Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blog Interview with Fantasy Literature Frankly

Posted by Simcha 6:27 AM, under | 4 comments

"Life's Too Short to Read Bad Books," declares the heading of Fantasy Literature Frankly, and I wholeheartedly agree. If you are looking for a good fantasy book to read, then make sure to stop by this wonderful book blog where you will find great book reviews, author interviews and lots of fun book giveaways.

This month we have an interview with Stephen B. Frank, who runs the Fantasy Literature Frankly blog

Hi Stephen, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview.

Can you please tell me about your blog and what makes it unique?

Fantasy Literature Frankly is the blog of Fantasy, a review site that has nineteen reviewers and aspiring authors. We usually post two reviews per day and have a database of over 900 fantasy authors with reviews and cover art and audio interviews and so much content… It’s really much more than a typical blog. Kat’s done an amazing job of recruiting top notch reviewers, too. Some of whom are short fiction authors who I predict are going to be famous fantasy novelists someday.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not reading?

I have three lovely children. And I am the director of a non-profit business as part of which I write on education reform. I also like to take long walks, but, um, I usually read as I walk. So I don’t know if that counts. I used to have other hobbies. But now, I work on fiction writing.

When and why did you start this blog?

Well, I only started blogging a few months ago. I am waiting for editorial feedback on my first novel before I submit it for an agent and eventual publication. And I thought I’d try my hand at blogging. I started the Urban Fantasy Fan Page and then Kat Hooper asked me to take over the blog at Fantasy I love the site and the other reviewers and am learning a lot. I really love it.

How did you first get interested in reading fantasy?

I came to fantasy as a child. Or, as I prefer to say, I was a fantastic child. My mother might remember this differently. I started with Baum’s Oz books and Tolkien and then graduated to Piers Anthony, from whom I learned the joys of serial punning. Some things you never recover from. And after that, I read just about everything I could get my hands on.

I read on your website that your favorite sub-genre is urban/ contemporary fantasy. What is it about this genre that you particularly enjoy?

I’m not really sure why I’m so addicted. It’s sort of an odd choice for me. I’m pretty much a snob about a lot of things and most people would consider this lowbrow even for genre fiction. I suppose I grew up reading epic fantasy about orphan boys who turn out to be powerful wizard princes. I think I first read Terry Brooks’ urban fantasy series and then Anita Blake. And it was sooo different than my childhood fare that I had to have more. Then I discovered Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. And since I am writing an urban fantasy novel, I started reading it as research. And from there it just snuck up and took over my life.

What do you enjoy the most about having a book blog?

Making connections with new people. I also like being able to write short, funny essays.

Have you found your attitude towards books or reading has changed since you have begun reviewing books?

I’ve been reflecting on that recently. Really, I am more of a fan than a critic by nature. And I’m willing to forgive a lot of flaws in a book if there’s something redeeming about it or the author. I do hate it when I get a review copy of a book and then find it’s not quite up to what I’d hoped and I feel compelled to write something about it. Or, I realize that not everybody is going to love a book as much as I do. So, I feel compelled to pay more attention to the flaws instead of forgiving and forgetting.

Have you ever had an author get upset with you for a negative review? If so, how did you deal with it?

No, but I’m new to this, and I trust most authors to be professional. That said, my job is to invite authors to interview at the site. And with eighteen reviewers, there’s always the chance that I’ll invite someone who has been negatively reviewed. I try to avoid that. But I basically live in a state of perpetual fear.

It sounds like you get to interact with a lot of different authors. Do you find that personal interaction with an author affects the way that you might review that author's books?

I suppose it's possible that I would like a book better for knowing the author, but admitting that in the review (fair advertising) seems like it's enough for people who read the view to understand and adjust accordingly. Personally, I would not avoid interaction with authors to preserve my objectivity because, frankly, I think building relationships (even virtual ones) is far more important than any review I'd ever write or book I'd ever read.

John Steinbeck once said. "Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard." To me this means that authors first and foremost need to have thick skins because few books, if any, will ever appeal to everyone. On the flip side, I think it is also important for reviewers to always remember that what they write, being in the public domain, is almost always going to get back to the author whether or not there is an interview or not. So, I'd hope I write any review, positive or negative, as if I'm giving direct feedback to the author while keeping the author's receptivity and feelings in mind. Even if I didn't like a book I'd hope the things I said would be said so as not to hurt the author's feelings. And if I can't do that, then maybe I shouldn't write a review of the book regardless.

And for your final question- If you decided to join the forces of darkness (hypothetically, of course) which book villain would you choose to join forces with, and why?

Hm. I’d have to say Georgina Kincaid, from Richelle Mead's Succubus Blues series. Yeah, I know technically she’s the protagonist. But she works for Hell; so that’s a force for darkness right? We could probably get Freudian about me wanting to be tied to a demon lover who’d use me for sex. But in addition to that awesome benefit, she’s a very lovely person, for, you know, a hell-bound demon. Off to see my therapist now. Thanks for the interview!

And thank you Stephen for taking the time to speak (email?) with me. It was great getting to know you and learning more about Fantasy Literature Frankly


Thanks again for the interview!

Nice interview from a fellow FanLit reviewer!!

Hi :)
Thank you for the great interview with Stephen. I enjoyed learning more about him. Thank you Stephen for sharing. I had no idea you are writing an UF. That's great!
All the best,

My pleasure. I enjoy getting to know the people behind the blogs. it's always an interesting experience.

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