Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday Feature: Blogger Interview with Laura of Sister Spooky

Really pleased to present my first blogger interview for a while, with the wonderful Laura from Sister Spooky! A huge thanks to Laura for taking part in this.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself - what do you do aside from reading and blogging?

I work in a chocolate and sweet shop, I've just started learning to play the guitar and like to express my artsy crafty side from time to time and currently that's via miniature painting. 

2. I'm absolutely loving Geek Week! What's the geekiest thing you've ever done?

Oh My! That's a tough one.  It's either the time I went to my first ever convention for a weekend, alone (A Firefly con since you asked) and was so afraid I'd be silent the whole time because I was there solo but some lovely Northern girls and Aussies took me under their wing and we had an amazing time!  Either that or the time I camped out all night for a My Chemical Romance gig in Hammersmith in the pouring rain.  Over 24 hours but I got right to the front so it was worth it.

WOW! MCR sounds fab! 

3. One of my favourite reads of the year so far is Sophia Bennett's You Don't Know Me, which I know you really enjoyed as well. I was thrilled to see Sophia Bennett's awesome playlist for the book on your blog. What's your favourite song from that playlist?


*goes and checks out the playlist again*

Wayward Daughter: You Lost Your Place

Beautifully simple and heart breaking.

4. What's your favourite genre to read?

It changes over time but currently I've been drawn to Contemporary books and on the flip side a lot of sci fi and fantasy novels.  Way off Paranormal romances at the moment but time may change that!

Yay for contemporary!

5. I'm still grateful to you for cheering up my readers over on YA Contemporary last year when you followed my ever-so-slightly depressing theme week on The Evil That Men And Women Do with a brilliant post on Funny YA Contemporary books. What's the funniest book you've read so far this year?

If I'm honest, it would be Geekhood Mission Improbable by Andy Robb.  I must sound like a broken record now but it really stood up to the first book and still hit all those high marks that it set.  Andy Robb must tap into my mind because he knows how to make me laugh!  Close second is Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve.

Fab choice - which might be mine, as well!

6. I'd hope that most of my readers will take a look at Sister Spooky when they finish reading this interview. Is there a post you're particularly proud of that you'd like to direct them towards?

I've written so many blogs but the ones that really stick out are because of the responses I've had from them or how personal they were for me.

The review I'm most proud of is for The Perks of Being A Wallflower because I had SUCH an amazing response to it from a wide variety of people.  My favourite blogger/event post was my first in-person author interview with Andy Robb that was so big I had to split into two posts. I had THE best time. (Note from Jim - Check out part 1 and part 2!)

I have written very personal posts too that have always shocked me at the responses they've received.  I had some personal things going on last year and felt like I had to let the blog become lower on my priorities and I was sent hugs, long emails with advice and tweets and texts from authors, agents, publishers, bloggers and readers.

I love all of the amazing Andy Robb stuff! Still jealous that you've met him as I really wanted to at Hay but I was feeling too lousy to actually make it up there last week.

7. I'm in awe of how productive you are on your blog - I think it's a good week if I get 3 or 4 posts up, while you weren't far off a post a day last year! What tips could you give to bloggers like me to improve our productivity?

HA! Don't have much of a social life perhaps?  Well I think I just try and aim to have posts spread out over a week but don't let yourself get to worked up if you don't cover every day.  I like to have at least one review up out of 3 or 4 posts over the week as a whole.  I've recently REALLY cut back on the sort of posts I do so there will be fewer on my blog but I hope that old "quality not quantity" thing works out. 

Best tips are to try and have a rough schedule if you can, spread posts out over a week and it seems fuller (great illusion) and make a note of news and points of interests to read later because they may make a great posts.

Fab tips - thank you! I really need to make better notes of stuff as I quite often have an idea for what I think would be a good post but forget about it...

8. What's your favourite thing about blogging, and is there anything you don't like?

Favourite thing is the community of like-minded people.  It's like a family and we really band together and have a genuine passion for writing, publishing and books in the UK.

Things I don't like…. there are many but sometimes it can feel like your hard efforts aren't appreciated for what they are.  I've felt like a bit of a marketing tool sometimes and "used" for the potential audience I can provide.  I don't claim to speak for every blogger or that I'm some big shot in the blogging world but I feel like bloggers are seen VERY differently by authors, other bloggers and the publishers.

Agree there, at least to a point - I LOVE most people involved in the world of YA books, but the criticism of bloggers as 'unprofessional' by one author last week made me fume, for example.

9. Is there anything you wish you'd known about blogging when you first started?


I had no idea about how it worked, how to manage a blog, how other bloggers fit it all in with their daily lives and how the relationships between publishers/authors and bloggers work. 

Main thing to know is DO NOT do it for the free books.  It really REALLY is not what it is about.  Be prepared to read some things you may not like as much as your favourite-books-ever because books vary so much.  Be prepared to do the work and plan ahead.

Most of all: Just Be Honest.  Don't be rude but be truthful when it comes to your thoughts.  It's YOUR blog and should reflect you as well as the books you read.

10. Do you think you'll still be blogging in a few years time?

Honestly…. I hope I will but I very much doubt I'll be blogging as much as I do and in the same way as I do now.  Blogging has changed hugely even since I started and either I'd have to change how I blog and how I think of blogging or I'll give up.  I don't want to change my blog but I can see that I may eventually make it more general and more focused on discussion posts etc.  I'd love to be more brutally honest sometimes but you have to find a balance.

A huge thanks for taking part in this interview, Laura - it was fab talking to you!


  1. Oh,I really enjoyed Geekhood book one. Looks like I'll have to get hold of book two pretty soon! Excellent interviewer, both you guys!

  2. You work in a sweet shop?! Wow, that must be the best job ever (with the possible exception of working in a book shop). Love the interview :)

  3. thanks Jim for the interview questions. Had a fab time answering them all!