Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!
Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC member and May’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, MARETHA BOTHA! We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!
NJ: Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf? We’ve made it even more comfortable in 2018, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer…. You know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf? So, comfy?
Maretha: Yes, feeling a bit more comfortable!
NJ: Good, well let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name
Maretha: (nickname) and my married name, Botha. My birth name is Margaretha Menichini
NJ: Tell us where you were born?
Maretha: In Montagu, Western Province, South Africa
NJ: Do you still live there now?
Maretha: Sadly not
NJ: What city and state are you calling home these days?
Maretha: Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom
NJ: Married, single, kids?
Maretha: Married with kids
NJ: What kind?
Maretha: The in-between ones
NJ: Never heard of the ‘in-between ones,’ but OK. Maretha, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?
Maretha: I’m confident that there might well be a toss-up between the two of them as to who would want me. So, I’ll be diplomatic and share my time between them, that is, if I have time to share – what with all the travelling and writing I want to do.
NJ: Well, how kind of you. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Maretha: Indoors, not any more. Outdoors – I view all the stray cats as my pets, and the garden birds think I’m their Godmother.
NJ: Another cat lady, huh? There are just too many of you around me!!!
What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?
Maretha: Fruit and Nut Cadbury Chocolate Bar
NJ: What’s your favorite color?
Maretha: I don’t have one, but I feel happy in an autumn inspired interior and wearing winter colours such as dark blues, greens and maroons.
NJ: How about a favorite sport?
NJ: Favorite TV Show
Maretha: Alan Tichmarch’s Gardening Make-overs
NJ: Favorite Actress/Actor
Maretha: There are a few great ones, but I like Cameron Diaz and Morgan Freeman.
NJ: Mr. Freeman is in the news right now, and not for anything good. Maybe you wanna come up with a second choice, but, I like Cameron Diaz, too! Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?
Maretha: I don’t like to do any formal exercises these days other than to garden, walk on the moors (occasionally) and do cleaning when I must.
NJ: Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails? (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads. Hey, just being honest. It’s the only way I roll).
Maretha: When someone drives right in front of me, whether to steal my intended parking spot or cutting across to take the next exit, even though there’s nothing behind me . . .I want to scratch their car – something like they did in that movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.
NJ: Oh, my! You’re a feisty one, Maretha! I love it! Now, here’s the million dollar question…the one that determines whether you’re on Nonnie’s Christmas list or off. Are you neat or messy?
Maretha: Neat, except when I’m in the middle of an illustrating project and then the world can cave in around me.
NJ: The jury’s still out on that one. Facebook or Twitter?
NJ: We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships. Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?
Maretha: At RRBC I love connecting with so many wonderful folks that I’ll refrain from naming any, since I’m limited to only one.
NJ: Who do you favor most: Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest
Maretha: I’ve not discovered the difference, but I think they might well be one and the same person.
NJ: Good answer, although Wonder Woman isn’t as cute as Nonnie, just for the record. Maretha, we all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not. In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place? You can be honest here, too.
Maretha: WonderWoman uses her lasso to get what she wants; the very thought of it scares me. So, I’m going to go with Nonnie, because she says it as it is and I’m either going to take it or not, but before I do, I’ll weigh up the consequences of a making a bad decision.
NJ: OK. Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:
Maretha: I’ve read several great books over the past two years, especially when I think of the high standard reached in poetry. Gwendolyn Plano – “Letting Go Into Perfect Love”, Nonnie Jules – “If Only There Was Music”, D.L. Finn – “No Fairy Tale . . . and many more. Sorry, N.J. it’s difficult to count when I must choose. Besides, I’ve now counted way past two. Sorry!
NJ: ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it…
Maretha: “Empty Chairs” by Stacey Danson
NJ: What was so great about it?
Maretha: It is brutally honest, and I admire the author for having had the courage to write about the terrible abuse she suffered as a child.
NJ: It is definitely on my TBR, although someone once close to me said that I shouldn’t read it, because it would anger me too much. Some books do that to me. Maretha, after you read books, do you post reviews?
NJ: What do you think readers should base their reviews on?
Maretha: On how much they enjoyed the contents, its message and that which they took away from it – having a great reading experience, rather than being weighed down by the weight of having to write a top critical review. Not everyone could possibly like each story, but if it meets the criteria as far as target market and genre are concerned, I will give it a good review and star rating.
NJ: Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
Maretha: No, but I don’t consider myself such an expert that I would tear a perfectly good book to pieces just because the reader, in this instance me, that I didn’t like the author’s writing style or voice.
NJ: Read any poorly written books lately?
Maretha: No, All the stories and plots were good. Sometimes punctuation or lack there-of could stand in the way of a book being great and perfect, which it could be in any event, even if it’s not a subject/genre I would normally read.
NJ: How many poorly written books have you read that you gave a high mark to in your review, when you know it was horrible? Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.
Maretha: Only one, and I wrote a kind note to the author. That was the first book I ever reviewed, but I see it hasn’t been corrected. So, an effort wasted.
NJ: Are you an author? Are you a good one? C’mon, we love honesty here.
Maretha: I’ve had a love affair with reading ever since I could make out words, and sometimes such avid readers progress to becoming writers and finally, published authors. I think my writing is descriptive and not bad most of the time, but I can only go by what my readers say, and they mostly tell me that I’ve got what it takes. Only time will tell whether I’m an enduring, good author. Unfortunately, I cannot follow trends just to make my work profitable. If I have only one reader who loves my work, I will view myself as successful and good.
NJ: Really? WOW. OK. Please tell us how long you’ve been writing?
Maretha: Ever since I went to school, I began to make notes and write down little rhymes. I was published in my school’s year book in my final year at school, but my writing career took off in April 2012.
NJ: Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?
Maretha: Yes, if the person giving the critique knows what they’re talking about, otherwise I just move on and view the review as a bad experience.
NJ: I’m curious, Maretha. How would you determine if the person knew what they were talking about or not? In the meantime, would you name two books that you’ve written?
Maretha: Flame and Hope: An African Adventure
NJ: Which one do you think is the best?
Maretha: Trails and Trials: An African Adventure is book four in the Fauna Park Tales Series. Writing Flame and Hope taught me much and assisted in making me a better writer by the time I finished the fourth book.
NJ: Do you have a blog or website? I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?
Maretha: I have two – one suitable to be read by younger readers, dealing with children’s literature and related matters, and the other – a general blog which I use for all things to do with authoring, books and authors. I’ve not asked for my blogs to be vetted by RRBC yet, but I feel ready to do so now.
NJ: Well, good for you. Maretha, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
Maretha: I’ve tried a few who offer limited help, and I still support one of them occasionally. I’m not sure if I can name them, but I spent many months during this time just reading Nonnie Jules’ WHOSE ON THE SHELF and then I decided to join her Rave Reviews Book Club. Since then, I’ve not seen the necessity to join any where else.
NJ: That’s always great to hear! Thank you! So, how have you been helped by the club?
Maretha: Meeting serious and professional indie authors, reviewing and being reviewed, getting wonderful support, encouragement and exposure.
NJ: Yes, RRBC does offer all of those things to its’ members. Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a member here, so what do you really think of the club?
Maretha: Unless RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB throws me out, I don’t intend looking anywhere else.
NJ: Now, why would we ever do such a thing? You’re one of our amazing members that we just adore! But I’m curious, have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?
Maretha: There are some that try, but they lack the commitment to tweet fellow members work, let alone do a special mention/ presentation for them, so in my opinion, their members remain isolated.
NJ: Would you recommend the club to your friends and family?
Maretha: I have done so, and will continue to do so.
NJ: That’s also good to hear! What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC? #PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.
Maretha: I try to support all of them, because each of these individual programs support authors and their work. So, I don’t think one has more value than the other.
NJ: This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words for our guests today?
Maretha: I appreciate your support, interest and commitment very much! Thank you so much for having me and giving me such incredible support! Where would I be without you?
NJ: Maretha, that’s so very sweet of you to say. Thank you! Audience, for once, there were no “almost” accidents! Maretha was the perfect guest! That’s a little disappointing actually. I know most of you only come here for the drama. (That’s OK…it’s the only reason I show up, too!)
To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Maretha’s books.
Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet? Well, here’s your chance! And, since Maretha was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.
Until next time, take care. We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!