How many of Jane Austen's novels have you read, and do you have a favorite? I have only read two— Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. Of the two, Northanger Abbey is my favorite. I hope to read Persuasion this year and want to reread Pride and Prejudice.
Who are your fictional crushes/ships? Is it unusual to have never really had a fictional crush? I don't know. I have admired characters, but I am not sure I would consider them crushes. Though, I could probably develop a crush on Liam Marshall from Kirsty Cambron's A Sparrow In Terezin. He is such a good kind hearted and courageous fellow. Now, when it comes to fictional ships it is an entirely different story. Sir Percy and Marguerite Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Captain Scott and Mrs. Wyatt from Flame Over India (1959). Peter and Elle from White Collar. Tommy and Tuppence. Daniel and Thacia from The Bronze Bow. Bella Wilfer and John Rokesmith from Our Mutual Friend. Sybil and Branson. Is that enough?
What is a genre you haven't read, but you want to try? Or, a genre you didn't think you'd like but were surprised by? I really want to try out science fiction. It is a genre I have only experienced in film or television and really want to explore further. I even have a list of science fiction books to acquire when my book buying ban is lifted. This next one is not necessarily a genre, but I really want to get into more poetry and learn more about poetry.
Best contemporary recommendations? If I am honest I have never read a contemporary novel that I have enjoyed enough to recommend. Of course, I have only read a handful of contemporary set novels. I have read vintage novels that would have been contemporary when they first released. *ahem* But those don't really count anymore.
Nonfiction favorites? Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is probably by far the best biography I have ever read. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is one of the best books on creativity I have ever read. Otherwise, City Notebook by McCandlish Phillips is a fascinating peak into New York City during the 60s and 70s.
What are your favorite historical periods/settings? Which are your favorites to write about? At this point in my life, I greatly enjoy reading and learning more about the early 1900s through the 1960s. The same goes for writing. Except, I do love writing westerns that take place during the nineteenth century. As for settings, I have noticed I have a penchant for setting stories in either New York City or London. *ahem* I have a feeling that is not going to end anytime soon. I love writing stories during the World Wars and the times in between and afterwards. There are so many good stories to tell.
How do you write—pen and paper, computer, etc? I mainly do my writing on my laptop. I have always found it easier to keep things on my computer and it saved timed instead of having to type up everything. I will do smaller projects (i.e. blog posts, short stories, character interviews, brainstorming) with pen and paper. I have great admiration for people who do their writing entirely with paper and pen.
What's your favorite period drama miniseries? Favorite TV show? This is hard. I might do a few divided up into categories. If you have learned anything about me, it is that I have difficulty choosing just one favorite or one runner up. For miniseries, two of my favorites are Cranford, an adaption of several of Elizabeth Gaskell’s stories set in an English village during the 1840s, and a more recent watch The Bletchley Circle is a mystery show set in the early 1950s involving women who had been codebreakers during WWII coming together to solve a crime. (Will warn you though, Bletchley Circle is not light fare. The crimes are dark, so I would recommend with discretion for an older audience.) Now TV shows is going to be even lengthier. Two of my favorite classic TV shows would be The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Rifleman. My favorite crime/mystery shows would be White Collar and Foyle’s War. Favorite period set television shows would be Call the Midwife and Lark Rise to Candleford. And yes, maybe even Downton Abbey. Downton and I have a complicated relationship. I really love specific seasons and really, really hate others. I have only ever seen seasons one, two, and six in completion and the rest in bits and pieces. Other shows I am getting into of late are The Rockford Files and Wagon Train.
Do you have any hobbies? I am trying to decide if reading is a hobby or a lifestyle. If my computer would cooperate, I would love to get into film editing. I guess you could say my hobby is classic films. I love watching old classic films from what is considered the Golden Age of Hollywood and analyzing their stories, cinematography, design, and other aspects. As I describe myself on some of my social media bios, I am a film junkie.
You mentioned travel, so...how many places have you visited, and what was your favorite? Any special place you have still to visit? I have done a lot of traveling, but only in the States. Some of my favorite traveling memories have been driving out to California. I love visiting the National Parks and watching the scenery as you drive through the western states. One of my favorite cities to visit is Boston. I love the history in that city and Brattle Book Store. My most recent trip was to New York City. I love that city. There are so many good restaurants that cater to those who are gluten-free or have other allergens. Bookstores. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The coffee shops. The architecture. Europe is the headliner on my bucket list of traveling dreams. I want to travel all over England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, and basically the entire continent. If I am honest though, I really would not object to traveling the entire world.
What are your favorite coffee shops? I feel like this ties in beautifully with the previous question. There is nothing I like more than discovering favorite coffee shops in the cities I visit. Sadly, the list is not so very long. I only started drinking coffee in the summer of 2015 *gasp* and I have not traveled as much since. Here are three of my favorites:
Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters — Chicago, Illinois
Bluestone Lane — New York City, New York (Their flat white is so good!)
La Colombe — New York City, New York. (The draft latte is like nothing else. I have cravings for it and cannot wait until I visit a city that has a La Colombe. Their latte is amazing too.)