Claire Forrest Steps Into the Book Blogger Spotlight!!

Get to know Claire and about her blog:

1.       When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?

I’ve written fiction for as long as I can remember, and one of the best parts of growing up in the digital age was that all of my favorite authors, especially young adult authors, had blogs. Authors like Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot showed me through their own blogs that writing was a real job, and that writers were just real people with awesome jobs. Since finishing school, I’ve had more time to devote to my writing, and I knew that a blog was something I wanted to launch as a way to write about the things I’m interested in as well as give a small glimpse into my personality.

2.       What’s the hardest part of being a book blogger?

Coming up with monthly content for my blog is both fun and challenging. I decided early on that my blog wasn’t going to be a traditional book review blog, but a blog that discusses literature and writing through the lens of life and popular culture. When figuring out what to blog about before the start of each month, I try to look for articles discussing trends in literature or publishing, either positive or negative, and tie that into a discussion of books and my life. It can definitely be tough at times to find ways to be original, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.

3.       What are your hobbies that you do when you’re not blogging?

I try to write creatively every day. I’m often balancing a current fiction writing project and gathering ideas for new stories at any given moment. My blog details the ups and downs that come with that. I also read a lot, although I assume that is a given.

4.       What are your favorite types of posts to do and/or read?

My blog is primarily about books and writing, though not exclusively. My favorite post I’ve written so far was about life lessons I’ve learned since graduating college. That was very fun because I got to be witty and honest about the twenty-something experience, and I received a lot of feedback from my friends about how relatable it was. My favorite posts to read are the ones that demonstrate the blogger’s love for books, but also provide a glimpse into who they are as a person.

5.       What are your favorite genres to read?

I love young adult fiction, contemporary fiction, some classics, and recently I’ve been getting into more memoirs and short story collections. The only genre I really don’t care for is science fiction, with the exception of YA dystopian lit!

6.       How did you come up with your blog name?

My blog name is not very creative-just my name!

7.       What about your blog design? What inspired it?

My brother designed my blog, actually. I just liked the idea of looking at a bookshelf, which is why the header is the way it is.

8.       As an avid reader, what do you look for in a book?

I don’t care what the genre or “intended audience” is, I just want a good story. As a writer, the authors I most admire and the stories I idolize are those that can take a topic that’s been written about before and present it in a new and fresh way. I love books that put their own unique spin on things and say something in a way that I haven’t heard it said before. I love that. I also love when you can picture a character so clearly, or when it feels like someone you know or want to know. Those realistic details and dialogue make such a difference.

9.       What are your biggest turn-offs about a book?

The biggest disappointment for me as a reader is when I can see what the author was trying to do. It’s such a letdown when I can anticipate plot moves or see through their huge, over-arching metaphor. Or when YA novels are patronizing to teenagers. I can’t stand that.

10.   Who are your three favorite authors?

John Green, Neil Gaiman, and Harper Lee, among many.

11.   Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?

So many, but for this I will say Harper Lee. I am fascinated by the fact that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was her only book! Apparently, her friends gifted her a year off from work to write it. What a way to get it right the first time. I’d love to know about the process of writing and publishing such a revered and controversial book, and why she hasn’t felt compelled to do it again.

12.   How big is your TBR list? How do you go about tackling it?

I currently have over 100 books on my to-read list on Goodreads. I generally read whatever appeals to me, but try to pay special attention to books my favorite authors or publishers recommend via social media.

13.   What are your top 3 books from 2013?

Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” because it was very intense thematically, and both of Rainbow Rowell’s YA books, “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl.” Both were an absolute delight.

14.   How can readers/authors/publishers connect with you?

Blog Link: www.claireforrest.com

Google+: google.com/+claireforrest

Twitter: @claire4est

Goodreads: goodreads.com/claireforrest

Thank you so much Claire for chatting with the readers of Tiffany Talks Books. Now, everyone go right over to Claire’s blog and show your support. Make sure to tell her that Tiffany sent you!

 

BOOK BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT: Sam of A Bookish Brit

book blogger spotlight

 

1. When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?
It all began last summer when I had finished the Hunger Games trilogy. I had been completely enthralled with the concept that Suzanne Collins created, but I was eager to find books which were equally gripping. This is when I discovered the book community. I was blown away by the enthusiasm of all members in the community and was encouraged by watching YouTube videos, and reading reviews, to pick up more and more young-adult books. I then decided that I wanted to add something to this community which was giving me so much! My reviews on GoodReads gave me oppurtunity to voice my opinion on this fiction and discuss with other readers online. I’ve written a review every week ever since. It was not until recently that I realised – I love doing this so perhaps I should take it one step further. A Bookish Brit was born midway through May 2013 and I am certainly loving this experience!
2. What are the hardest parts of being a book blogger?
To be honest, I haven’t been blogging that long! Whilst I have a passion for books, the commitment and discipline required to complete books and continue to develop new content can be demanding. The same can be said for keeping up with the latest book-related news and new releases. But finding exciting books and new content is what makes book blogging fun!
3. What are your hobbies outside of book blogging?
I have been playing guitar and singing for years now. I feel very privileged to be able to do both, and it is something that gives me incredible amount of pleasure. Occasionally I write songs too and there was even a time when I aspired to follow a career in music! Aside from that, I have been taking both film and digital photography for a couple years. Film photography is clearly a dying art – what with the dependance on digital media – however, I always believe the stories, the atmosphere and the overall process of this traditional method is far more powerful. I hope that I will continue with both of these hobbies, along with my passion for books, throughout my life.
4. What are your favorite types of posts to write and/or read?
This all started for me with good old book reviews, and I still primary love to write and read those. Although, posts that involve a top 5 or top 10 are equally enjoyable as you can learn a lot about a book-nerd tastes this way! On A Bookish Brit I post my own top 5 lists every Friday, this is a great place to discuss differing opinions and for readers to learn about me.
5. What are your favorite genres to read?
Within the young-adult genre I particularly enjoying realistic fiction, such as John Green’s work or contemporary pieces which deal with difficult subjects. I also enjoy some of the more popular dystopians (though I feel the young-adult genre is saturated with these) and of course fantasies such as Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire.
6. How did you come up with your blog name?
My blog name is fairly straight forward. I knew that I wanted to create a unique blog which was quintessentially British, and one that displayed an individual male perspective. The name A Bookish Brit may be short and simple, but it captures exactly what my book blog is about – and that will never change.
7. What about your blog design? What inspired it?
I always admire clean looking designs on any website that I visit. Sometimes I feel that blogs can become overcrowded with widgets, flashing icons and irrelevant ads which creates a distraction from the posts and content of the blog. I spent hours working on my own colour scheme and arranging elements in my sidebar, getting the correct fonts and creating a relevant header. Again, I intended the fancy or traditional style to reflect my British theme. My blog design is by now means phenomenal or even that professional; after all it is the quality of the content which is most vital here.
8. As an avid reader, what do you look for most in a book?
I need deeper meaning and social awareness. Books that make comments upon our own lifestyles, process and social aspect are personally impressive. When I finish a book I want to say that I have learnt something, that reading has enlightened me or made me consider a situation alternatively. Isn’t this why we read? To gain a lesson from the character, setting and situation? Obviously, a bold writing style, relatable characters and a fast-paced plot assist this greatly. Along with an author who knows what their audience desires emotional and kinetically.
9. What are the biggest turn-offs about a book?
The cover of a book has a big part to play. An ugly, bland or amateur looking design makes a book automatically less interesting. If the author has put such little effort and care into their cover, then what hope do we have for the writing? Of course, a clunky writing style can make the book more of a chore than a pleasure, with a lack of intrigue generating a tiresome reading experience.
10. Who are your three favorite authors?
My answer to this question is continually changing! In terms of young-adult writers, John Green has surely left a mark on the minds of many young people. The writer’s voice and conclusions here display how involved Green in with his audience, as he seems to understand what young people are concerned about in life. Secondly, Harper Lee and her sole novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, was the very first classic I ever read. It will always be a proclamation for equality, and was an incredibly courageous piece to conceive and, in turn, deliver to the world. The social-political comments made are clearly for racial significance, yet I still believe that these comments can be transferred to modern-day issues such as sexuality. Lastly, I cannot forget the ubiquitous writing of J.K. Rowling, her fantastical world and relatable character, nor how she has changed children’s literature forever.
11. Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?
Just one author? There are many authors which have had a critical effect on society and literature. Yet the one I most desire to meet would be F. Scott Fitzgerald, the writer of the eccentric 1920’s piece The Great Gatsby. This is undeniably my favourite classic to date; it is vivid, glamorous, enticing and overwhelming poignant. It is not only the economic and historic references here, but the timeless human yearning for love and the profound impression some people can live upon our lives. It is a theatrical work written by a well-crafted hand, and one that every reader deserve to read.
12. How big is your TBR list? How do you go about tackling it?
I currently have a list of around 150 books on GoodReads. That doesn’t include sequels, review copies or books I buy on a whim. I am trying more and more to read books that I want to read, when I want to read them. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have such a structure reading list, and this often takes out the pleasure of reading. That’s why I don’t buy many books at once. Because when I have them, I feel that I can only read those books! I think it would be a good rule for any book-nerd or book blogger to strike a balance between obligatory reading and books for pleasure.
13. What are your top three books of all-time and favourites from 2012?
I recently posted about my top 5 favourite books, you can read about that here (http://www.abookishbrit.com/2013/05/top-5-favourite-books-so-far.html). My favourite book of all-time would have to be Looking for Alaska. Now I know this wouldn’t be worthy of ‘all-time favourite’ status for many readers, but the book is one of the best realistic fiction pieces available. Similarly, I think Perks of Being A Wallflower has significant social comment and it is clearly a turbulent evocative piece. I also loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett which I believe to be one of the best adult fiction releases in recent years. In 2012 the books I enjoyed the most were Fault In Our Stars, again by John Green, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.
14. How can readers/authors/publishers connect with you?
Visit my book blog A Bookish Brit: www.abookishbrit.com
Twitter: @ABookishBrit
Thank you so much Sam for chatting with the readers of Tiffany Talks Books. Now, everyone go right over to A Bookish Brit and show your support!!!
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BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT: Norwood Holland of Editorial Independence

Recently I chatted with Norwood Holland whose blog is titled Editorial Independence and it is great to have him here featured in our Book Blogger Spotlight. Get to know Norwood and about his blog:

1.       When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?

Three years ago I originally set out to blog on diversity related issues, but after my first novel published I realized that securing reviews and promotional opportunities for independent authors were too few.  I then decided to blog on books by independent Black authors in particular.

2.       What’s the hardest part of being a book blogger?

Reading a book a week requires discipline.  I’m just beginning to develop the habit  reading 40 pages a day.  I’ve learned the best way is to get it out of the way first thing.  So after my morning devotion I dive in.  And only after that’s done do I read my email and get on with the rest of the day’s business.

3.       What are your hobbies that you do when you’re not blogging?

I like golfing but recently with the weather I haven’t had much time for it.  When I’m writing I’m usually studying the publishing market and learning how to better promote my books.  I like to exercise daily and try to make it to the gym at least 3 days a week.  I’m a big fan  of old movies and The TMC channel.  Recently I was elected to the Board of the Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Associations serving as its Treasurer which also places demands on my time.

4.       What are your favorite types of posts to do and/or read?

Self-publishing and book marketing success.  Lately I’ve been reading a lot about authors and books having Kindle success.

5.       What are your favorite genres to read?

I read across numerous genres.  Top on the list are biographies.  I love reading about the lives of the famous and highly accomplished.  I also like legal thrillers and mysteries.

6.       How did you come up with your blog name?

There is a journalist concept call Editorial Independence which promotes the idea that journalist and editors should be independent and free corporate and political influences.  I like the idea of not being beholden to anyone and chose the named editorialindpendence.com.

7.       What about your blog design? What inspired it?

I had no idea about blog designs and put in all in the hands of my blog designer.  I just answered a few basic questions for my blog designer Revka Stearns and presto.  I like what she came up with.

8.       As an avid reader, what do you look for in a book?

I look at the writing first.  Is it well written?  Good writing stands out and makes any literary journey a pleasure.  I’m afraid to say it but there is a lot of poorly written self published coming out every week.  I wonder if these so called authors have ever devoted serious study to the genre they’ve chosen to write in.  I like tension and conflict that keeps me turning pages.

9.       What are your biggest turn-offs about a book?

Bad grammar, sentence structure, word misuse, and poorly researched subjects.

10.   Who are your three favorite authors?

James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, and Charles W. Chesnutt.

11.   Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?

Langston Hughes.

12.   How big is your TBR list? How do you go about tackling it?

As long as books are being published my to be read list is never ending with the top books are usually getting bumped by a newer title. My Kindle currently has about 20 unread titles.  Tackling my TBR list is like Sisyphus ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain.  As soon as I get to the top by finishing one book, I have to start all over with another, and there are three or four waiting to be picked up.

13.   What are your top 3 books of all-time?

I Wonder and I Wander by Langston Hughes

And the Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santymyer

Along This Way by James Weldon Johnson

14.   How can readers/authors/publishers connect with you?

Readers can email me through my blog: EditorialIndependence.com

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