For this Top Ten Tuesday post, Jacqueline Diaz lists ten bookish people she’d like to meet. Almost all her choices are relevant to the books in the romance genre.
It’s Top Ten Tuesday, where we post a list of 10 of our best/favorite/most important bookish-related items, depending on the week’s theme. Thank you to That Artsy Reader Girl for providing us with this feature and creative ideas.
“Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”
10 Bookish People (Alive, Dead, or Fictional) I Would Like Meet
This Top Ten Tuesday theme is: “pick a previous topic that you missed or would like to re-do/update.” I missed posting on March 7 (and I almost missed posting today!). The topic that week was “10 Bookish People I’d Like To Meet,” which is my list for Tuesday March 21.
The subject was rather broad, and I chose people from different segments of the book industry, living, deceased, or fictional.
Because there are so many choices, this was a tough one.The bloggers section was particularly hard; there are so many people I would adore meeting in real life, but I was limited to just one person per category!
1. All-Around Bookish Renaissance Woman: Kathryn Le Veque
If I had to name one bookish person who inspires me, it would be Kathryn Le Veque. Her achievements are amazing–intimidating, even. LeVeque is an inspirational success story proving an author’s dreams can come true.
A USA Today bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestsellier of medieval historical romance and contemporary romance, she has blazed a trail for others to follow.
Le Veque is a tour-de force leader in the industry. She pens unique novels, mostly medievals, and is the founder of several publishing houses, including Dragonblade Publishing.
When Le Veque started out the big publishers rejected her manuscripts. They said her chosen genre not being considered “marketable enough.” Defiant and determined, Kathryn had vision and saw it through.
She uploaded her first novel for purchase on Amazon’s Kindle platform in May 2012. A year later, she was able to quit her day job to focus on her writing full-time. All thanks to the phenomenal success of her e-books.
She writes remarkable stories about knights, kings, and queens. History plays a starring role in her books, not merely a backdrop. Her stories are unique, emotional and deeply touching. Through her many novels and hard work Le Veque has earned the admiration of her peers and fans.
Publishers shut her out of mainstream because she didn’t adhere to the current trends. Kathryn proved them to be fools, self-publishing the books she wanted to to write–and read. She found a large and devoted audience eager to read her stories. On top of that, she built an indie publishing empire to help others succeed.
Who wouldn’t want to talk to a renaissance woman like Kathryn Le Veque?
2. Author (Deceased): Jackie Collins
Have you ever wished you could talk to a great writer whois no longer living? For me, that would be Jackie Collins. She was the brilliant, bold, and wildly successful author of over 30 novels that shocked and entertained readers worldwide.
Her career spanned from 1968 with The World Is Full of Married Men to her final work, The Santangelos in 2015. Her bestsellers detailed the glamorous and sordid lives of celebrities.
As actress Joan Collins’ younger sister, Jackie had access to the inner workings of the showbiz industry. She smashed through the conventions of polite society with her books. Collins penned raunchy romantic thrillers. Filled with crimes, sex, drugs, and rock & roll, they went beyond what other writers of her era would touch.
With over 500 million books sold, Collins was one of the most influential and fun icons of American literary history. Some of her acclaimed works include Chances, Lucky and Hollywood Wives.
Chatting with her would be a dream come true. What stories she could tell!
3. Author (Living): Rebecca Brandewyne
Rebecca Brandewyne is a romance author who has not written in years. I would be delighted to sit down and see what she has been up to
When I started reading romances in the early to mid-1990s, Rebecca Brandewyne, along with Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey, was one of my favorite authors. Her books were grandiose and epic. They began with a prologue and ended with a happy epilogue, and included a poem and cast of characters at the beginning of the book.
As Brandwyne’s health issues were one of the reasons behind her leaving the writing field, I would ask her how she is faring now. It would be fascinating to learn what she has been up to all these years. I’d want to talk about her works, her writing style, and her current ideas on the genre.
Finally, I would inquire about the two series she never completed. How she would have ended her fantasy trilogy of the Chronicles of Tintagel, which began in Passion Moon Rising?
Most importantly, what was to be the conclusion for her unfinished Highclyffe Hall trilogy? What was to happen with the “twins” Ransom and Rhodes Chandler, who were born in Across a Starlit Sea? And what of their parents and grandparents?
I would love to know the answers to those questions!
4. Book Blogger/ Reviewer: Nenia Campbell
Nenia Campbell is a multi-talented lady whose name can go in at least four other bookish categories. I chose her for the book blogger I’d want to meet.
Campbell has written books such as Fearscape and Horrorscape, dark (un)romances that feature villainous heroes. She runs Readasaurus Reviews, a blog where she posts book reviews. She is one of the top reviewers on Goodreads where she runs the Unapologetic Romance Readers group.
What’s cool about Nenia is she reads everything. Nonfiction, general fiction, and the entire spectrum of the romance genre. She reads sweet teen romances, bodice rippers, the latest contemporaries, vintage Harlequins, and bizarre treats like Mating with the Mantis!
“I don’t typically like what’s popular because I don’t like what’s predictable or easy; I like books that are raw and difficult and dark and challenge me and the way that I see the world, even if it means heartbreak and tears and playing hours of Animal Crossing to get myself back into the happy zone.”From Nenia’s Review for Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Plus, Nenia is very prolific on social media. She discussws all things bookish and posts images ofholding many beautiful books and of herself in lovely colorful wigs.
Nenia seems like such a passionate and creative reader and book lover that I could glean so much from a conversation with her. I also adore her sense of fashion, so I’m sure our talks would be an enlightening and hair-raising experience!
5. Character from a Book: Hercule Poirot
As far as fictional bookish people I’d love to meet, it would be the egg-headed protagonist from Agatha Christie’s long-running mystery series. The elegantly dressed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is a most fascinating character. He solved the mysteries of the Murder on The Orient Express, The ABC Murders and Death on the Nile, and many more.
Poirot is one of the most iconic crime-solvers in fiction, far more interesting to me than Sherlock Holmes. I’d like to pick his brain and learn some detective tips and tricks. And some fashion tips! Il est un homme très sophistiqué.
I would start the conversation by expressing admiration for Poirot’s skills and intellect and asking him to share the secrets of his success. His perspective on human psychology is pivotal to his investigations. How does he know what he knows? What techniques does he uses to solve murders?
I’d also ask him about the cases that were the most memorable or challenging for him. What is his opinion on the state of modern detective work? What advice he would give to aspiring detectives?
Then I’d dive into the details of his fashion sense, which is always so dapper. I’d love to hear his advice on how to look smart and stay stylish, as well as his thoughts on current trends in men’s clothing.
6. Cover Artist: Victor Gadino
If I could talk to any book cover artist, it would be Victor Gadino. He is one of the top romance novel cover artists of all time. Gadino has created hundreds of beautiful and sensual covers.
His amazing stepbacks make him one of Sweet Savage Flame’s favorite illustrators.
I would love to talk to him about his creative process and how he designs such beautiful and sensual covers.
Victor Gadino was born in New York in 1949. His big break in book illustration came in the late 1970s when he designed romantic-styled covers for gay fiction. Avon reissued Gordon Merrick’s backlist of books, for which Gadino did al the new artwork.
He was a designed covers for many years, but his rise to prominence in the genre came with Johanna Lindsey’s Prisoner of My Desire in 1991, making him a highly sought-after romance illustrator.
He has also designed album covers for well-known performers, Broadway play posters, and collectibles for the Bradford Exchange and Franklin Mint. His work is in the homes of celebrities such as George Lucas and Clint Eastwood, as well as many famous New York City families.
A creator of sensual images, Victor Gadino is the artist I would be honored to meet. I’d be delighted to hear whatever he had to say and, if possible, to observe him at work on his paintings.
7. Cover Model: Fabio
If I could talk to any romance book cover model, it would be the great Fabio Lanzoni. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the details about Fabio. After all, he’s the supermodel whose face and body have been launched millions of covers.
Plus, he’s also a romance writer himself (even if he had some help from ghostwriters.)
Being a successful cover model and the author, I’m sure he has a great deal of creative insight and inspiration to share.
Fabio’s unique perspective as a romance genre celebrity would provide a lot of fun stories and anecdotes.
The questions I’d ask Fabio would be simple: I’d ask him about his modeling experiences, his favorite covers, which artists he thinks painted him best.
Honestly, Fabio wouldn’t have to say much. At 60, he’s still fine. As I’m 45 now and not the 13-year-old girl who imagined him as the hero of numerous romances, it’s okay to appreciate that eye candy that is Fabio Lanzoni.
I’m certain a chat with Fabio would spark the creative energy to follow my own dreams with renewed vigor.
And maybe he’d let me squeeze his biceps to get a feel those rock-hard muscles? Would that be wrong? Oh, well a girl can dream…
8. Bookstagrammer: Mary Lynne Nielsen
- Bookstagrammer: Mary Lynne Nielsen
Mary Lynne Nielsen has been reading romance for 45 years and has a wealth of information about books and the business.
“I’ve been reading romance for a long time–over forty years. And over that time I’ve managed to produce a few pieces of writing of my own. Rather than having them scattered hither and yon, or not even available, I decided to create a centralized home for them. Hence, my ruminations on romance.
“I make no claims of expertise, wisdom, knowledge, or the like. But I do have, as so many readers do, a deep and abiding love of the often maligned genre of romance.”-Mary Lynn Nielsen
A prolific bookstagrammer under the handle @emmelnie, she is one of many people whom I’d like to chat with in person. Social media is great for meeting lots of great folks. Unfortunately, because I am a slow typist with ADHD, I am unable to participate in lengthy debates.
Mary Lynne has written articles for blogs and magazines, posted educational videos about the genre, attended conventions, and spoken with/interviewed prominent figures in the industry, academics and fans alike.
Her website, Romance Ruminations is an excellent resource for readers.
I’d be delighted to meet at a coffee shop near a used book store and hear her thoughts on the evolution of the genre, her favorite books and authors, and her advice for aspiring writers and readers.
Basically, we would discuss everything there is possible about our romance and then go book shopping!
9. Publisher or Editor: Steven Zacharius, President & CEO at Kensington Publishing Corp
- Publisher or Editor: Steven Zacharius
As far as bookish people on the business side of the industry, I’d enjoy a sit-down with Steve Zacharius. He is the president and CEO of Kensington Books, the parent company of Zebra and Pinnacle. Kenisgton is a multi-million dollar family-run company founded in 1974 by Steve’s dad, Walter Zacharius.
With almost 30 years of experience in the company, Steve has led Kensington’s growth and expansion. I am curious to hear his thoughts on the industry and how he has kept Kensington relevant and successful for so long.
Steve is married with two kids and three grandkids. His son, Adam Zacharius, has also been working there since 2008.
Kensington is one of the last large, privately owned book publishers in the United States. It releases over 500 fiction and nonfiction titles each year.
I would ask him about the challenges that Kensington and the industry as a whole have faced, as well as his insights on the current state and future of the publishing industry.
I’d love to hear his thoughts about the potential death of the mass market paperback, as sales have dropped rapidly for that format in the past several years. E-books have usurped their position as the most convenient and cheapest way to read.
Although romance is genre that still thrives in MMP, trade and hardcover are rising in popularity, especially for the readers who love to display their books on shelves.
Might Kensington’s Zebra imprint also return its focus to dazzling cover art as it did when his father Walter was alive?
10. Podcaster: Andrea Martucci, of Shelf Love
There a several bookish people in podcasting I would appreciate having a chat with. To start , I’d talktot the staff of Shelf Love, particularly the woman-in-charge of it all: Andrea Martucci.
Shelf Love explores fictional stories of romantic love across media, time, and cultures. Their knowledge of romance novels and bodice rippers is vast, and I would enjoy discussing different genres of romance novels with them.
The podcast invites experts to share their knowledge and love for diverse genres and explore romantic love in romance novels, comic books, soap operas, romantic comedies, video games, oral stories, advertisements, and more.
Andrea has presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association and has released nearly 100 episodes since the podcast’s launch in 2019.
Andrea is familiar with so many facets of romance, not just in books, but throughout all pop culture. I’d be thrilled to converse with Andrea about anything and everything. I would ask her about her favorite romance books, her thoughts on different genres, and her insights on the role of love stories in popular culture. What are her favorite couples and love stories in other forms of entertainment?
I could pick her brain for hours. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I’m no zombie!
First episode of Shelf Love Podcast w/ Andrea Martucci
What do you think of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme of “bookish people I want to meet”? Do you like Jacqueline’s list? Would you like to meet any of her choices?
What bookish people would you like to meet?
As always, please drop a comment and let’s talk romance.