Keira: You own over 1000 books. Do you have special bookcases to display them all and a picture you can share with us? Now, looking at your bookshelf what color pops out the most to you or what color is the most dominant among the shelves? What do you think this color says about you? Are there any more similarities between the covers in relation to cover art besides color?
Meghan: Sadly my books are mostly not with me, and so I don’t have a picture of everything! I have three bookcases in total (this picture is one). Of the books that I have with me right now, black and blue seem to dominate, so apparently I like the colours of bruises. I actually think that probably reflects my avoidance of women’s fiction outside of romance more than anything else.
Keira: As a lover of historical romances, if you had a time machine, what year and location would you go back in time to and what would you see while you were there?
Meghan: Oh, you’d find me in fifteenth century England having a chat with Richard III or Anthony Woodville, if I was lucky enough to be able to speak to them as an ordinary woman and not nobility of any kind.
Keira: What are your top five favourite medieval romances and what would you retitle them if you could?
Meghan: Believe it or not, I avoid medieval romances like the plague these days (and often medieval historical fiction as well). I’m too prone to spot inaccuracies. I can, however, recommend Carrie Lofty, as I recently really enjoyed Scoundrel’s Kiss. I’d name that something else for sure, but I sadly lack creativity (and thus am doing absolutely nothing to solve the bad romance novel names.)
Keira: You read over 200 books in 2009 and have over 500 reviews on your website. What tips would you give readers who want to read more themselves?
Meghan: Reading is my favourite hobby, so I tend to devote the very large majority of my leisure time to it. I also read very quickly so that helps a lot. And I don’t watch all that much TV. My recommendation would mostly be to devote an hour a day to reading whenever humanly possible, and stick to it – even if it means turning off the computer for a while.
Keira: Can you share with readers a little bit about your 2010 challenge, A Tournament of Reading? How can they participate and what are 3 books you’d recommend them to try first?
Meghan: Sure! It’s my goal to get people reading more about the Middle Ages. There are so many misconceptions about it and Americans aren’t taught much in school about it, either, so I’m hoping to expose new people to my favorite period in history. Anyone who wants to join is welcome to sign up here. For beginners, I would definitely recommend The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer, a fantastic little book full of facts about the most exciting and typical part of the Middle Ages. You can find wonderful readable fiction by Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick, two of my favourite authors.
Keira: You’ve been writing and running Medieval Bookworm since 2007. Why did you start and what are some of your favorite blog posts that you’ve written?
Meghan: I started blogging mostly to keep track of the reviews I was formerly posting on LibraryThing. I didn’t realize there was a whole book blogging world out there and I only slowly got introduced to it through the meme Tuesday Thingers, which I believe is now defunct.
My favourite recent review has to be The Decisive Moment by Jonah Lehrer. That was a great book and I tried to do it justice.
Keira: What is your favorite and/or least favorite plot, character type, or literary device?
Meghan: Favorite literary device is the unreliable narrator. This is why I love Kazuo Ishiguro so much! I love, love, love it when a truth is slowly revealed over the course of a book leading up to a huge moment of revelation.
Keira: How do you define love?
Meghan: Tough question. In books, I always want to see chemistry between the characters that goes beyond lust. Great interactions, sparkling conversation, genuine happy time spent together. Passion is a big part of any love affair but there has to be that emotional and personal connection, too. I think Julia Quinn is fantastic at this.
Keira: When it comes to romance who makes or breaks the novel: the hero or the heroine?
Meghan: The heroine. I love a strong heroine and a weak one will annoy me to no end. On the other hand I actually prefer beta heroes, but I can’t recall a single book where the hero really made the whole book for me.
Keira: Is there anything else you’d like to share or discuss?
Meghan: I don’t think so!