Friday, January 4, 2013

{Interview} Devlin Scott and Oceana

Guys, guys! You won't believe it. Devlin Scott, my reviewer friend and official bullshit-your-way-through-life-advisor, asked to interview me! I've posted up on here because it's really awesome, and I've also linked to his blog, so check it out. Here it is:

I’d like to introduce you to Oceana, a young literary student with an uncommon passion for reading and reviewing books. She is self-described as: A stubborn French-blooded teenager, who also happens to adore reading, writing, wine, profanity, vlogging, and life (some of it, anyway).

She has to be one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever met and she throws her heart and spirit into every review she gives…whether she likes the book or not.

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your craft and passion for books.

Let’s begin by finding out about whom you are as a reader and a reviewer.

Devlin Scott: Where did your passion for books begin and was it a love of a grand design or a tumultuous affair at best?

Oceana: I’ve always loved reading, but I really started becoming zealous for it when I entered third grade. I was at a higher level than the other students in reading and nothing was particularly a challenge for me - so every three days or so, after everyone was dismissed from class, my teacher would haul out the big bin beneath her desk filled with books for older kids. Only I was allowed to take books from there, and she nursed my fervor for reading.

My reading was out of control by fifth grade, and I later discovered Goodreads, which made me all the crazier about it.

Devlin Scott: About how many books do you read and review in a week’s time?

Oceana: It honestly depends. I never used to review when I first joined Goodreads, but eventually I started to. A couple months ago, you could’ve asked me this question and I would have told you “about three books and two reviews”, but I’ve been so busy lately and family problems haven’t helped the matter. I probably read two books a week on average now and do perhaps two reviews and one mini-review - but I always need to write my reviews no longer than three days after I finish. I have this paranoid fear that I’ll forget important details.

I only review books I have strong feelings for, because if I have none my review will be incredibly dull.

Devlin Scott: Do you have any favorite genres?

Oceana: I tend to stick to young adult; usually they have some degree of romance in them. My favorite genre is paranormal because I love the fantasy aspects. I read to escape my daily life and replace it with something that will never happen to me. I also read science-fiction, though I honestly haven’t encountered that many good ones and two of my favorite books are realistic fiction.

Devlin Scott: What do you look for in a book; what captures your attention?

Oceana: I’m going to be flat-out honest and say that I’ll usually pick up a book with an interesting cover or a brilliant blurb. They just capture my attention; what can I say?

I look for something original with likable characters (snark gets bonus points) and an interesting, fast-paced plot - I don’t want to read about something that’s been done a billion times. If it has romance, I want chemistry! A big part for me is liking the main character, and since I prefer books in first person, it’s important that I enjoy reading from their perspective, and that the author does it right.

Devlin Scott: What would you say is the most important goal for a reader and or a reviewer?

Oceana: Putting your honest opinions into your review. You don’t want to lie about how you felt... if you loved it, you loved it, and you shouldn’t feel bad for doing so. And if you’re the black sheep for well-received books, tell people you thought so - you might just point out something nobody noticed before!

Devlin Scott: In the same vein, what obligations/skills do you feel a good reviewer must have?

Oceana: It’s very simple. Reviewers should be passionate about what they do, especially vloggers. No one wants to read a long, boring review or watch a monotone vlog, but if you love what you’re doing, you are absolutely not going to go down that route. I’m not the person to criticize vlogs at all (I’m new to this, remember?) but I try my hardest to keep it interesting and fresh.

Devlin Scott: What mistake or mistakes do you think authors make the most?

Oceana: Mmm... I think that writing a story with a spineless main character and controlling love interest is a big mistake. A lot of people seem to think a possessive partner is ‘sexy’, and it’s really not. Also, unnecessary and unrealistic love triangles. It’s unlikely that two gorgeous guys are going to be head-over-heels in love with a girl that could be replaced by a wooden plank. If there has to have a love triangle, I want the main character to, you know, have something special about him or her, and who they’ll end up with shouldn’t be obvious, either.

Devlin Scott: What are your pet peeves when it comes to stories? What do you hate to see in print?

Oceana: When the main character says “I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding”. That drives me insane. Also, insta-love, stereotypes, and severe slut-shaming. Nobody falls in love in three days, not every cheerleader is an evil whore, and I’m tired of hypocritical heroines slamming on girls for wearing shorts an inch too short for their taste.

Devlin Scott: According to your Twitter Description, you enjoy profanity (yes, I’m going there) do you have a favorite word or phrase? (I’ll reproduce it as faithfully as I’m allowed.)

Oceana: I’ve been trying to cut down on my cursing in case one of my family members happens to stumble across my reviews (I hope it’ll never happen). But, the words still slip out, hehe. I’m going to spare your eyes the pain, Devlin, so I’ll just say “Bitch please” is one of my favorite ones.

Devlin Scott: If you could design the “perfect book” what would it have within its pages?

Oceana: A sarcastic, likable heroine, a swoon-worthy love interest, and an engaging, fresh plot. A novel that makes you look at the world a little differently. And a British or French accent somewhere along the lines. Take your pick.

Devlin Scott: If you could only have twelve books (your Nook doesn’t count) on a desert island (come on, we all agree that taking only one is stupid and futile) which ones would make the sandy beaches their new home?

Oceana: This question, gah! At least it’s twelve, though. Here they are:

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher. My all-time favorite. No words needed.
OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I love the chemistry between Katy and Daemon.
EASY by Tamara Webber. I think it sends out such an inspiring message to young women.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. Don’t judge me. It’s such a cute book!
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. What beautiful writing.
VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead. I met her. Squeal!
ANGELFALL by Susan Ee. Amazing, original read.
CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare. My literary boyfriend is in it. Jem.
THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa. My favorite of the series.
SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi. Guilty pleasure, leave me alone. :D
LE PETIT PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A childhood favorite.
THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan. I wish I could take the whole series.

Devlin Scott: I notice that your self-description professes your desire to be a writer. What have you done to achieve this dream? What genre of writing are you leaning towards?

Oceana: I love writing, but I’m not very creative when it comes to plot and that’s a huge problem. I mostly work on fan fiction for that reason.

I’ve had some of my poetry compete in county/state literary fairs (which is funny because I’m not a poet, but apparently I can write it fine), and all of my writing at school has been well-received. But there are so many other people that are better at it than I am (another thing: I have no confidence). The only thing I have on my side is my age, so I’m hoping that as the year’s progress, I’ll get better at writing.

However, once my life kind of settles down, I’m going to start writing again. I miss it.

I’ll probably stick with young-adult, but who knows? I want to eventually write a good paranormal, though.

Devlin Scott: What are your ultimate goals/plans for the future?

Oceana: Scary question. The future is still far away, and I want to write, but I doubt that it’ll support me full-time. I don’t know what career I want yet, but I’m aiming for a PhD in English. I’ll probably stick to something literary-related.

Every person tells me I should be a veterinarian (I’m great with animals and run my own dog-sitting business). When I say I want to write, everyone responds with “you should write books about animals!” I can’t win. haha

Devlin Scott: This is your part of the interview to send a message to the world. Tell us what you’re up to and where others can see your work.

Oceana: Haha, I’m struggling not to spam you here, Devlin. Sad that I don’t have a blog open yet, but oh well.

I’m busy at school, squeezing in reading and reviewing time between homework and . . . homework. Dealing with not having my father here with me and plowing through life blindly.

I’m opening up my own book blog sometime in December (very excited, stay tuned!) and plan to continue vlogging.

Devlin Scott: Now, my final two questions: What is your favorite truth (the one thing you believe in the most)?

Oceana: Nothing lasts forever.

Devlin Scott: What is your favorite lie (the one you use most often to avoid or escape trouble)?

Oceana: Uh, I have a blinding headache. Sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s not.

Thank you so much for the interview, Devlin!
~ Oceana

Thank you, Oceana for taking a few moments to answer my questions. I’m a faithful follower of your reviews and I’m very proud of the work you do to keep our bookshelves well-stocked and happy. Please continue reading and writing.

Oceana is a French teenager who enjoys stalking British boys and asking them to marry her. She was diagnosed with severe fangirl disorder in 2011. Able to curse like a sailor with an angelic voice.

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