Friday, September 19, 2008

Interview with Katrina Larkins on Community Fridays

Welcome to Community Fridays!

During Community Fridays, I interview authors, editors, publishers, and pretty much anyone else who I can get my hands on from the writing and publishing communities. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to suggest new participants. Check out current and past interviews here. Only have a minute? Click here for interviews at a glance.

Today I'm actually adding a twist to the basic premise of Community Fridays. Who forms the basis of our entire industry? Who pays our way? Who makes sure that we get fed and clothed (at least, most of the time?) Why, the readers of course! So I decided to pick the brains of one of them, in hopes of mining the rich secrets that will make us all wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.

Today's guest is Avid Reader Katrina L.

How long have you been an avid reader?

I can’t really remember the exact age that I was but I think it was in grade school. At some point I just realized all the different potentials for new and amazing worlds that the library contained. At that age, some of the assigned reading in class was actually fun, namely books by Roald Dahl, a book called Blue, and one where civilization had advanced not to see color and to be blinded from the world around them. I also had a boxed set of some of the classics with pictures, It made them easier to read and I was captivated by Treasure Island and The Secret Garden. This love got stronger through high school and college when I began reading more advanced books. Now sometimes I will start a book and will just have to find out what happens in the end so I just won't stop reading.

Do you have any fond, early memories of reading books?

I have a memory of going to the library once and being so excited that they finally had in the last book in the Alanna series (Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce) because I was just dying to know how it turned out.

What are your current favorite genres? Are they the same as the genres you used to like, or have they changed over time?

I would say my favorite current genre would be science fiction thriller, namely Dean Koontz, his books are so weird I just have to find out what the endings are like. I also like a bit of fantasy but the more confusing, "have to have read a whole series to know what's going on” books throw me off.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What is it you like about them?

There really are so many, I think any story I get into and read till the end I enjoy. There are a few that stand out though. I got really into survivor stories a while back, so one of my favorites would be Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I just love reading about how people manage to survive alone in the wild using only their wits. I definitely love the Alanna series, I guess I connect to it being a female tomboy, but it also adds in fascinating things like knights and magic while still staying on the edge of reality. Another one off the top of my head is Myst. I first read this one because I fell in love with the game Myst and I wanted to know more about the world behind it, but I love that it is not a "video game book." It is only loosely linked to what happens in the game. The book opens up a whole new world with the D’ni and book writing and I just love the concept of writing worlds.

How long does it take you to know if you'll like a book? A chapter? A page? The first sentence? Have you ever had to put a book down after a while because you just couldn't go on? Why?

I mostly know after the first few pages, definitely after a whole chapter that I'm not getting into a book, but most of the time I will read on. Sometimes books just start out slowly giving you all the background material and the rest of the book is great. I have had times when I put a book down and this is usually when I find it is taking me days just to get through a few pages. It obviously hasn’t captured me if I don’t want to spend the time reading it.

Are there any story-killers for you, that automatically make you abandon a book? Poetic giants? Machete wielding kittens? Mimes?

Well, the author would have to work pretty hard to fit the second one in. Nothing specific like that I would say, but if the world the author has set up is just too hard to understand and the elements in it just go way beyond reality that I have nothing to relate to.

Where is your favorite place to get books?

I love going to the library and getting the 25 cent books, but it is kind of a grab bag whether you get something good or not. Still this way I can find things I am interested in without spending tons of money. I especially like finding authors I love at the library and then getting more of their work at the store.

If you had one book in each of the following situations, what would it be?

One book on a desert island: I would have to say Treasure Island, it’s a great book and highly relevant. Maybe I should say "book on desert island survival," that might be more relevant.

One book you had to read for the rest of your life: Either the entire Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. It would take me a long time to get sick of those. I would probably choose the Lord of the Rings just because it is a little more advanced.

One book on a dark and stormy night: Definitely The Taking by Dean Koontz. I love the imagery of the glowing rain and it is a chilling read but it has a happy ending.

About the Author

Katrina L. is a senior in college. She is an enthusiastic sailor and budding photographer (the picture above is hers). She's also very good at bumming money for those 25 cent books ;)

© Emma Larkins and Katrina L.
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