INTERVIEW with WANDA HARTZENBERG
I am Wanda Hartzenberg, a 39 year old reader and reviewer on Facebook, a sister to three brothers and one sister, an aunt to my nieces and nephews and a daughter to my mother, a good friend, a best friend and an enemy. I have a degree in psychology and communication. My work has many aspects but the aim of all I do is to catch criminals. This last part is why I so fanatically need escapism reads to keep sane. I love dogs, walking for Km at a time but not hiking, I can fly fish as long as it is catch and release. Sometimes I am a gardener; mostly I am a bio hazard in the garden. My one true talent is preparing food. I am a wiz in the kitchen and love preparing weird or complicated meal plans. I hate preparing something as banal as fish and chips, so when I do, it is a work of art.
1. How old were you when you fell in love with your first book and which book was it? Did you read it yourself or did an adult in your life read it to you?
I could read by the age of 4. My parents though I was “re-telling” the books they read to me to my nephew, then one day, they shifted the bookmark and discovered that I started reading on the page the bookmark was on and not where I dropped off the story. They were mightily impressed with my memory up to that point but shifted their views.
My first passion was Tarzan, king of the Apes. We got them in what we called Chap Stick format but what are actually serial format volumes every two weeks. I would take my Friday lunch money (we had a little school café on Fridays, and instead of pocket money I got money to buy sweeties and stuff) and saved up that money for two weeks. Then as soon as school let out I would run to the Café two blocks from my home and buy my new Tarzan book. It cost me 20c. Two years after this started I ran into my father at the café, he was paying in the difference on my books. I bought a book for 20c while it cost R2. Idiocy is a long time comfortable companion in my life! LOL.
But my first irrevocable love - Strangers by Dean R Koontz. I was 13, my friend was reading it at school; I asked if I could borrow it, went home, read straight through and I was hooked for life.
2. When did you write your first review? Even if it was in a letter to a friend saying I am reading a great book about?
Written … well it would have been in grade 3. My best friend moved away and we kept in touch via snail mail. I would read my new Tarzan book and tell her all about it and she would read some Afrikaans children’s tail and tell me all about it. So yes, from the age of 8!
3. How did you discover the world of Indie writers? What made you want to help give them exposure?
Wow, I was a very reluctant Facebook user. I had little friends and started playing Zinga games. I met a woman who sent me loads of buckets and shovels and hammers. She friended me and on her posts I would see her raving about this book, that author and this new release. It took me a year to realize what Indie means!!!!! But when I did I already knew how many of these authors have amazing talent and what an uphill struggle it is for them to get their books out to the public. By this time I was pretty popular and decided that maybe I should see if I could help them, they were are after all, giving away their hard work to all and sunder. The rest, as they say, are history.
4. Is your professional field related to publicity?
No not at all. Part of my job is research and technical or critical document analysis. Ever wondered why I don’t write technical reviews?
5. If an author offered to name a character in a book WANDA after you what would you like to see in that character?
Honesty and integrity and well mannered. I hate bad manners.
6. Do you prefer books that make you laugh or cry?
No real preference in this regard. I adore a book that manages to accomplish both!
7. Is reading and availability to books a big thing in South Africa?
More than half of my country’s population is considered functionally illiterate, which as far as I can deduce equates to a reading level of grade 4 and lower. Our country as such is thus not big on reading. But you learn by example and my father was forever lost in a book. His reading preference differed wildly from my own though.
8. Do you always read in English or are there great books in Afrikaans that we have yet to discover?
Oh I mostly read English, Afrikaans is a wonderfully descriptive language and thus lends itself to dramatization and exaggeration, trust me, we speak like that as well. It is never a sunny day in South Africa, it is a cloudless, and I can hear the earth move type of day in South Africa. I love to hear us speak but get aggravated with reading it sometimes. Great Afrikaans books. Most assuredly!
9. As a reviewer, book promoter and a blogger how do you find the time for other things in your life? I mean how many hours per week go into it for you?
I spent more time now in promoting books than I do in reading them. I changed that a few weeks back but fell into the bad habit again. I am determined however to get the balance scale to flip to more reading than promoting ASAP. In total, I would say I spent approximately 10 hours a week promoting, reading etc. Although I have put in 28 hours in four days in a promotion I was running. I will always prefer reading to promoting but I get so excited about good books… .
10. Do you work in any capacity full or part time in editing? Proofreading? Book Cover consultant?
Not at all. I helped in proofreading a book in the past, but as a favor and I am not sure I contributed much.
11. If you could meet any historical character which would it be and why?
The Marquis De Sade! Yes I know he was a sick puppy. He was also brilliant! I would like to hear what he thinks about the current state of affairs.
12. If you could meet any fictional character which would it be and why?
Huckleberry Finn. I love his take on life and the conclusions he draws on the goings on around him.
13. If you could visit any imaginary world in Literature which would it be? And what would you take on your journey to survive a 10 day stay in that imaginary world.
My current fascination is The Game of Thrones, so I would love to live in the North, before the winter is coming. What would I take with? Volume two to five! Because in this world, you don’t know your friends from your enemies. For warned is for armed?
14. Writing is a contagious craft; that being said can we expect a book by WANDA HARTZENBERG?someday?
Lol, eek, a horror anthology, the first story is with a friend for editing, the second is halfway typed and the third is mapped out in my brain.
15. For all the writers you have reviewed and helped this is a big question; what is your favorite setting when you plunge into a book?
Lol, on my bed with my puppy next to me and a cup of coffee next to me. My stereo on the flavour of the day which might be anything from old time Rock & Roll to heavy metal and grunge. That according to me is heaven.
Thank you so much Wanda for sharing with us, from the perspective of a reviewer, promoter and blogger. Please let everyone know how and where they can find you.
Blog : http://tattlet.blogspot.com
Review page on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/Bookmewsandtattletailsforall