I’ve gotten to know quite a few bloggers from this event due to the unfortunate illness of one of the bloggers so I got interviewed twice. It was fun to get to know everybody. I wish Elizabeth from Thoughts of an Evil Overlord to get better soon. I enjoyed your questions!
I was partnered to be interviewed by Whitney from She Is Too Fond of Books. I’m actually a huge fan of her blog and have been following her for a few months now. So I was so excited to get connected with her. Excuse me while I Fangirl for a second!
I especially had a good time corresponding with my interviewee Jorie from Jorie Loves a story. She even helped me realize my blog was down one day. She saved me! I had a lot of fun coming up with questions for her! Here is her interview:
1) What was the book that inspired you to be the reader you are today?
I have many fond memories of several series wherein I would find my heart fluttering to see a new release on the shelf at the book shoppe! What pure delight it was to walk inside a book shoppe (one of those which was attached to a mall and/or the big Indie one I used to spend hours wandering around in pure bookish bliss!) and settle inside the shelf area where you could happily pick up the ‘very’ next book in a series you’ve appreciated reading! This was a true gift of my childhood – having parents who understood how happy I was reading once I found my way within the world of words and stories.
For me, those early series which garnished the most joy for me were: The Baby-Sisters Club (although I never had the chance to baby-sit myself); The Saddle Club (loved horse-back riding!); Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys (respectively!); The Cassandra Mysteries (celebrating pen pals & letter-writing); Thoroughbred (love horse dramas); and Mandie (an INSPY series for children where we get to go on these beautiful historical adventures!). I would also pick up the odd Classical Children’s novel such as: Eight Cousins, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables and other such lovelies.
I was a seeker of stories and characters who led lives inside settings and locales which were set to a realism of truth for their own timescapes. I loved stepping inside shoes of characters that led different lives from my own, and a lot of this rooting of literature has staid with me even today.
2) If you could have lunch with any writer dead or alive who would it be?
Rosamunde Pilcher. Arthur C. Clarke. Lois Gladys Leppard. Agatha Christie. I’m going to focus on the writers who have passed on because over the years, there are many writers I would have loved to share a cuppa with whilst conversing about what inspired their stories. Even today, I can contend there are writers I have yet to interact with whose breadth of story and centering on character driven stories are crafted with such a keen eye of wonderment that I get deliciously inspired as both a reader and a writer each time I pick up their collective works.
Being a hostess of a weekly chat for Romance writers & readers, I am blessed for the interactions #ChocLitSaturday (@ChocLitSaturday) provides us all. Being a bookish and geeky joyful tweeter allows me to directly interact with the writers of today of whom I am picking up their novels and digging inside their narratives as both a book blogger and an active reader who devours stories yearly.
To focus a moment on the writers of the past, who gave me something to chew and contemplate? I’d like to think the selections I gave show the rounded eclectic nature I have in my literary wanderings and how certain writers give us something happily museful to read irregardless of genre or thematic.
3) What is your drink and/or snack of choice while reading?
Would you believe I don’t do either? Generally speaking, I like to have a nice cuppa tea or coffee with a light snack ahead of reading – although true to my nature, when I’m reading, I’m fully immersed inside that world to where outside interferences (even with a nibble of a nosh!) are not allowed! I also borrow quite a heap from my local library and I’m a bit particular about not having anything on my fingers that would transfer to the library books!
For my personal library I’m just as particular – I like keeping books in the best condition I can! No earmarking pages or wrinkling the bottoms of pages either! You could say I read everything in ‘nearly mint condition’ if not better! Not that all the books arrive to me in that condition as I read a fair amount of used books – I just mean, I leave books as beautiful as I can whilst they are in my hands.
4) What are you currently reading?
Laughs with mirth. What am I not reading is a better question? At the time of this interview I am consuming the wondrous breadth of CORVIDAE which is an anthology collection of stories from World Weaver Press. It’s the sequel to FAE, and a companion to SCARECROW in which several of the stories are interconnected (from what I gather). I love SFF (science fiction & fantasy) anthologies due to the fact you get little nibblements of a writer’s voice and style within the shorts themselves. It’s a great way to become introduced to a wide variety of authors but also, to see where the patterns of change are evolving in the genre itself. I’m properly addicted to Indie anthologies, as I’ve been reading them for a bit over two years now.
A memoir about love and loss during the Vietnam war is being read in time to showcase on All Saint’s Day, as a tribute to the author’s husband. There is a connection to the holiday in the book which I discovered as I was reading it. Those Who Remain doesn’t read like a memoir but of a living novel rooted in reality and the anguish of loss through the bridging of hope.
I even picked up a library book to read for All Saint’s Day, as BookSparks is one of the publicity firms I work with to host authors and their stories. They mentioned a chance to give a spotlight on a spooky novel called: The Barter. They had me at ‘spooky ghost story’ but when I picked it up I found myself spiraling inside a chillingly suspenseful thriller that doesn’t quite allow you to advert your eyes off the page for too long!
The Tulip Resistance is a war drama from the perspective of the Dutch whereas Summer Campaign is classic Carla Kelly Historical Romance. The Haunting of Springett Hall is a Victorian ghost story – I’m quite attached to ghost stories whereas The Untied Kingdom I have a feeling is going to test my fortitude for alternative reality and romantic suspense novels. I have The Little Paris Bookshop to complete as well – one of the books that I meant to read over Summer, as I liked the premise of someone picking out a book they knew someone might love reading. I think that is always a happy thought of my own to one day have someone send me a book and know at its receipt a gush of excitement and joy will wash over me as I read its chapters.
Leading into Sci Fi November, I’m reading the Clan Chronicles by Julie E. Czerneda starting with the novella ‘Brothers Bound’ moving into the prequel trilogy Stratification before entering The Trade Pact trilogy which leads straight into the seventh book which I have for review.
I’m also trying a new Indie Publisher called Light Messages Publishing wherein I found two cleverly inspiring stories: The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley and Tea and Crumples.
5) What is the last book you finished?
I finished quite a few recently as I was attempting to become caught up a bit on the reviews I could not post over the Summer when the lightning storms disrupted my plans. Decorum by Kaaren Christopherson is one of those timeless turn of the century novels where everything is beautifully painted alive for you to imagine whilst giving you a hearty story to appreciate as you follow the lead character’s coming of age journey.
Reading the Sweet Oak is a story rooted in hope and family, guided by a spunky grandmother and a grand-daughter willing to do what is right for her family ahead of her own dreams. It’s the kind of slow reading that you enjoy becoming dissolved inside.
Fool’s Gold is a historical romance by one of my favourite ChocLit novelists Zana Bell who has a brilliant way of giving me a historical rom full of what I am hoping to find the most: wicked dialogue, era specific details, and a winning story full of heart where two people who dearly should be together have to find a way to this truth themselves.
6 ) Kind of books you won’t read?
I have a hearty palette of books I consume on a weekly/monthly basis right now as a book blogger to the extent that my next reads are set to a high queue. I’m dialling back how many books I read per week/month by January 2016, as I want to do a full stop on tipping over what I can read vs reading at a pace and rate that is more drinkable and relaxed.
This said, what I won’t tolerate to read outright are certain genres where I personally do not feel the need to read: Erotica being at the very top of the list. Traditional Horror is a close second. I do outline this on my blog, because I do accept queries for reviews and wanted to be upfront about what I’m not willing to read before an author, publicist or publisher contacts me. Generally speaking, I do not appreciate dark undertones or explicit violence. I have a low tolerance for explicit vulgarity especially when staged or used for shock value.
If you take a quick walkabout through my Story Vault you’ll see the types of stories I appreciate reading; although mind you, the ones that wrinkled my brow are included in that listing as I keep a running list of the books I read and review for archiving purposes. The only ones I exclude into a secondary section are the Children’s Lit stories I felt were out of character or place for the genre. (Those can be found on my Children’s Lit page under the disclosure heading that due to content I did not find them appropriate). Likewise, if you read through my Fly in the Ointment* tag you will find notations on what ‘went wrong’ for me for the books I faltered to find a way to love them outright.
*Note: due to the way my blog archives this tag, even if I mark there is vulgarity in the story itself, if there isn’t a separate note on the review the references to vulgarity were nominal.
I do not hesitate to add notations of critique for books that I feel deserve to be given a reason for why they did not quite float my boat as I read them. I believe this helps giving readers a better balance of knowing the difference between what I love about the literature I’m reading and recognising those stories that tip my hat towards an imbalance of joy.
I also change my perception of a genre or thematic per each selection I make outside my comfort zone – this has happened to me for New Adult and Dark Fantasy. I might have strong opines about certain styles of stories but I still remain open about the possibility that there is a story penned by a writer who will open my mind and eyes to a story I might not have considered to be ‘my type’ and therefore become the exception to the rule. This isn’t to say I seek out a wide net of stories within genres I do not actively read but I am willing to give a go to an author whose plot makes me dearly curious to read.
7) Do you participate in any weekly features or link-ups with other blogs? Which ones? What do you like about them?
What a lovely surprise! Smiles. I have been tweaking my weekly meme list during the time between when you sent me this interview and now! So much so, you can find a whole new listing of features I will be highlighting on my blog from Autumn 2015 forward into 2016! You could say I’m going through a bit of a Renaissance as a book blogger – finding ways to add new features and new showcases, whilst re-defining my presence in the book blogosphere.
Full List of the memes I find fascinating to join are located here: Blogosphere Memes
Let me break-down the reasons I picked the ones I did:
(I love creating the badges for these memes in Canva which is the #1 resource I love to use as a book blogger who needs to create her own graphics without relying on PhotoShop. The photographs that are public domain w/o attribution I enjoy using are sourced from Unsplash.org.)
*Jorie’s Box of Joy is a spin-off of Mailbox Monday as I wanted a bit more flexibility on when I am posting my joy of the book mail that arrives to me. Sometimes I find I like to bundle these posts by fortnight or whenever the mood strikes me to post! Laughs. I’m not too much for buckling down to a firm schedule so these posts are randomly alighting on my blog! I will have a bit more regularity but they will not become a weekly affair!
*Top Ten Tuesday is a meme I regret I had to let go of as I loved finding books I want to read inasmuch as highlight the books I’ve read. I tend to yield to focusing on the ones I haven’t read because the pitch of the enquiry per week creatively inspires me to blog about them! It’s a meme I happily look forward to re-joining in earnest! I love embedding bookish lists that coordinate with this meme via my Riffle Lists, too.
*Tell Me Something Tuesday is one of the new memes that I most likely will be responding to each week because I love the host’s ideas for the meme itself! We’re prompted with bookish topics and it’s a good fit for me because I like how the host of the meme has been working on this on her own blog! I’ve been meaning to visit her more often because I had the intention of writing about shifters (shapeshifters) for Halloween week before I lost the hours to do so!
*Jorie’s Library Loot of the Week is a meme I started off on a good footing and then, lapsed from participating in because although my library checkouts have always been in the background of my review books, the time to read the library books has been fleeting at best! This is part of my Renaissance as a blogger, to find a better balance in being able to read not only for review but for reading the books which are tempting me outside that scope of focus. I expect this meme will be happily re-appearing soon! This meme of mine is a spin-off of Library Loot.
*WWWWednesdays is a bit absent for the same reasons as Library Loot; except I simply had such a high volume of reads and features that I had an absence of free hours to write-up the posts which would become a weekly recap of what I had read and was reading next. I finally was able to start making a dent of a return in October and will be resuming more of these in November.
*10 Bookish Not Bookish Thoughts is a meme that truly works for my bookish soul! I love being able to archive out a journal of all the bookish and non-bookish news that are effectively taking my world by storm! I love being able to share about the tv series that whet a thirst of interest and new music making me keenly happy due to their positive vibes & lyrics! It’s a bit of a mash-up of what I’m discovering across entertainment media and dimensions! Partially used to announce what readers of my blog can be expecting next to arrive and partially a meme where I can flex my blog to encompass a bit more than what is being seen on a weekly/monthly basis!
*Two link-ups are now going to be active on a more regular basis than they were previously: SFF Fridays where I can link up with other readers of SFF on a weekly basis giving me the chance to expand the readership of my SFF posts and reviews which I love writing! Plus enabling me to find next reads and new authors I might not have found yet, too! I wanted to find a way to have a monthly wrap-up for my blog or a bi-monthly wrap-up, and Showcase Sunday is a good fit in this regard for me.
Previously I tried my hand at a few other weeklys and link-ups that did work for me at the time I participated in them, but I have since found myself uninspired to continue. I think when it comes to content on your blog, especially as a book blogger you have to keep fluid and work with where your own inspiration is leading you to explore vs staying in a mode of what is expected by your readers. If you keep your content piqued on what entertains your own muse, I think you will find the memes that have the most longevity for you in the long term.
8) Last Book that kept you up too late?
The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin I would have to say truly kept me burning midnight oil due to how intensely attached I had become to the world in which Mackin created. It was one of the first times I felt I could understand why my contemporaries claim they experience ‘book hangovers’ because I too, had felt ‘hung over’ by this novel. Everything was so lovely laid out in this book – from the heart of the novel to the ache of the character’s pursuit of truth and identity. It’s one of those novels that stays with you long after you put it down.
Previously, it was To Ride A White Horse by Pamela Ford, an author I would still like to interview at some point due to how encompassing her novel was to read. I love finding authors who make it difficult for us to detach from their stories – as if we’re being forced through time and bending back into our living realities without having the proper chance to say ‘good-bye’.
9) Which book have you read multiple times?
Honestly, I haven’t had any free time to re-read the stories I’ve been reviewing. This is one reason I am going to take a reduction in hosting novels for review starting in 2016. I’d rather highlight the novels and select non-fiction stories I would be full of thanksgiving to re-read due to how much joy I had in reading them the first time.
They are as follows: (listed without preference)
Keeping Kate by Lauren Winder Farnsworth; Becoming Beauty by Sarah E. Boucher; Bearskin by Jamie Robyn Wood; Bee Summers by Melanie Dugan; The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (when I re-read this one it will be with the audiobook!); The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde; For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins (after I read the books leading into this one in the series!); A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner; Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson (after I read the prequel ‘Pieces of Granite’); Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner the entire Leland Dragon trilogy by Jackie Gamber; Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark (happening for SFN!); The Last Gatekeeper by Katy Haye; Intangible & Invincible by C.A. Gray (happening for SFN!); Moonflower by EDC Johnson; The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah; the first three Shinobi Mysteries before No4 is released in 2016; An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd (after I read the rest of the series); A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear (after I read the rest of the series); Eruption by Adrienne Quintana; To Ride A White Horse by Pamela Ford; Avelynn by Marissa Campbell; Decorum by Kaaren Christopherson; Seldom Come By by Sherryl Caulfield; Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran; Sebastian’s Way: the Pathfinder by George Steger; The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatien; Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner; The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin; Awesome Jones & Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan; Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri; the Butternut Lake series by Mary McNear; Close to the Wind & Fool’s Gold by Zana Bell; The Reluctant Bride by Beverly Eikli; A Bargain Struck by Liz Harris; Flight to Coorah Creek (in time for it’s sequel) by Janet Gover; Softly Falling by Carla Kelly; Dance Until Dawn by Berni Stevens; and Up Close by Henriette Gyland.
10) Do you Lend books? Why or Why not?
Not anymore. I used to lend out a book here or there, but each time I did the condition of the novel I gave to be read would be returnt to me as if it were pitched into a garage bin. I had to buy a replacement book too many times and it became disheartening. I now will purchase a copy to give as a gift but none of my books are available to be borrowed. I cherish my books – the characters and the moments I spent inside their stories are a part of my spirit. Destroying a book I’ve cherished is not a way to solidify my friendship.
11) Do you Borrow books? Why or Why not?
Yes! I borrow quite a heap from my local library, either through their direct catalogue of print books and/or audiobooks or via their ILL services! I love finding books through inter-library loan as it gives me a chance to expand my readings of an author not currently available locally and/or I can pick out books in a series that were either not bought in full or were misplaced along the way. Using my local library is a gift of renewing joy because I am not limited by a budget for buying books nor is there any book or author I cannot read. I might have to wait a bit to read the author’s story, as I have to wait for six months outside of publication to request an ILL copy if my purchase request was unable to fill. To me a public library card is a gateway towards sampling a heap of genres and authors whilst mapping out your own course through literature.
Bonus Q: What is one fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
Most likely it’s a split between being severely dyslexic as an adult to the fact I’m a Creative Dyslexic Writer who is moonlighting right now as a book blogger. It comes up organically a bit online – either on my blog (or disclosed on one of my Riffle Lists) or in the twitterverse, especially when everyone is worried about typos or some such silliness in a tweet! I’m thankful I can tweet with dexterity and speed with most of the tweeting flying out can be readable by others because I tend to have a heap of dyslexic slips whenever I write or type.
The only true telling of this fact is that I changed my writing voice to be a hybrid of British and American English, as using British English has enabled me to overcome part of my dyslexia. It’s not just by mannerism of how the words unite on the page, but its how I’m thinking about the stories I’m crafting together as a writer inasmuch as how I am composing a blog post as a book blogger. There is a freedom in not being limited by a learning difficulty and to find a way back into the written context of words where they are not lost but rather they are happily found.
I’m a better betareader of other people’s fiction than I am as copy editor to my own writings. Simply due to how reading my own work(s) is through my eyes and mind of how I see them rather than how they are seen to the outside world. We write and create whilst in complete symbiotic synthesis with our mind; finding errors of our own is like navigating through a haystack for the preverbal needle. I need detachment to see errors, and thus, I love being a betareader, even if my client base is limited to one author at the moment. The author who gave me a chance to betaread gave me a gift of knowing I can help writers, even if I cannot be the editor of my own work.
Technically, I think the biggest secret is that even though I’m a bubbly chatterbox, I have moments of where I am shy. This might surprise everyone who interacts with me on Twitter, but it’s true. I might be an extravert but surprisingly enough, my confidence can falter same as everyone else in certain situations. I blogged about this on my #BookishNotBookish No. 7 which releases on 5 November alongside #BookishNotBookish No.8 & 9. Other than that, I’m simply a lo-tech girl who is happily embracing a bit of tech to converse with the bookish.
Thanks So Much Jorie!
I think some of my favorite parts of your answers were your books that inspired you to be a reader. I read all of those as a kid minus the saddle club. It made me very nostalgic and happy to share that connection with you. I especially liked your answer to the bonus question as one that has slight dyslexia myself. I also have a hard time editing my own work though I am fine doing it for others.
Thank you for being such a great partner for this event. I hope for you all the best!