Meet a Reader: Sharon Aguanno

  • Sharon Aguanno Reader interview
  • Here on Reade and Write I’m trying out a new idea- I’ve had such a great response from my interviews of authors that I thought it would be fun to interview readers, too! My first reader interviewee is Sharon Aguanno, a woman I met just after my first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, came out. She sent me a message on Facebook asking a question about the book and we’ve been in online contact almost every day since then. If you read the comments after each post here on my blog, you’ll notice that Sharon has been a faithful commenter every week. I’m so grateful for her friendship. Welcome, Sharon!
  • How often do you read?
    I try to read daily. If I am not reading a book, I am reading blogs, which I love!
    What is the name of the last book you finished?
    If audio counts, I just finished listening to Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, by Amy Metz. Although I had previously read it, I wanted to hear the southern speak. And I just finished Maggie King’s Murder At The Book Group.
    Audio books definitely count! What are you reading now?
    I just downloaded Memory of Light, by Mollie Cox Bryan (This is outside of my genre, but I love Mollie’s writing style, so I am going to read it.)\
    I’m also looking forward to reading Memory of Light. What is your preferred genre?
    Mysteries, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, Detective stories and Law and Order.
    How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?
    That’s a good question. A year ago I would have said never. However, last year I read 75 books- 40 new (to me) authors and many genres. The only genre I will stay completely away from is horror. I am a big
    scaredy-cat.
    What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?
    The Retreat, by Chariss K. Walker.
    Are you in a book club?
    No, I don’t have the patience to read a book at a slow pace. However, I do like when an author adds discussion questions at the end of the book.
    Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?
    Online, and occasionally someone will send me a book via mail.
    How do you decide which books to read?
    I follow lots of author and Facebook pages. When I need a book, I go out to the blogs and pick one.
    What is in your To-Be-Read pile?
    I was upset in January and I discarded my TBR. I figured I would never get to them. Now it’s July and I realize I should have kept it… LOL. There are a handful of books that I downloaded when they were free. Mostly cozies! Kathi Daley, Mollie Cox Bryan, Sarah Hobart, just to name a few. Also, my TBR usually contains authors and books. I see an author on a blog or Facebook page and I go out to Amazon and check them out. For example, if it’s a series, I like to start with the first book rather than their Work-in-Progress.
    Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?
    Absolutely NOT. I have found that bad reviews usually come from people who haven’t even finished the book. A little criticism or suggestion of what a reader would like to see is one thing, but rudeness in a review is unacceptable!
    Amen to that! Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?
    Reading is my passion; I don’t have a favorite book, but lots of favorite authors. When I find somebody I like, I will read everything they write!
    Where is your favorite reading spot? 
    My bedroom. I have a cozy chair and I face a big window looking out onto the street. Since I am on the second floor, I look at roof tops and trees, and I love the sunrise as it comes over the homes in the morning.
  • Anything else you want me to know?
    Yes; since reading is my all time favorite thing to do, I follow many authors and blogs. Occasionally I will come across one that I disagree with and I don’t have a problem stating that. Having said that, I want you and all authors to know that I have the utmost respect for your profession. Being able to create characters, dream up a plot and tie it all together is a talent that the avid reader, like me, only dreams about!
    Thank you! That’s such a nice way to end the interview. I loved having you on Reade and Write! Sharon didn’t mention it, but she has her own blog where she talks about all things books. You can check it out by clicking the following link: https://newyorkarmymom.wordpress.com/.
  • I’m looking for more readers who would like to share their love of reading! If you’re interested in being interviewed, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be in touch. Authors, you’re welcome to put on your reader hats and join in!
  • Until next week,
  • Amy
  • P.S. You may have noticed these bullet points throughout my last several posts. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve tried everything.

 

Suffolk, Virginia Mystery Authors Festival

Before I get started, I’d like to let everyone know that Secrets of Hallstead House was featured as the Cool Book of the Week on Amy Metz’s blog, A Blue Million Books. I’d love for you to check out the post: you can find it at http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/. You may have to scroll down just a bit, but I promise it’s there. Many thanks to Amy Metz for the opportunity to appear on her blog!

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Suffolk, Virginia Mystery Authors Festival, hosted by the Suffolk Division of Tourism in partnership with the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts and the Suffolk Public Library. It was a gathering of twelve very talented and prolific mystery writers, a literary agent (Dawn Dowdle), a freelance editor (Jeni Chappelle), several members of the Virginia chapter of Sisters in Crime, and hundreds of very happy readers.

suffolk poster and Amy

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with the likes of Ellery Adams, Mollie Cox Bryan (who shares my Kensington editor), Mary Burton, Erika Chase, Vicki Delany (who also writes as Eva Gates), Linda O. Johnston, Joyce and Jim Lavene (who write together as Ellie Grant and J.J. Cook), Maggie Sefton, Gayle Trent (who also writes as Amanda Lee), LynDee Walker, and Wendy Lyn Watson (who also writes as Annie Knox).

Many of these authors write cozy mysteries. The cozy is a sub-genre of crime fiction in which the main character, generally a woman, is an amateur sleuth with a day job that allows her to interact with members of the close-knit community in which the crime usually takes place. The cozy is populated with quirky-next-door-neighbor-type characters and the reader gets to know many members of the community as a cozy series progresses. Often the main character has a close relationship with a member of law enforcement (say, a brother, best friend, boyfriend, ex-husband, etc.) and you’d be amazed at how often cats, dogs, and other animals are important cast members. Cozies tend to be on the milder side of crime fiction and generally avoid strong cursing and graphic descriptions of violence and intimacy. It is common to find the main character’s job or hobby (such as knitting, scrapbooking, or animal rescues) as a theme throughout a cozy series.

But not all the authors I met write cozies: some write novels and stories that are a bit darker, such as Mary Burton’s Cover Your Eyes or her Texas Rangers series or Maggie Sefton’s newest political mystery Poisoned Politics. I’m happy to report that both Mary and Maggie are charming in real life and exude none of the danger they write about.

I wish I had time and space to write more about the books I discovered and the authors I talked to, but I will provide their website addresses below for you to check out.

The festival included presentations throughout the day that focused on everything from the History of the Mystery to a talk by Dawn Dowdle, literary agent, about the importance of finding an editor that fits a writer’s needs and genres. While the presentations were being held, many of the authors read from their most recent releases, which was a treat for the readers who attended.

If you ever have a chance to visit Suffolk, Virginia, I have a couple pieces of advice. First, try to avoid I-95 at all costs, even if it means walking the entire distance (you’ll get there faster if you walk, anyway). Second, get there on a day when the Suffolk Division of Tourism is hosting one of its tours, such as the Suffolk Ghost Walk (which I missed because I was sitting on I-95) or the Great Dismal Swamp Guided Nature Walk. Third, don’t leave until you check out the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts, which is housed in a restored high school and is a beautiful space that houses, among other things, art galleries, a gorgeous theater, a ballroom, and studios for dance, weaving, pottery, photography, and much more. The Suffolk Division of Tourism couldn’t have picked a more breathtaking and inspiring place to hold its Mystery Authors Festival.

Here’s that list of the authors’ websites:

Ellery Adams: http://www.elleryadamsmysteries.com/
Mollie Cox Bryan: http://molliecoxbryan.com/
Mary Burton: http://www.maryburton.com/
Erika Chase: http://www.erikachase.com/
Vicki Delany: http://vickidelany.com/
Linda O. Johnston: http://www.lindaojohnston.com/
Joyce and Jim Lavene: http://www.joyceandjimlavene.com/
Maggie Sefton: http://www.maggiesefton.com/
Gayle Trent: http://www.gayletrent.com/
LynDee Walker: http://lyndeewalker.com/
Wendy Lyn Watson: http://www.wendylynwatson.com/

Jeni Chappelle: http://www.jenichappelle.com/
Dawn Dowdle: http://www.blueridgeagency.com/

Sisters in Crime: http://www.sistersincrime.org/?7

Suffolk Division of Tourism: http://www.suffolk-fun.com/

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Mystery Authors Festival!

Until next week,

Amy