Both! I use bookmarks for my general reading, but if I really want to remember a page for some reason, I dog-ear it. I may also stick a post-it on the page with notes that I can’t decipher later.
2. Dust jacket on or off when reading a hard back?
I always take the dust jacket off and then I put it away and lose it. But I love the smooth feel of the dust jackets. I don’t feel worthy of them. When I was in college, my best friend was an au pair for a family with a library with first editions of American classics all with their dust jackets.I used to sneak in and read them.
3. Favorite author?
If I had to choose only one, it would be Jane Austen.
4. Favorite genre’?
I couldn’t pick one. I go through moods were all I want to read is mysteries, or romantic comedies, or 19th century literature, or gardening books. This is why you can’t take me to the bookstore: because I wander around and refuse to leave.
5. What is the best book you have read in the last year?
It would probably be The Little Stranger, a gothic by Sarah Waters. It had a delicious atmosphere of creepiness and malevolence. However, my favorite Sarah Waters’ novel is Fingersmith, an intricate, grimy and seductive Victorian suspense.
6. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I would have to say Nancy’s Theory of Style, which is with producers now. I hope one will buy the film rights. Other than that, I’ve always wanted to see The Confederacy of Dunces made into a movie. People have been trying to do that for decades. I’d love to see really good versions of Austen’s Persuasion and Mansfield Park. Both have been made into mediocre movies. I think Emma Thompson needs to step in and write the screenplays, like she did for Sense and Sensibility.
7. If you could only take one book with you to a desert island, which would you bring?
I’d choose something extremely long and dense so I’d be entertained for a while. The writer would need to be prolific, which knocks out Austen. Could I take The Essential Henry James Collection. Maybe I’d eventually finish The Golden Bowl, which I’ve started three times. Each time, I quit around page 300, but I allude to the book in Nancy’s Theory of Style.
8. What book have you read that you think is overrated?
Oh, Mary, you’re a bad thing and that’s a very bad question. My very bad answer is A Secret History by Donna Tartt. A lower-class kid doesn’t suddenly possess all sorts of upper-class affectations without years of trying. I should know.
One of my friends just gave me The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The writing is so turgid and there’s so much blah-blah-blah exposition that I wanted to use it in my worm composting bin, but I was afraid the worms would find it utterly indigestible.
9. What are you reading right now?
I’m proofreading my own manuscript for my next novel, Haunted Honeymoon at Casa Dracula. But on my desk is Paul Theroux’s My Other Life.
10. What is the last book you bought just for the cover?
I bought a copy of Gail Carriger’s Soulless for a teenage friend. I love her cover designs and theme. I’m going to try to borrow it back from my pal. I bought The Possessed by Elif Batuman for myself. The awesome cover art is by Roz Chast.
11. What is the last book you received in the mail?
I just got two copies of Linda Howard’s Blood Born to give away as prizes in a contest on my Vampire Wire blog. I love getting books in the mail and I love giving them to others, too.
12. What is the number of books you own?
I have no idea. Seven bookshelves full and a several boxes in the garage. But if I don’t think I’m going to read a book again, I try to give it to charity. I was a poor kid who scraped together dimes to buy used paperbacks, so I’d rather share them than have them gathering dust.
13. What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
It was a Dick and Jane book. When my mother picked me up from school, I was so excited that I had learned how to read that I couldn’t wait to get in the house. I sat with her on the front steps and read to her.
14. Do you have a favorite place to read?
On warm afternoons, I still read on the front steps!
15. What is next for you, publishing-wise?
I’ve got my fourth Casa Dracula book coming out in October, Haunted Honeymoon at Casa Dracula. I’m also working on a ghostly YA and another adult contemporary romantic comedy about two people who decide to transform their lives.
16. Do you have a favorite place to write?
I work at my desk facing the back garden. My dogs snooze nearby. I open the window and watch the birds and the butterflies. Last week I saw a young possum ambling along in the middle of the day. I hoped it wasn’t rabid.
17. Do you have any pets?
I have two rescued German Shorthair Pointers. They’re a high-energy breed, which is why they end up in rescue. Their names are Betty von Snoggle and Bosco de Gama. They’re quite fabulous.
18. How does your garden grow?
My garden is doing well since we had late rains this year. I have a cottage garden with many species of heirloom rose. They’re in full bloom now, and my favorite is an arbor covered with small yellow hybrid musk roses. Every year I attempt to grow tomatoes, but I live in the fog belt and so every year I’m disappointed.
19. The last thing you Googled?
The last thing I googled was Lafitte, a new restaurant on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. I wasn’t sure of the spelling. It was named after the pirate and pirates are a theme in Nancy’s Theory of Style. Everyone likes to dress like a pirate.
Thanks for having me here, Mary, and for asking such fun questions!
I wanted to include a picture of the back of the book since it shows such amazing creativitiy: