August 2009 Winner
Home: Grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, also lived in New Jersey and London, England. Have lived in Cincinnati for 16 years.
Favorite Spot for Reading: Anywhere! In bed, at the table, curled up in a cozy chair – I’m not particular.
How did you discover Patricia McLinn’s books?
I think I read the first one when I subscribed to several Harlequin, Silhouette and SuperRomance lines. Then I was hooked. I kept an eye out for Patricia’s new releases long after I stopped subscribing, and finally sent her a pestering email when I hadn’t seen a new one for awhile!
Which is your favorite Patricia McLinn book and why?
Wedding Party. I’m not sure why that one hooked me – I read this series out of order; this may have been the first of Patricia’s books I ever read. I loved the Chicago references (Marshall Field’s, Frango mints, etc.) and I loved the whole Michael-Tris-Grady relationship (or non-relationship, in the case of Tris/Grady). I thought the scene with Michael’s holey sweatshirt was a sizzler, and I’ve reread this book several times, partly because I love that scene so much. I loved this whole series, but my second favorite is Runaway Bride. (I love ALL of Patricia’s series, but I have a soft spot for this one.) My second favorite series – hard call, but I’d say the one that takes place in Wisconsin. [Wedding of the Century, The Unexpected Wedding Guest, Least Likely Wedding, Baby Blues and Wedding Bells.]
What’s your favorite early memory of reading or having books or stories told?
My parents used to read A.A. Milne’s stories to me when I was very young, as well as Golden Book stories. Milne didn’t just write about Winnie-the-Pooh; in fact, as I recall my earliest favorite was King John’s Christmas, a poem about a king who wanted an India rubber ball. Another favorite was The Tall Book of Make Believe (someone blogged about it here). It was a wonderful book that I read to my children, too. I’ve tried to buy extra copies of it, but it’s out of print and used copies cost the earth.
Have any books made a difference in your life?
Yes, in so many ways. It would be hard to select individual books, because I think my life has been enriched by every book I’ve read, if in different ways. Books that have meant a lot to me over the years were mostly books I discovered when I was young: Madeline l’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World – those are just the first to come to mind. I’ve loved the mystery genre since I read my first Nancy Drew at age 9, and I’ve loved romance and romantic suspense since I was a teenager. I’m just a bookaholic – always have been.
What do you love about being a reader?
Well, you’ve nailed it – reading is a love affair, plain and simple. Every time I open a book, there is a sense of anticipation, almost like an electrical buzz. When a book meets (or exceeds) my expectations, it’s a thrilling experience – no matter what the genre. Reading is always an adventure, and I tend to approach books with a sense of wonder. The people and places in books become very real to me.
Anything else you want to say?
This may sound odd to people who make a study of literature, but I have always read for the sheer joy of it, and never analyzed the why’s or wherefore’s of that enjoyment. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve stood back and studied books with a writer’s eye. I think I purposely avoided analyzing books because I was afraid I’d lose the magic if I knew too much about the author’s process. Instead, the more I consider books with a writer’s eye, the more I’m awed that so many marvelous books were written by (relatively!) normal people.
I’d always placed authors on a different plane of existence; as if authors had been endowed with mystical powers of bringing imaginary worlds to life. This sounds naive, but in some ways I still believe this is true. As far as anyone knows, we are the only species to create stories about people and events that exist in a world of the mind. If that’s not magical, what is?