BBAW: Interview with My Kingdom for a Book


I think the mutual interviews are such a cool feature of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and I'm excited to be contributing my interview, with Beatrice of My Kingdom for a Book. Beatrice reviews, as her blog-header says, "mostly paranormal romance" - obviously, she and I focus on different types of books. At first that made me a little nervous, but I ended up having a lot of fun putting together questions for someone with such different tastes, and I hope Beatrice had fun too! (Also, I have to thank my love of Candy and Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for educating me enough about paranormal romance to sound remotely intelligent in this interview.) Thanks, Beatrice, for the good questions and thoughtful answers! Beatrice's interview with me will be posted on her blog later today.

You are a busy blogger! Tell us a bit about yourself and your three blogs (I thought I was busy with two!).
I love reading books, and I love writing, so being a book review blogger just seemed natural! I started blogging at My Kingdom for a Book about a year ago, just in time to participate in last year's BBAW! My other two blogs grew out of conversations with my friends. One is about being single. I am actually planning to close that one down soon because I've met someone and can't really blog about being single any more! My third blog is about trying out different churches in my area, kind of a like a mystery worshipper. I really do love to write, so the three blogs seems like fun instead of work! I am also hosting a book club for romance novels over at AOL's, I am very excited about that. And other than reading and writing, I am a special education teacher!

What makes a really great paranormal romance, in your opinion? Why are those two elements (romance and the supernatural) a great combination?
A great paranormal romance for me is novel. There are so many different paranormal elements that you can write about--werewolves, vampires, other shifters, fairies, demons, and I even recently heard about killer unicorns! I want to read something different, and paranormal romance is an ideal place to find the novel. I also enjoy a nice, steamy sex scene or two as well!

Examining the flip side for a moment, what are the most common pitfalls that ruin a paranormal romance for you?
I am actually pretty easy to please. There aren't a lot of paranormal romances that I don't find interesting. If they are trite or not well-written, I have a hard time. If they are the same old story, that's uninteresting to me as well. I'm not sure that I've read enough bad paranormal romances to have come across a common pitfall.

My impression is that paranormal romance is a genre that's totally exploding in popularity right now - any ideas on why that might be?
If I had to put my finger on one reason, it's escapism. It's a difficult time in the United States. People are looking for something to take them away from their worries. Paranormal romance fits that need. It's close enough to real life to be believable, but far enough that it takes people away for a little while. On top of that, there are ways to make the relationships in the paranormal romances seem like they are destined to be. Relationships are shaky now as well with the divorce rate over 50%. What woman wouldn't love to know that they'd made the right choice? I know that it would make me feel a lot better!

You went to the recent BlogHer conference in Chicago, and it seems like you had an amazing time. What are your top take-aways from that experience? Did it change how you feel about blogging at all?
I did have an amazing time! I love talking about it, so thank you for asking! One of the top things I learned was about what an amazing online community there is! There are so many incredibly talented women out there. They're making a difference in the world. There are moms who have spending power and affect what their readers are eating, watching, the toys they're buying for their children.. There are book reviewers who affect what people read. There are activists who are changing the world they live in. It really left me with a feeling of empowerment about being a woman.

You make no secret of the fact that you don't like books that portray vampires as nice guys. Why is that?
I don't like vampires as nice guys because I see them as predators. I like being at the top of the food chain! I don't want to think that there's some big bad out there that's going to try to eat me! I know that in general, predators are doing what they were made to do. Wolves, eagles, and other predators don't enjoy causing pain in their prey--they just want to eat. Vampires go beyond doing what they were made to do, in my opinion. They revel in mayhem and murder. It just seems like the epitome of evil to me.

What's your favorite paranormal element (vampirism, ghosts, demons, telepathy, etc.)? What intrigues you about it?
Christine Feehan's Games series holds a special place in my heart. It's about genetic manipulation that results in different abilities--telepathy, sound manipulation, and so forth. I have always wanted to be telepathic myself, so that appeals to me. Some extra abilities would be pretty cool, too!

Which are your favorite book blogs, and why?
My favorite book blog is Rip My Bodice. I've read a lot of the books that they review, so I know what they're talking about. Plus, they're really funny! I also like Texas Red Books, and The 3Rs Blog. I met both lovely ladies at BlogHer. I love opportunities to meet blogging, tweeting, social-media using people in person.
Other than that, I'm embarrassingly a bad follower of book blogs. Keeping up with everyone is a full-time job! I could spend all day reading reviews. Usually, I pop by quite a few different blogs on a semi-regular basis. Funny keeps me coming back for more.

I'm going to ask for three recommendations:
1. If someone had never read a paranormal romance before, but they were a fan of mainstream romance novels, do you have a suggestion to start them out?

I would probably recommend Christine Feehan's Game series to start with. It's close enough to reality that it would help ease into the paranormal genre. I also would recommend some of Heather Graham's paranormal romances. She writes quite a bit about ghosts and things that most people do not believe are too far out of the realm of reality.

2. What about a book for fans of supernatural/action plots, who are thinking about spicing things up with a little romance?
How spicy are we talking? Hehe. If you're looking for action, I highly recommend J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. If you're looking for a fun read with really quirky and interesting characters, I love Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. It's so much better than the show, although I do enjoy the show as well.

3. Lastly, what about a recommendation for all readers who just love a juicy, well-written novel with great characters and a tight plot?
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series! It's about a werewolf named Kitty--I love the irony. I would also recommend Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. I love how rich the lore is in her books.

And finally, because you review paranormal romance I have to ask: vampires or werewolves, and why? ;-)
Werewolves, of course! I don't know if I could deal with the whole dominance/pack dynamic if I were to date one. I like the raw, uncontrolled aspect--it seems like it would make men more masculine!


  • You did an awesome job of asking questions!

  • Oh, I agree - definitely werewolves. ;)

  • This is an interesting interview. As you know, I've complained about urban fantasy/paranormal romance in regard to their portrayal of vampires (basically as simplistic "sexy bad boys" instead of the undead monsters they are). I'm rather suspicious of the overall genre. Another blogger I like lamented the fact that these books "familiarize" and therefore weaken the supernatural.

    At the same time, though, I've been wondering if maybe I should give it a try? Carrie Vaughn has a very intelligent blog that I was impressed with. Patricia Briggs writes about a werecoyote and I absolutely LOVE coyotes. (Seriously, so many of these authors seem to feature werewolves, werejaguars, weretigers, wererats, and so on . . . but you'd think werecoyotes would be the next logical progression from werewolves!) Interestingly, those are the two authors Beatrice recommends for fans of general fiction. I don't know . . . I've got a lot on my plate right now and I really want to get more translated literature in, but maybe someday. . .

  • Different people in the world receive the business loans in different banks, just because that's comfortable.

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    link to Wolves 2011 reading list
    link to more disgust bibliography