Monday, September 12, 2011

This Week's Reader Interview - Johanna Pitcairn

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  
I am a 28 year old lawyer. I was born in France from a former Eastern German mother and a French father. I grew up in a small town in the center of the country, but my parents and I moved to the French Riviera when I was 15. I moved to the United States in 2006, and have been living in New York ever since. I speak German and French, and obviously English. I love to read and write. My upcoming divorce triggered a need for me to write, which I do every day on my blog, short stories and novel. I also love to discover new authors whose work motivates me and inspires me. 

When and how did you discover that you love reading fiction?  
I always loved to read. I think I was born holding a book in my tiny hands! I remember spending lots of days at the school library. I loved detective novels, so I read a lot of Enid Blyton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and the French author Maurice Leblan. I chose books mostly on the title and the cover - so when I hear don't judge a book by its cover, well..... I totally did that! I must have read about 10 books a week. I was devouring these books and made it a personal challenge to read as much as I could. I recall watching this documentary on Agatha Christie and wanting to be like her. Sitting all day by the typewriter, drinking tea and letting my imagination take control. It was really a wonderful time. 

What are some of your favorite books and who are some of your favorite authors? 
This is a tricky question!! I have many favorite authors. To name a few, I love Victor Hugo, Turgeniev, Guy de Maupassant, Gustave Flaubert, Stefan Zweig, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Charles Baudelaire, William Shakespeare. 

I don't have many books which I truly loved so much, I instantly knew they'd influence me for the rest of my life. Madame Bovary by Flaubert is one of them. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. First Love by Turgeniev. Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire. 

I love to read modern authors too, of course, but these ones are the ones that I'll always carry with me everywhere I go. 

What is your favorite thing about reading fiction?   
It allows me to escape from the every day routine. I have a very vivid imagination, and a mind that never stops working, so reading fiction for me is like watching a good movie but on my own terms. I set the stage, the actors, the decor and I let the writer guide me in his/her world. It's wonderful. People who tell me they don't like to read don't know what they miss. 
Do you have any “pet peeves” about authors, something they do that really annoys you? 
 One thing that really annoys me is when I read a book that is full of typos and grammatical errors. I read many books and short stories, and I think that right now I'm in the process of going through 5 books since I'm giving reviews on Amazon. I am not mean when I tell an author they maybe should have edited their work a third time. It's not even about the story. These mistakes drive me nuts. I understand that many people out there dream of writing, but it doesn't mean that they're allowed to give us a half-assed job just because they have this great software that gave them the opportunity to self-publish in no time. I consider writing like making good wine or sewing a beautiful garment. It doesn't happen in 3 days. I don't care how eager you are to put your name on a book cover, your work is going to be worthless to me. And I'm going to give you one star. End of story.  

Do you write fiction yourself?  
Yes. I wrote since I was little, and I even wanted to become a screenwriter when I was 17, but my dad told me that the movie industry was a world of sharks so I'd be better off becoming a lawyer. I don't know if the legal industry is less crazy, I don't believe so, but... it helps to pay bills. I took a break from writing for about 10 years. My divorce reignited the writing flame, and I've been working on a SF/UF novel since May 2010. I also blog a lot, and write horror short stories. I'm not published yet. The race to find a publisher will start once I'm done with my trilogy. I don't feel the need to chase several rabbits at the same time. I already have a lot on my plate. 

What is your favorite Mike Wells book and why? 
I read 4 books by Mike. Lust Money and Murder, Baby Talk, The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer and Secrets of The Elusive Lover. My favorite is by far Secrets of the Elusive Lover. That book was well written, and very engaging. It also touched me personally, as I saw myself in the main protagonist. I don't multi-date like he does, but I understood his thought process and his unwillingness to get too attached to one girl by fear of getting hurt. I could totally relate to such behavior. It was a wonderful read. I loved it a lot. 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. I share many of the same interests and peeves. Great to get to know you!