An Interview with Bettie Sharpe

Guess who has a new novella out?  Bettie Sharpe, one of my favorite writers.  Bettie burst onto the scene in 2008, with Ember, a retelling of the Cinderella story. And what a retelling. The story was posted in ten weekly installments, and readers were counting the days until the next installment.

She publishes infrequently.  So a new release from her is always a cause for celebration.  I did a little interview with Bettie for my newsletter and thought I’d post it here also.

Cat’s Tale


Once upon a time there was a scheming, lying tart who cared for nothing but her own pleasures and her shoe collection.

Once the peerlessly beautiful Lady Catriona, consort to the king, Cat’s fortunes fall far when her aged husband dies. The king’s wizard turns her into a cat and tries to drown her in the mill pond. Fortunately Cat is a clever survivor and enlists the help of Julian, the miller’s youngest son, in her plan for revenge.

She originally sees Julian as a mere pawn for her plans to break her curse, but as they work together Cat comes to know and care for him. Even if the curse can be broken, can a good-hearted man love a woman who has been as vain and selfish as Cat?

A Few Answers from Bettie Sharpe

Bettie Sharpe Signature

Bettie Sharpe is a Los Angeles native with a fondness for hot weather, classic cars, and air so thick it sticks in your teeth. When she’s not busy attempting to metabolize smog into oxygen, she enjoys romance novels, action movies, comic books, video games, and every other entertainment product her teachers said would rot her brain. She loves to write almost as much as she loves to read. As a child, she dreamed of seeing her name in shiny gold cursive on the cover of a luridly titled paperback book.

Bettie and her husband share their house with two cats, numerous computers, and the possum in their palm tree.

Three out of the four stories I’ve read of yours (Ember, Cat’s Tale, and the retelling of The Little Mermaid in the upcoming Agony/Ecstasy Anthology) are reworked fairy tales. Holy-$%!# reworked fairy tales if I may add. What draws you to these classics?

Cat's Tale

I grew up reading the gory old versions of fairy tales, and was always kind of appalled at the Disney versions (even though I do adore some of the later Disney fairy tale movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Frog). The cool thing about fairy tales is that these stories were told again and again as folk tales before they were codified in print, and every author who has ever told these tales aloud or in writing has put their own spin on them. It’s what you’re supposed to do with them. Also, it’s really fun to twist and
reshape familiar elements into something new or different.

Are there any fairy tales you look at and say, nope, not interested? If so, why not?

Like a Thief in the Night

Beauty and the Beast. It’s one of my favorite fairy tales, but there are already so many great retellings–Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Robin McKinley (twice!), and all of the many, many romance novels that use variations on the theme. There are already more than a dozen versions
of the tale that I adore. I’m not really sure I could bring anything new to it.

If I’d been asked to answer this question a year ago, I might also have said that I didn’t care for fairy tales that ended tragically, but then I wrote “Each Step Sublime,” my retelling of The Little Mermaid that will be part Jane Litte’s Agony/Ecstasy Anthology, and I had a blast giving those characters an appropriate happy ending. So I guess my main criteria for retelling a story is
just whether I think I can do anything different with it.

You are known for your bad-ass heroines–and when I say bad-ass, I mean BAD-ASS. Yet you in person are a complete lady from top to bottom. Where do your uncompromising heroines come from?


Writers tend to be introspective and thinky. Sometimes it’s fun to get out of your own mind and step into the thoughts of someone completely different from you–someone with different morals, different values, different capabilities. While some of my characters’ traits are exaggerated versions of aspects of my own personality (Cat’s obsession with clothes and shoes springs to mind), other traits are the complete opposite.

Also, with the fairy tale retellings, the plot is predetermined. I have to create characters who would logically act and react to plot developments in ways that drive the plot to its proper ending.

I find your heroines exhilarating to read. Why do you suppose I–and other readers like me–get such a kick out of badass girls being badass?


Probably for the same reason I get a kick out of writing them–they’re fun! My favorite quote on the subject of badassery is from Neal Stephenson’s book, Snow Crash:

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.

Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this is liberating. He no longer has to worry about trying to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken….Which is okay. Sometimes it’s all right just to be a little bad. To know your limitations. Make do with what you’ve got.

I like to read and write about badass heroines, but I don’t think I’d ever want to be one–it seems like a lot of effort. I follow the Hiro Protagonist Philosophy on Badassery– it’s good to be a little badass. In fact, it’s probably best. But seeing a true badass, or reading or writing about a really fun fictional badass, is always liberating.

Last, but not least, what are you working on now and when can we have the pleasuring of reading it?

I have plenty of projects, but the one I’ve been writing the most on is another fairy tale retelling based on a comparatively obscure story about a princess cursed with perfect ugliness. After the heroine of Cat’s Tale, who was beautiful and quite enamored of her own looks and the advantages they grant her, I thought it might be fun to write an ugly heroine. I can promise you now, she does not whine or wallow in self-pity.

I’m not sure when I’ll be finished, or even whether it will be another novella or –gasp!– a novel. It’s running a little long for a novella right now, and I’m nowhere near the end.

Be still my heart! Thank you, Bettie.

If you haven’t tried Bettie yet, you can read Ember free online at Bettie’s website or buy it for your e-reader for
only $0.99.  And then it’s only three bucks for Cat’s Tale!  What are you waiting for?

Two Weeks To Go Before RWA Nationals

Where did the time go?  Granted, RWA hits a month earlier this year, but still, wow.  Time to start packing.

I’m happy to report that Book 1 & 2 of the new trilogy have both been delivered to my new editor at Berkley.  On time.  The books are not bad, by the standards of my first drafts.  But still, I’m already thinking of improvements, connections, and deeper layerings to add to them, when they come back from my editor.  Now onto the updates.

1) Three-Chapter Critique from Yours Truly

On the 13th of June my Crit for Water critique goes up for auction here.  If you need three chapters looked at, by all means bid.  It’s an excellent cause and I am a terrific critiquer.  (You didn’t expect me to say anything else on the eve of the auction, did you? :-P)

And Mary Baader Kaley at Not an Editor was kind enough to interview me about my approach to critiquing.  But basically, I’m a good fit for you if you really need your work looked at by a pair of fresh eyes and you actually want to know what’s not working.  I will tell you what’s working for me too, but I assume that you, like me, are more interested in what can be improved than what cannot be.

2) Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Face

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Kristan Higgins in Da House

When I’m not reading Kristan’s books, I obsessively pore over her blog. I have New England envy, especially in summer, which lasts from March to November in Austin, Texas and grows hotter every year. So I lose myself in Kristan’s chronicle of her life in Connecticut, in her tales of late snow, cool summers, and fall foliage. Her family makes their own maple syrup. How cool is that?

And when I can treat myself to a new Kristan Higgins book, what strikes me the most is always the community that she builds: family, neighbors, friends, townspeople, a cohesive and caring whole. Her stories are affirming, without being treacly; funny, but still full of substance; and they always put a big smile on my face.

Not Quite Enough about Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins Photo

Kristan Higgins lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two lovely children, their devoted dog, and a regal and somewhat elderly cat named Cinnamon. They spend as much time as possible at their family home on Cape Cod, swimming in the Atlantic, shivering on the beach, swatting horseflies and watching fish evade Kristan’s lure at Higgins Pond. It’s as close to heaven as it gets.

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Not Quite Enough About Meredith

I can tell you this much.  Neither Meredith nor I planned to be on deadline so soon together.  But well, we are.  🙂

Meredith has a deadline in August.  And so do I, since 10 days ago when my agent emailed and said she wanted the first draft of the next tour-de-force done by August 1.  LOL, guess no-matter how much I deny being in the shitty-first-draft camp, I’ve been unmistakably tainted by my undeniably shitty first drafts.

Had things been different we’d hold a much grander celebration.  But now we’ll just toss this little interview out and call it a release party.  Enjoy!

You have said on this blog that you brainstorm to blaring Top 40 hits on the radio. Can you give me some examples of songs that have helped Bound by Your Touch and Written on Your Skin take shape?

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In which Meredith interrogates Sherry on craft

Meredith: Look at any forum devoted to writing and you’ll find a few topics dedicated to the “standard questions” that writers get asked: Where do you get your ideas? How do you find the time?  How do you figure out what happens next?  How do you manage to actually finish a story?

These questions may be standard, but the answers are anything but.  Every writer seems to have a slightly (or drastically) different way of working.

Some of the methods I’ve come across make me white with terror.  For example, covering my entire living room wall with color-coded 8×6 Post It notes. Or outlining.  Others turn me green with jealousy (ahem: the Shitty First Draft).  All of them fascinate me. There may, in fact, be something a bit neurotic about the avidity with which I read explanations of methods that I know won’t work for me.  It reminds me of that phase in eighth grade when my friends and I used to get together to bake brownies, drink milkshakes, and watch exercise videos.

Anyway, there’s a specific reason that craft — and in particular, craftly excellence — is on my mind.  I’ve just reread Sherry’s new release, Not Quite a HusbandNQAH effortlessly blends superb prose, incredibly nuanced characterization,  sizzling chemistry, very hot sex, and other manner of high drama (rebellions! potentially fatal illnesses! death-defying treks! many whizzing bullets!) into a moving, dare I say epic romance that traverses a not-so-familiar but altogether fascinating part of the world.  It’s a tour de force, and since I share a blog with her, I get to ask how she does it.  Sherry, brace yourself for interrogation!

(Sherry: When I first joined RWA–after finishing the first draft of PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS–and heard people mention the RWA craft-loop, I used to think it was women more dexterous than me talking about their macramé.  That should tell you how much I know about craft.  So read at your own peril!)

Sherry, I understand that the idea for NQAH was sparked by a viewing of The Painted Veil.  How do you proceed once you’ve got the seedling of an idea?  Do you outline, do you daydream, or do you simply begin to write?

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Shana Abé Interview

Shana Abé is one of those authors who doesn’t publicize herself much, which is a bit of a shame, cuz she is such a lovely, fun person. On the occasion of her new hardcover release,
The Treasure Keeper, I hunted her down and forced her to do an interview with me.

Okay, I didn’t have to tie her down, then shove a mike in her face. (Is it just me or does it sound terribly dirty? *g*) But you get my gist. The Treasure Keeper hits the stores today.

Go get your copy.

You wrote six straight historical romance and one book of mermaid novellas (2 historical, one contemporary) before you burst on to the scene anew in 2005 with your Drákon series, beginning with The Smoke Thief, featuring an ancient race of dragons who have learned to shapeshift and pass as humans. I know, from a podcast you did with Sandy Coleman of All About Romance, that it had been a long-held desire for you to write romances with fantasy/paranormal elements. Did you also always want to do something with dragons? Or was it a case of “Hmm, vampires, no. Hmm, werewolves, no. Hmm, dragons, well, well, well?”

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No Rest for the Deadline-Addled

It’s been a week since I turned in a pseudo-complete draft of NOT QUITE A HUSBAND and I feel completely out of breath. I’ve been running around the house trying to put some organization into our sadly disorganized existence, in front of the computer replying to all the accumulated emails, updating my website, and making a Xmas newsletter, and doing the usual mommy stuff, including freezing my rear off on the coldest day of this season–so far–helping out at the junior kidlet’s school trip.

And after a whole week of rushing about (okay, there was a day of writing in my contemp romp and a half-day of frowning over the next historical project), I look around and these are the things I have not done:

1)Send Christmas presents to agent and editor
2)Read either of the manuscripts I promised I’d read for possibly blurbing
3)Sort and shred the mountain of statements that have been accumulating since I was still in grad school
4)Put up our paltry few strings of Xmas lights, b/c junior kidlet delights in them
5)Laundry (His Hawtness dealt with the previous load, and since I’m not currently on deadline, I feel like I should do more.)

Boy, more and more I’m beginning to think people love historical romance for the abundance of servants! And maybe they read Harry Potter for the house elves. 🙂

Before I rush off to fight the neverending War on Dirty Clothes, let me point you to RT’s website, where you’ll find the video interview I did with the awesome Morgan Doremus during RWA San Francisco. You can also see the videos here and here.

I was rather wondering about the timing of the videos being featured on RT. Morgan Doremus had told me that usually they’d haul out the clips when there’s some news about me or my book. And then Meredith Duran told me that PA has been nominated for a RT Best Historical Debut award. I haven’t seen it posted anywhere so I’m going to have to trust that Meredith wasn’t just having fun with me. 🙂

Okay, off to the seasonal frenzy again.

Dec 10 Update: Sent presents. Put up lights. And did laundry. 🙂

A Super Interview

I’m off on vacation to visit the family. But before I go, I thought I’d give you guys a good, substantial post. Earlier this year, for my article for the RWR, I interviewed Wendy Crutcher, fiction buyer for Orange County Public Library, otherwise known as Super Librarian around bloglandia.

If you ever wanted to know what a fiction buyer does and/or how books get into libraries, well, here’s everything you ever wanted to know. 🙂 So herewith, Super Librarian!

(Round of applause)

I think being the fiction buyer/selector for a library system sounds like an awesome job. Can you tell me how you got promoted/transferred/recruited to this position?

It’s not as hard as you’d think. All it took for me was having my Master’s degree in Library Science, some past job experience and a passion for adult fiction. One of the benefits of working for a system as large as Orange County Public is that there is a lot of opportunity to transfer. I started out in the organization as a branch manager for one of our libraries in Garden Grove. When a position opened up in the collection development department, thanks to a series of retirements, I got an interview and eventually got the job.

The trick is pouncing on the opportunity. As many librarians will tell you, awesome jobs such as this one do not come along every day. You usually have to wait for someone to retire or die. I can attest to that, as I’ve pretty much decided the only way I’m leaving is on a stretcher.

How many titles do you typically recommend/purchase in a given year?

On average I purchase anywhere from 40-60 titles per week. Obviously, with a system as large as ours, I’m purchasing multiple copies of those 40-60 titles.

What is a fiction buyer’s typical day like?

It varies depending on the day of the week, with Monday usually being the busiest. Every day starts out with e-mail. A lot of e-mail. Then I’ll look at my budget, and figure out how much money I can spend that week. I field questions from our branches on a regular basis regarding weeding, upcoming titles, titles their library patrons are asking for etc. I read journals, select titles to purchase, and follow up with our support staff regarding data entry on the order. I also field patron requests, am on several committees, and handle special projects.

Do you deal with library reps from big publishers? Do you read Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and other trade publications? What about book review sections of major newspapers? What about genre review publications such as Locus or Romantic Times? Do you give any weight to online reviews at reputable and highly trafficked sites?

I have some contact with big publishers, but not as much as I’d like. Publishers are much more focused on the retail market, and in some cases, I think libraries tend to fall through the cracks. That said, the library reps I have dealt with have always been extremely helpful, and attending conferences like RWA means my business card gets into the hands of editors who have been fantastic about passing my information along to their employers.

I read a lot of trade publications, the big four being Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus and Booklist. Since I also order some non-fiction, there are a handful of subject specialty journals I look at. Other sources include The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and popular magazines that feature book reviews like Entertainment Weekly, People and Oprah magazine.

I don’t use the genre review publications all that much, but have found things like Romantic Times extremely helpful when it comes to finding information on reprints.

As far as online sources, I’ll admit I don’t look at their reviews all that often, but I do monitor “buzz.” If a book or author is generating a lot of discussion, I take notice and often times add them to our collection. Some examples from recent memory are J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Anna Campbell’s debut novel, Claiming The Courtesan.

Do you get sent advanced reading copies? Do you actually have time to read any at work, or is that time entirely taken up with dealing with stuff?

Being such a large library system, we do receive advanced copies either from Baker & Taylor or direct from the publisher. The only ones I read are the ones that actively interest me, but I always peruse the pile to see what jumps out. That said, the only reading I really do at work in on my lunch break! I also take special note if a publisher includes any kind of special packaging or add-ons with the ARC because that tells me there are some PR dollars behind the book/author.

Please tell me a little more about your decision making process. How do you arrive at a list of books for the library? Is it done on a continual basis or do you come up with a major list per a set length of time? Do you try to order books as they come out or will you sometimes go, hey, I totally overlooked that one when it was released but boy it’s so good I’m gonna get it for the library now?

Since I order every week, I’m gathering titles on a continual basis. In a perfect world I like to order titles about 1-2 months in advance, because, as we all know, publication dates aren’t always firm. That said, I’m not perfect, and have been known to overlook a title. Since I don’t have a crystal ball in my office, this is where patron requests come in extremely handy. Also, I monitor books/authors that are making the media rounds. A book might get dreadful reviews, but if the author was on the Today Show that has a tendency to trump what Publisher’s Weekly said about it!

Do you have a staff under you or do you work alone? Does your boss give additional input into your list? Is your recommendation final or is there a review/approval process? Do you ever have to fight to acquire a title?

I mostly work alone, but my department does have a support staff that takes care of data entry, searching journals (to weed out titles we’ve already ordered), and scaring up information on titles that our patrons’ requested. My boss occasionally gives me input, but generally speaking she lets me do my thing and doesn’t look over my shoulder too much. My recommendation is essentially final, but problems can arise after the fact. Maybe the book has pull-outs or pop-ups that the reviews didn’t mention. In which case, nice for personal use but really impractical for library lending! Also, while I’ve never had to fight to acquire a title, we have been known to field some complaints about titles we house in our libraries. There is a review process for this, and management takes the lead. Given our service population size, and number of libraries, we actually field very few complaints, and most of them tend to be about children’s or young adult material more so than adult.

Given that it is impossible for anyone to read all the new books that are published every year, how do you decide which books that you don’t read personally to purchase for your libraries? Is it based on popularity, reviews, patron requests, publisher push, interesting subject/summary, or criteria that I haven’t thought of yet?

The vast majority of what I buy is decided on the basis of reviews, but the other factors you mention also come into play.

Do you have a list of authors whose works you purchase automatically? Is it because they are popular or you love them or both?

Pretty much all the big name, best selling authors get purchased automatically regardless of reviews. Putnam could decide to publish Nora Roberts’ grocery list, it could get horrible reviews across the board, but I’m still going to buy it for our libraries. When it’s a big name, people still want to read it regardless of bad word of mouth.

Do you have a different standard/process for acquiring debut authors?
Do you have a different standard/process for local authors?
Do you have a different standard/process for small presses?

No, but I would like to offer some tips for small press folks. Libraries do buy small press titles, but it’s extremely helpful to us, and will help you in the long run, if you provide as much information as possible. Author, title, ISBN, price, and publication date. Has the title been reviewed anywhere? Not just the big trade journals, but maybe ForeWord magazine (which specializes in reviewing small press titles) or a local newspaper? If so, it’s nice to have copies of these, or at the very least a blurb. Also, how can I purchase the title? Is it available through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Brodart, Amazon etc.? The more you tell me, the more likely I am to buy the book.

Do you pay attention to such advertising publications as Romance Writers of America’s Romance$ells? How much attention do you give them—i.e., read with interest or riffle through them once when they come in and recycle them? If you set them aside without reading them, what is your reason?

When I do receive material like this, I always look through it. A huge chunk of my job is staying on top of what’s in the works, and this type of material is helpful on that front. I can’t guarantee that I’ll buy your book just because you put it in something like Romance$ells, but it does succeed in putting your name in front of my face.

Do you receive author-generated publicity items? Do you pay attention to them?

Some, but not a lot. I give them moderate attention, but like advertising publications, just receiving one won’t guarantee that I’ll buy your book. My suggestion to authors is to highlight the fact that you’re a “local” author when sending this material to libraries in your immediate vicinity. Library patrons love to read local authors, and if you highlight that fact to a library in a nearby city, you’ll get some extra mileage.

Once you do decide to acquire a title, how do you decide how many copies to purchase for your system? If you have 10 branches and only 5 copies of a title, how do you decide which branches will house the copies—or is this a decision for other librarians?

Let me preface my comments by saying that there is never enough money. If I had my way, I’d purchase every romance published every month and there would be copies galore! Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility, so sometimes I have to settle for purchasing fewer copies than I would like. Since we are a county-wide system, I try to spread these out. I don’t want all of our copies to only be in one small portion of the county.

As for how I decide how many copies to buy? It’s not an exact science. Sometimes it is plain guess work, and I guess wrong. I do constantly monitor our holds lists though, and regularly purchase additional copies for titles that are proving to be popular among our patrons.

Do you have fiction authors that you love that you do not acquire in your official capacity for some reason? How much of this job is personal taste and how much is taking the general tastes of the public into consideration, i.e., is it a regular part of your job to acquire books that you’d rather eat worms than read?

The minute my job becomes about personal taste is the day I hope I get fired. It’s not about what I think people should read. It’s about providing people with what they would like to read. There’s a bestselling author that I purchase numerous copies of every time she has a new book out, and I swear a little piece of me dies inside every time I have to. But you know what? It’s not about me. I may think she’s a horrible writer, but a lot of people love her books, and who am I to argue? Likewise, there are authors I enjoy that other people just don’t get. You learn to take it all with a pretty heavy grain of salt after a while.

Does your budget contain a pre-determined breakdown by genre, as in this much percentage for romance, this much for literary fiction, this much for mystery, etc.? If it does, how was it determined? Does it change from year to year? Is it a reflection of what gets the greatest circulation?

If the budget does not contain a pre-determined breakdown, is it entirely at your discretion?

Our budget does not contain a pre-determined breakdown by genre. We do break down the budget by “type” (fiction, non-fiction, children’s etc.) and then we break it down according to library size and circulation. For example, I have a bigger budget for our large libraries that are open seven days a week than I do for the small libraries that might only be a couple thousand square feet and open five days a week.

It’s all up to my discretion. A big factor is circulation numbers. I have one branch where I can buy any mystery, regardless of sub genre, and I know it will circulate like gang busters. Likewise, I have libraries where science fiction is hugely popular and others where it collects dust. This is where I rely heavily on feedback from our branch staff. My focus is the system-wide collection, and theirs is the collection at their individual branch.

The trick is to make sure everybody has a little bit of everything. You strive for a well-rounded collection. That’s harder than it sounds when you are overseeing the adult fiction needs for 33 libraries. That said, one of the benefits to being a patron of a system this large is that just because the local library you use regularly might not have it, doesn’t mean we don’t have it somewhere else. We have a team of delivery drivers that go out five days a week, delivering requested materials all over the county.

I imagine a buyer at a bookstore would closely watch the sales number to see how her picks are performing? What is the feedback process for a library book buyer/selector? How do you know that your choices are being embraced/deserted by your patrons? Do you look at the circulation history for a title to see how well it did? Is such aggregated data even available?

Computers have made this aspect of my job a lot easier! I regularly look at circulation numbers to monitor how titles/authors are doing. One of the great things about a library system this size is usually the audience is out there somewhere, you just have to find it! Maybe vampire romance is dead weight at one location, but people are begging for it at another. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason. Again, I rely heavily on the staff we have on the “front lines” to provide feedback on what people are asking for, what they’re checking out, holes in their collection etc.

Have you ever made a purchase that later had your boss/patrons come to you and inquire what the heck you were thinking? Were any of those romances?

I have a fantastic boss who has yet to second guess me. Sometimes there is no telling what title will spark a complaint, and you can’t really do this job if you’re second guessing yourself all the time. That goes for branch staff as well. I’ve had numerous librarians tell me “such and such” doesn’t circulate at their location, and when I check the numbers down the road I discover it did very, very well for them. Again, there’s no crystal ball and it’s hard to predict. However, if something like this does comes up, my boss always asks me what my criteria was for selecting the “offending” title, and management handles the rest. Thankfully, there have been no major scuffles regarding romance titles on my watch so far.

And a pair of follow-up questions

1)At Austin Public Library, mysteries are the most popular books–as a group–with the patrons, followed by romances. How about your your system?

This is a hard question for me to answer, because with 33 libraries what’s “popular” can vary from branch to branch. That being said, what you think would be popular is. Anything Oprah is reading. Anything on the bestseller lists. If we’re talking raw circulation numbers, mysteries would probably win out. Romance is starting to pick up some steam, thanks to the better budgets we’ve had the last couple of years. Money was very tight for several years, and our romance collection really suffered. I’m still trying to fill out the collection with what I consider core authors and titles. As this has happened, I have notice that circulation is picking up. Also, our romance reading patrons aren’t shy about requesting titles and this has certainly benefited our collection immensely.

I will also add that while I keep hearing and reading that paranormal romance has hit it’s “peak” it is still insanely popular at several of our locations, with readers being very loyal to series.

2)Can you tell me when did the Orange County system begin to catalogue its romances?

We started cataloging them in early 2003, roughly a year before I hired on. Thank goodness, or else I would have made myself a total pest about getting it done! Not cataloging paperbacks is easily one of my biggest pet peeves. How do we expect library patrons to find anything if we don’t catalog it?

(Round of thundering applause)

Thank you so much, Super Librarian!