Today I am featuring a book blogger/reviewer that I have loved getting to know.
If you don't have the pleasure of knowing John, you are in for a treat when you read this interview.
John is more fun then you'll know what to do with!
LKBR: Hi John! It’s great having you here!
JV: Oye, Lisa! As great as it may be for you to have me, it’s even greater for me to be had. Thank you so much for being the virtual hostess with the mostest. I am delighted to be in your company.
ME! You're virtual hostess with the mostest. :-)
LKBR: What was the first cozy mystery you read?
JV: I would have to say that the first Murder, She Wrote tie-in novel, Manhattans and Murder, claimed my cozy reading virginity. Unless of course Nancy Drew counts, in which case she would be my true first--and at an indecent age! Though I’ve welcomed a few other cozy authors into my bed (you know, for purposes of reading), I’ve been faithful to the MSW series ever since.
With Rene & Donald Bain
LKBR: How did you learn about cozy mysteries?
JV: I’m not sure that I knew I was reading cozies until many, many, many years later. In fact, it’s quite possible that you taught me the distinction! I just thought of them as mysteries that were slightly subdued.
LKBR: How long have you been reading cozies?
JV: Well, that aforementioned Murder, She Wrote novel came out in 1994—so at least since then! (Perhaps before, even, given my shameful lack of cozy knowledge.)
LKBR: What does reading cozies mean to you?
JV: The cozies that I tend to read are all series books, and so cracking each one is like coming home to friends that have been missed but thought of fondly. There may be a dead body or two, but it’s all very inviting just the same. Some of my absolute favorites are Jane Cleland’s Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic Mysteries, and Liz Mugavero’s Pawsitively Organic Mysteries.
I adored Karen E. Olson’s Annie Seymour Series and Tattoo Shop Mysteries; she definitely pushed the boundaries of the cozy!
I’m also a huge fan of Agatha Christie, and I particularly love Miss Marple (and all other nosy ladies of a certain age, for that matter). It goes without saying—though I’ll say it anyway—that the Murder, She Wrote novels remain “must reads,” and I’m also very excited about Wendy Corsi Staub’s recent Lily Dale series from Crooked Lane Books (Nine Lives was published last fall and Something Buried, Something Blue is due out in October.)
LKBR: Cozy mysteries often feature pets. Do you have any pets of your own? What are they?
JV: I have a plethora of bunnies. Well, dust bunnies. (Do those count?) My wife and I also co-parent two cats. They have yet to commit murder (that we know of), but they’re full of mayhem and mischief!
LKBR: Do you leave reviews? If yes, for all the books you read or just the ones you liked?
JV: I’ve written reviews across many genres for my online column, Hartford Books Examiner, which is coming to an end after seven-and-a-half years. But I’ve just launched a new web site, www.johnbvaleri.com, where I’ll continue to push my bookish agenda shamelessly. (Subtle plug, huh?) I do prefer to emphasize the positive, and so I tend not to write about the books that I don’t enjoy reading. What may not be my proverbial cup of tea could very well go down smoothly for you, so why risk tainting your first taste? I’ve heard that tea and cozies go well together, by the way …
LKBR: What has your experience in the Facebook cozy community been like for you?
JV: It’s been very … well, cozy. (Groan.) There are a great bunch of readers, writers, and reviewers out there, and I love that Facebook and other social networking platforms allow us to commune over our shared appreciation of such books. And without having to shower or otherwise make ourselves presentable, no less!
LKBR: What other genres do you enjoy reading?
JV: I like to think of myself as an “equal opportunity reader”—but I’m all about mystery/thriller/suspense!
LKBR: Bookstores, on-line shopping, or libraries . . . which is your favorite way to acquire your books?
JV: Bookstores for the win! (Somewhere, my wife is plotting her revenge.) I know this might sound wrong, but I have an absolute need to own the books that are important to me. Which is damn near all of them. And there are few pleasures that I enjoy more than browsing the shelves for that one book that will speak to me. (Yes, okay—three or four others might whisper, and I’ll buy them, too.) You can’t get this experience online.
LKBR: Print or eBook. Which do you prefer?
JV: I may be of the techno generation but I am “old school” all the way when it comes to this. While I own an eReader, I tend to use it only for books that don’t exist physically. Or to buy digital copies of books that I already own print editions of. Otherwise, I need the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of its pages to intoxicate my senses. (Well, that all sounds a bit perverse, doesn’t it?)
LKBR: Do you enter in giveaways for books? If yes, have you ever won anything?
JV: Occasionally, though I tend to give away more books that I enter to win. I was randomly selected as the recipient of a Murder, She Wrote audio CD recently (The Fine Art of Murder)—and that rocked my world! Twenty-plus years of reading those stories, and this will be my first opportunity to hear one. Yet again I lose some semblance of virginity to Jessica Fletcher …
LKBR: If you could say anything to your favorite author (you don’t have to name her/him), what would you say?
JV: Write faster! And thank you so very much. You have changed my life. All of you.
LKBR: Buy A Friend A Book Day is August 31. Will you be taking part and buying a book for someone? Will it be a cozy?
JV: Yes! It’s just about my favorite day of the year. (It also happens to fall on Marcia Clark’s birthday, so I’ll probably gift some lucky bibliophile a collection of her outstanding crime novels.) And, if I’m being honest, I’ll most likely gift myself a book, too. You know, just so that we remain on good terms …
LKBR: What do you do when you’re not reading?
JV: I think about how much I would rather be reading than doing (insert any non-reading activity here). And then I think about what I’m going to be reading when I finally can read. And what I’m going to read after that. I also sometimes think how it’s a shame that I can’t make a living at reading, because it’s quite possibly what I do best.
LKBR: What are three things people would find interesting and/or fun about you?
JV: Hmm … I have a *slightly* obsessive personality. I possess unabashed hero worship for Gloria Estefan. And the Scream movies have influenced me far more than is probably healthy.
LKBR: Thank you, John. I loved learning more about you. You and I have something in comment besides reading and blogging, we're both a bit (okay, maybe a lot) nutty. ;-) Happy reading!
JV: Thank you, Lisa! It’s always such a pleasure having the opportunity to talk about myself. And books. Because I can’t fathom one without the other. ;-)
Admit it...you now adore John Valeri!
You do, don't you?
You'll adore him even more after you watch him in this awesome interview with Marsha Clark!
Yup! You're a John Valeri fan now!
Make sure to follow John on his new webite
A very big
to John for being with us today.
I wish you the best on the next chapter of your life John.
Your website is going to rock for a very long time!
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