In the latest installment of our reader interviews series, we talked to Cindy E., from Sacramento, California. At age 51, Cindy has been reading — and adoring — romance books for nearly four decades. After discovering BookBub this past spring, Cindy estimates that she’s downloaded more than 50 books to her Nook.
BookBub Unbound got in touch with Cindy to learn more about her appetite for romance, including what makes a great heroine, the biggest deal breakers for her as a reader, and how price plays a factor in deciding which book to read. Check out our conversation with Cindy below!
1) What makes romance so appealing to you as a reader?
I like a story with conflict and resolution. I also like stories where the characters work together to resolve those issues for a happy ending.
2) When did you pick up your first romance novel? How do you think the genre has evolved since then?
I probably read my first romance novel in 7th or 8th grade, and I’m positive it was a Harlequin paperback romance from the local library. The genre has changed immensely since the mid-1970s in that women were then written as weak characters that gave in to the lead and direction of the man. Now, women are strong and are equal to the men in most stories.
3) Who are your favorite romance authors that you’ve discovered on BookBub and why?
Gosh, I have so many now. I read books like some people eat potato chips. I really appreciate all the new authors and the chance they have to write, grow and put their product out there. If I find one I like, I usually go back and check a few months later to see if more books were released.
4) What is the first thing you notice when choosing a book to read — cover, author, or description?
The description! I cannot tell you how much a good description sells a book. On the other hand, a bad description will kill a book purchase.
5) How does price factor into your decision to read a new romance book/author?
Price is huge when everyone is on a budget these days. Free, $0.99, and $1.99 are the ticket to getting me to purchase your book. If I like the author and the subject, yes, I will spend more later. I love the fact that BookBub sends me in the direction of the sales, then I get to sample and find new authors who I am willing to invest in later.
6) What are your “deal breakers” when looking for a new book?
Typos are very bad, vampires and werewolves are worse. A bad cover is a marginal issue. I would probably still buy the book if I disliked the cover.
7) How do you get hooked on a romance series? What makes you buy the next book in a series?
The writing. Always the writing. A good series that has strong primary characters is always welcome, but secondary characters that you care about and want to know more about are excellent. That is what keeps me coming back to an author — good writing and a strong story board (or whatever they call it).
8) What is more important to you: the plot or the characters? Why?
Probably the characters — the plot can be interesting, but if you do NOT feel the characters, if their chemistry is off OR they are unbelievable, the story suffers greatly. I read a book recently, and the female lead was so wishy-washy, I wanted to toss her out the window and find the guy another woman! Seriously.
9) What makes a great romance hero and heroine?
Intelligence, imagination, perseverance, pluck, patience, a true connection with each other.
Oh, and I will have you know, I am NOT one of those women pining for a relationship. My husband and I did experience love at first sight, lol, and we just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in June 2014. Most women I know that read romance novels are happily married. I have names and emails, lol.
10) What makes a great romance novel?
Overcoming life’s trials and travails to make a life with each other and succeed. That’s really what it is all about for most people.
The interview above was edited for length.
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