BBAW Day 2 – The Birth and Growth of JARR

I’ve been granted the chance to follow Just Another Rabid Reader since Lisa started it up earlier this year. Her readership has grown exponentially and with good reason. Hopefully you’ll check it out and find yourself joining the ranks of those mesmerized by her dynamic writing style.

1. What inspired the birth of JARR and how did you come up with that name?

Well, I have been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. I picked up The Pokey Little Puppy when I was three years old while stuck in my basement during a hurricane and I have not stopped reading since.

Back in December, I received a generous gift of a Nook Tablet from a friend, and my book obsession had magnified exponentially. Of course, the problem became that none of my friends or family really read as much as I did. I happened to meet you, Ms. Interviewer, in a Facebook group for book deals, et cetera, and after a very ill-fated conversation, we became fast friends and I heard all about the world of book blogging. Here was a way to satisfy my obsessive need to discuss books without sickening my family and friends (who really were tired of hearing about the latest vampire novel I had read…yep, I will admit that I am 30 years old and obsessed with the likes of Twilight. It is a guilty pleasure, okay?) I got started straight away.

The name is more complicated. JARR was actually not my first choice, but the others were taken. I cannot even remember what the other choices were any more, but they are unimportant. Just Another Rabid Reader seemed to describe who I was, in a sea of the book obsessed.

2. What was your first reading experience? Was it the one that instigated your ongoing love of books?

Well, like I said above, I picked up The Pokey Little Puppy (you remember the Little Golden Books, right? I haven’t been able to find them anywhere for my own kids and that made me sad).

I remember Little Golden Books well we had several growing up. Not sure if I’ve seen them around either. If anyone reading this has seen them around please let us know where to find them as I have a niece the right age for them also.

Anyway, I was three when I picked that one up. I think where my love of books really hit though was Dickens. I read my first Dickens in the 1st grade. I remember my teacher being shocked when I handed In my book report on “David Copperfield.” I don’t think she ever believed that I had actually read and written it myself. But from Dickens, I moved through all of the classics, and then started on Stephen King when I was about 10, maybe. The bibliophile was born then.

3. What is it about books and stories that especially appeals to you, the reason you read and keep on reading?

Oh my. Well, let’s see. I had a…difficult childhood. I read to escape the reality I had to live in. I was the shy kid with the Coke-bottle thick glasses. I had no real friends and was teased mercilessly. I retreated into books and found a whole new world that I could fall into, and it is that that keeps me reading, I think. The characters in a book do not care what you look like or who you are. They accept you with open arms and let you see inside their lives. I like that I can be anyone or anything in a book.

4. What are some of your preferred genres of books to read and why (top 3-5 at most can pick fewer)?

This has changed so many times. Let’s see, Well, Probably in this order:
1. Classics – I love the old works. I love the world of Dickens and the orphanage with Oliver Twist. I love Austen and Shakespeare. To me they were literary geniuses.
2. Paranormal. I am absolutely obsessed with vampires and werewolves. To that end, in November, I will mass amid the teens swarming to the theater at midnight to see the final installment of the Twilight Saga. Yep, I will admit it. And I am Team Edward all the way.
3. Fantasy. Do I really have to explain why?
4. Christian Fiction. This is an odd admission for me. Two and a half years ago, I would have told you God does not exist and you were a crackpot if you told me otherwise. Things change and things come into our lives and change us when we are least expecting it. I firmly believe there is a reason for everything.

I think that about covers the basics, though.

5. What are the three top books you’ve read since Jan and why?

Really, I have to pick three? Okay, here goes:
1. The HP Mallory Omnibus that contained the first two books in the Jolie Wilkins Series and the first three books in the Dulcie O’Neil Series (Hah! Figured out how to get in more than three, see that?
2. Coexist – Keegan’s Chronicle’s by Julia Crane
3. The Dusk Gate Chronicles Series by Breeana Puttroff.

Not necessarily in that order. I would say it is a pretty even tie between all of the above.

LOL as a fellow I bibliophile I can relate to the not being able to pick only 3 favorite books and suspect you’ll have an even harder time after reading one that I know is in your TBR.

6. Readers may not realize that you write more than Book Reviews. What was your first creative writing experience and how does that play into current circumstances relating to your writing?

You know, I honestly do not remember. I don’t remember NOT reading or writing. Honestly, when I was 18 I had a pretty bad accident so there are a lot of holes in my memory from before that. I can remember that my Poetry writing began in high school after a series of very bad events and a very serious depression. It was a way for the counselors to get me to talk when I refused to speak. She handed me a notebook and told me to start writing. It pretty much took off from there.

Regarding my current writing, I think every experience I have ever had has tied into it in some small way. I have a few pieces that are actually complete, but that I can never publish because they are a little too real and too many people would get hurt. More recently, I have delved into fantasy fiction, and not by choice by a long shot. Anyone who writes will understand that the characters can take over and form the story for you sometimes and you have little control over where it goes. I try to let the story tell itself, always. Almost like a preacher who says the words are provided by God, and not of their own accord? I kind of like to think I write the same way. Everything has a reason.

Writing really has been a healing process for me, though. A lot of things have happened in my life, and on paper, in my stories, I can be the person I could never be in real life when I was struggling. My earlier works read as very dark writing, and people who read them were concerned for my sanity. I would like to think I have become more polished since then, but I will leave that to the readers to decide within the next year when the first full work goes through the self publishing rigors. I intend to self publish, not because I think I cannot make it otherwise, but because I prefer to retain full control and I cannot do that traditionally publishing.

7. Who and/or what is your main writing inspiration? How and why?

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get inspiration from what I read. I think if I was not reading so much fantasy fiction, my current work would not morph that way.

The other bit of it would have to be all the people who said I would never make anything of myself. That I was a daydreamer and my head was always in the clouds. They later figured out that my “daydreaming” was ADHD in it’s most prevalent and severe form, but I think that the daydreaming has gotten me to where I am today. To all the kids out there who are told they are dreamers and that they will never get anywhere….That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Hold your head high. The world needs more dreamers. Dreaming is what gives us hope for the future.

I dedicate everything I do to my children. Children are what is going to take us to the next level. They are the next generation of readers. I hope to one day have my kids see one of their friends reading something and be able to say, “You know what, my MOM wrote that one!”

Thanks for interviewing me. This has been a blast. Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

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