The last Meet The Blogger for the month of August, this is. This week, we are chatting to Clover from Fluttering Butterflies. Her blog is http://www.flutteringbutterflies.com/, so check it out. Now, onto the Q&A!
When did you start blogging?
I started my blog, Fluttering Butterflies in January of 2006! Back then, though, despite reading quite a lot and mentioning books every now and again, mine was not a book blog! I wrote about movies and music and TV programmes. I wrote about my childhood memories and my relationship with my mother. I'd write about daily occurrences and random thoughts that came to me out of nowhere.
What made you start blogging?
During November of the previous year, I'd both given up my job as a manager in (the now sadly closed down) Books Etc and gave birth to my first child. I was without a job and my son slept for quite a lot of the day. I wanted something to do during the days in order to keep me busy as well as to maintain some aspect of my identity so that motherhood didn't swallow me whole. I wanted to be able to talk about other 'normal' things besides babies and nappies and so despite how much of my life surrounded my child (and later my children) I found that I didn't write very much to begin with about my journey as a new mother.
What was the first book you reviewed for your blog and what was your reaction to it?
I actually don't remember the first review I wrote. I'm afraid now to go and look it up for fear (or confirmation, really!) that it was terribly written. I have an inkling that it was possibly a dystopian book for a reading challenge that I'd signed up for. So, possibly Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. Reading challenges are really how I got my foot into the door of book blogging. First with this Dystopic Reading Challenge a friend of mine set up and then through the 1% Well-Read Challenge. It sounds silly now, but I never really considered writing a book blog of my own until I saw others doing it both well and successfully.
When was the first time you realised you were a Book Blogger?
If you can believe it, this realisation of being a book blogger only happened in the last couple of years. Though I have been blogging for over 5 years now, it's been a slow and steady progression from a personal blog, briefly into a mommy blog and finally finding my feet as a book blogger. As I said in the question above, it was really in the growing awareness of other book bloggers that I began to see my own blog as heading in that direction. It really did start of slowly though. Sharing a list of books I'd picked up from the library, the occasional review of a book for a reading challenge into a more regular book blogging schedule. I do still try to maintain a high level of personal blogging though. I find it very difficult to connect with other book bloggers who only talk books and of whom I know nothing about them as people.
How much of your time a week do you spend blogging?
This is a hard question to answer. If really pushed, I would probably say in the area of 15-20 hours a week. If that sounds like a high number (and I can't really say if it is or not? It could be a low number?) then I will say that I include a lot of time that I spend jotting ideas down in my idea notebook as blogging, as well as the time I spend reading, answering emails, reading other blogs and updating my pages. I think blogging and perhaps especially book blogging takes up so much time, energy and effort. It's a constant battle to keep producing interesting and thought-provoking content that at times it seems to take over my entire brain. Which is difficult, as I am also a full-time mother and part-time university student as well as a book blogger!
Has your taste in book genres changed since starting the blog?
Yes it has! I'd be surprised if anyone says 'no' to this question. Before I started properly book blogging, I used to read a fair bit and I'd read more widely in other genres than I do now. Mostly literary fiction, classic fiction and other adult books. But all of that changed as I began to review more YA books and be sent more YA books for review. Now I find that my brain isn't able to adapt to reading across the YA/adult genre line and it's just easier and (in a lot of cases) more enjoyable to stick with YA. Especially as there's just a wonderful mix of YA types of books. I also think that book blogging has made me more open to different genres within YA - reading horror or middle grade books that I might not have picked up without the blogging community.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I am very lucky to be reading Far From Home, a new book out this summer from Na'ima B. Robert. I'd reviewed two of her previous books last year and really enjoyed them, so Na'ima contacted me recently and asked if I'd be willing to *the first* to read her new book and to give her my thoughts on it. It is very different to her other books, following the lives of two very different girls growing up in Zimbabwe, but I'm really enjoying and I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be the first.
What book has got you very excited or made you cry?
Ah! Looking at just the books I've read recently and I can say that Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson really has me excited. It isn't out until August, but it is such a thrilling and wonderful book full of mystery and romance, very cool abilities (telekinesis!) and actiony sequences. I was on the edge of my seat throughout and really rushed my way through it. Fab book.
As for making me cry, I'm kind of a big baby and will cry at almost anything. The book that made me cry the most recently? Without a doubt, that would be A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Beautifully written together with gorgeous illustrations, the story of a young boy dealing with his mother's cancer made me weep.
Have you read any book that you disliked so much you threw it across the room?
I .. probably have FELT like throwing books but I don't think I've ever done it. There are a lot of aspects of certain books that I didn't particularly like, such as the 'romance' element of Hush, Hush for example. But if something is really bothering me about a book, I would probably just stop and pick up another book to read instead. I don't think that I'm very agressive in my book-disliking!
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to take part or what to set up a book blog?
Oh I could write pages and pages of advice. I'm always toying with the idea of writing a book blog advice post, but I'm not sure that I'm established enough to be a reliable source. I've also always wanted to start up a mentoring system, so that experienced book bloggers are teamed up with new book bloggers in order to give advice and encouragement. I think that would be fantastic. I'm always on the look out to help newly started book bloggers: sending them my read books, leaving lots of comments and emails or asking them to take part in some of my features in order to be a little bit more noticed. I think it's quite easy to be lost amongst the thousands of book bloggers out there and that's a shame really. My advice?
-Know how much time and effort that it does take to write a book blog before you start and plan accordingly
-Provide lots of quality content and try not to go down the route of too many memes that have very little substance. Spends lots of time thinking about what you want to achieve with your blog and writing down ideas of how to go about that.
-Connect with your readers as well as with other bloggers who write similarly to you. Respond to your commenters in some way and leave lots of comments for other bloggers.
-Read books that you're passionate about so that you can write passionately about them as well as any other topics you write about! That enthusiasm will come across in your writing.
-So much more. Email me or leave me a comment and I will do my best to be your book blogging mentor, if you'd like!
Now, to ask five fun quick-fire questions. What song are you listening to right now?
Geek Love by Nerina Pallot
MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter, without a doubt.
Hardback, paperbacks or eBooks?
Letters, phone, texting or emailing?
Zombies or unicorns?