Emmelnie is Sharing the Shallows

In July, my twitter tweep Mary Lynne, contacted me to ask if I would be in Sydney in early August as she was travelling to my Emerald City and would love to meet up. As luck would have it, I had to respond that I would not be in Sydney on her dates as I was going to be in the US of A. Mary Lynne asked and we were both thrilled that we instead would meet up in New York City. She came to my hotel with Stacey Agdern on my first night and the two of them took John and myself out for a meal and a walking tour of their city. Mary Lynne was just like her twitter stream and our many exchanges. Fun, smart, chatty. A few weeks later, I was thrilled to see that she visited just about all the places I recommend to her for her Sydney visit.


Mary Lynne

Mary Lynne Nielsen


Can you describe yourself?

My name is Mary Lynne Nielsen, and I’m known on Twitter as @emmelnie. I work in my day job at a nonprofit, where I help build global awareness and use of the consensus industry standards that underpin, say, the very technologies you’re using to read this blog post right now. I also worked as a professional editor for many years, so I really go nuts with typos, plot gaps, and lack of stylesheet use in my reading!

I’ve been reading romance for 40 years—I started as a teenager. I was mistress of ceremonies at a romance reader convention for many years, so I’m quite public about my devotion to and support of romance as a genre deserving of respect, worthy of analysis, and able to handle critiques.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I read books and news every single day. How much time in a week depends on what’s happening in the other aspects of my life. I sometimes travel for my job, so that can be a good or a bad thing for reading depending on the distance and level of activity at the location! I subscribe to several newspapers, so I use that for news and information; I read books continuously; and I track several blogs and many author newsletters. I also use Twitter and Facebook; the former for conversation, the latter for author information.

Mary Balogh cover

What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

I don’t know that I can truly answer this—the response would change based on what I’m reading now! I will say that I call Mary Balogh my favorite author. She was one of the first “current” romance authors I discovered when my sister and I were at the end of our search for every book by Georgette Heyer back in the pre-internet, find-it-in-person days (which is how I got hooked into romance). And I’m still reading and enjoying her work, over 30 years later!

If I had to pick an author where I pounce on their every new book for fun reading, I’d say Ruby Dixon for her marvelous Ice Planet Barbarians (and now Icehome) series, Jeffe Kennedy and Grace Draven for wonderful fantasy romance, and Renee Rose and Lee Savino for great shifter books. Oh, and Claire Kent’s Hold—that opening, “Find the strongest man there. Give yourself to him in return for protection. It’s the only way you’ll ever survive,” well, if that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.

And shameless promotion—many of the first books of these authors’ series (and Hold) are free ebooks as of the date of this writing.

See, I’ve starting discussing books. Must stop. Must stop now….

Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

I am a dead sucker for a marriage of convenience or an arranged marriage. I love seeing a simple, practical connection turn into love. And I adore a great high fantasy romance. I started out as a SF/F reader—it took me discovering romance to realize my favorite fantasy authors usually had a strong romantic thread in their work.

I avoid boss-employee romances. I’ve had too much sexual-harassment training in real life to be comfortable with a romance between direct chain-of-command reporting. (Peer relationships are OK.) I avoid romantic suspense—it’s just not me. And I’m not a great fan of vampires. They’re dead, so I really wonder how blood flow works for certain activities. J

That said, I’d never say never. There’s always the exception that proves the norm.

Why do you/don’t you use a public library?

I use the public library all the time! I think it’s one of our greatest public treasures, that we make so much reading and research material available to our populace for free. In addition, the library is a meeting place and shared cultural space. When my town dealt with the catastrophe that was Hurricane Sandy, our library was one of the few public places with power, and you wouldn’t believe how people congregated there (and how many kept coming afterwards).

I even belong to multiple local libraries through exchange programs. Yes, I use the local library near my office as well as the one near my home!

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

Nope, I’ve never done RUI.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

I read wherever I can, but usually in a recliner or on my bed at home.

Toilet reading: 

As Opus the Penguin called it in the Bloom County comic strip, “quality time.”

Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?

Absolutely! It’s the root of the romance genre fiction that we read. Shakespeare’s comedies, the delicate dances of Sheridan, the tangled courtships of Austen, the heightened drama of the Brontes (yes, all of them—please read Anne if you haven’t), the probity of Gaskell—bring it on!

What would you give up reading for**?

The health or safety of a loved one.

Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?

I drive a hatchback wagon, so absolutely! If my real-life hero, my fantastic husband, can drive one, then so can a superhero!

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