I almost didn't have an interview partner because of a snafu, and the last thing I wanted to do was make more work for Amy or anyone else assisting with behind the scenes. So, I'm very grateful to whomever fit me in at the last minute ... and very pleased to have had the chance to chat with Gina, whose blog is a new one to my Google Reader.
Me: I noticed that you're doing a bunch of challenges! Which ones are your favorites?
Gina: What an Animal II. It has been fun picking out the books for it and I discovered a new author.
There are a couple of romance challenges that were fun and the Christmas in July Challenge but that one I hosted so I don’t know if it counts, same with the Cat Sleuth Challenge, then there's the Confuzzled Faerie Challenge, and the New to You Authors challenge …
Me: Which challenges would you recommend to someone (like me) who wants to do more challenges?
Gina: It really depends on what you like to read. I would suggest that you personally check out J.Kaye's "Support Your Local Library". No limit on type of book, just that they are borrowed and you pick your own goal.
For someone who doesn't read a whole lot or finds they're reading the same author(s) over and over there is the "20 books in 2009" and "New to You Author" challenges. The first thing to do is think about what reading goals you may have over the next year or so then go to http://novelchallenges.blogspot.com/. Anyone hosting a challenge or event can ask to have it blogged about here. It's a great resource.
Me: Thanks, Gina! I'll definitely check them out, and thanks for reminding me about J.Kaye's. Most of my books come from the library, so that would be doable for a Challenge wannabe like me. Now tell us, what makes a good challenge, in your opinion?
Gina: Well, it's always nice for the host if the links work. I love when the host visits my post to say welcome and some of the links of challenges I’m hosting didn’t work. I like an interesting challenge or one that may push my comfort level a bit.
The "Non-fiction Five" was great because I don’t usually read non-fiction and a couple had us read very specific books like an author that starts with "G" or "building" in the title.
They also need to be attainable. I like when we visit back and forth, even though I'm really bad at it. Prizes are always good - even if it's just a really cool button for your blog. Ahem, I guess that means I better go made a really cool button for the challenges I'm hosting!
Me: How long have you been blogging? Why did you start?
Gina: September 2004 but I only started book blogging in January...... It all started when I decided to clear out an email account. I belong to too many yahoo groups and was deciding if maybe I should drop some. One of them was On the Porch Swing. I'm not active but I did go that day and found a post about challenges and that lead me to a blog. The blog had more then one challenge so when one of the links had a "Mr. Linky" I knew I needed a dedicated blog just for books. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Me: Where did the name of your blog, Book Dragon, come from?
Gina: Well, there was this book…. Actually, that’s true, I read A Book Dragon by Donn Kushner. The dragon becomes smaller and smaller when he stops eating and ends up protecting a Book of Hours through the ages. When he ends up in modern day America he protects his friends and their stores (one is a bookstore) from an evil developer. Hence, “a book dragon, because books are a treasure worth protecting.” Maybe not to the extreme the little dragon went to but still.
Gina: That's Scorch, isn't he cute? [Me: nodding head in agreement]. He’s a Ty Beanie Babies, I have a couple of other ones too. I needed a dragon and most of the ones I found were scary or Chinese. I found this one and knew I had a winner. I picked a couple of interesting books and there you have it.
Me: Do you have other blogs? (It looked like from your site that you do ... )
Gina: My profile does show several blogs. One is my book blog and one is my craft blog. Some challenges have a dedicated blog that all the participants can post on, that’s what the rest of them are. I'll be adding a "Library" blog eventually where I'll have all my books posted. That's a long-term goal.
Me: You have a wide range of reading tastes, which is great! Of all the genres that you read, can you give us a favorite book (or author) in each? (or just some :)
Gina: LOL, you're kidding right? Let me see.... My favorite western is Death Rides a Chestnut Mare. I picked it up because I have a fantasy book titled Death Rides a Pale Horse. I loved it so much I’ve purchased several more by the same author.
I do have some authors that I purchase right away. Dick Francis, Lilian Jackson Braun, Anne/Todd McCaffrey, Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick), Elizabeth Lowell, Stephanie Laurens, Piers Anthony, Monica Ferris, Maggie Sefton. I’ll buy all of Caroline Burnes Familiar series. Most of Tamora Pierce. Vince Flynn, Julia Quinn, Lisa Gardner, Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, Jo Bverley, … looks like I’m heavy on the romance side.
Me: I love your book goals for 2010.
Gina: Goals? brb…. Oh! Thanks. I wanted something simple and doable. I thought of another one so I've updated the list and reposted. I’ve joined several challenges that overlap into 2010 so I need to think of some challenge goals so I complete them without waiting until the last minute! I have 42 books to read before the end of the year. Which doesn't sound like a lot but it includes 2 non-fiction by 9-30 and NINE James Bond books. Plus my review books and they don't all match a challenge.
Me: On average, how many books do you read per month?
Gina: [snicker ....lol …roflmao ....wipes eyes, catches breath... ] Ahem. I went over some old posts and, based on pages read, if a book averages 300 pages, I average 23 books a month. Yeah, that sounds right. Of course, my daughter got married this summer so that messed with my reading.
[Me: 23 books a month?! My 36 books this year looks pitiful compared to that!]
Me: You mentioned your daughter Sam. Ages? How old?
Gina: I have five “kids” but three of them are furry and my husband will only claim two of them. Sam is 23 and newly married. Scott is 20. We also have a rabbit (great story), and two cats. Come to think of it, it’s a great story how we got the cats too.
Me: What was the very first book you remember reading?
Gina: While it would be cool to say something like "The Cat in the Hat" I don't really remember anything until high school. I know that’s when I started reading Dick Francis and Anne McCaffrey. I know I read Nancy Drew and I’m almost certain that was sooner than high school. I read My Friend Flicka and other horsey books at a much earlier age. My parents were very patient when the Scholastic order form came home ;-) I still own some of them.
Me: Anything else you want to share?
Gina: I'm a 40+ SAHM who would rather read than do most anything else. I think that covers it but people can always ask if there’s something I missed.
Me: Thanks so much, Gina! It's been a pleasure being your BBAW interview partner! Everyone, check out Book Dragon's Lair here!