I first meet Ryn at the first ever Gold Coast signing (originally called Indie Authors Down Under, now Readers and Writers Down Under) after party. Following some stroke of luck Ryn and I ended up one the same bus to the airport the following day, and then the same plane home – turns out we didn’t live all that far from each other! As an editor by trade, an avid romance review by choice and a voracious reader, it turned out Ryn and I had a lot in common; and if you ever want to talk books or publishing with someone, then she is your girl!
As you can imagine, it is my great delight that I was able to pin Ryn down from her hectic schedule and talk books with her in today’s edition of Let’s Talk Books. I hope you enjoy, and if you’re anyone like me, then you are likely to leave today’s post with a TBR that’s at least doubled!
What are you currently reading?
The Man I Love by Suanne Laquer. It was a bit of slow starter but I’m enjoying it now. I recently read a completely AMAZING ARC which has hampered me somewhat because everything I’ve picked up afterwards hasn’t matched up. It was so good that I felt compelled to contact the author at 1:30 a.m. just to let her know how much the book touched me. It was just . . . wow! But now I have the hangover. Oh the perils of finding a truly fantastic read, hey!?
What’s the last book you bought?
The last eBook I bought was Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. The first in the series, Him, was my first foray into M/M and I was absolutely blown away by it. I just hope this one matches up! The last paperback I bought was Creed by Kristen Ashley. Her paperbacks for this series aren’t stocked in stores near me so I have to get them online and because they’re quite pricey, I tend to order one a month so I don’t end up divorced. (If my husband is reading this then I never buy books. Ever. People send them ALL to me for free. It doesn’t cost us a penny. Promise. I love you.)
Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?
It depends on my mood. I read on my phone a lot, for no other reason than convenience. I recently upgraded from a Kindle Keyboard (don’t laugh. That thing was like a child to me!) to a Kindle Fire and I must admit I’m not feeling the love. I like reading paperbacks when I’m out in the garden or at the beach because I don’t like the glare from electronic devices.
If I was to walk into your house right now, what would your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?
At the moment my shelves look incredibly organised. But don’t be fooled. This is only because I just moved house. My normal book organisation style is haphazard at best. In an ideal world I’d say that this was a conscious attempt to get all my books to mingle. In reality, it’s a product of my abysmal organisational skills.
How often do you read?
I read every day. Some days it might be only a chapter, other days I can read an entire novel, or even two. It’s entirely dependent on what else I have going on.
Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?
I love tension, and it doesn’t have to be romantic tension. I love that moment when you’re on a knife edge, wondering which way a story will go. That moment when you are so invested in the story that you forget to breathe. If a book has one of those moments, I’m sold.
Also, I’m a sucker for student/teacher romances. They are my crack.
How do you choose what to read next?
Eeny, meeny, miney, mo.
It’s that sophisticated.
So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?
I used to read all the way to the last page, regardless of how terrible the story was. But that was before I was time poor. With two jobs, a family, and an event to plan, I don’t have the luxury of finishing a bad book. I now have a 38% rule: if a book hasn’t grabbed me by then, I DNF. That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t ever pick it up again, but I do subscribe to “Once bitten, twice shy”.
If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?
There are so many. And that’s not a cop-out answer. If we’re talking a series, then it would have to be Harry Potter. Those books were in a league of their own. As a single book, probably Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. I did enjoy the rest of the Dollanganger series, but that first book was just *feels* from start to finish. The book I can read over and over again without ever getting bored is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. What I love about it is that each time you follow Sayuri’s story, you find something new; something you may have missed every other time. It’s amazing.
What is about books that appeals to you so much? What is your favourite part about reading?
The escapism. I love the feeling you get when you fall into a book and watch the action from the sidelines; like a movie reel playing inside your head. That is definitely the best bit!
Can you tell us a bit about your blog and how long have you been blogging for?
I’ve been blogging for around four years; however, that’s taken a bit of a backseat as I’ve become busier. I still read and review, but I tend to focus on the titles I choose now, rather than signing up to blog tours etc.
What has been your favourite book you’ve reviewed on your blog?
I’m not sure I have a favourite one. I think there is an unhealthy culture in the book world whereby reviewers are put under so much pressure to read, review, repeat, that they don’t get the opportunity to sit and think about how a book made them feel. I can’t count the number of times I’ve raved about a book, only to go back and read it a few months later and wonder what on earth I was thinking the first time around. I am a true believer that reviews should be organic. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t review every single book I read, but if I feel a certain way about a title when I close the book, I will write my exact feelings. I then sit on my review for a few days and process. At the risk of upsetting some, I think many reviews these days are written to bolster the egos of writers, or to ensure that a reviewer becomes part of a writer’s circle and gets ARCs. Honestly, I have grown increasingly wary of Goodreads and Amazon reviews, preferring instead to go on recommendations from trusted sources.
Do you have any advice to other bloggers out there?
Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t put people on pedestals. Be who YOU want to be, and write what YOU feel. So many attempt to succeed by emulating others, and what they don’t see is that this doesn’t make them unique. It gives people no reason to pay attention to what they say if they are an exact replica of an existing blogger. Don’t paint yourself into a reviewing box. Be different.
But be kind. Don’t be that high school kid who picks on others for attention. If you don’t like a book, THAT’S OKAY! Say why, but remember that whoever wrote that book is a person. Someone’s daughter/son. They’re someone’s friend. I’m not a religious person but I do stand by the philosophy that you should do undo others as you would have them do undo you. If you read your review back and think it’s bitchy, it probably is. Give constructive feedback. Don’t assassinate.
And don’t brown nose. People can spot it a mile off and it doesn’t make you trustworthy.
Can you tell us a bit about the Sydney Author Event and how that came about?
The idea was conceived way back in 2012; back when I was blissfully naïve as to the workings of these types of events and just how much was involved. Basically, I wanted to meet my favourite authors but with many financial commitments, I couldn’t justify the expense of an overseas trip. It struck me that there must be hundreds of people in the same boat as me, and that’s how it all began.
What is your favourite part about the Sydney Author Event?
Seeing people connect. Nothing can compare to witnessing the moment a fan gets to meet the person who wrote the words that touched their heart. And it’s not just about the authors. The people who attend these events have come to form relationships of their own outside of the book world. These people don’t just talk about imaginary characters, and whether they liked the cover of so-and-so’s last book. These people have seen each other through births, deaths, marriages, job loss, highs and lows. In connecting with people in this community they have built their own family: one of their choosing. To see them get to spend time with each other is amazing, and I will never take that feeling for granted.
What is your least favourite part about the Sydney Author Event?
I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth so I’m going to say the bitchiness. Unfortunately, the book world has devolved of late. People are no longer content with sunshine and rainbows. Villains have been created, witch hunts organised, and from behind the scenes we get to see so much of it that it saddens me. It saddens all of us. And this is not just based around events. Authors are receiving 1* reviews before their books have even been published. Fans are getting together in secret groups to arrange coups. It is most definitely the downside of this domain.
Oh, and countdowns. I freakin’ HATE countdowns.
Who are you most looking forward to meeting at the Sydney Author Event this year?
Jose Cuervo. We don’t see each other very often, but event time he becomes my best friend. He calms my nerves and helps me get perspective. My husband isn’t a massive fan of his because they don’t get along, and we (JC and I) usually end up falling out sometime later in the night, which ends up with me swearing that we are no longer friends and I’ll never see him again. But, hey—that’s what good friends are for, right?!
Is there anything we should know about the Sydney Author Event?
SAE is about more than just books. It’s about friendship; about family; about making memories with people you love. We are so lucky to be in the position we are, and to be a part of creating such an event. It’s also important to remember that the event does not make a penny. SAE supports the NSW Firefighters Calendar and each and every penny of the money left over after organizing goes to charity. So dig deep and show your support. Every cent counts.
Thank you so much for stopping by Ryn, I had an absolute blast chatting books with you!
Stay up to date with The Sydney Author Event by following them on Facebook!
Don’t forget tickets are still on sale for this event and can be purchased via here
Sydney Author Event now have a website! AND a Zazzle store with some pretty awesome stuff. I know I’ve brought more than I should from there already! Like this super cute mug!