To an author, especially one like me from a small press (The Travelers, Saguaro Books) without a huge marketing budget, book review bloggers are critical for success. They’re also the gateway for readers to a world of undiscovered books.
Book bloggers constantly reviews books, feature authors, and write profiles on upcoming book events or materials. But, has anyone ever stopped to ask them – you write about everyone else, what about you? What motivates you to write about books? Well, I’m curious about book bloggers….so I asked one if I could interview her…
Below is an interview with the lovely book reviewing lady behind the blog Books, Vertigo and Tea. (You can follow her blog and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. In fact, throughout this blog post you’ll see featured pictures of her bookstagrams.) This blog first caught my eye because of the unusual name. Only a really interesting person with unique book views could be behind that computer curtain. Then I read the quote on the About page and I knew I was right.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde
So, I asked her if I could pull back the curtain a little and she said yes! Here’s the interview with this very fascinating woman.
So, clearly you love tea. But, are you a coffee “hater” or just a tea lover?
I laughed a bit when I read this question. Whenever I post a Bookstagram pic with coffee or dare to mention it, I am often met with “but you are Books, Vertigo and Tea?!”.. yes I am. But I still enjoy a good cup of coffee as much as the next person. Tea just happens to be a comfort drink for me. I can still easily be caught having a cup or two of coffee daily.
What’s the strangest tea you’ve ever had and why?
While many might be familiar with it, I have to say Kombucha, which I believe is actually a Russian tea. It is fermented and full of bacteria and yeast. I have attempted it on several occasions simply for the health benefits such as digestion aid, immune system strengthening and energy boosts. Unfortunately, I cannot get past the very sour taste. It just is not for me.
Do you have a “go to” tea and book combo that you tend to return to?
I am not sure if I have a go to “combo”, but I typically end each evening with my current read and a lavender blend with a teaspoon of honey. This is the perfect combination to help ease my headaches, tension and promote rest. Occasionally I will switch to a nice cup of chamomile.
What is your ultimate book & tea pairing? (or your top 3 if it’s too hard to narrow it down to one).
This is easy! The Hobbit with a nice big cup of Early Grey with a splash of milk. Two of my absolute favorites that I feel are perfect for a cozy, enjoyable read that I never tire of.
You’re a blogger, so you’re obviously a writer, do you write anything else?
I write so many things! But they never see the light of day. I have written countless short stories and poetry only to trash them after I feel satisfied. Writing is a personal outlet for me. Once I have accomplished that needed release through words, I often hit delete and never look back. I am not sure why. I would actually love to publish something in the future.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Now that you’re an adult, what do you think about that dream for your future you had as a kid?
Oddly enough, I wanted to be a writer. I used to lay awake at night picturing my home on the coast and my small writing desk seated near a large window overlooking the ocean. A part of me still desires this greatly. I am not sure that I will ever be a national bestseller, but I still hold hope that maybe this is something I can focus on more once the kids have grown 😉
Why did you decide to write a book review blog?
I believe it was back in June of 2016. I have written countless reviews on Goodreads.com and Amazon. I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with other readers. After an unexpected illness left me with some free time, I needed an outlet and something more to do with myself. I was forced to spend more time at home and books began to occupy even more of my life. My nonhusband actually pushed me to begin the blog. He thought it would be an excellent escape for me, and he could not have been more accurate. After a few days of playing around and his suggestion that I incorporate as much of myself as possible into this new blog Books, Vertigo and Tea was born.
How many books do you read on average per week?
This is something that can vary greatly, but on average about 2 to 3 books and a few mangas or graphic novels.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a book reviewer and having a blog?
Hands down, the community is the best part of blogging. I cannot imagine any blogger having a different response. It is that true sense of camaraderie that pulls such a unique and wonderful group of individuals together with a common goal: to share the love of reading. I have never found more support, strength and friendship among others as I have within the book blogging community.
Perhaps the worst part of blogging would be my own personal hang-ups. When I commit to something I have a tendency to go, go, go. I always want to do and give more. While there are definitely upsides to this character trait, I am also guilty of turning something I love into a stressor and chore. I have to learn to accept the fact that some weeks I cannot give as much as others and accept that it is okay to slow down or take time off when needed.
What other roles do you have in your life and how do you find a balance? Or how do you try to find a balance?
I think “try” to find balance would be the most accurate description. I am raising two children and work remotely for a veterinary pharmacy when not blogging. I am also an inactive Licensed Practical Nurse. I have found some balance by learning to accept some things rather than expect them. I put my nursing career on hold when I moved to Oregon so that I could focus on working from home and and my son’s medical needs.
Needless to say, it can get pretty chaotic at times with a family of four and full-time jobs. For me it is all about knowing the schedule, finding as much routine as possible, and going with the flow when the routine doesn’t happen. I just put one foot in front of the other and focus on what takes priority, which of course is always my son and daughter. I think it is more about finding a mental balance 😉
What do you do for fun or in your spare time (if you have any)? Or do you have a hobby you love?
Anything the kids will let me do with them (haha). They are getting older so it is harder to get them to stop at times. Aside from reading, I really enjoy baking and cooking with my son, binge watching on Netflix with my daughter, and I happen to be a huge fun of anime and animation in general. Another “secret” hobby of mine would be drawing. I have a somewhat creative side that breaks through at times, but again I never share really.
What was the book you read that made you realize how much you loved books?
Oh wow, this is such a tough question. I think I will give credit to The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I am a huge fan of fantasy and that book has everything that I could desire in well written fantasy. I found myself fully immerse from beginning to end in the magnificent world building and character depth and growth! The writing was impeccable. I cannot wait to continue with the series!
What book are you most excited to read and haven’t been able to get to you yet and why?
I am actually not sure. My TBR is bursting at the seams so it is hard to say. I am always excited about the prospect of a new adventure each time I crack the spine of a new book! I do not think I have a definite answer for this question.
“I burst into Sweet Caroline when I am getting irritated.”
Tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I burst into Sweet Caroline when I am getting irritated.. yes the one by Neil Diamond. Does that count? I am just all around quirky! I love life and am not afraid to enjoy things. If that means kicking back on Saturday night to watch 80s cartoons, then that is what I do. I am way more sarcastic and out there than most followers probably imagine. My sense of humor can be way out there. I just want to have fun. I sing out loud during random moments, and live to embarrass my kids. Although they have upped their game as well. There is really nothing special or particularly interesting, but I enjoy that I am comfortable with who I am.
Do you have any funny book-related stories?
None that I can recall, unless dreaming of trips through the Shire counts. I have read The Hobbit almost annually for the last five years and tend to dream about Tolkien’s incredible world from time to time. It is so easy to get lost in.
What is your favorite book genre and why?
I think I have pretty much revealed this already, but it is fantasy hands-down. I will genre hop a lot. I love books. But fantasy will always pull me back in with the promise of far away lands, mystical beings and a true escape from reality. It helps keep me sane when life is feeling hard. It reminds me of how truly beautiful the mind and spirit can be.
Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and why/how did you choose their names?
I wish, but not currently. Although I have kicked around the possibility of a service animal for my vertigo. It is something that they have been recently learning to train dogs (particularly taller ones) to assist with. I can no longer use stairs without aid and such, so you never know.
What makes books special to you? Is there an experience you had or is it just something about books that you love? If so, what is/are those things.
The correct answer here, would again be the escape. The chance to travel to other realms and lose myself. For me it is all about the world building and characters. I love character driven books. I need the connection. The Hobbit (yes I mention it often) is one of my favorites for that very reason. I connected with Bilbo Baggins at a very young age (7 I think) and was able to run away for a bit each evening during a rough time. This is where my love for fantasy stems from. Thank you Tolkien.
Do you have a “superpower” either small or big? (e.g. what’s something you do really, really well or a strange quirk that borders on superpower-ness) OR if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I cannot think of any powers I currently possess. And if I am being honest, there are none I desire. Every time we read about an individual obtaining superpowers there is always a great deal of overwhelming responsibility and risk, so I will pass 😉 I am happy being “normal”.
Thank you, Danielle, for sharing this. It makes me smile each time I read it. And I think you’re far too interesting to be “normal”!