magazines like American Girl and later Seventeen, Photoplay, etc. As I got older I read the romance books until I realized they were all basically the same thing. A neighbor suggested to me that I read The Pumpkin Papers. I can’t remember who the book was written by but it was about the Alger Hiss and Whitaker Chambers incident and trial. I believe that started my interest in books about espionage and mysteries. I read all the Ian Fleming James Bond books before they became popular and movies were made of them.
Did you ever have any funny or quirky reading habits as a child or a special place you would go to read? None that I remember. In the summer I’d sit on the glider on the front porch and read.
Did you ever write your own stories when you were a child? If so, what were they about? I don’t remember ever writing a story when I was young unless it was a school assignment.
If you have younger siblings or if you are a parent, did/do you read to them or encourage them to read? How? I have a younger sister who is also an avid reader. I don’t believe I had anything to do with that, it was just natural in my family. I do however have a niece and a great-niece (13 years old) and great-nephew (15 years old). When my niece was younger I would buy her books but she is not much of a reader. She will read information on the internet about subjects in which she is interested. I give books to my great-niece and great-nephew every occasion that I can. They sometimes read them but they are more into other things at this stage in their lives. Hopefully, as they grow older they will appreciate reading more.
What are your favorite genres to read as an adult? I read murder mysteries, intrigue, paranormal and biographies.
Who is your favorite author and why? If I must choose only one favorite author, it would be Robert B. Parker. His Spencer and Jesse Stone mysteries were my favorites. I would always learn something in his books. Now that he has passed, I would have to pick Jonathan Kellerman. His psychological mysteries with the character Alex Delaware are great. Again, I always learn something from his books and that is important to me. Although they don’t publish much anymore, I also enjoy Thomas McGuane and Peter Mathiesen.
What most makes a book “good” to you – the plot, the characters, or the action? The plot and characters are important to me. If I don’t like the main characters, I find it hard to read. We read Lady Chatterly’s Lover in a book club I belong to and I couldn’t stand any of the characters. They were mean, selfish and deceitful. It was a real chore to get through it. Again, it is very important to me to learn something from the book.
Do you have an electronic reader (Sony, Kindle, Nook, etc.) and, if so, how long have you had it? I have a Nook Color and love it. I’ve had it about 6 months.
If you have an e-reader, do you prefer reading paper or electronic books, and why? I still prefer reading a paper book. I like the feel of the book in my hands and the ritual of turning pages while one reads.
Please indicate from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest, what influences you most when you are shopping for a paper book: 5-Title 4-Cover 1-Reviews and/or recommendations from friends 2-Reading an excerpt 3-Price
Please indicate from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest, what influences you most when you are shopping for an electronic book: 5-Title 4-Cover 1-Reviews and/or recommendations from friends 2-Reading an excerpt 3-Price
If you read book reviews, what are your sources? Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, local newspaper
About how many paper books do you buy each month? One or two. I am trying to get caught up on books I already own and haven’t had time to read, so I am not buying that many at this time.
About how many e-books do you download each month? Two or three.
If you purchase or download a book you don’t like, do you read it through to the finish anyway? Why or why not? Yes, I will normally finish a book even if I don’t care for it. I’m not sure why. I guess I feel obligated in some way or maybe I think it might get better by the end!
You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival. What five authors are on your guest list? Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert B. Parker, Charles Dickens. If I could add a sixth, it would be Heather Graham.
Are you a dog or a cat person or both and do you receive any canine or feline assistance when you read? I like both cats and dogs but have only cats at this time. And, yes, when I sit down to read both cats end up in my lap/chair/bed seeking attention. Eventually they will either fall asleep or leave.
Marcia Miller Biography: I was born in and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. I have two sisters, one older and one younger. Both are good friends to me. I moved to Miami in 1972 while working for IBM. I retired from IBM in 1992 and moved to Port Saint Lucie in 1994. I began working for the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in 1996 and retired from the State last May. Since being retired, I am catching up on my reading, my yard work and house cleaning. I really enjoy gardening and visiting with friends, both things that were difficult to do while I was working.
Our thanks to Marcia for taking the time to do this interview with us!
Don’t miss this! Next week, the E-Pub PUB will feature an interview with YA Author Amber Shaw Garr, whose “Betrayal” was just released this week. Amber also is the author of “Promises.”