With Carol Cork
Tell me your story.
During my teenage years, my reading mainly consisted of Barbara Cartland books and the occasional Mills and Boon historical romance from the library. However, as I grew older, my reading tastes slowly changed and I discovered the world of crime novels, particularly the novels of Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connelly. Having immersed myself in the rather gruesome world of Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta and followed the career of Connelly’s quintessential anti-hero “Harry” Bosch for so long, I just felt I needed something a little lighter to read. So, wandering around a bookshop one day, I was drawn to the shelves marked ‘Historical Romance’ and, after reading the synopses of various books, I chose Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught.
First published in 1985, it has been the subject of controversy over the years, but it has always had a special place in my heart because it was the book that re-introduced me to the wonderful world of historical romance…a world I have become totally captivated by.
Tell me about your review site.
Every time I read a great historical romance, I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about the book…. to reach out to readers who loved historical romance as much as I did. Unfortunately, the only “someone” around at the time was my husband, who just sat there with a glazed look in his eyes! I toyed with the idea of creating my own blog but knew absolutely nothing about setting one up, never mind running one. However, with my husband’s support and my son’s technical assistance, Rakes and Rascals finally went ‘live’ in September 2012.
I never dreamed it would become so successful and, over the past four and a half years, I have made so many wonderful friends among readers, fellow bloggers and authors. I was thrilled to be able to attend the first ever Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, USA in September last year. It was a dream come true to meet so many of my favourite authors face to face and some of my fellow bloggers and Facebook friends too.
Do you have a rubric you follow when choosing books to review?
I am not a professional reviewer and the majority of the books I read and review are ones I have chosen and purchased personally over the years. Currently, I only accept review requests from my top favourite authors and sometimes from other authors whose books I have previously read and enjoyed.
Do you have a specific process when reviewing a book?
I mostly read books on my Kindle or iPad and find the highlighting facility very useful. Highlighting passages that give me insights into the hero and heroine’s characters, how effectively the romance evolves and the part played by the secondary characters provides me with the elements I need to formulate my review. I often include quotes in my reviews to illustrate a specific point I’m making, and they also provide a taste of the author’s writing.
Do you have a writing/reading quirk or ritual?
I just need a comfy sofa and good supply of coffee.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through the process of reviewing?
It has certainly given me more confidence in my own abilities.
What do you think makes a good story?
Personally, I love a story that is imaginative, emotionally satisfying, wonderfully romantic and sweeps you away to another time and place.
If you could only read one book over and over, which one would you pick and why?
I know this is cheating but I would choose Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers series. I love every book and I never tire of re-reading them. The series must have some of the most swoon worthy heroes ever and some of the most romantic moments too.
What books are currently on your night stand?
These are the Kindle books that I’m planning to read next:
Lucinda Brant’s Deadly Peril (Alec Halsey Mysteries, #3) – Georgian Mystery
Anabelle Bryant’s The Den of Iniquity (Bastards of London, # 1) – Victorian Romance
Anna Campbell’s Pursuing Lord Pascal (Dashing Widows, #4) –Regency Romance
How do you organize your books?
I have several virtual bookshelves on Goodreads which enable me to keep track of all my books.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
Enid Blyton – her Famous Five Books were so such a part of my growing up in the 1950s.
Charles Dickens – Not only was he one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era but he used his novels to draw to attention to the social inequality and abuses in Victorian society.
Robin Schone – I don’t normally read erotic historical romance but Ms. Schone writes deeply dark, compelling and sensual love stories which often reveal the seamier side of Victorian society.
I think with such an eclectic group of authors it would be a fascinating evening
Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog, Meghan.
Thank you for joining me on OF QUILLS & VELLUM today, Carol! It was a pleasure talking with you.