Hey there everyone! If you haven't noticed around the blogosphere, Book Blogger Appreciation Week is this week! Although Sarah and I haven't had a chance to post yet this week, we are excited to be able to present you with our interview with Rachel from Fiktshun! We loved getting to know her a little better, and we can't wait for you to get to know her too!
A little bit about Rachel:
My name is Rachel and I’ve been reviewing/blogging about books since November 2010. I am a not-so-young adult who fell in love with YA books in the fall of 2008 and decided to start reviewing them on the blog two years later.
I have a full-time job during the day and try to squeeze in as much of a life as I can outside of that. Somewhere in between I like to read books and write about them here on the blog.
You will find me on Twitter in the evenings (mostly). I tend to be a shy Tweeter but feel free to say “hi” if you find me there.
I love most genres in YA, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be paranormal. I used to think I only loved vampires, but due to some amazing authors have fallen for those angels, demons, werewolves, faeries, spellcasters, magicians and zombie-killers.
How did you get started blogging?
I’ve actually been blogging on and off for years. But I officially started blogging about books in November 2010. I had the opportunity to beta read a book by Amanda Hocking, an author I was (and still am) a die-hard fan of, but one of the requirements was to post a review on a blog. I already owned the domain Fiktshun.com, I already had a blog set up on it from a few months prior when I’d thought about blogging about writing and books and decided against it. All I needed to do was redesign it.
I loved beta reading the book so much that I decided to keep the blog going and I’ve been posting daily ever since. Getting a chance to read a book early was a dream come true for me. Being able to offer my thoughts to the author was even more amazing. I knew nothing about writing reviews, I hadn’t seen a book blog before and I had no idea there were such things as ARCs.
And I had no idea there was such an amazing community of authors and bloggers online. I’m definitely glad I decided to keep it going.
What is your absolute favorite book of all time? (You know, that one that you will recommend to just about anyone who wants to talk to you about books.)
Wow, what a tough question! Most of my favorite books are ones that I won’t recommend to everyone because I know they wouldn’t be to most people’s tastes – books like Paint it Black by Janet Fitch or The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
But my most read book of all time, and I guess it’s my most favorite, is The Long Walk by Richard Bachman a.k.a. Stephen King. I find that every time I read it, the story hits me in a different way. It’s horrifying, disturbing and haunting. But it hints at a future that could be possible, it touches on the belief held by the young of their invincibility and it shows the shocking levels of inhumanity that humans are more than capable of.
Of course these days I tell everyone they should read books by Rachel Vincent, Tahereh Mafi, Scott Tracey, Jeaniene Frost and Chloe Neill, just to name a few.
What upcoming book are you most excited about?
If I had to pick just one, and it would have to be one I haven’t read already, I would say With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent. As heartbroken as I am that the series will be ending with that book, I’m desperate to find out how the author plans on winding things up.
When you're not reading, what takes up the most of your time?
Work. I have a full-time job that takes me anywhere from 10 to 15 hours a day. Often more. Blogging is something I do in my spare time instead of sleeping, which only accounts for two to five hours a day. Tops. The sleeping that is. The blogging takes a lot longer each day.
What's your favorite reading spot? Reading nook, couch, sprawled out on the floor?
Oh, I would love to have a reading nook. Or room to sprawl out on the floor. The place I currently live has very little room for reading so I don’t really have a favorite place to read. I mostly read on my couch or in bed.
If you woke up to find yourself living in the universe of any book, which one would you hope it would be?
I read a lot of paranormal stories, so I don’t think I’d want to end up in any of those worlds. My lifespan would be cut way down since I have no special abilities and doubt I’d have any skill wielding a sword. I’d tried fencing when I was younger and let’s just say that was not my strong suit.
But if I had to choose a world to live in, I’d love to hang out with Roland in Gilead and the Barony of Mejis – the worlds contained in the fourth book of the Dark Tower series, Wizard and Glass. This was my favorite book in the series and the world Stephen King created was magical and dangerous and amazing.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I love paranormal/urban fantasy in either YA or non-YA fiction. I love the action, danger, darkness, and magic that these books offer. They are the perfect escape.
What is the best part about blogging for you? The worst?
I love being able to interact with authors and bloggers in the community to talk about books. I’ve always been in awe of writers and their ability to create characters and stories that can completely captivate my attention in a way nothing else does. And I love being able to talk with other bloggers and readers who share the same enthusiasm I have about these stories.
Of course, I also love being able to share my thoughts about these books and authors on my blog in the form of posts and reviews.
The worst part of blogging is the drama, jealousy and competitive spirit. Whether it’s plagiarism – which I’ve been a victim of – bad blogger behavior, bad author behavior or battles between authors and bloggers that flood the Twitter timeline, all that negativity makes it incredibly hard to stay positive and focused. And the ARC envy and competition to get the attention of publishers make what is normally an amazing community one that is at times tough to be involved with.
Fortunately the positives outweigh the negatives and there are so many more brilliant and talented and thoughtful and stunning authors and equally brilliant and creative and talented and generous bloggers out there to make this a community I’m happy to be a part of.
You are very much a veteran blogger- are there other bloggers out there who have helped you along the way?
I’m a veteran blogger? Wow, when did that happen? I still feel very much the newbie. I am still learning and figuring things out. I still look to Parajunkee’s BB101 posts for insight on how to be a better blogger. I am still one post away from having zero content on the blog.
But as far as the journey to today? I am incredibly lucky to have “met” some amazing bloggers who are so incredibly nice, like Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads (http://www.magicalurbanfantasyreads.com/), Rachel of Parajunkee’s View (http://parajunkee.com/), Lisa of A Life Bound by Books (http://alifeboundbybooks.blogspot.com/), Kristina of My World of Books (http://kristina-worldofbooks.blogspot.com/), Alba of BookPics (http://bookpics-reading2alba.blogspot.com/) and Cameron of What the Cat Read (http://whatthecatread.wordpress.com/).
But there is one blogger who was there right from the start, who was the very first non-author to send me a Tweet that wasn’t spam, who has given me advice and guidance when I wasn’t sure if I was making the right decisions, who got me through the plagiarism nightmare, who encourages me to be less timid – she’s totally fearless – and who keeps me from going totally off the rails with my obsessive need to have everything be perfect. And that is Jaime from Two Chicks On Books (http://www.twochicksonbooks.com/). Without her I just know I would have thrown in the towel long ago. She’s one of only two bloggers I’ve met in real life and someone I consider a great friend.
Do you have any blogging and reading goals for the coming year?
I do, actually. As I am approaching the two-year mark, I have been thinking a lot about my plans for the blog. A couple of the goals I set out last year are ones I’d decided I didn’t want to pursue early in 2012 as trying to achieve them didn’t make me happy.
So this year, when I turn two, I plan on refocusing on what I love most – and that’s reading. This past year has been incredibly busy on the blog. Between tours and events and coming up with content to post, and those few extra blogs I’d managed to add, I haven’t had nearly as much time to read and review books. Which has made me incredibly sad.
I know that to be a successful blog and to gain the attention of readers, authors and publishers there is marketing involved and outreach and networking, but it all comes at a price. And I’d much rather have a less successful blog and get to read the books I’m dying to read than one that gets more traffic. While I still want to meet and connect with new bloggers and authors and be an active part of the community, I’d much rather do so in a way that’s conversational and not about self-promotion.
And I’d love to be able to get back to reading the plus 100 books a year that I had in the past.
Thank you Rachel for exchanging interviews with us! Make sure to check out Rachel over at Fiktshun and at Twitter, on Facebook, and on Goodreads!
(On a side note- I apologize for the lack of prettiness of this post. I am still having lots of trouble with my computer- hopefully I can get Sarah to pretty up this post for everyone! But either way, thanks for stopping by! ~Coranne)