Welcome to my new 'Meet the Blogger' feature which will be every Monday for the next few months. I really appreciate the many bloggers who read and review my books, or allow me space on their blogs to feature my books. I also enjoy reading the blogs and features about other authors and their work, but we rarely get to know much about the bloggers themselves. So I thought it would be interesting to talk to a few bloggers and find out a bit more about them. My first guest is Nicola Smith who blogs at Short Books and Scribes.
Thank you for agreeing to guest on my blog, Nicola. First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, why you blog, what inspired your love of books, what sort of books you like reading.
Hi and thanks for inviting me to your blog, Karen. I'm Nicola and I'm a 41 year old part-time church administrator. I live with my partner and our 3 year old son in Sheffield. My blog is only a couple of months old but I have been reviewing books for years. I mainly post reviews along with some guest posts from authors. I am loving having a blog and being part of a lovely community. I'm not sure anything in particular inspired my love of books, I've just always loved them but I was encouraged from a young age by my mum and my great-aunt to always read and enjoy books. I love contemporary, literary and women's fiction, crime and psychological thrillers and some historical novels.
Can you tell us what is your favourite book of all time?
I don't really have a favourite book, I have lots of books that I have really enjoyed. But I have decided to go for one of the very few books that I have read twice - Home by Julie Myerson. It's the author's own story of how she tried to find out about everybody who had ever lived in her house. It appeals to me on so many levels - I love reading about genealogy and research, I loved how she fleshed the individual stories out with her own thoughts and I just found the whole thing fascinating.
It certainly does sound fascinating. I'll add that to my 'must read' list.
How many books, on average, do you read a month?
At the moment I only manage six. I need peace and quiet to read and I don't manage that very often with a three year old! I really don't know how so many bloggers seem to post a new review every day - I think even with all the time in the world I would never manage that.
Have you ever sat up all night because you were desperate to finish reading a book? If yes, what book was it?
I don't think I have ever sat up all night but the last book I really couldn't put down at bedtime was Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris. Whilst there are many books that I have really looked forward to reading a bit more of, not many are quite literally unputdownable for me but this was one of them. And when I did try to go to sleep I couldn't because my mind was full of the story.
Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book?
I have skimmed many books where I have wanted to know what happens in the end but have got a bit fed up of the story. Thankfully these days I seem to have a better idea of what I like to read and so that doesn't happen as often. I never ever skip to the back of a book I'm enjoying as I don't want it spoiling for me. For somebody who still finds it hard not to try and unpeel the edges of Christmas presents before the day, this is quite something!
What sort of plots do you dislike reading?
I don't know if there is a particular plot I don't like. I think it's all about the writing. I recently read a book that is not my usual genre but I loved it and that was all about the quality of the writing. Having said that, since I had my little boy I find plots about child abuse too difficult to read.
Yes, me too!
What sort of things would you like to see in a novel?
I love books set in Italy and Scotland, especially islands, and also Sheffield for obvious reasons. I enjoy time slip and usually prefer the contemporary story, probably because they are usually uncovering a mystery and investigating the past. I also like the current flavour of the month, psychological thrillers. I like books that mess with your head and where you don't know who to believe. Time travel is another thing I love to read about in books and I really enjoy the Jodi Taylor Chronicles of St Mary's books for this reason.
What is the most unusual place you’ve ever read a book?
I can't read in unusual places because I just can't concentrate but a place that was quite different for me was reading in Sorrento, looking out at Mount Vesuvius. To make it even more special I was reading The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella which is set in Naples, just across the water from Sorrento so I could actually see what I was reading about.
What author would you most like to have a cup of coffee with? Why?
If I may I'd like to choose two. Perhaps a tea party with Beatrix Potter and Reverend W Awdry and I'd ask them if they could ever have envisaged how long their legacy would last. I chose these two as I'm a collector of Beatrix Potter things and as mentioned above my little boy is Thomas the Tank Engine mad.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Trawling ebay for Thomas the Tank Engine stuff seems to be my main hobby these days (it's just as obsessive for parents as children!). But seriously, I play the piano but am without one at the moment so it's a lapsed hobby. I also enjoy baking and am just gearing up to make a third birthday cake for my little boy (can you guess who's going to be on it? see above). My partner and I go to the theatre around once a month. He'll watch anything but I particularly like musicals - the last one I saw was Annie Get Your Gun and one of my all-time favourites it Blood Brothers.
Do you write? If so, what sort of things do you write. If not, would you like to be an author?
The only things I write are book reviews and shopping lists. When I was younger I used to think it would be great to be a writer but I'm absolutely sure I don't have the patience or the imagination for it.
Thank you, Nicola, for such a fascinating interview. Do pop over to Nicola's blog at http://shortbookandscribes.uk/ and check out her fab book reviews and articles.
Bring a little sunshine into your life!
Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press