Today's theme at Book Blogger Appreciation Week is an interview swap. I had the honor of interviewing Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles. Check it out!
Q. What was your inspiration for starting your blog? Is that still the main reason you blog or have you changed your focus over time?
A. Initially, it was a combination of three things. We were living two hours away from our family at the time (and since everyone in our family typically lives within 20 minutes of each other and always has), I needed a way to keep our family updated on all the little things going on in the kids' lives. Additionally, I was reading several "autism mom" blogs, and they inspired me to write about our family's journey and Boo's progress. (He has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.) Finally, I wanted to start writing again ... and blogging gave me that.
Since then, the focus has definitely changed - so much so that I have recently given serious thought to changing the blog's name. As they become older, Betty and Boo's stories are becoming more theirs, not mine. And of course, there's the book blogging aspect, which didn't come until several months after I'd started blogging. The focus now, I think, is still on the autism advocacy piece as well as great books and writing.
Q. I love that you merge your personal blogging with your book blog. I aspire to do that but haven't figure out how yet. Do you have any advice on how to balance the two within one blog?
A. I wish I did, but ultimately, it comes down to whatever you're most comfortable doing - and, depending on your kids' ages, what THEY are comfortable having out there online. My kids are very Internet savvy (Betty even has her own blog: shameless mommy blog: www.orcastuff.blogspot.com). Before using their drawings or writings, I ask permission. I still don't use real names or photos. I've seen too many of my photos stolen that doing so still kind of creeps me out.
It sounds cliche, but it's content driven. I like my readers to see the person behind the blog. I try to do that with the reviews. If there is some aspect of the book that resonates with an experience I've had, or a situation I'm dealing with, then I'll incorporate that into the review. Maybe it doesn't make for an "official" book review, but I think it makes for an interesting blog post. At least, I hope so.
Q. Like me, you're a mom to two kids. Do you have any tips for moms who may struggle with finding time to read and blog?
A. I watch very, very little TV (with the exception of the new "Dallas") or even movies. I'm hopelessly deficient in knowing things like who the latest American Idol sensation is. Books are my reality shows.
Betty and I also try to read for a half hour every night. It's our time; we take our books into the master bedroom and just spend that time reading. Lately, it's become a time for us to talk about the day and any issues going on that she wants to discuss.
Q. You read a mix of nonfiction and fiction. Do you have a favorite genre or do you prefer a lot of variety? Are there genres that you won't read?
A. I'm not much for the vampire genre or dystopian fiction. I won't say that I won't read them - never say never, and all that - but that they're not my preferred choices. I also don't read much romance, fantasy, or sci-fi. Again, same caveats apply. Contemporary literary fiction would probably be my favorite genre.
Q. I find it interesting that you are now only accepting books for review from one publicist. Why did you make that decision?
A. It became too overwhelming with the email requests and the back-and-forth between authors/publicists/me. One day, I was looking at the number of DNFs I'd had for the year ... and realized they were all mostly from review books. I knew then that something had to change.
Q. Tell me about the novel you're writing. What's it about? How's it coming along?
A. It's a coming-of-age, contemporary YA novel set in 1988 about how a daughter comes to terms with her father's terminal illness, and how accepting her family's past and secrets helps her make decisions for her own future. It's ... coming along. Being unemployed right now has given me the gift of time to write more of it than I'd expected. Hopefully I'll have a first draft completed by the end of the year. That's the goal, anyway. I'm lucky to have an incredibly supportive writers' group here in Pittsburgh, which has been fabulous. And even though he hasn't read it, my husband has always been my number one fan of this story. It's based on a real-life situation and he lived it with me.
Now go visit Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles and see her interview with me. Then stop by the BBAW site to read more interviews!