#bookclub Feature by SJV
Do you have a ‘day job’, and if so, can you tell us what you do?
I have recently returned to the world of accountancy. I am the Accounts Officer for Relate Worcestershire and am really enjoying it. It is a great office to work in and I a responsible for the day to day financial side of the charity. I report to the Chief Executive and the Treasurer Trustee. I only started this job in January and before this I worked in Worcester City’s Children Centres, where I was responsible for the planning, running and evaluating of activity sessions for families with children under five years old age. I really enjoyed this job and would actively promote the joy of books and sharing stories with the families. I left Children’s Centres due to budget cuts and returned to the world of accountancy, an industry I worked in until the birth of my two children.
How did your journey as a book blogger begin?
Following the birth of my two children, I decided to remain a stay at home mother. This meant that I had more time to read and I wanted to get involved in the literary world in some way. I got involved in Twitter and found that it was a great way of communicating with authors and publishers alike. I started to follow book bloggers and thought I would like to give it a go. I started off mainly blogging about children’s books but soon moved on to adult literature and have not looked back since.
Is there such a thing as a typical day in the life of a book blogger, and if so what does it look like?
A typical day of a book blogger is being surrounded by books, trying to find free minutes during the day to read just a few pages or chapters of my latest read. When I am not reading a book, I am thinking about the characters I have met and wondering what their lives are like or trying to guess the plot twists and turns before they happen (nine times out of ten I am completely wrong). I look forward to the journey home from work when I can grab some undisturbed time to read before getting home and starting tea and making sure the children have done homework etc before I can grab some guilt free reading time before bed. I try to be organised with blog tours etc and keep a separate diary for all events I have been invited to take part in with agreed dates and post contents etc.
We’re obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours?
Very high. I have lots of book shelves jam packed around the house, and now also have piles of books alongside the book shelves. I am terrible in that, if I find an author I really enjoy, I have to get their back catalogues and I like to read everything by that author. This means that as well as trying to keep up with all the fantastic books that are being published each week, I also have endless piles of favourite authors backlists to catch up on.
What’s the best and worst part of being a book blogger?
The best part is being able to read books before they are released. It is great to be able to talk to publicists and authors about plans for publication and be a part of it all, shouting out to others about fantastic books, helping favourite or new authors to publicise their books.
The worst part is finding out about new titles early on and having to wait for the proof to drop through the letter box or having to keep a secret when all you want to do is shout about it.
On average, how many books do you read in a year?
I read at least one hundred books each year, although some of them are children’s or young adults reads.
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to meet?
I have been really lucky to have met a number of my favourite authors. I like to go to book signing events and also attend a few of the local book festivals. My favourite has to be Chipping Norton Literary Festival (held in April) who attract lots of fabulous authors each year but I think that if I had to choose one author who I would absolutely love to meet would have to be John Grisham. I really enjoyed his crime and court based novels and would love to learn about the process he goes through when writing them. If it could be someone from the past, it would have to be Enid Blyton. She is my all time favourite author and I would love to spend a day with her.
Your favourite book of 2017 and why?
There have been so many brilliant books published so far in 2017 (and we are only half way through the year) and to choose one favourite is very difficult, however I think I will have to choose The Child by Fiona Barton. I really enjoyed her debut novel, The Widow, and have been looking forward to her second release. I met her at a literary festival and heard her talking about her second novel, which sounded a great idea, and I am really pleased to say that I love it and it is even better than her debut.
What book do you most recommend to others?
I love Carole Matthew’s Chocolate Lovers series or Patricia Cornwell’s early Scarpetta novels. Two completely different ends of the literary spectrum but both very important to me.
Who is your favourite Books and the City author and why?
This is a very difficult question and after much consideration I think I have to say Milly Johnson. Milly’s books are always great fun, and I know when I am feeling down I can read one of her novels and I will soon be laughing out loud. They always contain a great cast of character, mainly female friends. I know that Milly used to write poems for a famous brand of greeting cards and that humour is throughout her novels.
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? My kindle of course. I try to read a couple of pages whenever I have a spare minute and my kindle is always in my bag (along with back up power bank).
Favourite place to read? We need a new sofa as ours is old, uncomfortable and the springs are going and so I love to curl up in bed in an evening and loose myself in a book for at least an hour before sleep.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I would love to live in Chipping Norton. I enjoy attending their literary festival each April. They have a fantastic independent bookshop, Jaffe and Neale, which is the hub of the festival and the town has a great local community which I would love to be a part of. There is also a yarn bomber who creates fantastic displays – I would love to join her and share my crochet creations with her. The town has everything you need for everyday living but is surrounded by England’s beautiful countryside.
What’s the secret to success? Preparation! I suffer from panic attacks and therefore to remain in control I like to plan everything to the last detail. I am organised and make lists and find that when I can plan things in advance they go much smoother.
What’s on your current reading pile? My current reading pile has the new Marian Keyes, The Break (I love Marian’s humour), and Michael Connelly’s new The Late Show (I love Harry Bosch but am intrigued to see what this new series is all about).
Staying in or Going out? Staying in. I love to spend time with my family all at home together. The kids can be up in their rooms doing their things but I love locking the front door and knowing we are all together.
What’s your Signature dish? I am not very talented in the kitchen but I can make a good lasagne. I make it all from fresh, no jars and it must have a thick melted cheese topping.
Beach break or city break? I suffer from panic attacks and so find it very difficult to be away from home. I find it really difficult to get to the beach because it is so far away from home and means at least one trip on a motorway (which I hate). I think I would have to say a city break – cities always have a book shop to pop into!
Famous last words? Just one more chapter before sleep!