By Jenny Blake
Today Beth Nunn is visiting with us. Beth is a fellow Reader and member of ACRBA and I thought it would be interesting to hear from a fellow reader. Welcome Beth.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hmm … where to start? I'm the oldest of 4, old enough not to mention my age, but young enough to still remember it. Single, and trying to wait patiently. I work with children in an Outside School Hours Program. I'm a country girl from Gippsland in Victoria even though I now live in a Melbourne suburb, but I've also lived in Western Australia. And, you can probably guess I'm a book lover. I started “reading” before I was a year old; I’d read to my teddies and dolls or anyone who would listen (there’s a picture on my blog, from a post in 2011). Books have always been available and very important – road trips across the Nullarbor had me reading for hours (long before the days of Kindle), but I’d run out of books by the time we got to Victoria and a trip to the OP Shop for more was always welcome. Everyone tells me I have a library – well that’s true. I love sharing my books and I have a lot – every wall in my room has at least one bookshelf or some way to store books and one wall is just bookshelves!!
2. When did you first start reading Christian fiction?
I started reading Christian fiction as a child. Every birthday and Christmas I would get at least 1 book from my parents, and it was always Christian fiction. Some of my favourites were by Patricia St John, like Treasures of the Snow and Rainbow Garden. (Jenny here, I remember reading some of Patricia St John's books)
3. I know you enjoy reading do you have a favourite genre?
I go through different phases of which genre I prefer. Right now I’m really enjoying romantic suspense. Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, Susan Page Davis and Don Brown are a few of my favourite authors in the genre. (I understand that as I go through phases also. I have to say I do enjoy Susan Page Davis)
4. Have any books had a major impact on your life?
During childhood, Little Women (and the rest of the series) by Louisa May Alcott, the Katy books by Susan Coolidge and the Trudy series by Mary Alice Faid were ones that I would read often. Each of them had life lessons that have proved valuable to me. In recent years, the Sisterchicks series by Robin Jones Gunn have had the most impact. Each time I read them (and I’ve read them each more than once) there is something new that I learn or I’m reminded of something that is very relevant at the time. Having an author write about something they are learning or have learned through a character is a powerful thing. It is most helpful when the lesson they are learning is similar to something you are going through.
5. When looking for a new book to read, how do you decide what to buy?
Firstly I look for authors that I have read before and liked. I always read the blurb on the back to see what the book might be like. Covers sometimes play a part, particularly for authors I haven’t read yet. If I’m trying a new author, I’ll often get a Heartsong or Love Inspired book to see if I like their style.
6. Do reviews on places like Amazon or Goodreads affect your choice?
I rarely look at Amazon and Goodreads. Everyone’s reviews are subjective. There have been some reviews for books that I’ve also read that I totally disagree with. If I know the person who has reviewed the book, then it might hold more weight in my decision to read or not read a book.
7. What can an author do to make you want to buy their book?
For authors when I’ve read previous books – keep writing well and have interesting plots. Change things up a bit – don’t become predictable!
New authors … hmm … I’m not sure. There’s nothing I can put my finger on that makes me try a particular book. Something that puts me off is when I read a blurb and it sounds a lot like another book I’ve read.
8. When reading a book are there deal breakers in a book that will stop you reading more of the book or even stopping you reading other books by and author? (I know for myself things like swearing will really turn me off).
Swearing, explicit sexual references and sex scenes, rape themes, really graphic violence. I’ve also been put off by an author who constantly demeaned and put down the male characters in her books. I also get tired of plots where the main characters have history together that they must get past to have a future. While I know this happens, reading the same type of plot over and over again is boring.
9. I know you are reviewer for ACRBA what do you like about being a member?
I like being able to support Australian authors; so many of the Christian fiction books available are by non-Aussies. It’s a real buzz when the author personally signs the book (not that this happens every time). I also like it that there is a selection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. I’ve actually been able to use some of the children’s books in children’s ministry in the church I attend.
10. If you were asked what book you want to see written what would you say?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ll ever be a writer, but if I was then I’d be giving away my book ideas. Maybe something to do with Federation. There are a lot of books written during the convict, early settlement and gold rush periods, but nothing really about Federation.
11. Finally do you have any other comments on books and what you would like to see in the books?
I’d really like some books kind of like ones by Dee Henderson or Irene Hannon, but in an Australian setting. I’d also like to see some books set in Melbourne or country Victoria. Or something to do with mining in Western Australia – now that would be interesting.
Thanks again for visiting with us Beth it was great to learn more about you and I hope it gives some insight into readers.
JENNY BLAKE (aka Ausjenny) is an avid reader. When not reading she enjoys watching cricket, in fact you could call her a cricket fanatic, scrapbooking and jigsaws. She volunteers at the local Christian bookshop where she can recommend books to customers. Her book blog is where she reviews books and interview authors. Her goal is to help promote new books and encourage authors. Her blog is athttp://ausjenny.blogspot.com and is Co-Founder ofhttp://acrba.blogspot.com