Friday, 9 July 2010

Blogger Inquest - Liz (My Favourite Books)

The lovely Liz from My Favourite Books is one of the old hands at YA book blogging from the mother country. MFB (as she affectionally calls it has been in existence since 2001 with regular posting from 2008.

I "met" Liz through the talented YA author Karen Mahoney on twitter and we've been twittering like mad since. Liz really has her finger on the pulse of what is happening on the UK side of things, as well as internationally. Even more admirably she is plugging away at a WIP right now and is dipping her toe in the treacherous publishing waters. I am terribly proud of her for this accomplishment as she's worked her tail off!

The purpose of the Blogger Inquest is to delve into their minds and experiences online. To be up front, I presented each of the interview subjects with 21 questions to choose from and they took it from there. This is a month long series of interviews on Persnickety Snark and I've got a whole host of bloggers (new and old) lined up. Soon to come is the lovely Amy of My Friend Amy and BBAW fame.

Take it away, Liz....

How has your approach and attitude (specifically reviewing) altered from the early stages of your blog?
Gosh – when I started I had no idea what I was doing. Obviously I had seen the two blogs here in the UK that was doing what I ached to do but still, no clue. My attitude and approach has changed dramatically – it is no longer a hobby. It’s my life. And I love it. I’ve become more professional. I have professional relationships with a variety of publishers, editors and publicists. Yes, there is jokiness but you don’t cross the line into familiarity. I’ve learned that the industry is small, everyone knows everyone. If you do something stupid or thoughtless, everyone will know.

What are some of the best and worst incidents of an author contacting you after a review?
Oh I love hearing from authors if they like what we’ve done on the blog in their review. I like it when they tell us that we “got” the book. It feels amazing. And even cooler than that is when a reader takes the time out to email us to tell us how much they are enjoying our reviews / particular feature we’re running. It makes you float in space, just a little. The worst ever was an author who started stalking us and a few other bloggers after reviews – random emails, telling everyone about their personal crises they were going through and begging people to please buy the next book(s) and to review them etc. It was an odd time for a lot of us but most of us did not respond to the emails and I think the author realized she was doing herself a disservice, and stopped.

I am currently in a situation where debut authors I have befriended are coming out with their second titles. How do you choose to deal with the apprehension and pressure with reviewing work of those you are closer to?
I have had this. Luckily for me, in all instances, the books were even better than before. And each time I said that in my reviews. I find that a lot of second books the authors have a better grip of their writing, they are more inclined to listen to their agents and editors because it is their career and if they mess it up, it will be difficult to restart it. But trust me, that panic does not go away for me as a reader and a friend.

Newest old find that you wish you had read years ago?
Philip Reeve – all his books. I’ve seen the excitement about his work, but I never quote got to reading them. But I want to, and soon. The other author: Megan Whalen Turner, read The Thief after a review by Ana and Thea on The Booksmugglers and now I regret not being the one to have cottoned onto her first!

How aware are people in your everyday life of your blogging?
Everyone knows about it – Mark, my husband, is an aspiring fantasy novelist but I’ve dragged him into reviewing for me too. And he likes it. I know he does. My boss knows I review and he thinks it’s pretty cool. All my colleagues know I review – they have to, a lot of books come to the office.

What word is most overused on your blog?
I don’t think it’s a word…it’s this !!!!!

Writing a critical book review (for a title you’d ideally like to marry if legally possible) is one of the tougher tasks for a book reviewer. What is your approach to writing an informed, glowing review?
I put it aside. And I ignore it. And I read other things and maybe a month after I’ve read that shiny gorgeous thing I will feel ready to review it. Case in point was Sarwat Chadda’s newest novel: The Dark Goddess. I loved it so much. But sadly I sounded like a excitable three year old in my review. I wrote it immediately after reading the manuscript. I then went ahead and deleted the whole thing. And rewrote the review. And it’s much better for it. I think.

What are you most proud of achieving on your blog?
Being seen as someone who is an informed insider and as someone who is making a difference when it comes to bringing books to a wider audience. If I can bring one book to a reluctant reader or make one person pick up a book they never thought they’d like and they turn out to love it, my job here is done.

How long do foresee yourself blogging for?
Until I run out of books. No. I have no idea. Should I become super-famous once my MG novel has sold I may have to take a break from blogging, but not before then.

What is something that makes you immediately groan when looking at another’s blog?
Adverts for everything under the sun. And memes.

Blogger envy – do you get it and what over?
Oh gosh yes. I LOVE The Booksmugglers so much. I want to be them. I want their blog, their stats, their folling, their books. Everything. ;-) No, to me Ana and Thea are the most amazing peeps. Their blog is my home away from my blog. I don’t actually comment all that much, I’m a lurker. I love the issues they raise in their articles but because I’m not informed enough as I have so much else on, I feel that I’ll flounder if I do say anything and it comes out sounding inane. So I lurk. And covet.

You can find Liz at the following places:
My Favourite Books


Ana said...

Awww *blushes* You rock, Liz. *hugs*

Do you know, everybody in my life knows I blog too, i don't think I could ever keep it a secret. And you must read the other Megan Whalen Turner books ASAP!

Lauren said...

That was really fascinating, thanks to you both. I lurk at MFB a lot, but I didn't realise it had been around *quite* so long.

Best of luck with the MG novel, Liz. :)

asamum said...

Fantastic insight into the woderful Liz. Thanks for the interview and good luck with your book Liz :D

Megan said...

Great interview, Adele.

It's always interesting to read an interview with a fellow blogger!

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

Adele, this is an awesome feature! I absolutely loved reading through these. :) Keep up the good work!

Chachic said...

I think this feature is wonderful and I love reading them. So happy to see another Megan Whalen Turner fan out there. :)

Michelle said...

Even if I didn't love all of the other answers to this inquest I would have subscribed to her blog for the mere fact that !!!! is the most over used "word" on her blog.

Fantasic :)