This is third year participating in the Book Blogger Appreciation Week interview swap! I can’t believe it has been that long already. This year I was lucky enough to get matched up with Rhiannon of The Diary of a Bookworm. She was kind enough to answer my questions and provide me with plenty of pictures of cats wearing hats. Happy BBAW everyone!
Tell me about your blog, how you started it, blah blah blah:
I’ve always been a prolific reader, and at a certain point in our relationship, my husband took it upon himself to start buying me books for all occassions. Unfortunately, I read so much I’m hard to buy for and even harder to surprise.
So my hubby started stalking the book blogging community for suggestions. After he’d been doing it for awhile he started harrassing me to start a blog and join in on the fun. I wasn’t sold, I mean who would care about what I had to say about books? Also, what did I know about writing reviews? He spent a good 5 or 6 months berating me and finally he wore me down. On January 4, 2010, I wrote my first post. It would have been the 1st of January but I spent several days just trying to figure out how to blog in general (what platform to use, what name to use, how I wanted it to look, what in heavens name were links for crying out loud!).
The rest, as they say, is history!
How DO you feel about cats in sombreros?
I am a bit of a nutter when it comes to my cats. And dressing them up has become a bit of an epidemic in our household. It’s just so damn funny. During October, when I’m dressing the cats up weekly, there are times when the antics of getting them to cooperate has me laughing so hard I’m crying. They’re pretty good about the whole thing, but by the last week of October they’re usually pretty disgusted with me.
The sombreros came from this awesome Mexican restaurant we love. Why they have cat sized sombreros for sale is beyond me, but they sell them along with human sized ones. I coveted the orange one forever (my orange cat, Cheddar Cheese is a huge fan of taco night at our place so it seemed obvious he should have an orange sombrero), I don’t even remeber how I ended up with the pink one. It does seem to say a lot about me though, that I have not one, but TWO cat sized sombrero’s.
Who are your book blogging heroes?
I used to follow a HUGE assortment of bloggers, but the longer I’ve been doing it, the less bloggers I can regularly read (the books and the blogging and the admin, OH MY! It takes a totally fantastic amount of time, especially since there is exponentially more of ALL of it the longer you’ve been blogging). My all time favorite blogger is Raych at Books i done read, because she makes me LAUGH, in pretty much ever post.
What was the best book event you’ve been to? What did you like about it?
My number one favorite event is the Book Expo America (BEA), it’s honest to God, book lovers heaven. I would sell my first born just to attend every year (and BBC is also a great perk).
But as far as public book events? The Toronto public library throws some of the best events in town. I went to an Appel Salon last fall with Anne Rice that was fascinating, and I also went to an I Haven’t Read the Book Club event with Rachel Hartman an Kelly Armstrong that was also ever so much fun. Both events were initmate, had great interviews, and were great forums to get your burning questions answered. The signing was almost secondary (so unusual at a book event!). It made it feel like you were hanging out with a beloved author instead of fangirling all over them.
Explain your reviewing style in three words:
Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.
I use sticky notes to mark areas I want to refrence in review (quotes or just elements about the writing), as a quick, non-distracting way to keep notes while reading. Then I have a note book I take all over the place with me, where I jote down random thoughts as the crop up. Sometimes though, I finish the book and I’ve done neither. Sometimes I review a book shortly after reading it, and sometimes its ages later. To make the situation even more complicated (as if that’s needed!), I find that if I loathed a book its super easy to review, and if I liked or LOVED a book it’s like pulling teeth to review.
Once to twice a week I sit down and try to “catch up” on reviews, generally this session involves lots of caffeine and some inspiring music to motivate me. When I’m having a really hard time, I abandon the review partially written, and give it a few days or a week to percolate more and then come back to it.
I used to revise my reviews dozens of times before publishing them, but as I’ve gotten more prolific I’ve had to stop that. Now I do a quick once over after it’s absoloutly complete (with links and image, etc.) and then in the morning when it goes up I read it once more to make sure there’s no embarassing typos or ommissions.
What do you do to keep focused and be able to post regularly?
I schedule my posts fairly rigorously these days, and I keep them listed in my day planner for quick refrence when emailing with authors and publicists. Again, in the early days I was much more seat of my pants and never scheduled reviews, but these days I have to be much more militant about scheduling to keep up with all my review copies. It’s one thing to post whenever, when you’ve bought the book, but if an author or publicist gives you a copy in good faith, it would be bad business to be laisse faire about the whole thing.
Describe your ideal novel:
My absoloute favorite books have a strong protaganist, who gets empowered at some point and eventually learns to kick serious butt. My husband likes to say I’m very blood thirsty when I read, and it’s true, I love a well written struggle and adore a great bad guy. I also want rich world building and engrossing prose. The more I read, the pickier I get about what I want. Now a days there’s way to many reading options for me to ever stick it out for a bad or boring book.
How did you find the book blogging community?
Oddly enough, I didn’t. My husband did while looking up new and exciting books to buy me. He’s a handy guy to have around, let me tell you!
Link to a review or post you think would be a good introduction to your blog, your writing style, etc:
Of my more recent posts, I’m pretty pleased with my review of Code Name Verity. I loved it to bits, and it was hard to do it justice, but I gave it a solid E for effort.
Thank you, Rhiannon, for answering my questions! Interviewing you was a lot of fun!