This is the third post in the new series and I’ve been really pleased with how this new series is going. The first two have been really well received. You can find the posts Here.
Today I’m pleased to welcome Sue Featherstone from Book Lovers’ Booklist.
Sue is a journalist and public relations practitioner turned academic.
Her career started in local newspapers before switching to PR to become internal communications manager with a large utility company.
She completed a degree in English Literature as a mature student and subsequently moved into higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University.
Together with her friend and writing partner Susan Pape, she has written two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction.
Their first novel, A Falling Friend, was published by Lakewater Press in 2016 and a sequel will follow in spring 2017.
They now write about books at bookloversbooklist.
Welcome to the blog, thanks for stepping away from yours for a few minutes to answer some questions about book blogging.
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 write about books, and all things book-ish, at Book Lovers’ Booklist with my friend and writing partner, Susan Pape.
We set it up at the back end of the summer/beginning of autumn 2016 because, after writing our first novel A Falling Friend together, it seemed the natural thing to do.
We’re both avid readers, both belong to book clubs and wanted to share the books we love with other people.
Tell us a little bit about your blog, what will blog readers find there?
Hopefully an eclectic mix.
So far, we’ve included some books from new authors, such as RL Martinez, James Weaver and Rebecca Carpenter, who are all with our publisher Lakewater Press, but we also feature lots of our old favourites –books we’ve loved and enjoyed for donkey’s years.
They range from the The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by queen of crime Agatha Christie to God’s Bits of Wood by West African storyteller Sembene Ousemane and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’m currently writing a review of a very old favourite, Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy.
Also coming up is a review of Stella’s Christmas Wish by Kate Blackadder and In the Cold of the Night by Lakeland writer Andrew Bibby.
Both Susan and I are former journalists, who have both taught journalism – Susan at Leeds Trinity and me at Sheffield Hallam University so we have also launched an Authors’ tips section where we share some of the things we’ve learned about writing. And we also have a Meet the author page – a quirky Q&A profile of some of the authors whose books we’ve reviewed. We’ve had some interesting responses to the question: what’s your guilty secret?
What’s your favourite part about book blogging?
Writing reviews and achieving a balance between describing the book and offering a fair and objective assessment and opinion.
It’s not as easy as non-bloggers or reviewers might think.
What has been your highlight since you’ve started?
I don’t think we’ve been going long enough to have a particular highlight although I got a thrill when Kate Blackadder posted a complimentary comment after we featured her in Meet the author. (Shall I tell you her guilty secret?)
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?
I’ve already done/am about to do it: I left my job on 2nd January at Sheffield Hallam so I can focus on my writing.
Susan and I have finished a sequel to A Falling Friend and are about to start the final chapter in our trilogy. And I want to spend more time developing the booklist.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering starting a book blog?
Spend some time looking at what other bloggers do before you start. You need to find a niche angle that makes you stand out from the crowd.
How much time does it take up?
For me, it’s important to keep a balance between writing about other people’s books and writing about my own books.
And because, until recently, I’ve also had to juggle working, writing and reviewing I’ve had to be very disciplined about the amount of time I can give to blogging.
I don’t think that will change because there are lots of other things I want to do as well as writing and reviewing.
What are your reading habits like?
I read a lot when I’m travelling and I’m very good at reading and knitting at the same time. A lot depends on how much I’m in love with my current read.
What state is your TBR (To Be Read) pile in?
Haven’t a clue: it’s all on my kindle.
What do you drink while reading?
Depends where I am and the time of day. I don’t drink much tea (and never drink coffee) so usually a cold glass of water, which becomes a glass of wine at bedtime.
Where’s your favourite place to read?
I’ve almost always got my kindle with me so I read wherever and whenever.
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?
That’s a really difficult question because so many books don’t get the attention they deserve whilst others, particularly by celebrity authors, get far more attention than they should.
Two books spring to mind: Mama Day by Gloria Naylor, which made a huge impression when I first read it about 20 years ago. I’m currently re-reading it and hope to review it on the booklist in 2017.
And the other is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
They’re both ‘quiet’ reads but beautifully written.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these. It’s been a pleasure having you.
If you’re a blogger and would like to take part in this series then please do let me know. I’d love to hear from you and to hear more about your book blogging!