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Posts Tagged ‘interview’

BBAW Interview with *My Friend Amy*

I’m so pleased to be matched with My Friend Amy for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week interview swap!  Amy is the powerhouse creative force behind BBAW, the one who brainstormed, e-mailed, posted, designed, contacted, organized, networked, etc. this amazing week of swapping stories, awards, giveaways, interviews, acknowledgements and camaraderie!

Amy managed to sneak away from the laptop for a little chat, here she is now …

She Is Too Fond of Books:  Sit down, make yourself comfortable, enjoy some green tea or fresh-squeezed lemonade, or whatever you’d like to go with these yummy ginger snaps I made for us to enjoy while we chat. 

I’ve had your blog on my reader for a few months now, and I’ve explored a bit more since we had this interview scheduled … I see that you’ve been blogging for about 3 years, and that My Friend Amy is not your only blog.  Can you tell us a bit about how you got started, what you blog about, and your other online ventures?

Amy:  I started blogging because I’ve moved around a lot and it seemed like it would be an ideal way to keep in touch with friends…unfortunately, it seems like someone gets the concept of  blogging or they don’t.  Many of my friends would rather stay in touch via facebook.  I’ve been blogging for three years and have met some wonderful people while blogging.  I enjoy it so much, that I agreed to help with the site Inspired to Action, which is a collaborative social justice blog.  The Friendly Book Nook came to be because books were taking over my personal blog.  Actually, I had a short lived book blog a couple of years ago, but I found that it was just easier to keep posting things on my main blog.  Other online ventures?  Um, I really enjoy LibraryThing and Twitter.

Your blog is not just about books.  You also share insight about God and your faith, popular culture items such as television shows and movies, as well as personal travel experiences and the random thought that grabs you.  With such great diverse subjects, do you consider your blog primarily a book blog, or is it more “Amy’s World”?

I consider my blog to be a personal blog with a healthy dose of books. 😉  I do find that I enjoy reviewing books, talking about book related subjects and TV and movies, because they are common experiences for us all.  I am a person of faith, so everything in my life is filtered through that lens. 

Tell us a little more about the blog you co-author with your mom and sister

The Friendly Book Nook!  I wanted to have a blog that was primarily books, and really make it something special!  So I asked my mom and sister to help out with it.  We are all at different life stages and I thought we’d bring a unique perspective to what we read.  One of the things I love that we’re doing right now is a series called Saturdays in the Nook (I’m not terribly creative with names!)  where authors and other book bloggers come and share pivotal early reading memories.  We are passionate about reading, and want to celebrate the culture of reading.  I’d love to get celebrities and other people of recognition involved one day.. ha.  So if anyone is reading this, email me!

Where do you blog? Any special desk or place you take a laptop to write?  What about your favorite place(s) to read?

I have a laptop and I sit on my bed and blog!  I actually really enjoy reading out in public…at a coffee shop or restaurant as well.  But truthfully, I can read anywhere but in the car (if I’m not driving)

How long have you worked in adult literacy (and English language acquisition … is that the same as ESL?)  Do you work in a classroom setting or one-on-one?  can you share one “life lesson” you’ve learned from your work?

I’ve been working in adult literacy for three years.  Prior to that, I taught English in Japan for a short while.  I work one on one..and yes ESL is the same as language acquisition!  The most important thing I’ve learned for myself is that there is no shame in failing.  In fact, failing is an important part of the learning process.

Now, what everyone wants to know … how did you come up with your great idea for BBAW?!   When did you start planning it?  What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of BBAW?

You know, I spend a lot of time on blogging and reading, and work really hard to try to do my best for both the authors whose books I review and the people who read my blogs.  I even feel stressed out about it sometimes, trying to get things done in a timely manner and still giving it all a good effort, while also learning about the technical aspects of blogging.  I know that other book bloggers feel the same way!  I stumbled across an online discussion that was criticizing the rise of blog tours that charge authors to organize the tour.  The discussion was a bit condescending towards blogs and wow did I ever want to speak up!  I was mulling over that conversation when the idea for BBAW came to me.  I don’t want to argue with the people who don’t see the value of blogs, but I do think book bloggers deserve to be recognized and celebrated.  For the most part, book bloggers do this on their free time and it takes significant time.  Yet, in a culture where reading is on the decline, book bloggers are taking things into their own hands…sustaining a culture of reading, developing community around our love for the written word…investing our hours and dollars into this hobby, I don’t understand the fear. 

I think I got the idea in May or June and started planting the seeds for it to other bloggers in July.  When the infamous Huffington Post article was published and being discussed everywhere,  I outright asked on my blog if other book bloggers would support the idea.  The response was really positive, so I went forward.  I’ve been blown away by the response.  It really has enforced how positive this community is.  Apart from a few minor things, everyone has been really supportive, helpful, and kind.  And publishers, publicists, and authors have come out in support of the idea as well, which is such a blessing.  I’m amazed at how many excellent book blogs are out there with so many different specialties.

I think the most challenging thing has been to keep up with email and my other blogs during the process.  I have to admit I was relieved once the nomination process was over so I could have time to read books and blogs again!

The most rewarding has been meeting so many fantastic new bloggers and seeing everyone really come together around this idea.  What a wonderful community it really is.

OK, grab another cookie while we finish off the rest of these quick questions:

  • How much time do you read each week?  Great question.  3-4 hours a day, so um, at least 20?
  • How much time blogging?  Writing my posts, responding to comments, and doing technical stuff…maybe 10 hours a week.
  • How much time reading blogs?  Too many!  1 hour a day at least.
  • How many subscriptions in your Google Reader // how many different blogs do you visit regularly?  This is mortifying.  I don’t read all of the blogs in my reader carefully, some I just like to keep up with now and then.  I also read blogs across a wide spectrum of interests.  Ok, having said that…368. 
  • What are you reading now?  I’m about to start The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen.  She is hands down one of my favorite authors.  And she’s a blogger, so she’s tops!
  • Your favorite book – so far – that you read in 2008–Ugh, I’ve read a lot of really good ones.  Can I pick two?  The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson and A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman.  Two totally different books!

Let’s close with the most rewarding experience you’ve had in regard to your blogging 

I think the most rewarding experience has been to meet so many other people who love reading as passionately as I do, from many different walks of life, and areas of the world.  I think the most surprising thing has been how accessible authors are and how down to earth (usually) and very nice and gracious.  I’ve met some wonderful authors via e-mail like Julie Lessman and Pamela Binnings Ewen who have absolutely made my days with their kindness and the fact that they answer email!  Let me be clear…I’m not surprised that they are nice, just that they take the time to really know you.

Amy, thank you so much for taking the time to sit with me, I know how busy you’ve been with planning all the BBAW events.  Please let me extend my thanks, on behalf of the hundreds of bloggers whose lives you’ve touched!

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