Tuesday, September 18, 2007

California readers - Lori Borrill

Last weekend I did my first book signing. I had the pleasure of Writing Book #2 in the Harlequin Blaze "Million Dollar Secrets" continuity series, and by a fluke of fate, the writer who wrote Book #3, Shannon Hollis, happened to be a chapter mate of mine. Though series authors don't seem to do the kind of public appearing single title authors do, we felt the opportunity to sit together and promote our books and the series was too perfect to pass up. So, off we went to the Emeryville Borders to wow the customers with our presence and hopefully sell some books.

Though I'd been nervous going in, I ended up having a wonderful time despite the fact that only two customers bought our romance novels, and of those two, one didn't even read romance herself. She bought the book for a friend.

And therein lies the epitome of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Even though the Bay Area is home to a number of best-selling romance authors, when it comes to readers, it's not exactly the hub of romance central. In fact, in my personal life, I can count on one hand the number of people I know who read romance regularly, and if I came right down to it, it would only take the other hand to count the number of people I know who read popular fiction of any sort at all. Sure, most of my friends work full-time, are raising families, and haven't a lot of spare time to pour through books. But it was a topic we'd touched on while sitting at Emeryville Borders, and I'm curious to know what other people think.

A bulk of the Bay Area prides itself in its literary sophistication. I'm sure if we'd been peddling a release about the current state of the Bush administration or how big box stores were pushing the extinction of small business, we'd been mobbed. But further than that, I just don't think Californians in general are the readers you see in other parts of the country. I think when you've got 350 days of sunshine every year and all the activity this state offers, people don't spend their time sitting around reading. In fact, my husband, a native Californian, considers reading "sitting around doing nothing". In his mind, you might as well be watching cartoons for all a book is worth. On the other hand, I grew up in Oregon where it rains nine months out of the year. If you didn't read, you were doing a lot of bowling.

So let me ask you to participate in a personal survey:
Where are you from, and what do you think about the current state of fiction in your area?
Do a lot of your friends read, or are you one in a group of few like me?
And as an added bonus, those who participate by commenting on the blog will be entered to win an autographed copy of my latest release, "Underneath It All", which is the Book #2 in the "Million Dollar Secrets" continuity I mentioned at the top of this post.


Stacy S said...

I have a grand total of 3 people that I know who read. 2 of them will read romance & the other only mystries. I love both.

Karen H in NC said...

I'm in NC and the people I know read fiction. I love historical romance and a good FOM loves contemps...funny but we keep trying to convert the other to our favorite genre.

There are several well-known and best selling authors living in and around my town but because of UNC, NCSU & Duke universities nearby, I don't think fiction reading is as strong here as it is in other parts of the country.

Tracy Wolff said...

A lot of the women in my area read-- they don't all read romance, but at least they are buying fiction and reading it. I'm from Austin, Texas, btw, but I guess you already know that, huh, Lori :)

Lori Borrill said...

Stacy, it's nice to know I'm not the only person virtually alone in my circle of reading friends. I do "know of" a couple coworkers who enjoy reading--and even the same types of books I read (I love mystery as well as romance, too). Unfortunately, I don't see them as often as I'd like!

Lori Borrill said...

Karen, funny, I live a mile from a state university and the local bookstore in my town doesn't sell romance at all. In fact, the guy actually upped his nose at me when I asked if they had any. When I huffed, turned and started walking out, he attempted some Anne Rice (I don't do vampires).

I think there is a "college thing" about popular fiction. Although, I've been told the Blaze's make their way around college dormitories--including the mens. I guess they're buying them at Target.

Lori Borrill said...

Tracy, I'm jealous. I'd love to sit and talk books with my neighbors! But luckily, I've got you and the glorious internet! LOL!

ilona said...

I don't know many people who read other than my family. My taste runs to most writing except horror. My daughter is a big romance or fantasy reader. My sons read a lot of fiction mostly fantasy/ sci-fi or humour when not reading the intellectual stuff they got interested in through Uni.
Oh almost forgot - I'm in the UK. Wales to be more precise :D

Lori Borrill said...

Oh Ilona, you're lucky! I'm the only reader in my house and thanks to it, I've got to read with the TV blaring in the background.

Though I bought my son (he's 11) the funniest book: "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and I've got us reading it together. Anyone who has a boy around the early or pre-teen age, this is a really funny read.

Though, once we're done with it, I'll be back to reading my romances with the TV in the background. LOL!

Lois said...

Well, I don't know anyone else outside of me offline, so I can't tell you about what they read and we talk about in reference to books. LOL But in my area, I don't think people for the most part actually read. . . think about most of the big books that have come out in the past couple years. . . you really don't have to preorder here, they books will be there on the day they come out.


pearl said...

All of my friends and family read and they read alot as do I. They love to read and fiction is a favorite of their reading material. I purposely give my friends and family all of the books that I have finished and they enjoy them thoroughly. I see people where I live reading, at the pool, the gym and I live in Albq.

Lori Borrill said...

Well, Texas and New Mexico seem to be the places with all the readers, which ruins my notion that bad weather breeds readers. *g*

kim h said...

hot cover, the book looks good. my friends love romance .

kim h

Cherie J said...

I live in NW Florida and most of the people I know where I live aren't big into reading romance. Basically, my fellow romance readers consist of my twin sister who lives a 9 hour drive from me, my mother-in-law in LA, and one of my friends who lives in PA. Nobody I know locally does so all my book conversations are long distance or when I am visiting one of them.

cas2ajs said...

Ooh, I'm going to have to look up that "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". I have an 11 year old son and anything I can do to encourage him to read I will do. He hasn't been much of a reader to this point but has begun reading more this past year. My daughter has been an avid reader since the end of kindergarten. She was reading 8th grade level by the time she was in 4th grade. Although that made finding appropriate reading material a little bit of a challenge. Other than my kids, no one in my family as I was growing up were readers and still are not. None of my friends are either. Sorry to ramble. Oh, and I'm in Ohio.


Lori Borrill said...

Well, it definitely looks like I'm not alone in my reading solitude. I think I'm even more appreciative now of this great on-line community of people I can chat with.

Thanks much to Lee for having me here, and I hope to be invited back soon. This was fun!

As promised, I have a book to give away, and since I hate having to only choose one, how about I give away two?

I threw everyone's names in a hat and pulled out the following winners of the autographed copy of "Underneath It All". They are:

Stacy S and Pearl!!

Congrats ladies! If you'll e-mail me at with your snail mail address, I'll get those books in the mail.

deseng said...

A hearty hello to you Lori!

I am from Northern Indiana close to Lake Michigan. Well, I know in my area there are a lot of people who read romance books. Also, at my favorite book store the owner tells me the men from the steel mills come in asking for the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. So we have both male and female people here in Indiana who read romance books.

Oooo your new book sounds fantastic! Am I to late to enter your contest? Ooops I think I see at the bottom you already picked names. Maybe next time! I usually don't get on the internet until late at night since I work late.

tam said...

Both my daughters read romance as well as my sister-in-law & mother-in-law. My mother-in-law is who got me started reading romance about 6 years ago. We did live in California and recently moved to Utah, I just found out my next door neighbor likes reading romance too.

Lily said...

I am from Montreal, Quebec and people don't read much romance... there is so few in the library! and none of my friends read them... they are all thrillers.

kim h said...

wtg ladies