The Readers Speak! My Interview with a Reader, Steven Beltzer

Response to the Reader Interview has been so positive that I am doing another one today!

Writers, listen up!  Here we find out what the readers really think.

1. Why don’t you introduce yourself? Where do you live? What do you do for a living?

Hello, my name is Steven Beltzer. I live in Washington State and work for an employee owned grocery chain as an over night stock clerk.

2. What’s the first book you remember reading?

Wow, that’s going way back but I believe the first book I remember reading was Where The Wild Things Are and I remember wishing I could find a place like that for real with big goofy looking monsters romping around. For some reason my favorite monster was Bernard. He looked the least ferocious to me. Hanging out with monsters would be fun but only if they don’t plan on ripping you apart and eating you.

3. What is your favorite book/author?

Now this is an extremely tough question because of how huge my favorite author list is. Have many favorite authors but with each author I think I have one title of theirs that stands out the most to me. Like with Stephen King it’s The Mist, With Dean Koontz it’s Phantoms or it could now be Odd Thomas, with Clive Barker it’s The Thief Of Always, and the list could go on but as you see with Koontz my favorite titles can change a bit as well. I think as we get older our perspectives change and maybe even what we fear and yearn for evolves into something new.

4. What’s the biggest influence on what you read? Word of mouth? Cover art? Price?

All these things are factors for me. I have found many new authors I have really enjoyed just by someone, a family member, friend, or a complete stranger recommending a title to me. I have had that happen many times in the library, bookstore and even while I was at work one time sitting on my break. A regular customer passing through the store on her way out noticed me reading and recommended an author named Nelson Demille to me, and let me tell you what a favor that was. Demille’s books were filled with such action packed thrills and suspense along with locations I could relate to. I ended up chatting about these books with this lady all the time afterwards.

As for cover art, it’s important but so is the quality of the book. Both paper and binding along with neat little illustrations and such. If all these things are included I would have to expect a higher price and yes price sometimes is a factor cause my allowance for books is sometimes thin. I really love finding hardcover books with great stories but with illustrations and quirkiness through out that makes it just stand out above others. Growing up I used to really enjoy 2 types of books; pop up books with their little cardboard levers and such that made things move and those horror titles with their hologram covers that turned the pictures all spooky, Rick Hautala had a few covers like that. Actually, it would be cool if one of todays bestsellers like Stephen King would put both those qualities back into a published book…just think of the possibilities.

5. Does advertising have any affect on what you read?

I think it probably does more than I or anyone else realizes. It helps inform that the book is coming out so we can save up, gives us a date and I have really enjoyed some of the TV ads that have the authors promoting their work. I’ve seen a few James Patterson ads that I liked and one for a Koontz book that was done all spooky like and really caught my eye and reeled me in. I wanted to jump up and rush out and get it…then I saw my check book and what was left after bills … total bummer :o( Actually, there was one ad that I saw in a magazine years ago for the first Maximum Ride book by James Patterson. Something about the words Angel Experiment just drew me in and I had to read this book. So, I had money :o) and ran out and bought a copy. Let me say I got more than my moneys worth with that title.

6. What’s something authors do that gets on your nerves?

Oh that’s a very easy answer for me. They create these awesome books series that I get into the first few books but I can’t afford to keep up with…oh and my local library sucks so buying is usually my only option. Oh and I know we are going into the age of ebooks but I can’t see me totally giving up a hardcover or paperback from time to time so I would really enjoy seeing authors going on more tours for signing and meeting with their readers. We have met a few this past year and each author my wife and I met was such a fun time.

7. Writers do a lot of spamming on social media sites. Annoying or influential?

I think if it’s legal and they have the ok through the people that run the sites it’s all good. It’s tough enough in today’s economy to do something creative like be an author and with the lack of funds for some authors a bit of free advertisement shouldn’t be such a big deal. Most authors I’ve talked with have never pushed their book on me. They usually just recommend it once and ask if I like it could I tell a friend about it and well yeah if I read something really great of coarse I will share that with others.

8. C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Do you agree with that statement?

Well I might have to agree cause if only the children enjoy it then sharing with older family members might not be as fun for them if mom, dad, or big sis or brother are bored and not listening…or maybe if everyone that grew up stayed a child at heart, which they usually do, then that statement would be bogus.

9. If you could be a character in any book, what would it be?

This was kind of a tough question cause I also enjoy comic books and well Batman would be my pick there but I’d be the older retired Batman with all the cool toys and money but just finally settled down with a nice wife that is an awesome cook and kids that I can share my toys and mansion with. But if we are going with novels I’d have to say Odd Thomas. Yeah he sees dead people but they are pretty quiet and share info with him that’s helpful. Plus, he would have the answer to the biggest question on everyone’s mind, Is there life after death? With a positive answer of yes, I think life may be a bit more comfortable and less worrisome.

10. Have you ever considered writing a book?

Actually, I have quite a few things I’ve started and I’m in the middle of but don’t know if I will ever get published or be ready to publish. Maybe when I have more time in the future after my kids are both out of school. I’d actually love to co-author something and maybe help out with chapters of a book sometime. I have ideas that are new and fresh and would love to share them with someone that has the time to write.

11. Do you have a blog where people can follow you?

I started something at a book blog site but never really go there. I usually just read, review, and blabber everywhere about what I’ve read at Goodreads, Facebook, and through emails to family and friends. If I did anything more I’d run out of time to read.

12. What book are you reading now/next?

I am reading Amaranth by Rachael Wade right now and I was pleasantly surprised at a twist in the story. I thought it was going one way and she through me for a loop…I like that.

And next I will be starting Toys by James Patterson & Neil McMahon. I grabbed this one because I’ve heard so many mixed reviews on it which some were really bad but I also watched this book get sold out off shelves everywhere in town this Christmas. So, thankfully there was one book my library had that I really wanted to read.


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