Friday, October 19, 2007

Valerie Loves Romance and More! Really, she does!

We at the Morgan Diaries are not above a little trickery to get an interview. Case in point, we wanted to get a reviewers view of Romance, so we sent a little email to one Valerie Bongards about a Gerald Butler underwear modeling extravaganza. Sure enough our little bird was first in line. So, after we explained our little fib, she agreed to talk to us for a bit after we agreed to bid on a Butler signed G-string on Ebay for her. But it was worth blowing the budget to interview this long time reviewer with Love Romances and more. Val has long been at the forefront of Romance, both with her reviews and her work inside the epublishing industry and is the perfect person to tell us exactly what direction the Romance industry has taken in the past few years.

TMD: Val, welcome to The Morgan Diaries. Would you mind telling our readers a little about how you became a reviewer with Love Romances and More?

Valerie: Hi. Well, I was in a chat with some authors and the owner of Love Romances and More at that time was also there. So, I said I would love to review books and she invited me to join up. I had to send her a sample of a review and well, as they so often say, the rest is history. This was about four years ago.

TMD: As a reviewer and long time reader, you probably have seen many trends in Romance come and go, does the popularity of the paranormal genre surprise you?

Valerie: Oh, not at all. It’s my all time favourite genre. I really love that in e-books we find much more of it and it is included often in most other genres. So we have suspense with paranormal elements, historicals with paranormal elements, contemporaries with paranormal elements...well, you get my drift.

TMD: The instability in the past few months of the Epublishing industry sent shockwaves through the Romance community, yet the industry was quick to stabilize in light of recent events. Has this hiccup in the industry affected the policies concerning reviews on books from new epublishers?

Valerie: Well, not too much. It’s just as difficult for the review sites as it is for authors when an e-pub closes. We have to take reviews off the websites, or change internet addies when the books come out somewhere else. We have a whole file of reviews of books that have been done from a publisher that is now closed and they haven’t been re-published. On the whole, every publisher has the same chance to get reviewed as long as we are contacted. That said, we get hundreds of requests every month and we only have so many reviewers. So, if anyone wants to review, stop by the Loveromancesandmore website!

TMD: It is no secret you have been a great supporter of many authors through the years. You are always a fixture on many of the yahoo groups. Do you think the relationships you’ve developed are indicative of the openness of the E-industry and its authors toward their readers?

Valerie: I think it’s fabulous. It’s an opportunity especially for authors to build a firm fan base. I’ve heard from many readers that the interaction between authors and readers is very important. Many of the big print pub authors are practically untouchable, but the intense, intimate interaction between epub authors and readers is refreshing and fun. Some epub authors recently hit the print pubs and have already gotten their fan base established while they were e-pubbed. I love hanging out on the groups and rah-rahing for my fav authors.

TMD: A reviewers life, despite what many people think, isn’t all about getting free books to read. Would you mind letting our readers know some of the realities of being a reviewer, especially when you come across a book you just can’t finish?

Valerie: Hehe!! Well, free books are definately a benefit...and if you’re a bookaholic like I am, then it’s a great way to feed your addiction. At Love Romances and More, I can choose which books I want to review, as long as none of the other girls beat me to it. I’m trying to figure out a way to stay awake 24/7 so as to get every book I really, really want...hehe!! Sometimes I over-extend myself and request too many books. I have to get my reviews done within 30 days after receiving the book. When that happens, then it’s sometimes like over-eating, trying to get them all read and reviewed on time. So, I try to pace myself so that each book is a relaxed and refreshing read. Sometimes I’ll try a *new to me author* if the blurb catches my eye and I can honestly say that I have never not been able to finish a book. I may be a bit disappointed in a story, but I always finish them.

TMD: Have you ever reached the point where reviewing has made you feel that reading is more work than entertainment?

Valerie: Nope, never!!! If it was a full time, paying job, I would be in heaven!

TMD: After being in the industry for a while now, how would you describe the evolution of epublishing from where it was a just a few years ago?

Valerie: Certainly more popular. Of course, in the US it’s growing in leaps and bounds. More people are discovering e-bookreaders and are going for books in electronic form. Even established print publishers are starting to put their titles in electronic format. Recently, I saw a news snippet on the TV here in Germany about the Frankfurt Book Fair which talked about electronic books and how the German publishers are looking at this format now.

TMD: In the same light where do you see it going next?

Valerie: Many people talk about electronic publishing taking over print publishing, eliminating the need for paper and thus saving the forrests. This could eventually happen, but I don’t think this will happen in my lifetime. It is definately here to stay, that’s for sure and I can see more publishers opening up and especially more specialised publishers for fiction and non-fiction.

TMD: If you were marooned on a deserted island and you could have either Gerald Butler or a crate of books you’ve never read. Which would you chose? Morgan O just pointed out how cruel that one was. Bad Jmo. Bad Jmo.

Valerie: Oh yes, you are very!!! This is just so not fair. Infact, downright cruel!! Why the heck can’t I have both?

Note: Morgan O thinks she should have both. Deprivation of any kind is no good for a girl. Guys are used to it, women are not.

TMD: If you could be the heroine in your very own romance novel, which genre do you think you’d like it to be set in?

Valerie: Oh, paranormal for sure, and I would be the one with the powers!!!! And a lovely, sexy, hunky alpha male please!!! Gerard Butler would be perfect....*swoon*

TMD: After reading and reviewing for so long, have you ever been tempted to write a novel yourself?

Valerie: Yep, I have really felt tempted to write my own novel. Have started a couple even and really wanted to get down to business and finish something...but...I'm having so much fun reading and I think there are too many authors out there that are doing a far better job than I ever could.

TMD: Thank you for joining us on the Diaries, Val. We hoped you enjoyed your stay and the grumble… grumble… expensive pair of drawers you made us buy.

Valerie: Thanks for having me! LOL!!! I shall be watching the post and attacking the postman every morning from now on until they arrive!! Hugs!!

*Morgan O slaps Jmo's hand* Stop grabbing at her ass! Shame on you!

To check out Val's reviews just head over to Love Romances and more for hers and many more great reviews.


Maithe said...

Hi Val!!

Fantastic interview! I completely understand how you feel about books as I too am a book junkie. *G* The Gerard Butler thing...well...I will take George Clooney thank you very much. *L* See you around the loops!



Maggie Nash said...

What a wonderful interview Valerie! And are sooooo cruel!
Fancy making poor Valerie choose!

Catch you on the flipside!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Terrific interview with Valerie!



Anonymous said...

Ah, great interview, my friend!

Dawn D said...

Great interview with Val! She's always a joy to "bump" into around the loops And shame on JMo for trying to make her choose between her fantasy hottie & a box of books. Val's smart & feisty - I'm sure she'll figure out a way to get both!

Valerie said...

See, JMo, everyone is on my side with that choice you gave me. BOTH!!!


HH Self said...

An entertaining and informative interview, but then how could it not be such with the charming Valerie. Her work within the e-publishing industry as a reviewer, a champion of authors and a supporter of e-publishing as a whole, has made a marked improvement for us all. Thank you Valerie for sharing your love of the written word with us through the years and thank you Morgan Diaries for spotlighting that the e-publishing community is more than authors, but a family of talented people enriching literature for us all.
HH Self

The Bride Series by Regan Taylor said...

Great Interview Val! How does it feel to be in the hot seat for a turn about?

And secret about Val -- she WAS th star of a short story on Suite Magazine with Andrea Claude as her romantic lover!

Val's an awesome lady, always quick to step up and pitch in, she's funny with a great outlook on life.

J. Morgan said...

I have never repeat NEVER grabbed anyone's butt! If you must know it was Morgan O. Val let it slip she had Colin Firth's phone number in her back pocket. The rest as they say is history with me taking the blame, yet again.

J. Morgan

debiw781 said...

Nice interview with Val! She's a total sweetie and JMo is just being cruel!! LOL