Special reader profile: Daniel

If you aren’t aware of the context of this profile, let me share it with you because you need to know the whole story. He contacted me a while back because he wanted a copy of Blue Diablo, but he couldn’t buy the ebook in the UK. (That’s because it hasn’t been released in the UK yet, and Orion Books has the rights. Books one and two will be released back to back next spring in England.) He also mentioned he reads books aloud to his wife because she can’t hold them. I got a little tearful because it’s so freakin’ sweet — and I offered to mail him a signed copy. I got that sent out, and just this week, I heard back from him.

He reported they clicked with the book and both really enjoyed it to the point that when they were getting close to the end, he had to read for three straight hours and his throat was sore. He said they both were converts to my work and couldn’t wait for the next one. It was one of the most touching letters I’ve ever read. I was moved to ask if I could interview him for my blog because I want people to know just how cool (and smart and articulate!) my readers are. Happily, he said yes, and so without further ado, I present to you, Daniel from the UK. (You’re going to love his writing; it’s just lovely, but you may tear up. I did.)

male profile(Note: this isn’t Daniel. It’s a graphic for a male profile. Get it?)
Where were you born?
Portsmouth on the south coast of England… but I didn’t stay there long. My folks moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands when I was a few years old and we stayed there till I got back from University (at nine miles by five, Jersey is too small to have a University of its own).

Where do you live now?
Edinburgh in Scotland. You see… I met this amazing woman, we decided to get married and thought Scotland would be a wonderful place to do it because of all the castles, distilleries and scenery. A few months after the wedding and honeymoon, I applied for a job in Edinburgh and got accepted so we moved. I still have memories of the removals guys hauling our stuff up the stairs with snow in their hair and on their shoulders as we wondered if we were mad moving from sunny Jersey to a place where it snowed in April!

What made you a book lover?
Well, there is quite an age-gap between me and my younger sisters and since my mum was a primary-school teacher she had what must have been a good chunk of the Schools Approved book list. My room was used for storage of it so I grew up with a wall-to-wall bookshelf. OK, some of it was a bit under my reading age but the first book that *really* sticks in my memory is the Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. As (at the time) an only child, I had a lot of time for reading. As a young adult I moved to the usual swords-and-sorcery books at the local library and devoured trashy sci-fi and fantasy books by the arm-full. These days I favour Sci-fi (not Space Opera however) and Fantasy/Urban Fantasy (but avoiding the “high fantasy genre”).

Who are some of your favourite authors?
What, apart from Ann Aguirre? Well I suppose Terry Pratchett is pretty near to God. I seem to have a large number of Anne McCaffrey books (the Ships and also the Talents series mainly). Since I bought a Sony eReader, I have discovered the Baen Free Library and am devouring Mercedes Lackey at a great pace!

How long have you been married?
Sixteen years so far… and still counting. According to the list of Traditional Wedding Gifts, this year should have been Silver Hollow-ware. You know, silver vases and gravy boats? Well we reckoned a real leather cover for the Sony Reader from Oberon Designs was a good substitute!

What do you do for a living?
That is a tricky one… What I *did* for a living was work as a Computer Programmer and Software Tester, but my wife has been coping with MS for most of our married life so I started reducing my hours. A few years ago I stopped work and became her full-time carer which meant I was finally able to get rid of my suits and cut up my ties. That was a good day! We became car-free too and bought a good bicycle for me to use. Now, apart from my domestic duties, I make jam, sourdough bread and read books. On the subject of reading books, my wife cannot hold books and magazines herself, so I have taken on the duty of “living Audiobook”. I read out loud to her. We have a Christmas tradition of starting Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather in the first week of December every year. Having the eReader and access to a wide range of online books has increased what I can read to her. She has a few “desert island books” that she would take if she ever moved to a tropical island (you know, the ones with sun-shades, iced drinks and someone else to do the cooking, not the really wild abandoned ones). These get read more often than all the others.

If you could travel anywhere and money was no object, where would that be? And Why?
I would love to visit the Temple of Borobudur in Indonesia once. It looks amazing. Of course I would need a guide and a hotel with air-con (you did say someone else was paying, yes?). After that? Somewhere quite wild but within easy reach of all the important amenities. Say the west coast of Ireland or the Scottish Islands would do it quite nicely. Somewhere off the tourist track with amazing scenery.

What’s your most anticipated book release in the coming year?
What? Apart from finding Corine’s answer to the last question Chance asks her in Blue Diablo? We have all the Terry Pratchetts on auto-buy in hardback but I am also looking forward to reading the long-awaited (twenty-odd years?) sequel to The Deed of Paksenarion by Elizabeth Moon.

One question you didn’t ask me was “Where did you discover your first Ann Aguirre book?” I would have to say it was Blue Diablo, recommended in the MobileRead forums under Urban Fantasy. Then I found the excerpt in Fictionwise which hooked my attention. Of course the eBook was geographically restricted (bah!) but you know the rest.

I purposely didn’t ask any questions about me or my work because I wanted the spotlight to be on Daniel, but I must thank him for his kind words. I’m so pleased he agreed to the profile because I think he’s wonderful. Don’t you agree my readers are the best?