Interview With a Reader
In New Zealand I was able to track down and speak a member of a highly desirable and rarely interviewed class — a reader. I approached with caution so as to not frighten the woman sitting on the couch in my living room and asked what she was reading. From there I was able to skillfully deflect the conversation into what she does and does not like to read. In the interest of avoiding the paparazzi, my niece, the said reader, shall remain anonymous. No matter what you do to me I will not tell you it was Jenny I spoke with.
Speaking of mysteries she told me she does not like a book ending where there is no clear conclusion: the experience left her frustrated. She also said she does not like plot complications that seem tossed in for suspense and do not advance the story. Her example was a woman character who knew she is being stalked and who head a strange noise in a dark parking garage. The charter went to investigate unarmed and without calling anyone for assistance. My reader added that she does not like plots where all the interesting characters get killed off before the end of the book. (I admitted that is a pet peeve of mine also.) She mentioned in some books the dialog seems stilted and the problems seem too trivial to warrant being in a book.
She said she did not like authors who essentially write the same book over and over again although she understood that some readers do.
On the positive side Jenny liked multiple viewpoints and books that shift back and forth from the past to the present. She said she enjoys interesting characters and did not mind if the characters sometimes do something, “stupid” and, “human,” especially in a tense situation where it would be hard to think clearly.
She said she enjoys how seemingly unrelated events end up connecting elements of the plot. Along with humor, including dark humor. Jenny liked well-set-up surprises as long as there are not unbelievable cliffhangers and surprises every few pages.
She wants to like the characters and be entertained.
What do readers tell you?