This is Part 4 of a series of “featurettes” about blogging & online reviews. Today, meet novelist Jo-Ann Mapson.
Jo-Ann Mapson, the author of 11 novels and a book of short stories, won the American Library Association’s RUSA Award for best women’s fiction in 2011 for her superb novel Solomon’s Oak (which I wrote about here at my old blog). Her thoughtful, brave heroines, whose problems range from relationships to money to caring for rescue dogs to recovering from grief, help us look at life from a different point of view. Her most recent book, Finding Casey (which I wrote about here), is the sequel to Solomon’s Oak.
In an e-mail interview, Jo-Ann says that blogs are important to readers and writers in different ways. “Hardly anyone in mass media reviews books anymore. Twenty years ago, NYTBR, Los Angeles Times, did lots of reviews, and those no doubt did sell books.”
When I mentioned that even bad reviews alert me to books I want to read, she said,
“Carolyn See massacred my first novel in the LATimes. People clipped and sent me the review, not to be mean, but because they were so excited my first book had been reviewed. That was big relief for me! I know another writer whose first novel was torn to shreds and never wrote another novel because of the damage.
“Now we have Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles’ reviews, and as many have agreed, giving the opportunity for people who are not reviewers the chance to say whatever they want about books. Often I look at the 1 star reviews, click on what else they’ve reviewed, finding something unrelated such as vacuum cleaner bags. But every day one site or another sends me reading suggestions, and I often do buy the book. There is no more bookstore to wander after the billions of chains drove out the independent bookstores, then fell flat on their own faces. What’s left to browse?
“I consider myself an addicted reader. One of my favorite blogs to read daily is Caroline Leavitt’s Leavittville. First, I consider her probably the best blogger out there, and we have similar reading tastes. She reviews/interviews daily. And write a book a year! Such a generous heart is rare, and she is happy to feature books she reads, which is the best reason to read a book, in my opinion. ”
Thank you, Jo-Ann, for this thoughtful interview!