Earlier this year, I had the absolute good fortune of having travelled to Montreal, Canada for a readers’ meet-up. There were many people I had already met online over the years at this meet-up but there were some I had never crossed paths with – and I need to ask…how on earth had I never met Rain!? We met on our first day walking around Montreal and spent the weekend having conversations on everything – education, plagiarism detecting software (and the detrimental effect on student outputs), Eastern Europe, women’s issues, politics, food, and, of course, romance fiction. I am so glad that I got to meet Rain.
Can you describe yourself?
Rain Merton has moved halfway across the world thirteen years ago and never regretted it once. In those past thirteen years, to keep with the pattern, Rain has moved across Canada twice, acquired two post-graduate degrees, two children, and, most recently, two kittens. Rain writes queer romance when not teaching college students, and prefers the personal pronoun “they.” Find them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RainMerton), instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rainmerton/) or—very sporadically—FB (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012107086345).
What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?
Blame it on too much time in grad school, but I am a greedy and fickle reader when it comes to reading for pleasure. I usually have anywhere between five and ten books and audiobooks going at the same time, because I like to read in a variety of genres. There’s always at least a couple of romances in there, because they are my constant soothing companions. I read non-fiction, too; sometimes it’s life writing, other times narrative nonfiction for topical research, other times still it’s theory (aka my grad-school love).
I used to be a big news junkie, especially in grad school, as my research area is contemporary literature and cultural studies, but these days the news are overwhelming, so I filter them through social media.
What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure?
Romance and cooking and style blogs are my joyful reading. I never feel guilty indulging in a good romance novel or short. The guilt rears its head when I spend too much time on social media. I might be *cough* addicted *cough* to Twitter. In all honesty, though, I’ve met so many interesting, engaging, thoughtful, wonderful people on Twitter that it’s hard to feel bad about spending time there.
Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?
Hmm, see, I’m comparatively new to the romance genre, so I’m not that well versed in all the tropes and storylines. I do prefer a character-centred story arc, in which the tension emerges as a result of inner conflict, rather than external forces. So, while I’ll read the odd suspense romance, they’re not my go-to. Some things that I will definitely not read are anything to do with abuse and redemption of the abuser, and Alpha-Beta-Omega genre: strict hierarchies make me cringe.
Why do you/don’t you use a public library?
Most of the books I read and all of the ones I listen to come from the Toronto Public Library. Honestly, I had to do a double-take at this question, which probably shows how lucky I am to live in a city with public library that has 100 branches and amazing resources that I use every day. Every. Single. Day. I am not dramatic in the least in confessing I could not live without the Toronto Public Library. My kids adore the library, and every Thursday is library day. It started out because my local branch has Lego night on Thursdays, but it’s become a tradition we couldn’t skip if we tried. We come home with tens of books some weeks, that my kids devour during the week.
Do you RUI*. If so, what?
I R under any and all conditions ;). I would R all the time if I could. Unglamorous of me to admit, but I don’t have a particular genre or type of book or author that I seek out in those cases. It’s probably whatever romance I’m reading at the time, as I’ve probably imbibed in order to feel good, and romance definitely hits the spot.
Do you have a favourite reading spot?
I love reading in bed before sleep. If it’s during the day, unless I’m sick, I’ll probably choose my armchair in the bay window of my bedroom, which faces south and is usually sunny. The worst thing is I sometimes have to inconvenience one of my cats or persuade her to share the sunny spot.
Only my own books/phone/tablet/ereader: my tablet or phone if I’m reading a book I can’t put down BUT mostly:
Other _ I usually listen to audiobooks and play one of those match-three widgets games (TMI, I know and apologize 🙂 )
Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?
YES! I love and seek out romance in any kind: subplots in literary fiction or other genre fiction like mystery or fantasy. I abhor any love/flirting/sex subplot that ends in tragedy, especially since it’s been used so much in mainstream fiction and movies to single out and vilify queer sex and relationships.
What would you give up reading for**?
NOTHING! (NO, I’M NOT YELLING, YOU’RE YELLING!) Honestly, not a single thing comes to mind that would make me willingly give up reading. And I dearly hope I will never be made to give up reading.
Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?
Why not? Is there a joke here I’m not getting? Yes, there is, isn’t it. Ahem. No, no, I’m calm. It’s okay. Listen, I don’t judge *your* life choices, do I? Do I? *slams the door to their Subaru Outback* *drives away in a cloud of smoke*
*Reading Under the Influence
**I like stranded prepositions