Today I talk (belatedly, since I was away in London having fun at the RNA Winter Party) to JB Johnston of Brook Cottage Books!
1. How long have you been a book blogger?
2. How old is your blog? Did you have any before?
I’ve been reviewing books for a number of years now, firstly on a personal blog I had at the time but then the requests for so many reviews were coming in that I set up Brook Cottage Books in 2012.
2. Why did you get into blogging in the first place?
I won a copy of a book in an online competition and reviewed it on my personal blog which was a special needs / family blog. Lots of people saw it and authors started sending me in requests. Soon I realised that my personal blog was being overrun with book reviews and they weren’t really relevant to what the blog was about. So, I set up Brook Cottage Books to meet demand. I’ve always been a bookworm so this seemed like a natural progression.
4. Tell me about your blog, why the theme? Why is your blog different than the others?
My blog, which I had professionally designed, not only publishes book reviews, but it also offers a range of author services, mainly online book tours and promotions. It also offers a range of free services too. It’s always important to support authors and bloggers. I think the thing that makes my blog different from other’s is that although it is now a business as well as a hobby, it has never lost that friendly, personal approach. I don’t do the hard-nosed business woman. I tailor posts / services to meet what the author / publisher wants. I don’t view authors and bloggers as customers, but as friends and part of a wider bookish family. If I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job I don’t invoice for some of the paid services. Ultimately however,
Brook Cottage Books shows a love and respect for the art of writing. That comes before making any money.
5. Talking books – what genres do you review/prefer?
Well, before I started blogging I was very closed in what I read. I only ever read horror or thrillers with the odd contemporary fiction book thrown in. However, thankfully I become more open minded and I review all genres, although I do find Sci-fi a little difficult. I also believe it’s really important to review book written by indie authors. As book bloggers, we need to support this often unrecognised wealth of talent. My favourite genre still remains thrillers.
6. Apart from blogs – do you blog about any other subject? If not, do you have plans to in the future?
I now no longer have my personal special needs blog. This blog centred around what it was like to have a special needs child. But, when a mother from my child’s school identified me as the writer I felt it was time to stop. I have tried my hand at a products review blog too but I have to say that hasn’t really held my interest. I do have another personal blog called The Debbie Diaries which is mainly about my own writing journey. I completed NaNoWriMo in 2015 and wrote a novel. I’m still in the process of editing and rewriting so its still a work in progress.
7. What is your favourite book so far this year?
Oh that’s an easy question. Although I have read so many wonderful books this year, the one I only finished last week was by a local author Lesley Allen. Her book The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir is an amazing and heart wrenching story of bullying and the effects it can have. It made me cry!
8. What is your favourite book?
That is a hard one but I adore Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
9. Which book are you looking forward to the most due to come out?
Well, I am P.A for author Karen Long. I was fortunate enough to read the manuscript for her new book, which is book 3 in the Eleanor Raven Series. I cannot wait for the reaction this book will get. It’s brilliant! Also, The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin has recently been released. I’ve been waiting ages for the final part of this trilogy and I’m looking forward to setting aside a bit of time for myself to read this tome of a book!
10. Tell me a little about you!
Well, I’m not terribly interesting! I’m 46 years old and I’m a social worker by trade. I’m happily married and have 2 children and 2 step children. I’m a vegetarian and have been since I was 15 years old. I still get cravings for bacon! I’m afraid of the dark and believe in ghosts, fairies and all things magical……………except God! I’m also a little obsessed with Zombies!
I am an aspiring writer and have my own parenting advice column called HOME HELP on http://www.loveahappyending.com I’ve contributed to some charity anthologies and co-wrote a children’s book Little Kitty The Cat Burglar, all the proceeds of which go to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
I have recently started taking yoga classes and dance classes. I can now do a mean Burlesque routine! Friendship and family means everything to me and I recently discovered I have 2 half-sisters which I am hoping to meet soon. I love meeting up with my group of close friends. The six of us have known each other for about 30 years. We met in secondary school. I’m considered the slightly nutty one out of the group!
It’s my dream to make the book world into my full-time career so if anyone wants to offer me a job, I’m all yours! I’m hoping Brook Cottage Books continues to evolve and be successful to allow me to eventually do this.
11. Sweet or savoury?
I’m afraid I’m so greedy I like both!
12. Summer or Christmas?
Christmas but only because I keep wishing for snow!
13. Finally, if you could have written any book already in existence, which one would you choose and why?
Oh my gosh I think that’s the toughest question yet! Every time I read a great book I wish I’d been the one to write it! Maybe one day someone will read my book and wish they’d written it!
I have used Brook Cottage Books for a book tour before, and I loved the service – can highly recommend!