I have another guest dropping by today, folks. Rita is a friend I met through GoodReads over the last year and we soon learned that we share a love of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell which, incidentally, is how she came up with the name of her book review blog, From Pemberley to Milton. Love it!
Rita's bookshelf on her blog
What a gorgeous sunny spring day here in Southeast Michigan! We’ll have our chat on the cushy chairs on the back porch. It’s early afternoon so I think I’ll put out an array of sandwiches, fruit, and mini cream puffs. Do you think that sounds good?
And there’s the knock, right on time…
Bem vinda, Rita! (Did I get that right? My grandfather spoke Portuguese, but I’m sadly, monolingual.)
Hi Sophia, your Portuguese is perfect ;) Thanks for having me here today, I’m very happy to visit your lovely house.
Yes, indeed, your visit has been much anticipated. You’ve come from quite far. What’s the spring like in Portugal? Have you gotten out to do any spring activities?
The weather in Portugal is truly amazing! It’s never too cold or too warm. Spring took a little longer to get here this year, but now that I’ve started to see the first signs of it, I’ve started doing one of my favorite things: sit in a coffee shop in front of the ocean while reading a book, that’s my favorite spring activity.
Oh, now that is good that you enjoy sitting out with a nice view because we’re going outside to my best view when I’m reading. Hope you don’t mind. Your visit gave me the added incentive needed to make my flower beds more presentable. Do you do any gardening or growing of plants?
I wish I could do some gardening! I live in an apartment and there isn’t much space to grow anything, but one of my dreams (along with having a library) is to buy a house with some space where I can grow some flowers and vegetables. Until then, I keep dreaming…
Oh yes, I had to get creative with the leafy friends when I was apartment living.
Here I have a little something in case you enjoy a light spread of food while we chat.
Would you care for tea, coffee, or juice?
Coffee please! That’s my one and only addiction! I can’t resist the smell and taste of coffee.
On a regular day I would have drunk 3 already, but today this will be my first, so I really appreciate it ;)
You know, I often think I wouldn’t adapt to regency because I love coffee but I hate tea (I know…shame on me). Er, um, I’m not a fan of tea or coffee so I’d really not be a welcome sight to Regency hostesses. *said in an aside*
But go on, I don’t won’t to interrupt your line of thought. Yes, let’s do move on before the tomato throwing starts.
So, Rita, I know you love to read and particularly fan fiction for Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell’s stories. But what made you choose to start blogging about books? How long have you been a blogger?
As almost every story, that is a long story, but I’ll try to sum it up.
When I discovered JAFF, back in 2010, I started reading so much that at a certain point I didn’t know which books I had read, who were the really good authors, etc. Everything was very blurry because the characters were the same, some premises were similar and so on. Also, after reading over 30 books, I realized there were some genres I preferred to others.
So, I decided to organize the books I had read by genre to help me be more thorough in my amazon research when looking for new purchases. I also started writing reviews to remember what I had read and which authors I liked the most.
Yep, I’m tracking with you there. That was one of my reasons for writing review, too.
At that point, those reviews were just for myself, I was still a long way from thinking I could ever become a blogger, until one day while talking to a co-worker about this, and complaining I could not find a place on line with a list of JAFF books per genre that would help restrict Amazon’s research (no matter how many times I googled it, I could never find an updated list, nor did I find any of the amazing blogs that are now on my favorites page…don’t ask me how, but it’s true), he suggested I did it myself.
And so, I created a blog with the list of books I’ve read organized per genre and author. A few days later I started posting the reviews I had already written, and I was so welcomed by the community I never stopped until today. It was 9 months ago, and I hope I can still go on, even if sometimes it’s really hard to coordinate this with my day time work.
Those clever co-workers. They’re good for something, right?
What is the best thing about being a blogger? Is there something you struggle with or want to learn still when it comes to blogging?
The best thing about being a blogger is to have the opportunity to talk to other readers and authors. To be able to discuss the books I’m reading with people who share the same love for JAFF than me and who know these books and can talk with me about them, share their opinions and suggest other books and authors.
I’ve learned so much in the last months, and met so many amazing people that I can truly say the best thing about blogging is the people I meet along the way. I used to think I was alone in this, and that few people read JAFF, but now I know I am part of a huge, amazing community with wonderful people such as yourself Sophia. Ahhhh, right back atcha, lady! :)
What I struggle with is the IT part of it. I have to confess, I suck when it comes to technology, so most of the time I waste a lot of time just trying to understand how to do something on the website. I’m an old fashioned kind of girl who still prefers letters to e-mails and likes to send postcards to her friends whenever she travels, so all this technology tires me a bit.
Oh hey, ditto. I am the opposite of tech savvy. You’re off to a good start though.
With fan fiction, there are a variety of plot types. I personally don’t have a preference, but what about you? Are you a fan of variations, sequels, retellings? Only historicals or will you read moderns?
When I started reading fan fiction I had a very rigid vision of it. I only read “clean”, close to canon regency variations. I wasn’t too fond of sequels, modernizations didn’t appeal to me and if I saw a review stating the book was not “clean” I would probably not buy it.
But now I realize that, just like Elizabeth, I was being prejudiced and I overlooked many good books because of it. I’ve read some modernizations that I really loved, and they opened my eyes, so now I read a bit of everything. :)
But I’m still partial to variations in regency era. They are definitely my favorites because I believe they are the ones which transmit the greatest intensity between Darcy and Elizabeth and I love an intense and emotional book.
But if you’re not reading fan faction, what other types of writing to you enjoy? Is there a genre that you can’t stand or have no interest in?
I used to read a lot of different books, but since I started the blog I hardly have time to read all the JAFF books I want to read, let along other types of literature. But I do miss other types of literature, so I’m trying hard to read at least 2 or 3 non JAFF books per year. Last year I manage to read Haruki Murakami and David Duchovny, but this year it’s been only JAFF.
I enjoy the South American magical realism very much.
I remember loving Luis Sepúlveda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende with all my heart, but some of my favorites are The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Blindness by José Saramago, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (obviously) and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Dumas and Bronte, le sigh....
There isn’t a specific genre I can’t stand because I like reading many different things, but there are some authors I particularly dislike such as Kafka or Virgílio Ferreira.
You've mentioned quite a few authors that I need to investigate. :)
As you can see, I enjoy gardening (yep, in virtual world, I can look like the best gardener in the world. In real life? Not so much, but I do try).
What is something you enjoy doing besides reading?
I am a woman of many hobbies; I’ve collected postcards, coins, I love the theatre…but apart from reading, my biggest passion is traveling. I love traveling! I love researching for places to visit, to organize the whole trip, including transportation, hotels, points of interest and then to actually go to a different place, see new landscapes, meet new people, know new cultures and habits. Everything about traveling is appealing for me and I can talk about this for days! My husband says that even before going on a trip, I’m already planning the next one, and I think it drives him a bit crazy, but in the end he enjoys these trips…well, except maybe that time when we spent 18 hours on a regional train going from Xi’an to Xangai. Oh, yikes, that would put a damper on the fun. Haha!
Rita at Big Sur, California
Hsst, my dad's side of the family is from this area of Central California. So neat that you got to see it.
Knowing you're a travel bug, I do have to go there with the questions. Where have you been outside Portugal? And for those of us who have never been to Portugal, what is a must see site if we ever come to Portugal?
You can tell right? I think I’ve been to over 20 countries apart from Portugal. I’ve been mainly to European countries due to the proximity, but I’ve also been to Cuba, China, Turkey, Israel and the USA.
My favorite trip so far, was the road trip I did with my husband last year on the West Coast of the USA. That was a dream trip for both of us, and we are eager to go back because even though we’ve been to 4 different states, there was so much left to see and to enjoy! I spend God knows how many hours planning it, but it was worth it… I’ll never forget the indescribable landscapes, the people, the feelings it brought on me and…I Hop (gotta love the American breakfast…and all the other food).
Bless you dear lady, I am an IHoP fan as well.
Unfortunately I spent so much time abroad I think I have neglected Portugal in the last couple of years, but I’m trying to mend that.
Portugal is a wonderful country to visit, did you know Portugal is the country in Europe with the oldest established borders? That’s right, we are basically the oldest country in Europe as were established in 1139 and our final borders have remained the same since 1297, so you can imagine that our country is full of history, with plenty of castles, palaces and old towns to visit. But we are also a very sunny country with a lot of beaches and mountains.
See! That's the sort of information I find fascinating. Thanks!
The must visit city in Portugal is Lisbon, and I’ll be happy to make a plan for anyone who wants to come. Just let me know and I’ll be your guide while you’re in Portugal ;)
And finally, if I were new to your blog, what are some of the features I should look to enjoy? Anything new coming up on From Pemberley to Milton to which I can look forward?
Well, I mainly post reviews, guest posts and interviews in From Pemberley to Milton, but I like to think that the blog might still be useful in its initial purpose: to allow readers to see an organized list of fan fiction per genre. Also, I’m very happy to have not only information on JAFF but also North and South fan fiction, which I also love.
I’m currently working on a blog button (actually, a friend of a friend is, because you know me…technology is definitely not my thing), and once I have it, I hope to start having some additional buttons and lists. I would like, for example, to finally publish a list of my favorite books. :)
I would also like to develop 2 other projects: to start hosting fellow readers with their own guest posts as part of a specific event (Any volunteers? My idea is to promote discussion and give everyone a chance to share their opinion and insights on the topics they are very knowledgeable and fond of ), and putting together my love for traveling and my love for Jane Austen by posting a Jane Austen Tour by Rita. What do you think? Sounds interesting? Yes, this is fantastic!
Uff…I’ve talked too much, no? Sorry…I can be boring sometimes, ask my husband…he knows.
Rita being boring getting her kicks on Route 66, USA *that was said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Ha! This gal is not boring and I'm thinking her husband would agree. ;)
Sofa Starter Questions:
Brooding hero or Flirty hero?
Brooding! No seconds thoughts on that ;)
Paper or Electronic book?
That’s a hard one…Do I have to choose?
Appetizer or Dessert?
Spa Day or Road Trip?
Road Trip! Every day *smiles big for the camera*
Caroline Bingley or Mrs. Norris?
Museum or Sports Arena?
Another hard one…I love both…But If I have to choose…Museum
Ahhh, thanks for being a fantastic guest, Rita. I enjoy having you stop by for a visit. Have a safe trip back and keep us posted on what's coming up for your next traveling adventure and we look forward to the unveiling of that new blog badge. :)
Here’s where people can find Rita on the internet:
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