I am always interested in what readers think about my books but also books in general. What appeals and what doesn’t? What matters in a novel? What makes a book a wall-banger? What makes it a keeper?
I asked some of my most loyal readers, my Krewe of Review, what they thought about conducting reader interviews monthly here at Southern Exposure, and they were enthusiastic. Nancy Lepri was my first volunteer, and what a great one. Nancy has authored children’s books, reviews regularly, and reads voraciously. She was perfect to be my first.
Without further comment, I give you Nancy in her own words. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know her, as I did.
Nancy Lepri was born and raised in Massachusetts, though she has lived in FL and LA, finally settling in NC. Married for almost 45 years, she has a married daughter and very spoiled cat. Nancy holds an AA degree in Visual Art from Cape Cod Community College and a BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in writing from Western New England College as well as a Certificate in Editing from Cape Fear Community College.
Working as a freelance reporter for local newspapers, magazines, and two international food-industry trade publications, Nancy has authored and illustrated two children’s chapter books and illustrated many others.
Semi-retired, Nancy occasionally accepts editing jobs, but her main love is reading. She pens reviews for ReaderToReader.com and New York Journal of Books and especially enjoys reading contemporary women’s fiction. Her favorite authors are Emilie Richards, Dorothea Benton Frank, Claire Cook, Jody Picoult, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Debbie Macomber. Her second favorite genre is mystery and horror and the works of Dean Koontz, Stephen King.
See what I mean about a natural for my first interview?
I decided we needed some fun questions, which will change with each interview so no one will have a chance to slave over answers ahead of time. Here we go.
1–You’ve been stranded on a deserted island. Luckily you find three novels in a trunk, Dan Brown’s sequel to The DaVinci Code, the first book in a brand new series by a romance superstar, and a new find from Harper Lee, which documents Atticus Finch’s boyhood. What order would you read them in and why?
I would probably read Harper Lee first because I thoroughly enjoyed “To Kill a Mockingbird.”However, if I am stranded on a deserted island I’d read them all because I always need something to read.
Don’t we all? And wouldn’t yet another Harper Lee novel be something you’d be dying to share? Hope that boat rescues you soon, Nancy, so you can tell the world.
2–Design your ideal book club and its participants.
My ideal book club would include women my age. This way we would more or less choose the same genre and titles. We would much lot in common and being senior citizens, and we’d be more apt to discuss the books and authors than talk about our children or husbands. <G>
Just so you know, I’ll expect an invitation, but you have to move to Florida.
3–What makes you stop reading a book forever? Even toss it against the wall?
There is one author I loved when she was first published. I will not mention her name, but I feel her writing has become sloppier. About ten years ago I got her newest release as a gift. The sentences were paragraphs long and almost all of them began with “And” or “But.” I know how difficult it is to have a publisher accept your work and to submit the “perfect” manuscript. A college professor once said, “Writing is easy, it’s the rewriting and rewriting, that’s difficult.” Well said, in my opinion. This author is well known and even if I had nothing to read but cereal boxes, I’d pick them over her novels. And, by the way, that last book of hers I started to read, I DID toss it against the wall.
Ouch. It sounds like her “rewriting time” was minimal at best.
4–What character from a novel had the biggest impact on your life?
That is so difficult to answer because there are so many books I have read that have impacted my life in different ways. I just finished one for review, which isn’t due to be released until July, so I won’t name the title. The protagonist is a woman who lost her husband, her home, just about everything. She needs to start over and moves to a small town where some local women welcome her with open arms. These types of stories of women facing difficult challenges and being befriended by others who also share or have shared difficulties are the types of books that impact my life. They prove that women do not have to be controlled by their fears and insecurities for they can succeed to become whomever they want.
I hope you’ll come back in July and share this title with us so readers here can give it a chance. I think everyone who stops by Southern Exposure is always looking for another good book.
Again many thanks to Nancy for taking the time to tell us what readers think. I learned a few things about what to include in these interviews, and she was a good sport from beginning to end.