Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Interview with Val Pearson
Today I have a treat. Val Pearson from You Gotta Read Review is my special guest. We all love you and appreciate the extra mile you go for new and established authors. Your bubbly personality shines through in all you do. Let’s hear it for Val Pearson. Welcome Val!
Thanks so much Sharon, it's so exciting to be here with you today. I am a bit nervous so don't mind the sweaty palms!
Aw, just sit back and relax. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Have a cup of coffee and just be yourself. How about we start with a few basic questions about your review sight. It’s really taken off, by the way. So let me just grab my coffee and we’ll get started.
Your blog and review site has really taken off over the past few months. Can you tell readers how this popular review site came to be?
This group started out as a refugee camp for dislocated reviewers from Simply Romance Reviews. The owner of that site became ill and needed to shut down the site. We were all lost, so Stephanie and Tami decided that it was time to get something going. Then it just seemed to be like a snowball rolling downhill from there.
And snowball into something big indeed. And what a novel idea for the name and rating scale. I love it! Was this something that came to you or was it something you gave a lot of thought to?
Stephanie and Tami were brainstorming one night and came up with You Gotta Read for the name of the review site, and thought it would be a novel thing to have the rating system go with it. It took a while to nail down the others, but once they did, it was just perfect for the group!
Talk about a perfect fit. So what made you decide to become a reviewer? And while we’re on the subject, how does one become a reviewer?
I love to read so one day I was looking for an opinion on a book and had read some reviews that were not so kind to the author but when I read the book, I LOVED IT! I thought, "That poor author is sitting there thinking their book stinks when it honestly doesn't." I started contacting authors and telling them what I thought about their book. Then surfing one day, I found Simply Romance Reviews. Julie, the owner, let me join the review team and from there I have been addicted! It is an amazing hobby (more like life, hobby is such a temporary sounding word). Simply Romance Reviews has since shut down but I will always hold it near and dear to my heart.
Actually, right now it is very easy to become a reviewer, so many sites are looking for them. There is no payment other than you get to keep the books you read but to me, it goes a little further than that. I can know that I made a difference to an author. Hopefully for the positive and not the negative. Right now we are looking for reviewers on You Gotta Read and if anyone reading is interested, here is the link. http://yougottareadreviews.blogspot.com/ Authors can become reviewers as well so don't think just because you are an author that you can't become a reviewer on our site. In fact we have a few authors on there and when their books hit the net, it's like on of our family members have achieved a milestone.
Thanks for sharing that with us, Val. I’m sure all your information will be beneficial to many readers. And I can’t stress enough how much we authors appreciate your jumping in there for us. It’s so great to have an honest reviewer with a warm heart who truly cares. Now let’s talk about the books you review. Is there a particular genre you prefer reading and reviewing? Or how about a least favorite?
Personally I love suspense, contemporary and I have just found a love for historicals thanks to Linore Rose Burkard. I love anything western and yes, the sappy romances go over well with me. I will review just about anything although I do not like stories with a lot of gore or horror stories. They give me the willies!
I agree. And there’s nothing like a good suspense to lose yourself in, is there? So is it hard for you to post a shall we say less than flattering review for fear of hurting an author’s feelings?
Yes, it is difficult for me to post a less than flattering review but if I do, I try to explain what exactly I don't like about the book. I feel like the author has worked so hard to get their book to publication, the least I can do is be honest with them. I don't want to give a flattering review on a book that does not deserve it and later have a reader think it was awful and not buy from the author ever again. It really is to help the author, not hurt them. I do not, under any circumstances feel that a reviewer should just shred an authors book to pieces. It's not constructive to either party and it serves absolutely no purpose.
Thank you Val! Is it any wonder we love you so much? You’re our hero and more reviewers should follow your strategy. So have you written any books yourself? And if so, what is the genre?
I SO WISH I HAD! No, I am not an author YET. Tami, a close friend of mine, have started the beginning processes of a book and hope to write one together. I know what I like, I have a lot of ideas but have no idea how to get the two to come together.
Oh, we all feel that way. I would love to read a book by you and Tami. Then it would be me cheering you on! Let’s talk a bit about book lengths. Do you prefer reading and reviewing short stories opposed to full length books—or does it all depend on the genre, the author and your schedule?
I really do like both. I like the short stories for when I have limited time and just want to get lost for an hour or two, away from the world. I love the full length books because I have a chance to get to know the characters and their feelings for each other. I don't really depend on the genre or author so much because I have found so many wonderful authors that, had I not just grabbed the book, I would never have found. I've noticed that covers do make a difference to me. The great thing about being a reviewer is that we don't see the covers. I don't have an idea already placed in my head of what the characters should look like or any expectations of the book. My schedule as of late has been crazy but I have gotten a lot of reviews written up this weekend so I don't feel as much pressure right now.
That’s interesting. I had no idea you didn’t see the book covers. See the things I’m learning during this interview! Now let’s talk about Val Pearson. You lived in Africa for a while? I imagine that time in your life left some lasting impressions. Can you share with us some of the highlights? When I think of Africa, I picture rain forests, a safari full of elephants and giraffes, and exotic bird life. Oh, and I have to share with you my fantasy about a visit to Africa. I would love to ride an elephant. Did you ever do this?
I have never ridden an elephant but I did see a monkey and thought it was so cute. My aunt pulled me back from it but the collar of my shirt VERY QUICKLY and proceeded to tell me how dangerous they were. I still remember wondering how such a cute animal could be so dangerous. Where I lived, in Durban, was like the city. Where we lived would be considered the suburbs and I do remember milk being delivered to our door and a man with a cart of vegetables would come down the road and stop at each house where we would buy fresh vegetables. I remember the scenery being so green and beautiful. I was eight when I left so my memories are mostly of where I lived. One funny story that I would like to share is that the South African versions of things is very different than here. For example a robot over there is a stoplight over here. Well, when we came to America, my brother was five and I was eight. My brother had to use the bathroom so very very bad so my mother came over to him and told him to go in that room and use the toilet. So he went in and came back out soaking wet. He had peed himself and my mother couldn't understand why. He was crying and said "I wanted to use the toilet and all they had was a bathroom. I didn't want to take a bath." I know, collective Awwwww's right about here.
Too funny! And I agree about the monkeys. They look so cute and seem so human like, it’s hard to imagine them being vicious. Well you know me and my love of legends. Speaking of the elephant, there is a legend about receiving an elephant for a gift. Oh, not a real one. LOL I’m talking about a decorative accessory for a curio or end table. According to legend, if the tusks of the elephant are rooted upward, this will bring the owner of the house good luck. Have you heard this one? Speaking of myths, do you have a legend or superstition you’d like to share?
I really don't have superstitions but I do know the one about the elephant. My aunt used to collect them and only when the tusks were up. There has been jewelry that has been handed down through the generations and a small elephant tusk is one of them
What does Val Pearson do in her spare time? Inquiry minds want to know! Do you have any hobbies or favorite television shows? Preference in music?
Right now, life has been a bit crazy. I have been busy taking care of family members. We have had a total of 5 family members in the hospital in the last month. When life isn't getting crazy on me, I am so into Nascar it's not even funny. I am an Earnhardt fan all the way. This is where the die hard Nascar fans might stop reading this interview! lol Hmmm, television shows, let's see, One Tree Hill is my #1 favorite. I love Friday Night Lights and this season American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice have been shows I cannot miss. I can't believe I have put Criminal Minds on the back burner, I never thought that would happen. I used to love watching Touched by an Angel and hated that they took it off the air. My music preferences are all over the place. I listen to Alternative, Country, Rap, Pop, Christian anything. If it has a great tune and an even greater message, I'm there!
Well I certainly wish your family members a speedy recovery. They are fortunate to have you. And I love the Nascar fan in you! You know Chicken Soup for the Soul has a shout out now for stories about just that. You might consider checking it out. Now before you go, I have three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Tell us something about you that might surprise us. If you could play the leading lady in any literary fiction or box office movie, who would it be and who would you want playing your leading man?
If I could live anywhere in the world I would have to say Ibiza, Spain. I read a book, Mucho Caliente by Francesca Prescott and I loved it. It sounded so amazing. Then I went to her website and the pictures were so amazing, serene and I felt so drawn for it. It is my goal one day to visit.
One thing that may surprise people ... hmmmm, I'm not the type of person who usually keeps things hidden. I would say the one thing in my life that surprised me the most was my relationship with my husband. We married when I had just turned 19 at 24 we were divorced. After our divorce, he was saved and got himself into church so when we got back together he was a totally different man. Ten years went by and a couple of relationships later, I came down to South Carolina to tell him just exactly how I felt about him and when it was over, we were remarried! I still don't know how all of that happened, only that God was in it.
If I could play a leading lady in a book, hmmmmm, I would probably say I would want to be Sherri from the book Combustion by Rebecca Savage and my leading man is a no brainer, Channing Tatum. I love that man and his acting abilities. I wonder if I would get the part if I just sat there staring at him, drooling the whole time! lol
Well those are some interesting answers. I’m so glad things worked out with your husband through faith. I’m afraid our time is just about up. Time flies when you’re having fun. Thanks so much Val! It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back again!
Sharon you know I love your site, your books and everything about you. I would be back again in a heartbeat. If you ever need me for anything, you know where I am!
Thanks so much, Val! And that goes right back at you!!