Greetings folks. As many of you know, it is BOOK BLOGGER APPRECIATION WEEK right now and today’s special topic is Blogger Interview Swap. It’s a way to learn more about your fellow book bloggers by swapping stories with another book blogger. Today I have the privilege of interviewing fellow paranormal romance and urban fantasy lover – Zelda Gillian. She has an awesome book blog: Zelda’s Bookshelf and you all should pop on over to visit her! Without further ado, please help me welcome Zelda to That’s What I’m Talking About!
Twimom: Can you give a brief description of your blog? What kinds of books do you read and review? What’s your favorite genre?
Zelda: Sure! Zelda’s Bookshelf started out in March as a blog that communicated information about books and series in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres — the kinds of books I’ve been reading since I was a kid. As I became more active in the book-blogging world, I quickly discovered a taste for erotica (um, who wouldn’t?!), so I’ve been reviewing a good number of books in the erotica category as well (specifically those that are a bit, well, “kinky” in nature).
Twimom: I too have learned to appreciate some of the more erotic works since blogging! (Let’s blame those bad influences we have friended on Twitter!) Is Zelda an online alias? If so, how did you pick it?
Zelda: *runs and hides* Yes! Zelda Gillian is a pen name, but she’s kind of turned into the “real” me, whereas my real name has become my professional name (to protect my conservative coworkers from being exposed to my smuttiness — lol!). “Zelda” because it is unusual, exotic, classy, fun-loving and has an old-world feel. “Gillian” because it was my great-grandmother’s name.
It is actually the name that I was going to give one of my children, but I ended up having two boys (and two kids is way more than I can handle as it is — eek!). I love my boys dearly, but some part of me will always have a tiny twinge of sadness that I never got to have a little girl. So, with Zelda, I kind of gave life to that little girl through my own passions. She’s like my daughter and myself all at once (a bit melodramatic, right?). 😉 But Zelda has really taken on a life of her own and I’m not quite sure what I’d do without her at this point!
Twimom: What inspired you to start blogging about books? Have you always been a reader?
Zelda: I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I recall hiding in closets as a child with a book and a flashlight, trying desperately to avoid my mother who would rather I be out working in the yard or cleaning. I had a vivid imagination and was always finding myself caught up in one storyline or another. I loved Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper. I actually became obsessed with the Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle books from L.J. Smith when they were first published starting back in 1991 and I think may have read each of them more than 15 times in as many years (still have my tatter worn copies!). I was also a huge Christopher Pike fan. The bloodier and scarier, the better!
When I got my Kindle last year, I really started reading like crazy again (my kids were older, work was madness and I needed an outlet, etc.). I started tracking the series I was reading, my progress on them and new release dates in an Excel file (yes, I am a dork), but found it too cumbersome. I also thought that, with the volume of books that I was reading, I was becoming a bit of an expert on the genre (if there is such a thing), and that maybe other people like myself might benefit from the lists I’d compiled. I had no idea that the world of book blogging even existed at the time! After stumbling across Mandi’s Smexy Books blog, I not only realized that this was not such a novel idea, but also that there was a whole community of book people out there with which to socialize. So I jumped in with both feet and Zelda’s Bookshelf was born!
Twimom: OMG – you have an Excel Spreadsheet, too? Mine is currently about 20 “sheets” full, tracking series, release dates, books I own… *sigh* I knew I really liked you!! You started your blog earlier this year, what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of keeping a book blog? The most rewarding?
Zelda: The time!!!!! Ugh. I work upwards of 70 hours a week in my “day” job and it can be very difficult to stay on top of reading and reviews. But, you have to stay active in order to build your audience, so I will often find myself blogging at all hours of the day or night just to get a post out. The writing has been a challenge, too. I was a literature major in college and really hated writing. I’ve never been a journaler (is that a word?), either, so writing reviews and other blog posts has not come naturally to me.
Surprisingly, writing has actually been the rewarding part, too. I thought I hated writing in college, but I think I just hated writing for professors! Writing for my blog has actually been quite cathartic for me and has given me a chance to think more deeply, both about the books I’m reading, as well as about life in general. And, let me not forget to mention the socializing! 😉 What is better for someone who works as much as I do, has a family and is in grad school than a social life that you can take with you everywhere you go! Okay. That makes me sound reeeeeally lame. But it’s true. I love chatting with my new online friends.
Twimom: Being a mom keeps you pretty busy I’m sure… How do you find the time to keep up with your reading AND blogging?
Zelda: I read everywhere! On buses and trains, walking down the street, in the car, at kids’ soccer practices, doctor’s offices… my Kindle is never more than 5 feet from me at all times. It’s like my security blanket. And, finding time to blog has been an enterprise in itself! I bought a netbook and got mobile broadband, upgraded my home network and wifi, and have become quite a pro at Blackberry blogging! Whenever, wherever! I think my family may think I’ve lost it.
Twimom: Yes, isn’t it amazing how we moms can find time to read?! Okay. Think fast! What’s your favorite book of all time? Your favorite series? Favorite author? Favorite heroine? Favorite “book boyfriend”? Hottest scene?
Zelda: Book: There’s no way I could choose. I really liked Time Traveller’s Wife, but it totally breaks my heart now. There have been a number of books in series that I’ve just devoured and LOVED, but I couldn’t tell you which ones specifically. It all depends on my mood and where I’m at in life when I’m reading a particular book!
Series and Authors: I’m going to have to cheat here, too, and say it’s a 3-way-tie between Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series and Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. Love them all.
Heroine: Kate Daniels. Smart. Tough. Funny. Love her. Anita Blake is a very close second, and only because she’s become commonplace for me after 19 books!
Book Boyfriend: Shit. How am I supposed to choose!?! Ugh. Well… I think I might have to say Damon from Maya Banks’ Sweet series. But Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake series by Laurell Hamilton is pretty high up there, too. It’s hard to resist a vampire.
Hottest Scene: I still think it might be Chapter 32 of One Foot in the Grave, part of the Night Huntress series from Jeaniene Frost. Damn,
Twimom: Any big plans for your blog in the near future? Author interviews? ARC reviews?
Zelda: Not really, other than to keep marketing it and trying to get more readers. I would really love to start getting into doing ARC reviews, so I am going to have to initiate “Project Send Me Some Love” with some authors and publishers. I’d also love to do more author interviews. Blogging is great because it’s flexible and there’s always a new challenge!
Twimom: Thanks for coming by to visit today! It’s been a lot of fun getting to know more about you and your blog.
Zelda: Thanks, Jen, for having me at your blog! It’s been fun chatting with you this year and I look forward to sharing in many more book adventures!
Readers – thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit Zelda. She has a wonderful blog!
Readers – thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit Zelda. She has a wonderful blog!
I loved learning more about Zelda! 😀
Do we have the same mom, Zelda? LOL. Even today, my mom thinks I should be cleaning or doing yard work instead of reading. She rolls her eyes at my reading obsession. Can you imagine?
Great interview, ladies!!
@smash – thanks! it was fun trading interviews with jen!
@diana – no kidding! my mother’s personal form of masochism is that she won’t allow herself to read “for fun.” she only allows herself to read historical nonfiction and biographies so that she can be sure she’s learning something. she’s crazy and she totally doesn’t get my blog at all! we’re like two ships passing in the night.
I like the name Zelda … my first thought was Zelda Fitzgerald!
Sometimes I wish I could be more anonymous about my blogging…my mom reads my blog regularly and I always have to keep that in mind when blogging!