Last week saw the start of the new series, Befriend a Book Blogger and it proved to be a very popular post. I’m pleased to welcome Linda to the blog today.
This is Linda’s self-descriptive bio;
I’m a very middle aged ex-English teacher, educational consultant and OfSTED inspector (But don’t hold that against me!) who lives in the back of beyond in fenland Lincolnshire. Self-retired with no pension yet, when I’m not reading and blogging I’ll be walking, travelling and gardening. I am, of course, writing my own novel.
Welcome to the blog, thanks for stepping away from yours for a few minutes to answer some questions about book blogging.
Thank you Rebecca for inviting me onto your blog. I’m thrilled to be here.
We’ll start with the easy questions and then see where we go from there!
How long have you been book blogging and what prompted you to start?
I started blogging on 7th February 2015. I began because I have always loved reading and wanted to share my joy in some of the books I read. I used to review teenage fiction for Hodder with a view to them using the books as KS3 class readers, then I joined the www.lovereading.co.uk reader panel so setting up my own blog felt like a natural progression. I’m in a reading group and that prompted me to get blogging too.
Tell us a little bit about your blog, what will blog readers find there?
Readers will find an eclectic mix. I love all genres except sci-fi and horror (I don’t like being scared witless!) so my reviews tend to reflect that love of a variety of genres. I especially like psychological thrillers, historical and contemporary fiction. And crime. And women’s fiction. And… As well as my reviews, I host lots of guest posts and interviews because I don’t have time to read everything, but I do like to support authors and publishers.
What’s your favourite part about book blogging?
Oh. There are so many elements I love. Firstly, I have made some wonderful friends. Authors, publicists and, especially, other bloggers are such lovely people. Some I only ‘know’ virtually and many I now count as real life friends.
I am thrilled when I get introduced to a new book or author and I love their work. This often happens when I feature an independently published or self-published book that, had it not been for the blog, I would never have found out about. There are some real gems out there without big publishing budgets behind them that tend to pass by unnoticed.
I also adore going to blogger and author events when I get to meet those people in real life. It’s so exciting.
What has been your highlight since you’ve started?
This is such a difficult question to answer as there have been so many wonderful experiences. I particularly enjoyed meeting Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove (pronounced Over he told me!) as it was quite soon after I began blogging and I felt a little star struck. (I talk about it here.). I actually felt quite fraudulent as I didn’t really count myself as a proper blogger then!
If you could carry on blogging but could stop doing one thing (that’s maybe a necessary part of the process now) what would it be?
Hmm. I think I’d learn to say ‘No’ more often. I hate letting down authors, especially if they are desperate for exposure, and so I often spend too much time preparing their posts for the blog rather than reading for review.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering starting a book blog?
Go for it. Don’t worry about comparing yourself with other bloggers. It’s your blog and your style and be yourself. Be honest and polite (with regard to authors’ feelings), but other than that write what you feel in your heat about the books you read.
How much time does it take up?
Hours and hours. Aside from reading, I normally spend 3-5 hours a day preparing posts, researching books and authors for interviews, putting things on Twitter and Facebook, setting up scheduled tweets and sharing for other bloggers.
What are your reading habits like?
Usually I read as much as I can. I love to sit in the garden to read and I’d much rather read than watch television in the evenings. I always read last thing at night.
What state is your TBR (To Be Read) pile in?
Oh – don’t ask. Over 700 physical books and many, many e-books just waiting in the queue. 2016 wasn’t a kind year to me so I got even further behind as my reading time disappeared almost completely for about four months. I’ve banned myself from Netgalley so that I don’t get even more e-books I’ll forget I’ve got! We downsized our bookcases, took over 3000 books to a local charity bookshop and then I began blogging so now I have very little space to store books. Some have made it on to shelves, some are under the spare bed and some are just in heaps round the house. I can hardly get in to my study. My husband says he expects to find just a wall of books with my eyes showing through a very small gap soon.
What do you drink while reading?
Tea – and lots of it. It isn’t normal in our house not to have a mug of tea on the go!
Where’s your favourite place to read?
Other than the garden, I really like to read on long haul flights. There are so few interruptions that I can really get stuck into a book. I can zone out the aircraft noise and immerse myself in a whole different world. Trouble is, I’m quite an emotional reader so I often find myself crying in public!
What book would you recommend, that gets little attention, that you haven’t really seen talked about? And why, what is it about this book that you love?
Again this is such a tricky question to answer as I’ve read so many that have surprised me. One that I really can’t understand hasn’t had more take up in the UK is Cracked by Barbra Leslie. It is an incredibly fast paced thriller that left my heart thumping and was my crime book of the year in 2015, but that has only two reviews on Amazon. It is set in a world of drugs and murder totally alien to me but that I found fascinating and brilliantly written. I genuinely couldn’t tear myself away from it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these. It’s been a pleasure having you.
Thank you for having me!