I’m pleased to welcome Lucy to the blog today to talk about her love of book blogging.
Lucy V. Hay is a script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS.
How long have you been book blogging and what prompted you to start?
I only started book blogging in January 2016. I’d been reviewing books for about a year by this point on Goodreads and Amazon, plus I’d seen lots of great blogs in the Facebook groups and on Twitter, so I thought ‘Why not??’ I wanted to get the books I love in front of even more eyes – and so far it’s working!
Tell us a little bit about your blog, what will blog readers find there?
I like to think of my site as being a ‘book blog … with a difference’. Rather than carry whole reviews, I have crime fiction reading recommendations in the ‘Best of 3’ feature – people offer their 3 favourite titles and why, plus they can link to their own reviews if they want to.
There’s also a ‘Criminally Good’ feature – this is where I ask the same 5 questions of every crime fiction author. I’ve been lucky enough to have some HUGE names on there, such as Peter James, Tammy Cohen, Paul Finch, Ruth Dugdall and Sarah Hilary.
I’ve also discovered some brilliant authors from smaller presses too like Jeanette Hewitt and Alex Clare. Plus we welcome self-published and indie authors too, like your good self, Rebecca! What’s interesting about ‘Criminally Good’ is how authors interpret the questions – some write SWATHES, others are very concise!
Just recently my book blog has started taking in other features, too. The ‘Book Versus Film’ case studies is probably the most popular, plus we do round ups of quotes and Top 10s of favourite genres, books, reading and writing products and so on. We also feature brilliant reading-related infographics. You can see examples of all of these, HERE.
What’s your favourite part about book blogging?
I think it’s the sense of community. I was welcomed with open arms by the book bloggers and I’m very grateful. Plus I’ve discovered loads of BRILLIANT new books from people who are so passionate about reading. It’s awesome.
What has been your highlight since you’ve started?
I think it must have been when I went to Crimefest, Bristol last year. I expected to have to introduce myself to people there, but because of my blog and my activity on social media, people already knew how I was! I couldn’t believe it, the blog had only been going three or four months by this point. It was a great feeling to realise people had seen it and decided they liked it so quickly.
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’m a content marketer, so I do a lot of pre-scheduling of tweets, messages, updates etc. It’s necessary but it is very dry and can be horribly frustrating when spreadsheets and techy stuff go haywire! It takes time away from my reading!!
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering starting a book blog?
Decide what your remit is and on a strategy in advance. I knew I wouldn’t have as much time as I’d like to dedicate to book blogging as I have another blog as part of my script editing business that has to take priority. This is why I decided to crowdsource reading recommendations and carry interviews in the first instance. As the site grew and became more popular, I was able to expand the types of article I carried on the site, plus I have a couple of other writers I mentor who help me with content, too.
How much time does it take up?
A LOT of time. I’m very privileged though, cos I’m self employed and my job is essentially online and part of content marketing anyway, so I can dedicate what I need.
What are your reading habits like?
Eclectic! I love crime, mystery and thriller set in the real world. I generally enjoy the ‘domestic noir’ subgenre more than police procedurals, so recent favourites have been In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings, Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent and Baby Doll by Hollie Overton. I love non fiction, especially true crime. My favourite is When She Was Bad by Patricia Pearson, about how women get away with murder. Such a challenging read.
I have also discovered a LOVE of Nordic Noir! I adored The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn; Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson and The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe. If I’m not reading stuff set in ‘reality’, I enjoy dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Fireman by Joe Hill, or Defender by GX Todd.
I also enjoy languid, literary character studies like Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’ll read the occasional romance or YA, something frothy and fun to get out of the ‘dark zone’. Ones I’ve enjoyed recently include Another Cup of Coffee by Jenny Kane; Five Go Glamping by Liz Tipping and This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton.
What state is your TBR (To Be Read) pile in?
I have about forty ebooks on my TBR; plus another forty or fifty paperbacks. I try to never go over one hundred. I don’t know why I’ve picked that number, but that’s the way it is!
What do you drink while reading?
Booze! I love Pinot Grigio and being a Westcountry girl, old school ales like Tribute and Fursty Ferret. But of course I don’t drink alcohol during the day, so in which case I’ll drink black coffee, or camomile and spearmint tea.
My fave thing to do while reading is eat chocolate though and listen to movie soundtracks.
Where’s your favourite place to read?
Bed! This makes me a ‘libroculturist’ apparently. My bedroom is in the eaves though and there’s nothing I love more than curling up in bed with a book, listening to the rain on the roof.
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?
I think that would have to be The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney. It’s got everything I love: an enigmatic female lead; a terrible crime; moral ambiguity; sharp, lean prose … It really reminds me of a Gillian Flynn novel, tbh. Yet I hardly ever come across people who’ve read it, in comparison to the other dark domestic noir novels I love (like Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes or Untouchable by Ava Marsh, for example). But never mind – I don’t mind flying the flag for THE LIAR’S CHAIR, it’s a brilliant book I devoured in a single afternoon. READ IT!!!
Thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions!
Thanks so much for having me, Rebecca!