If you ask me, A Dribble of Ink is a mighty fine blog. But, as you may have noticed, I’m not the only blogger out there. In fact, I’m not even the only great blogger out there!
I know. I know. It’s hard to beleive, but it’s true.
In fact, I went ahead and gathered several of my favourites, tied them up in a room, and picked their brains. Us bloggers spend so much time putting the minds of authors under the knife and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at another side of the industry that doesn’t get examined. It also gives you (and me) a good chance to get to know some of these great bloggers just a little better.
Ever wondered what makes your favourite blogger tick? Well, you’re about to find out.
The bloggers taking part are: Chris, the Book Swede, Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, The Fantasy Review, Neth Space, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff, SciFiChick, Fantasy Book Critic and La Gringa from The Swivet. I tried to put together a nice, broad demographic of rookie and veteran blogs. They didn’t disappoint.
Being blogger, they like to talk… a lot. To that effect, I’ve split the interview up into two parts, the second of which will be published sometime in the next couple of days.
Break out the popcorn, set aside some time and enjoy!
Q. So, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: What prompted you all to start blogging?
Chris, the Book Swede: I’d been hanging around quite a few blogs for a while, loving what they were doing, and thinking how awesome! it would be to have my own, to share some of my favourite books, and to discover new ones with a great group of people :)
I’d never run a blog before (save one on my writing, which lasted a week before I got bored!) but I wanted to do something new, combining my love for reading and, as Katie over at Katie’s Reading puts it on her great blog: When I’m not reading, I’m writing about what I’m reading…
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: I’m the same as Chris. I’d been a regular reader of blogs like Pat’s and Jay Tomio’s and had this thought at the back of my mind that I’d like to do something similar. I was lucky enough to win a book review competition and used this as a spur to start up the blog and see where it took me. A few cheeky mails to publishers and I was away!
The Fantasy Review: I decided that it would be fun to talk about the books that I love reading.
Neth Space: It all started one day when I was completely bored at work and looking for something to keep occupied with. Back then I mainly just hung out at wotmania and I was answering a post where I wanted to refer back to a book review I had recently written and posted in the OF section. The message board over there has some antiquated aspects about it, so searching through old posts was kind of a pain. In my boredom, I started a blog just to get all of the reviews I’d written in one place.
In my continued boredom, I swiped a counter from Pat’s blog (in those days, things were pretty much limited to Pat, Jay, and a bunch of authors as far as blogging went). Let’s just say I was shocked to find that people actually were reading my blog – people from all over the world, often finding it through unexpected ways. So, I continued to hold off my boredom by improving the blog and I asked Pat for a bit of advice and such. For whatever reason, people kept on reading – I even found an editor or two reading and commenting, which eventually led to a few ARCs coming my way (and Pat sent a number my way as well).
So, there you have the ugly truth – I stumbled into blogging through boredom.
In a nutshell, my becoming an online book reviewer was an accident. Then again, several aspects of my life seem to have happened all by accident, so what the heck!?!
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff: I saw a lot of my online friends doing it and thought it would be a fun thing to do. I was also reading a lot of comic book bloggers at the time and wanted to part of that “crew,” so to speak. I also saw it as a good opportunity to help publicize SFFWorld.com, the Web site where I’ve been forum moderator and book reviewer since 2000.
SciFiChick: Years ago, quite a few of my friends had blogs. But back then, blogs were mainly just online journals. I’ve never been a fan of personal journals. And I definitely didn’t want to talk about my personal life online for everyone to see. But I do like talking about books and movies that I love. And of course, those are mainly science fiction and fantasy. So I started a blogspot to just discuss and review books and movies. Then, I decided to start showcasing my drawings, which were usually scifi/fantasy related as well. But at the time, I felt a little limited on what I could do with just a free space on blogspot. So, Carl from http://stainlesssteeldroppings.com suggested I buy scifichick.com, since the domain name was available. And through continuous development, my site has grown to what it is today. Back when I first began, I certainly never thought I’d be receiving free books from authors and publishers who stumbled across my blog or being invited to set tours of tv shows! But I’m definitely grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given.
Fantasy Book Critic: I guess it was a little bit different for me. I started reviewing CDs, interviewing bands and promoting unsigned artists in 2001 and after a few years, things were looking really goodâ€”the site was getting a ton of hits (500,000/monthly), I was contributing to both print mags & online venues, I was hired by Warner Bros. as an A&R scout, I partnered up with a management company in NYC who in turn was partnered up with an even larger management firm, and the website we were running, www.kingsofar.com, seemed destined for greatnessâ€¦
Then it all came crashing down. My so-called partner stabbed me in the back, I got screwed out of a lot of money, and I was seriously pissed. Not too long after, my wife and I decided to relocate and we chose Washington, partly for her job advancement opportunities and partly because of the music scene. For me, I was hoping to get as far away from NYC as possible and start afresh. After all, there were some record labels situated in Washington that I was interested in working for, Los Angeles was just a short flight away, and I had some ideas that I wanted to implementâ€¦
As I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I realized that I was still extremely angry over what happened to me and decided that I just needed to take a break from the music biz to get my head on straight. While doing that, I started catching up on my readingâ€”I had a huge backlog of books to go through since I didn’t have that much time to read when I was doing my music stuff. Eventually I became interested in finding even more books to read, especially by new authors, and through Google I came across www.sfsite.com and www.sffworld.com, which led me to Pat’s blog â˜º
At some point, I discovered that I really missed reviewing and writing. You have to realize that I was writing/reviewing for five+ years almost daily, so it was like I was suffering from withdrawal or something. Since I was reading so much, I just decided to start reviewing books and was posting them on Amazon, but I thought heck, if I’m going to write reviews, I might as well do it right and start my own website. And since I suck at code and I didn’t relish the thought of working with a webmaster which had always been a pain in the past, I experimented with blogger. It turned out to be pretty easy, so here I am â˜º
La Gringa at The Swivet: Why did I start blogging? Well, honestly? Laziness. When I first moved to New York City from San Francisco in 1999, I’d left behind all of my family and most of my friends. I wasn’t the best email correspondent back then, and I’d just started a job at Random House. I found the earliest version of Blogger back then and thought it would be a kick to start a website for friends and family just so they could keep track of what I was up to here on the East Coast. The first blog was called Left Coast Dementia, and it was then that I began using the name “La Gringa” â€“ a nickname given to me by a Latina friend in San Francisco.
In 2000, I started working at Ballantine Books as a publicity manager, focusing on the SF/F titles under their Del Rey imprint. Along the way, the blog began to focus more and more on the books I was working on and the authors with whom I worked on a daily basis. I also tried to give some insight into what it was like working at a large trade publisher. By 2003, I was just too busy to keep up the blog on a regular basis and I was getting a little bored with it. I was also beginning to grown concerned that so much of my writing was devoted to what I was doing in my work life â€“ it gave me pause and made me realize that my work/life balance was really skewed. Although I loved my job at Del Rey, I was spending far too much time focused on work-related activities and not enough time just living my life. Something had to go, and I decided that something would be the blog.
For some stupid reason I just deleted the whole thing. (I was later surprised to learn that I could still find a good many of my old blog posts through the archive at Internet.org.)
In October of 2005, I re-started the La Gringa blog and asked a good friend of mine â€“ and editor at a large trade publisher – to join me as a co-blogger. She was a terrific writer and a very funny storyteller, and between the two of us we grew somewhat of a following for our ridiculous tales of two gay chicks with cats living in New York City on (ridiculously small) publishing salaries. We wrote about books, music, dating (or â€“ in my case â€“ the lack thereof), odd urban adventures, and knitting. (Yes, she was an avid knitter and even managed to make that sound like fun.) We almost never wrote about our work, however.
I guess we got bored and busy again, so in May of 2007, we closed the blog. By that time it had gone through about a hundred different names, sometimes changing names as often as once a day. It got to be a running joke. Eventually we settled on the name Band Camp. I archived the blog (which you can still read at lagringa.wordpress.com), and we both stopped writing online.
I found I missed blogging and I also wanted to try something a little bit more focused on books and writing and the publishing business, so in July of 2007, I started The Swivet. I focus primarily on SF/F and queer literature, with the occasional foray into general silliness. Oh, and cats. As John Scalzi would say, what’s a blog without cats?
Q. What’s your blogging philosophy?
Chris, the Book Swede: Philosophy, hmm… Being honest, whether with your readers, on your opinions of a book, etc, or with a publisher is crucial. It’s also just plain nice! :D
And being a generally nice person, chatting to people, not being big-headed; just cause you receive cool books (! *grins* !) doesn’t make you the next best thing since cheese. Or Philip Palmer’s wonderful Debatable Space , due out next January, for that matter ;)
I do try to update my blog regularly, and I put a lot of effort into what I eventually write up. Incidentally, I find I use many more exclamation marks and emoticons since I started blogging: Blogging; it’s not just something that sounds vaguely disreputable, it’s a way of life.
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: My blogging philosophyâ€¦? My initial aim was to see if I could run a blog that people would keep coming back to, even if it was just a handful of people! With this in mind I thought it was really important to be myself when writing, both in my opinions and how I come across so honesty is a big thing. Enjoying myself is also very important, people can tell how much a blogger loves their subject and no-one’s going to keep reading if they can tell your heart’s not in it. Also, you’ve only got the one life so why waste it doing something (with your spare time) that you hate? I promised myself that I stop enjoying it I’ll stop doing it. So I guess my philosophy is â€˜Honesty and enjoyment’.
The Fantasy Review: The philosophy is to just be honest and write what you interests you.
Neth Space: Hmmâ€¦nobody said I needed a philosophy to do this. Really, all I’m doing is offering up my opinion for people to do with what they will. I blog about whatever I feel like at the moment and I will sometimes help people out when they ask. Beyond that I can’t really claim to adhere to any philosophy.
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist: Blogging philosophy??? There is no such thing, at least from where I’m sitting. I decided to create a blog to share my love of the SFF genres with other readers. Granted, I never thought I would one day be as popular as I’ve become, but nothing goes beyond that initial objective.
As far as book reviews are concerned, be fair, be honest, and don’t worry about what people might think about it. A review is, in the end, only my analyzing a novel and expressing my opinion pertaining to it.
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff: Philosophy? I dropped that course after a couple of weeks waaay back in college, so I can’t say I subscribe to a particular blogging philosophy. When I first started, I blogged three to five times a week because my job at the time had a decent amount of down time (just look at my postings from 2005 & early 2006). Now; however, I try to post something substantial at least once per week, even if it is just announcing my latest review at SFFWorld.com.
SciFiChick: I don’t put a lot of thought behind it. Right now, it’s just a hobby. I just write about what I love (or don’t love), and try to offer it up in a way that people will enjoy reading.
Fantasy Book Critic: With the blog, I try to follow the same tenets that I embraced with all of my music websites.
1) First and foremost, I see Fantasy Book Critic as a venue to express my thoughts and appreciation of something I love. As long as I remain passionate about what I’m doing, I’ll keep having fun and I think that’s importantâ€¦
2) Secondly, I’m hoping that readers will find FBC useful. As a fellow reader and fan, a highlight of my day is going around to other blogs and seeing what’s happening in the world of genre fiction. On that note, I try to post stuff on the blog that I would personally like to see if I wasn’t running my own websiteâ€¦
3) Finally, I use FBC as a promotional tool for the publishers and authors that I’m working with. Even though this blog is nothing more than a hobby right now rather than a paying gig, I’ve always worked closely with record labels & artists, and it only felt natural to do the same with publishers & authors. And while there’s no monetary compensation for me in this, I realize that for the publicists, editors and authors involved, this is their job, so I respect that and try to do what I can to help â˜º
La Gringa at The Swivet: Wait, I need a philosophy to blog? Nobody told me that. Crap!
Q. Being a blogger has a lot of benefits and perks, what, in your experience, has been the most rewarding moment so far?
Chris, the Book Swede: Obviously, the free books are brilliant! :) There’s a certain amount of work involved in reviewing them, though… still I have to be honest, and say it’s certainly worth it. It’s also been really great to interact with other people around the world, and the community among the review bloggers is something I love. Chatting to some of your favourite authors is cool, too!
It’s also quite nice to be ever so slightly involved in an industry that’s always fascinated me: publishing. Seeing galleys and Advanced Reading Copies of books is always something that thrills me, because it gives an insight into that world.
Before I started doing this, I’d love to visit blogs, read reviews of books by people I trusted, and I loved that they were getting authors out there and bringing them to my attention, and everyone else’s. I’ve just tried to do that to, and make my blog as friendly and welcoming as possible, and it’s reward enough. Every email from someone saying they like my blog is a great feeling (unless it turns out to be a spam for penis enlargement or “Divine Protection for only Â£500”)!
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve been exposed to books that I maybe wouldn’t have heard of previously. With a limited book budget I used to just stick with what I knew but now my horizons have definitely expanded! I love reading sci-fi and fantasy so every time a book parcel comes through the door I’m like a little kid on Christmas Morning!
Blogging has also put me in touch with people all around the world whom I would never have met otherwise. A whole group of us started at around the same time and the feedback I got from them really helped me get going. Special mentions have to go to Pat (Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist) and Robert (Fantasy Book Critic) who were more than happy to take time out to talk to this strange guy from London! I also like to spread a little of my good fortune by running the occasional competition so other people get free books as well (plus I’m running out of room in my houseâ€¦)
The Fantasy Review: The most rewarding thing by far is when I got the chance to interview Michael Moorcock. I am a huge fan of his work so it was surreal when I got the opportunity to pick his brain about his work.
Neth Space: Well, I do love books, so I love the opportunity to get books that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, it’s been fun to get to â€˜talk’ with some of the people behind the scenes in SFF and to actually have writers like George R.R. Martin and Michael Moorcock email me.
But the most rewarding moment was when I was at a book signing for John Scalzi – when it was my turn, I sat down my pile of books, many of which were ARCs. He asks where I got them and I answer that I wrote a couple reviews for Fantasybookspot. His response was something like â€˜oh, you’re the guy that does Neth Space. I really like your blog and reviews’. It was a new experience to be â€˜recognised’ like that – since that moment, fending off the paparazzi has been a real pain.
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist: I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, yet I feel that as soon as a reviewer begins to think in terms of perks, the integrity and credibility of that reviewer is seriously undermined. I never forget that I’m writing for an audience which has put its trust in me and my book reviews. I probably have more connections in the industry than most reviewers out there, online or on paper, but that should never even be considered when the time comes to write a book review. The day I do this to please editors, publicists and authors is the day I lose whatever credibility I’ve acquired over the years.
Having said that, the Hotlist has allowed me to discover a panoply of writers and subgenres I likely would not have had the chance to read otherwise. Like everyone, I have a limited budget, and books can’t always be a priority, what with the rent, the car payment, etc. Having authors and publishers send me stuff for free has permitted me to broaden my horizons, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
There have been many rewarding moments since the Hotlist’s creation, but I would have to say that establishing a certain respectability and credibility, thus making the industry realize that the Blogosphere is not ALL bad, was quite an accomplishment for me. Getting recognition from authors and editors was/is sweet. And I must admit that GRRM’s pimpage for that Hugo nomination was something!
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff: Perks? I don’t get paid for what I do, so I would say the perk is being connected with some of the people in this interview and part of the fan community in general. Although I was reviewing very regularly before I started blogging, I think when I began blogging I was able to get a greater response and audience for my reviews. This in turn has helped me to improve my reviews, I hope.
SciFiChick: The best time I’ve had as a result of blogging, was definitely when FOX flew me out for a set visit of the Sarah Connor Chronicles!
Fantasy Book Critic: As already mentioned, free books are obviously a positive benefit of running a review blog, but I try not to let it get to my headâ€”heck I still receive promo CDs! The point is, yes, we may receive free books, but at the same time, I believe that we as reviewers have a certain responsibility when it comes to these ARCs, and I for one take that seriously. Also, from a business aspect, I always try to look at it from the point-of-view of the authors and publishers. So when I can, I try to purchase any book that I review, to help support the author, but also for my collection ;)
So for me, free books aren’t the reason why I get up each morning and start working on FBC. There are many others. Interviewing Richard K. Morgan and Jacqueline Carey, two of my favourite authors, were definitely highlights, but I still have a long list to goâ€”George R. R. Martin, Dean Koontz, Steven Erikson, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Robert R. McCammon, etc. Meeting and befriending fellow bloggers has also been great â˜º I think the biggest thing though is whenever you receive someone’s thanks. Whether it’s from a reader, a blogger, an author or a publicist, it’s very rewarding and makes it all worthwhile :D
La Gringa at The Swivet: The biggest perk for me are the wonderful people I’ve met through my online presence: authors, other publishing folks, fellow bloggers. It has expanded my social circle considerably.
Q. Reviews are a touchy subject. On the one hand we have to maintain pleasant relationships with the authors and publishers who help us do what we do, but at the same time we want to keep our integrity intact by offering our readers honest and objective opinions of the novels we review. How do you bloggers approach your reviews?
Chris, the Book Swede: I try to be as careful as possible when I pick a book, and go with publishers whose books I know, the majority of, are good reads for me. There’s no point picking something you know you won’t like, but on the other hand, it’s good to take risks and try new things.
Opinions change, and different people have different likes, which is why I’m not afraid to say when I dislike a book, but equally I’m not afraid to say when I love it.
I always try to take author and publishers into account, and I’ll let them know when I don’t like a book as much as I expected. If I hadn’t expected to like it, I wouldn’t have chosen it :)
Even if the book isn’t great, there’s always a certain amount of good to be found, and authors do like to know, I find, what people think they could improve on. Personal comments are just nasty. And that’s not me ;)
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: I reviewed â€˜Danse Macabre’ (Laurell K. Hamilton) and absolutely slated it. I was a little worried then, when I was invited out for lunch by the publisher! I spoke with them and their attitude was that all publicity is good and they don’t expect reviewers to love everything. The authors I’ve spoken with are generally the same and are pretty thick skinned in any case! I guess you’d have to beâ€¦
I’m happy to give any book a go and will even give an author a second chance if another book comes through the door. I think the most important thing is that if I don’t like something I make sure to say exactly why that is. This way, the author (and my readers) don’t think I’m taking cheap shots and can see that I’ve thought about what I’m writing.
The Fantasy Review: If I read a book that I don’t like I just try to explain why I didn’t like the book. The first review copy that I ever received was Brasyl which I received from Pyr. I gave the book an extremely negative review but I tried to not “slam” the book. Pyr has continued to work with me even after seeing that review.
Neth Space: Well, I’ve never had trouble with this – I just write my opinion. I was writing reviews for quite a while before I could have ever worried about any perceived conflict of interest with authors or publishers, and I really haven’t changed since (though hopefully I’ve improved a bit). I simply write the kind of review that I would want to read – I go into a bit more detail on my blog for anyone interested.
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist: Maintaining pleasant relationships with authors and publishers is one thing, and offering honest and objective opinions is another. Anyone who feels that reviews are a touchy subject should not be reviewing books — or anything else, for that matter. If something is bad, then it’s bad. Period! There is a way to phrase it, of course, so that it won’t be perceived as a cheap shot or a rant. Anybody can say that something is good. But if a reviewer is afraid of writing a negative bit on a novel, because he or she is concerned that the publisher might cut that steady supply of review copies, well that person doesn’t deserve to be read.
Sadly, there are too many of those within the SFF online community. I feel that too many reviewers don’t step up to the plate when the game is on the line. Readers, regardless of the genre one is reviewing, want to get the straight dope. If they’re going to pay 20$ or 30$ to buy a book based on your review, they deserve to get the truth and nothing but the truth. In the end, a review is solely the reviewer’s opinion, not something that is sacrosanct. I’ll never say this enough: the relationship between readers and book reviewers is based on trust. And respect as well as trust are things that must be earned…
If one is afraid to express his or her opinion, good or bad, then they have no right to be reviewing anything. Which is why people like William Lexner, Jay Tomio and Gabe Chouinard are important to the SFF genres, and why I feel that the Blogosphere has been a lesser place during their absence. William had to go through a hiatus, Jay is not as active as he used to be, and Gabe has all but disappeared. While I don’t always agree with what they’re saying, those three have always stood up for what they believe in, come hell or high water, and defended their opinions fiercely. Although we sometimes stand on different ends of arguments, they have all earned my respect. They are passionate and it shows!
As Ken pointed out, I write the sort of review I would like to read. Some like that, some don’t. I can live with that, and so should they! Insofar as I can determine, my reviews, be they positive or negative, have never had an impact on my relationships with authors and publishers. Sure, they hope that I’ll love everything I read, yet they’re realistic enough to realize that this is impossible…
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff: Odd question for me, in a way. My blogging came about after my reviewing for SFFWorld.com, but the question remains. I try to be honest about the book I’m reviewing and to offer a balanced review when possible. It may seem my reviews are, on the whole, fairly positive, but I think I’ve been lucky to read books I enjoyed. I also try, as hard as it may be, to not react to what others have said in their reviews. If anything, I hope I try to bring out something in the review others have not. I have received a couple of e-mails from authors saying I did just that, which made me feel as if I knew what I was doing. Only one time did I not review a book I read because it was so atrocious, I even contact the PR group who sent me the book and told them I could say not a single good thing about the book. That said, itâ€™s impossible for me to review every book I get. Aside from the atrocity I just mentioned, I try to write a review for every book I read from the from publishers, even if I can’t read all of them.
SciFiChick: On the rare occasion when I come across a book that I don’t care for, I try to point out the areas that bothered me as well as the strong points. I know that just because I dislike a book, doesn’t mean others will. So I try to give an honest opinion about what the book is about and its style. If I absolutely loath a book or don’t finish, I won’t waste my time writing a review. There are too many other things for me to write about.
Fantasy Book Critic: I’ve been working with publicists for a long time now and over the years I’ve come to understand that their number one goal is to promote their clients through as many venues as possible. While they would love it if every single review printed was a positive one, they understand that everyone has different tastes and that opinions will vary. Good or bad though, promotion is promotion.
So I’ve never worried how a review might affect my relationship with an author or publisher. That said, I try to be as respectful as possible when reviewing a book, no matter how much I may love or hate it. The way I see it, you have to give props to the author just for finishing writing a book in the first placeâ€”which is more than I’ve ever done; for gaining the support of a publisher, and for getting their book out there. To me, that commands a little respect, even if the book happens to be atrocious ;)
Also, in my case, I’m at a point where I receive so many books that it’s impossible for me to review everything. So, I tend to pick and choose what I review, and as you might expect, I tend to pick books by authors that I’m personally a fan of or that I think I will enjoy â˜º Hence, my reviews tend to be more positive than not ;)
As far as the actual review, I try to analyse a book in a way that is informative, but accessible, and are the kind of reviews that I look for when it comes to reading about books, movies, DVDs, videogames, etc. For me, that means breaking it down into certain categories like plot, characterisation, prose, pacing, and if applicable, comparisons to an author’s other works or preceding volumes if it’s part of a series. One thing you will not see in my review is a score. Personally, I think ratings are overrated and too subjective to be an accurate measure of what is essentially one individual’s opinion. So, I refrain from them, but if I ever do implement a scoring system, I like what IGN does with their reviews of videogames â˜º.
La Gringa at The Swivet: I’m in a slightly different position; being that I work in publishing most of the time, I don’t really review books very often. It can be a conflict of interest. I’m more interested in writing about the behind-the-scenes goings on in genre publishing: acquisitions, rights sales, pointing people toward other great reviews and interviews. I also interview authors occasionally. I hope to start writing more publishing-related articles soon, too. In San Francisco, I frequently spoke on panels geared toward helping writers learn to promote themselves better. I’d like to use the blog for the same purpose eventually.
Q. If you could interview one literary figure, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
Chris, the Book Swede: I actually quite like the idea of this as an Article ;)
I don’t know who I’d choose, really. I’d love to have interviewed Robert Jordan sometime, his passing saddened me, even if I was getting a bit annoyed at the sluggish pace betwixt books 7 and 20. His books I enjoyed greatly, and as I read at a really fast pace, it was great to find something that I really could get lost in for days, with the depth of background and the great story. The Eye of the World is still one of my favourite books.
Interviewing Shakespeare would certainly drive my page views up! Not everyone likes him, and I haven’t really had that much experience of his plays, save Macbeth and Measure for Measure (which I had to write an essay on) which I both enjoyed. His sonnets are great though, and his vocabulary was Brobdingnagian (or would have been if he was called Jonathan Swift and had written Gulliver’s Travels!). He introduced some great words, too.
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: It would have to be Tad Williams. Tad was the guy who got me back into reading fantasy after having pretty much overdosed on â€˜Lord of the Rings’ and been pretty unimpressed with what was on the bookshelves. If I hadn’t taken a chance on â€˜The Dragonbone Chair’ then I wouldn’t be blogging now (and I wouldn’t have discovered all the great, and not so great, authors that I have).
If Tad wasn’t available then I would love to hang out with Steven Erikson (still really jealous about that Aidan!) George R.R. Martin has the writing skills but, for my money, Erikson has the best story out there at the moment. I’d love to sit down with him and chat for a couple of hoursâ€¦
The Fantasy Review: Since I have already interviewed Michael Moorcock I would have to Guy Gavriel Kay would be my top choice. The first book I read from Kay was Tigana and I found the book to be excellent. After that I read Lions of Al-Rassan and I was hooked. In my mind Kay is one of the best storytellers alive today and I would give anything to just pick his brain.
Neth Space: Well, from the point of view of my blog, I would have loved to interview Robert Jordan since he’s a big reason why I read so many genre books.
But really, interviews are just too formal – I’d love to sit down in relatively quite pub and talk over drinks with any number of writers and other people through history. A relaxed and civil conversation with Fidel Castro, Jimmy Buffett, Bono, Hemingway, Vonnegut, and Picasso has always appealed to me – but really, I’d be much too intimidated by such large personalities.
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist: As I said in that other interview, I was really close to getting a Q&A with Robert Jordan, which would have been so cool.
Other than that, since I’ve interviewed almost all the authors I enjoy, I would have to say that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are two superstars I’d love to chat with.
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff: If I answered this question tomorrow, it would be a different answer. Today, I would have to say Neil Gaiman (alive) and Mark Twain (dead).
SciFiChick: If C.S. Lewis were alive today, I would love to discuss his stories, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. His books are still inspirational after all these years and still affect me every time I read them.
Fantasy Book Critic: Well, I already mentioned earlier some of the authors that I hope to interview one day, so I’ll stick with the ones that I can only imagineâ€¦ Robert Jordan of course, Lloyd Alexander, Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alexandre Dumas, etc.
La Gringa at The Swivet: This is a tough one. Charles Dickens, possibly. He has always been my favorite storyteller, and I’ve read all of his books (except Bleak House â€“ I conceded defeat with Bleak House.) Victor Hugo is another favorite. Although I suppose I would had to have paid more attention in my high school French class for that, eh? I would love to interview the anonymous Anglo-Saxon fellow who wrote Beowulf, try to figure out just what was in his mead, ya know? One living author I’d love to share a beer and a chat with is Mary Gentle. I love her writing but don’t see her interviewed very often.