Book Blogger Spotlight – Being Anne

Today I have the lovely Anne coming to chat about her blog. Welcome, Anne!
1. How long have you been a book blogger?
Do you know, I had to check – my first blog, on the Blogger platform, launched in February 2013, so just over four years. Fancy reading my first ever post? You’ll find it here – I’ve got a lot better since then, promise!
2. How old is your blog? Did you have any before?
No blog before that, but i’ve always loved reviewing the books I read. I can even remember (and it’s a long, long time ago…) keeping a notebook of reviews i did while awaiting my A-level results – George Orwell really doesn’t need to worry about his reputation. As a grown-up (forget the in-between years – I discovered boys!) I joined a few on-line book groups, reviewed on sites like Librarything and always on Amazon… and I guess that’s when the book blogging revolution started, and I decided to be part of it.
3. Why did you get into blogging in the first place?
I just thought it made sense to keep all my thoughts in one place – and share them. Friends had made the leap, so I thought “why not”. The first year was difficult – I was working all hours, and the blog took second place. But then I retired – and having tidied out my cupboards and re-organised my finances, I thought “what next?” – and I decided ”how about building that blog?”. I’ve never looked back – and I’m having so much fun!
4. Tell me about your blog, why the theme? Why is your blog different than the others?
I’m not sure if it’s that different really – there are some magnificent book bloggers out there that I don’t feel fit to kiss the boots of. I think my USP might be that I like to give some of the little people a chance – I still love featuring the blockbusters, reading them and reviewing, but I particularly like shining a light on the people who don’t make the headlines. I don’t think I could never write a book, but those who actually get up and do it really deserve a forum and someone to help them shout more loudly. Those Facebook shares, those multiple tweets on Twitter, all mean such a lot – and I have a fantastic network of bloggers and authors who help me make that happen.
5. Talking books – what genres do you review/prefer?
I’m never sure how to define what I enjoy. Maybe “women’s literature” is the best definition? I know what I like, and when I agree to review I’ve usually spotted something that makes me think the book has “me” written on it. I used to love chick lit – but I’m getting too old to identify with the main characters, so I do it less these days. I did love thrillers, but there were too many missing children – and I don’t like the gory, or the forensic detail. I like literary – but I am quite fussy. I like a cracking story. But above all, I like to really feel something – if you can engage my heart, that’s one guaranteed high star review.
6. Apart from blogs – do you blog about any other subject? If not, do you have plans to in the future?
This is a bit of a regret, really. I love my holidays, often in really unusual locations, and I always planned to write a few travel based blog posts – but the books took over and it has just never happened. I doubt it will now.
7. What is your favourite book so far this year?
Did you know this would be a “favourite child” question? Already there have been half a dozen, but I think the one I must single out is Sealskin by Su Bristow. This book captured my heart – on paper, maybe not my kind of book at all, but it certainly moved me more than anything else I’ve read this year. A really special book.
seal skin
8. What is your favourite book?
It depends what day you ask me. I know people wax lyrical about their first Enid Blyton or their favourite Jane Austen, but I just can’t. I read English Lit at university, and I know I should probably pick a Dickens or a Bronte (Mrs Gaskell was always a favourite, and Thomas Hardy…)., I can’t even pick out my favourite of the last couple of years – but I have a really soft spot for Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. I hate picking just one – but you did ask…
9. Which book are you looking forward to the most due to come out?
Definitely the new one by Vanessa Lafaye – At First Light comes out on 1st June, I have my advance copy, and I’m dying to read it. But there are more –
 The Faithful by Juliet West, Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson, Julie Cohen’s Together, the new Rowan Coleman on 29th June, Carol Lovekin’s new one later in the year… I really shouldn’t have started this one, should I?
10. Tell me a little about you!
I’m 61 years old and single – not for the want of trying – with no family now other than my mum, who’s over 90 and has just moved to live near me.  I used to work in project management and business management, with a focus on people development and communications, but I retired – with a sigh of relief – three years ago. I’m Welsh by birth – from near Bangor in North Wales – but I’ve lived in Yorkshire, in the beautiful market town of Wetherby, for over 25 years now, and I never made a better decision. I’m equidistant from Harrogate, Leeds and York, with everything they have to offer – and if London beckons, as it often does, I can get there in under two and a half hours. Other than books, my passion is travel – I like to do a couple of long-haul holidays a year, and I’m rapidly catching up with my bucket list. I do a regular book slot on local radio – Tempo FM – and run the book club for my local U3A group too.
11. Sweet or savoury?
Savoury – pies, pasties, sarnies – but also a real weakness for chocolate, preferably dark…
12. Summer or Christmas?
Christmas, I think – love all the sparkle and schmaltz…and the Christmas books…
13. Finally, if you could have written any book already in existence, which one would you choose and why?
It’s funny – I know I couldn’t have written Anna Karenina or Wuthering Heights, so I wouldn’t try and lay claim to them. But every so often I come across one that might just have been within my grasp – Sue Watson’s We’ll Only Have Paris maybe, or Liz Trenow’s The Forgotten Seamstress, and I wonder if I really should do that OU writing course or apply for the RNA New Writers’ scheme. Have I left it too late, do you think? Maybe, one day…
Anne, you should definitely give it a go, and I know a fair few authors (including me) who would be there to cheer you on!
To connect with Anne, see her pages!

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