Monday, 12 July 2010

Interview - Tye (The Book Gryffin)

I have had a series of well known bloggers drop by, all have been in the game longer than a year and between them have racked up some attention. I thought it would be nice to focus some attention on a newbie - Tye from The Book Gryffin.

Tye is a different kettle of fish as she's the first Aussie to be featured but she's also coming to blogging from three very distinct perspectives - as a mum, as a former bookseller and as a teacher librarian. How's that for some reading cred? Tye possesses a huge breadth of knowledge and a sense of humour that steals the breath from my lungs. She's a wonderful person, reader and blogger. She's one of two people to actually read some of my WIP so I trust her judgement implicitly!

I would also suggest you take a close gander at her thoughts on writing reviews. Some of them were very familiar to me and some were really left field - ever created a review writing soundtrack?

The purpose of the Blogger Inquest is to delve into a specific blogger's mind 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. Next up is Michelle from Galleysmith!

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 (of my own making) with reviewing work of those you are closer to?
This is a tricky question to answer but I am really pleased you asked it because it is something I contemplate often. When I am asked specifically to read and review a novel I find I do ‘make my own pressure’ so to speak.

If I have been asked to review a book by a Publishing House or Author, I gently make it clear to them that I will decline to review a book I didn’t like. I will always send the Publisher/Author an email thanking them for the opportunity but declining to review the novel, once I have read it.

Authors I am close to know I will not write a review for a book I didn’t like and recently this caused some apprehension on both mine and the Authors part whilst he waited for me to finish reading a galley proof of his new novel. Thank fully I LOVED the book so there was no issue. I would actually prefer to not know the Author of a book I am reviewing because I have been accused of ‘author bias’ in the past.

I tend to be very philosophical about things so I try very hard to approach a new novel by a ‘friend’ author with a sense of uniqueness. I try to have no expectations and pre conceived ideas about the book to minimize pressure on myself while reading it.

Newest old find that you wish you had read years ago?
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak. I was a bookseller when this book was released and I have no memory of why I didn’t read it. One of the girls I worked with read it and raved about it endlessly so I bought it and put it in to my ‘to read’ pile. I never got around to it though. It wasn’t until just before going to the CBC Conference in Sydney recently, knowing that Markus would be there, that I finally read it. I kicked myself the entire time I was reading it because I truly wish I had read it years ago. Magnificent!

What recent review convinced you to buy a book?
I don’t know that you wrote it recently, but I only read the review recently, does that count?

Your review, Adele, of Grace- Elizabeth Scott made me desperate to read it. You articulated so beautifully in your review of the novel it literally invoked a longing in me to own it immediately!

Writing a 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 struggle with this all the time! Might I add, if you could legally ‘marry’ a title I would have to be a polygamist It would be too hard to chose just one.

I find it terribly difficult to write reviews for books that I absolutely loved, mostly because I am terrified of not doing the book or the Author justice.

This will sound odd, but I don’t really have an approach to writing a review. There are a few constants in how I write a review but I am unsure as to whether this is the same thing.

Whilst I am reading I dog-ear (don’t yell at me I KNOW!!!) pages with quotes on them that I adore and when I have finished the book I revisit these dog-eared pages and linger over the words and phrases I loved to evoke a sense of what I want to articulate about a book in a review. I always try to sleep on a review before writing it.

Music is very important to me when I write so I will select songs that mirror the ‘feel’ of the book while I write.

I have been criticized in the past for not giving an in-depth synopsis of books on my blog, and in some cases I don’t really ‘tell’ much about a book at all. I guess what I do when I review is try to convey a feeling for a book. Of course if I think there needs to be a heads up about certain issues etc to teachers or librarians (my primary blog readers) I will always include that.

But I want people to read my reviews and get a ‘sense’ of the book enough so that they will seek it out and read it themselves.

I will tell you a secret. I have no idea what my review says while I type it. Truly. It’s always afterwards when I read it back once its done that I realize what I wrote. I know how bizarre that seems but there you go!

What are you most proud of achieving on your blog?
I don’t know that I have actually achieved anything on my blog really. But my two proudest moments were my author interviews with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and my interview with Courtney Summers. It was nothing short of ridiculous how excited I was to post those interviews.

How long do foresee yourself blogging for?
As long as I can still read, I hope to be able to still blog.

How has your approach and attitude (specifically reviewing) altered from the early stages of your blog?
I think all writing improves with time and practice. I am a tad insecure about my writing style but I am far more comfortable with it now than I used to be. (In large parts thanks to you Adele)

Possibly the only other thing that has changed is that I used to wonder if my reviews should be more like other bloggers I admired. I don’t think I could write like that, much as I might try because my style is my style. I try to always write as though only a friend will be reading what I have written and this has helped me

My attitude has remained much the same, I write reviews because I love to. I used to worry no one would read them, but then I realized I started writing them for my students and fellow teachers and myself and as long as they are happy, I am happy :)

There are fantastic discussion posts across YA. Which post made you wish you had written it?
I had to REALLY think about this one because there are many!

But Courtney Summers recent post on Unlikeable Female Protagonists was brilliantly written. As most things by Courtney are! I absolutely LOVED IT!!! I have no hope of doing it any justice but here is where you can find it.

What word is most overused on your blog?
I laughed at this one! I think there are a few words I overuse…BUT I would have to say ‘Beautiful’!

You can find Tye at the following places:
The Book Gryffin


Nomes said...

Another excellent interview. I agree about reading the book thief. I don't know why I waited so long to read it? (only read it last month).

I love how each blogger has their own flavour and voice - Tye seems just lovely and I'm off to follow her :)

tye said...


I was going to email you this thank you because I wondered if you might prefer it to be private? But then I realised I dont care how 'gushy' I sound!

Thank you, in a million different ways and every language on earth, for being such a wonderful blogger, friend and in a lot of ways mentor.

To come to your site, which I have loved reading for so long and see my name up here with other bloggers I greatly admire is truly, breathtaking.

I am utterly stoked and extremely flattered to have been included here.

*HUGS* to you my friend!

Tye xxx

Anonymous said...

喜歡看大家的文章,祝你順心~^^ ............................................................

Anonymous said...


nicole said...

tye truly is wonderful!

she's the nicest person, and so giving and always smiling and thinking of others. you couldn't ask for a better book buddy and friend.

and when she tells me to read something, i make sure i read it. :).

Michelle said...

I adore the polygamy comment! So true.