I am very excited to bring you Darlene from Darlene's Book Nook today for the SSP Blogger Spotlight! Darlene has hosted many tour stops, guest posts, new book announcements and other activities from Seventh Star Press for quite some time now, becoming one of our absolute favorite bloggers to work with, and we think everyone should have a chance to learn a little bit more about Darlene! So enjoy this interview, and please visit her great site!
Blogger Spotlight #10:
I am a busy mom of two daughters, and we are always on the go! When I am not busy with homeschooling and dashing off to swimming/music/art/gymnastics lessons, I am working as an immigration consultant. In my very little free time (usually very late at night), I try to squeeze in some blogging!
2. What kinds of books do you like to read for pleasure? Any favorites?
My current favourite genres are Paranormal Romances and Dystopia! I never considered myself a Harlequin girl until I was persuaded to read my first Paranormal Romance and now I’m hooked! I have always loved mysteries and suspense, as well as horror. I also enjoy Urban Fantasy. I read a lot of historical fiction and classics aloud to my children.
My favourite book that I have read this year is Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, which is translated from Japanese. Many people say that The Hunger Games series is based on this book, but I have not read that series yet so I cannot comment. As opposed to The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is *not* intended for young adults. If you are a fan of survival stories and like fast-paced thrillers and are not put off by graphic violence, I highly recommend it!!
Another favourite that I have read this year is The First Days by Rhiannon Frater. I cannot remember when I was last so scared while reading a book! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. I highly recommend it to zombie fans!
3. When did you start your blog, and what motivated you to do it?
For the first six months of blogging, I had no followers, and no one even knew that I had a blog! I posted my reviews on my blog as a way of keeping track of what I had read and what I liked. I never did it because I thought that people would read them! As I found more online reading challenges and started visiting other blogs, it opened up a whole new world to me (book blogging) that I didn’t know existed! In May 2011, I started to publicize my blog through online communities and participating in weekly memes. I slowly started gaining followers, and I found some wonderful blogging buddies!
4. How did you come up with the name for your site? Is there a story behind it?
I actually did not put a lot of thought into it! As mentioned earlier, I started my blog just for me with no intention for anyone else to ever read it! I wanted a cozy feel, so that is how I came up with “book nook.” Some people have asked if my “nook” is related to the e-reader, Nook, and it is not. I can’t even buy a Nook here in Canada!
5. What kinds of genres do you cover on your site?
I read a little bit of everything, but I am most interested in Paranormal Romances, Mystery/Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Paranormal, and Romantic Suspense. I also accept Juvenile Fiction, which I will read aloud to my children.
6. What kinds of regular features do you have on your site?
I participate in primarily two weekly features hosted by other bloggers called “Stacking The Shelves” (where we share what we received during the week – including those books bought, won, received as gifts, review copies, or library books) and “Waiting on Wednesday” (where we pick a pre-published book that we are anxiously waiting for). We share the link on the host’s blog, and then we can read the posts from other bloggers. I enjoy seeing what other bloggers are reading, and I am always adding to my never-ending “To Be Read” list! I find that other bloggers often give the best book recommendations, so I am definitely influenced by the comments I read.
Last year, I also started my own weekly feature called “Spotlight Saturday” where I will spotlight an author and their work with a guest post or author interview and a giveaway. Most of the authors that I feature are independent or from a small-press publisher, and I love being able to showcase an author’s work and give some free publicity!
I also participate in blog tours and giveaway hops.
In recognition of my 2nd Year Blogoversary coming up on November 9th and my birthday this month, I am participating in a “30 Day Book Challenge” where I will blog each day and complete the day’s question.
7. What is the hardest thing about being a blogger?
Blogging is a lot of work! Because I initially started it only as a way to give myself accountability, I had no idea what I was getting into once I started to publicize my blog! I try really hard to keep the content fresh by participating in the weekly memes, writing reviews, and joining blog tours and giveaway hops. It is very easy to over-extend myself, and I do worry about blogger burn-out. At times, I need to cut back on the tours to give priority to family matters.
8. What are your favorite things about being a blogger?
I love books, and I love to discover new authors and their work! It is exciting to meet other people who love reading as much as I do, and I love to interact with other bloggers. I am slightly (okay, I mean “seriously”) addicted to reading challenges, which help me to branch out of my comfort zone and read books that I normally wouldn’t pick up.
9. If you could give a piece of advice or two to authors looking to work with a blog site, what would you say?
Most importantly, read the blogger’s review policy. Be aware of what genres they accept for review and in what formats. Not all bloggers accept digital copies. If you are looking for a review, ask for an anticipated timeframe. I also recommend a monumental amount of patience because bloggers can, and do, get overwhelmed with requests and tend to get backlogged! We do not get paid for our reviews, and we are doing this simply for the love of reading. I hope that authors and publishers can remember that if a review is not completed when promised and delays are encountered. We work and we have families, and it is sometimes hard to find the time just to read when we are also trying to keep up with blogging on top of that! It is hard to juggle everything and strike a balance.
Most bloggers would be happy to feature an author during a tour or promo with a guest post/interview and giveaway, so I would encourage authors to not be afraid to ask.
10. Any last thoughts or things you might want to say to readers who are finding out about your blog for the first time?
I hope that you will stop by for a visit! Stay tuned for lots of giveaways this month as I celebrate both my blogoversary and my birthday! If any authors would like to be featured on my blog, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Thanks so much, Stephen, and to Seventh Star Press for featuring me on your blog! It was a lot of fun!!
Be sure to connect with Darlene and Darlene's Book Nook at the following links!