Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Texas Bloggers are Rockstars Day Two: Mundie Moms and Girls in the Stacks

(Picture: Left side, second from bottom, Stacy Wells. Right side, third from bottom, Katie Bartow)

Today we’re continuing with Texas Blogger Weeklong Festival of Love with visits from Stacy Wells of Girls in the Stacks and Katie Bartow of Mundie Moms!

I have gotten to know Katie and Stacy at various book events around Texas and particularly at Blue Willow in Houston where I live. Katie has hosted live chats that I've been in and we've got some plotting and planning going on right now for next month, so stay tuned! I recently had the privilege of hanging out with both of them at ALAMW#12 (as well as Stacy’s fellow ‘Stacker’ Nancy) and I’m excited to let the world see their awesomeness here today!

Make sure to visit and

Now on with the questions!

JP: What inspired you to begin blogging about books?

KB: I've always loved books, but it wasn't until I was introduced to Cassandra Clare's City of Bones through Twilight Moms did I finally want to start a site devoted to not only her books, but YA and MG books

SW: TWILIGHT! Once we read that book we were on a book frenzy!

JP: Talk about your own blog: what is its focus? Do you review books you don’t like? Do you interview authors? Do you post about other things besides books? How did you develop that mixture?

KB: My general focus is YA book reviews, live author chats, interviews, blog tours and giveaways. When I started book blogging no one hosted live author chats and I wanted to not only bring authors and readers together, but I wanted to do something no one else did. I've currently hosted over 100 live authors chats (the first ones I hosted were done not on the blog, but on a different chat room site). I love the excitement fans get over talking to their favorite author.

As far as reviews, in the beginning I felt the need to read review or try and review every book I was sent, whether I liked the book or not. I quickly learned that is not why I wanted to run my blog. I want to enjoy what I read and promote. I have posted reviews for books I don't like, but that's been only on occasion. I don't want to spend time reading a book a don't like. There's a ton of other great books I'd rather spend my time reading.

I love interview authors. I'm fascinated by how they come up with their stories, what they think of their characters etc. I really enjoy author interviews. I also love chatting live with them. It's so rewarding for me when readers from around the world get so star struck by talking to their favorite authors. I also enjoy hosting blog tours for books I've enjoyed reading. Since they're time consuming and I do them for free, I've had to become very picky on the tours I run.

SW: Our focus is to recommend a slew of books to others, through our video author interviews and our weekly podcast.

JP: Talk about your experience with the Texas book blogging community, author book signings, conferences you’ve attended like ALA or Texas Festival of Books, the various young adult conferences like Houston Teen Book Con or Austin Teen Book Festival, trade shows like BEA, etc. What’s the most fun and why? What encourages you to keep coming out to these events?

KB: I've had the chance to take part in a lot of awesome events here in TX. There's such a great community for authors and bloggers alike. I've attended numerous signings at Book People, helped out with the Smart Chick's Tour in both Austin and Houston, Harper Teen's Dark Days tour in the Summer of '11 and I'll be helping out with their upcoming event in Feb, as well as hosting Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Chaos tour stops in Austin and San Antonio. I've had the privilege of volunteering at the Austin Teen Book Festival for two years in a row, and last year's TLA, both events fabulous! I've visited the Houston Teen Book Con, signings in Houston, as well as around the Austin Area, attend various blogger get togethers, author meet ups and I'm looking forward to attending this year's ALA in Dallas. There's seriously so much book stuff to do around Austin, it's awesome! I highly recommend the Austin Teen Book Festival. I've attended that for 3 yrs in a row and was first introduced to it via Lisa McMann, whom I went to meet there in 2009.

SW: We’ve been fortunate, we’ve attended so many events/conferences and each of them have been great in their own right. However, there is nothing (and we mean nothing) like a Texas event filled with Texas authors, librarians and bloggers. There is such a feeling of generosity, warmth and a true passion for the written word when gathered.

JP: If someone asked you why supporting books, booksellers and authors is important, what would you say?

KB: I would say because to me reading is empowering. It inspires, it motivates, and it changes the lives of those who spend time getting lost in a book. I think it's important to not only support reading, but those who also support the cause, like book sellers and especially authors!

SW: There’s nothing like a good book to bring your imagination alive! We can learn to be better people, have more empathy for others’ struggles, gain life experiences and live out the human experience more fully through reading. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “There is no frigate like a book/to take us lands away.” Books make us better!

JP: Talk about your relationship with publishers. I’m assuming they’re supportive of what you do.

KB: There's a few that I feel I have a close relationship with and few I'd like to have a closer relationship with. They've extremely supportive in what I do and they've been like that from the moment I reached out to them, or was introduced to them from various authors. The publishers I work closely with are phenomenal!

JP: Any favorite author stories?

KB: I have a few, but for the sake of a long answer I will say I have loved meeting all the authors I have. It's such a pleasure to finally meet people who's books I've read numerous times, and I've talked to via email, or twitter. For me the moments I've had to just sit down and talk to them are the moments I cherish the most. I've made some lasting friendships with authors outside of their books, and those are the most meaningful to me.

SW: Oh, we have had our share of geeky fangirl moments with authors, especially the ones that we love. Maggie Stiefvater was super cool to talk to and game for the strange video ideas we had; Meg Cabot had us all in major squee mode because she was a superstar; and we loved talking to David Levithan, he interviewed Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler as an honorary Girl in the Stacks -wow! Our favorite YA authors not only write awesome books but also are so awesome in real life!!

JP: Okay, that last answer was really fun to read!!

Thank you, Katie and Stacy, for your wonderful responses and for everything that you do for books, authors and literacy!!

Up tomorrow, the fabulous Austin duo of Stephanie Pellegrin and Jen Bigheart!!


Mundie Moms said...

Thank you Joy for inviting me to be apart of this!

Andi said...

FUN! I'm a Texas blogger myself (Dallas area), so it's always nice to meet others. :)

I Read Banned Books said...

Yes, there is nothing like a big event in Texas where we can huddle around our TX authors.

Great post! Can't wait for tomorrow.


Kristin Rae said...

Loving these interviews! These ladies put a LOT of work into their blogs, wow!

Kate said...

I LOVE the TX blogger/author/librarian community! Great answers, ladies! said...

Thanks for featuring us today!!! Joy, when do we get to interview you???

Joy Preble said...

Girlsinthestacks-- any time!

Cari said...

Great answers girls! I love that both Mundie Moms and Girls in the Stacks have such original idea and are great for the book blogging community! It's always a pleasure hanging out with them at book events.

Windowpane Memoirs said...

Mundie Moms and Girls in the Stacks are GREAT they creativeness is something that I truly admire. Thanks for sharing.