This month my featured reader is Claire Hill. While looking for my next Readers Rock interview, I got really lucky when I stumbled upon Claire through Twitter. Her profile led me to her blog where I learned her reading tastes are similar to mine. She enjoys everything from mystery to erotic romance and Claire is a Goodreads top reviewer. Oh, and she loves greyhounds!
JF: Claire, thanks for agreeing to this interview. First of all, I know you read all genres, but which ones are your absolute favorites?
CH: Thanks very much for inviting me! It's difficult to narrow it down, but I'd say my favourite genres are crime, fantasy and paranormal. If there's a hint of romance too that's always a bonus!
JF: Who is your favorite author?
CH: Stephen King. I've been a constant reader of his since I was old enough to read adult books and I'm very proud of my collection of his books. There are a couple of new British authors that I'm really excited about. Sarah Hilary, whose brilliant debut crime thriller Someone Else's Skin was my favourite read of last year; I've recently read her second book and, if anything, it's even better. Fantasy author James Val'Rose is also one to watch; Path of the Gods, his first book, is an engrossing epic that really stood out. I've been lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the second book in his fantasy series, which is just as impressive. So many fantastic authors!
JF: What was the last book you read?
CH: The Man in Two Bodies by Stanley Salmon's.
JF: Was the last book you read an ebook or a traditional book?
CH: It was an eBook.
JF: I noticed you are a Net Galley member. Is Net Galley the main source for finding all of your books, or do you also find them through advertisements, word of mouth, or something else?
CH: Netgalley is just one of the places I use to discover new books. Bookbridgr is a good place to find new titles too. Twitter is great for discovering new authors and books, and I also receive review requests directly from publishers and authors, through being on a site called Tweet Your Books.
JF: Do you prefer an ereader or a traditional book?
CH: I enjoy the convenience and portability of an ereader, but I'll always buy traditional books too - I love the sight of a full bookshelf.
JF: When looking for your next read, do you pay attention to the cover?
CH: Yes. I definitely do judge a book by its cover; a book with an enticing cover will get my attention over a plainer cover.
JF: Does a nice looking cover influence your perception of a book? (For example, a cheesy looking cover might make you think the book isn’t well written or interesting.)
JF: Do you use the search feature on your ereader? If so, what common key words do you use? (If I’m looking for a romance, I use ‘steamy romance’, ‘erotica’, ‘BDSM’, or just whatever crosses my mind).
CH: I've never used this feature, my TBR pile grows fast enough without it.
JF: Do you always read the reviews on a book before purchasing? If so, do low reviews (one or two stars) impact your decision to pass up a book?
CH: I usually read reviews first, but low reviews don't put me off. I've given books low score when every other review is 5 star. We all have different opinions after all.
JF: People use different tactics when writing a review. Do you have a ‘checklist’ of items that are important to you when you prepare a review, such as strength of plot, characterization, writing quality, grammar and punctuation? Or maybe you’re more into dialogue or the way characters interact with each other?
CH: I don't have a checklist as such, but I do give points for plot, characters, believability (if appropriate), grammar and punctuation, writing style and if a book holds my interest.
JF: Has there ever been a book you did not finish? If so, why?
CH: Yes, there have been two recently that I did not finish as I just didn't find them very interesting. I found it very difficult to give this feedback to the authors, but I do promise honest reviews and remind the author that it is only my opinion - someone else might really enjoy it.
JF: Do you always read the sample of a book? (I do). If so, how important was it in your decision to purchase or not.
CH: Not usually. I read the synopsis and look at the cover, then decide whether to purchase or not.
JF: What book has always stayed with you?
CH: The Dark Tower by Stephen King.
JF: Do you like strong female characters or meeker, fragile ones?
CH: Strong female characters are far more appealing to me.
JF: As for male characters, do you like mysterious alphas or the nerdy, gentlemanly type?
CH: Mysterious alphas every time.
JF: If you have ever returned a book on your ereader, what was the reason?
JF: Is there any advice you’d like to give authors? Maybe there is something you feel writers tend to ignore, or don’t focus on enough?
CH: I read a lot of self-published books, many of which are let down by poor grammar and punctuation. This really puts me off persevering with a book, which is such a shame. Have friends and family read and suggest corrections or get a professional if you can afford to. Get your book proofread!
JF: If authors would like to contact you for a review, how can they get in touch?
CH: They can contact me via twitter or email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire, I’ve enjoyed talking to you and I appreciate everything you do for the literary world! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
I've really enjoyed it, Jenna! Thank you so much for choosing me as your featured reader.
Twitter https://twitter.com/claireh18 @claireh18