Monday, September 24, 2012

Interview with Andrea from Little Red Reviewer

I connected with Andrea from Little Red Reviewer on Twitter not long ago. After a little while of sharing each others posts, she suggested we interview one another. I was apprehensive at first, but decided what the hell publicity is publicity. Andrea is a veteran blogger with reviews spanning over two years. Her reviews are personable, intelligent and I definitely am going to spend more time on her blog in the future. Do yourself a favor and check out her recent review of Cory Doctorow's Pirate Cinema and her post on the works of Tim Powers. You won't be sorry you did. Since I know you'll be following Little Red Reviewer, go ahead and do it now, the interview isn't going anywhere.

Now that you're connected, enjoy the interview.

52 Reviews: There are countless people out there who love to read, but most of them stay largely silent about their reading habits. What made you decide to start sharing your opinions about the books you read in the first place?

Little Red Reviewer: I've always been a big reader, but learned quickly that most of my real life friends were asking "whatcha readin'?" out of politeness and not because they were remotely interested in galactic empires or orphaned magicians or robots or alternate history. But like all hobbyists, I wanted to talk about the things I was passionate about with people who shared my same passions, and truly, the internet to the rescue. I became active on some scifi-fantasy forums that posted user reviews, wrote some reviews for some e-zines, and went from there.  
52 Reviews: Your blog has been around for several years and is obviously quite popular. What can you tell us about the early days of the blog when you were less well know? 

Little Red Reviewer: "Obviously quite popular"?  I'm blushing!  it's been a lot of work to get it there. The blog is a labor of love, that's for sure. Back in the day I cheered and jumped up and down every time I got a comment. The first time I got more than 10 hits in one day I celebrated. I trepidaciously e-mailed some other bloggers and asked what their secrets to success were. Their friendly and helpful responses were my first step towards feeling like "a blogger", instead of just a person with a blog.
52 Reviews: What have been your greatest success as a blogger? In other words, give us your highlight reel. 

Little Red Reviewer: A ton of authors are on Twitter these days, and it's really cool when an author retweets your review of their work, or thanks you for a blog post you wrote about them. I wrote a fairly emotional blog post about a character created by Steven Brust, and he retweeted it with an unbelievably kind comment that left me speechless. I'm a huge Catherynne Valente fan, and I nearly hit the ceiling last year when I bought her novel The Folded World to see that I had been blurbed for my review of The Habitation of the Blessed. I got an e-mail from an author I love, and the author thanked me for liking their stuff and writing such nice reviews. I went to my very first scifi/fantasy convention last year, and met a bunch of authors that I idolize.

That's my highlight reel, the things that made me grin like a crazy person. and I'm not special. Anyone can do this stuff, you just have to jump on, and grab hold.
52 Reviews: As a veteran blogger, what advice would you give to those new to blogging or considering it for the first time?
Little Red Reviewer: I'm going to pass on the advice a famous blogger gave me, when I asked her the same question a couple of years ago. Her answer focused on content, community, and planning.  Content - have a lot of quality content, and variety is good too. People will want to see something new and interesting nearly every time they visit your blog.  Not every post has to be long and complicated, you can link to other people's posts, write a few paragraphs about an author you like, participate in a weekly meme, ask a random question, post a random photo, anything. Community - spend a few hours a week being active in the blogging community by posting on other people's blogs or being on twitter. People can't visit you if they can't find you. If you comment on someone else's interesting blog post, they will visit you back. Sounds cheesy, but it's true. and Planning.  plan ahead what your blog will focus on. If you have time, write a bunch of posts and schedule them to post at different times. A few well spent hours on a rainy Saturday means you've got 3 posts ready and scheduled to hit during the week, so it's less weekday stress on you.
52 Reviews: What is the best book you've read this year? And why should all of us go buy it?

Little Red Reviewer: I can't pick just one!   First prize goes to Faith, by John Love.  It's a very dark space opera, with the most unique twist at the end. The bones of the premise is that we've realized that dangerous people make great protectors because they are vicious and unpredictable to our enemies. A ship crewed by such rays of sunshine are tasked with facing a mysterious enemy. Known as "Faith", the alien ship destroys everything in her path, and she's headed right for our home solar system. For taking place in outer space, this book feels more like a claustrophobic submarine thriller. You like darker scifi? go read this.

Second prize goes to Of Blood and Honey, by Stina Leicht. Taking place in 1970s Ireland, Leicht uses her knowledge of the The Troubles of that place and time to terrorize her main character, Liam, a young man who finally meets his father, who is a fey creature.  Leicht completely spoiled me on urban fantasy. I read her stuff, and suddenly so much of the other urban fantasy out there looks kinda meh.
52 Reviews: Lets look into the future, what are your goals for your blog in 2013?
Little Red Reviewer: In January of 2012 I did a month focused on Vintage science fiction, and it was a blast, so I'm looking forward to doing that again.  I've recently gotten involved in yet another internet project, The Bookstore Bookblogger Connection, so I'm hoping that takes off and becomes something groundbreaking and amazing.  forget work/life balance, I think I'm on the road to needing a blog/life balance!

Thanks for answering my questions Andrea and for making the time to advise and assist a rookie like me. I promise I'll pay it forward. 

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