Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 4 Texas Bloggers are my Rockstars: Kristin, Tillie, Amy

(Pictures: single pic- Tillie; Group shot at Blue Willow: Kristin, blonde on far left in back row next to me. Amy in back row on far right in blue. Plus other familiar faces!)

Today on Texas Book Bloggers are my Rockstars, we will meet Kristin Rae, Tillie N. and Amy Rose Thomas. I actually don’t know if Tillie writes, but both Kristin and Amy are also writers, chasing toward publication. Amy was actually at the ABLA Big Sur Writing Conference that I attended this past December. And Kristin, who is also a fabulous photographer, writes with me at our local Starbucks when we get the chance.

Make sure to follow them!

You can find Kristin at
You can find Tillie at
You can find Amy Rose at

Now let’s get to those questions!

JP:What inspired you to begin blogging about books?

KR: Shortly after I joined my local writers guild in 2009, someone spoke about social networking and the benefits to having a blog. I knew nothing about blogging and honestly thought the whole thing was a silly waste of time. But once I explored the Internet and saw just how much information was out there and how many incredible people were blogging, I jumped on board. Blogging became an addiction very quickly.

TN: I use to blog on my main blog about the books i had read and people started asking me if I had any recommendations so I started blogging more frequently. Then someone introduced me to NetGalley and I became obsessed :)

AT: My love of reading. I wanted to share how much I adored the books I had been reading and hopefully convince someone else out there to pick up this book and give it a chance.

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?

KR: I think the Thumper Rule is a good rule to blog by, especially as an aspiring author. I'm not doing anyone, myself included, any favors by giving bad reviews. I like to highlight books and authors that I feel deserve notice. Sure I'll occasionally read a book I'm surprised made it into print, but I generally keep my mouth shut about it. Someone might like it, so who am I to keep them from giving it a chance? And for the author that wrote it, it's their baby. You never want to tell someone their baby is ugly!
I began my blog as a way to network with other writers. For me, my love of writing stems from a love of reading. I get lost inside of stories, in the worlds authors create. I get attached to characters as if they're my friends. I love being able to use my blog as a way to introduce great stories and characters I discover, and it's a unique way to hear from others that love a particular book as much as I do.
I'm not too strict about my blog topics, so I've gushed about new carpeting we got installed in the house, movies I love, conversations I've overheard that inspire my writing, vacations, my two boxers... pretty much whatever's on my mind when I sit down to write a post.

TN: I use to have one combined blog...but now I focus only on books on my book blog and I will still highlight good ones on my main blog {which really doesn't have a focus because I definitely can't stay focused lol}.

AT: My blog focuses on book reviews of YA books. I also have a feature for teen writers that are trying to break through. Their passion and creativity blows me away. I hope that I one day am reading their books and placing them on my bookshelf. I try to promote reading and writing, to encourage it in adults and teens alike.

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?

KR: I try to go to as many local book signings as I can. Living just north of Houston, I'm fortunate to have a big Barnes and Noble down the street that brings in a lot of authors, as well as two great indies closer to town, Blue Willow Bookshop and Murder By The Book. Not only is it a great time to show support for all the work the authors put into their stories, I also get to hang out with fellow bloggers and writers, some of which I now consider friends. It's too much fun! The book world is just overflowing with the BEST people, and I love feeling a part of that.
As a writer especially, there's no greater inspiration to keep going full steam ahead than hearing directly from an author about their publishing story and writing process. I get excited at author events! I love interacting with an author who's work I admire. Even if you just chat with them for a moment, you make a connection that helps you appreciate their stories even more.
Events like Austin Teen Book Festival and the Houston Teen Book Con are fantastic because it introduces you to authors you might not have otherwise heard of. When I hear an unfamiliar author speak on a panel, that's their chance to hook me! It's not uncommon for me to run right out and buy their book just because of something they said that stuck out to me.

TN: I love the Texas book blogging community. Jenn Big Heart does a fantastic job linking up all of us linked up and organizing events within events. I started my book blog right before the Austin Teen Book Festival and I have to say the book blogging community is AMAZING. They are so supportive and informative. I was nervous showing up there not knowing anyone, but by the end I met so many great friends who I talk to on a regular basis. I love book signings too. I wind up becoming such fangirl for the authors! It is amazing to meet authors and get to know some of them. What keeps me going is learning about the authors. I think that getting to know them really does encourage me to read more and more of their books...

AT: Texas book bloggers rock! Seriously. Everyone I've met in the blogging world is so supportive and encouraging of one another. I think it all boils down to one thing in the end. We all love books.

As for events, I go to as many as I can. I can never get enough. Authors and books and booknerds all together in one place makes for fun times. My favorite events to attend so far are the teen book conferences, like in Austin and Houston. The author panels are so informative and there's still time for each person to have a little one-on-one with the authors of their choice.

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

KR: I'm going to pull the writer card again here first. How can I not support the industry I want to break into? All of those lucky published authors were in my shoes once, dreaming about the day they could have their books out on the shelves and meet readers at their own book signings. They made it, and I'm really and truly ecstatic for them. Supporting them by buying their books and going out to their signings are really the only ways I can say, "Thank you. Thank you for putting in the work to get this beautiful story out there for us to enjoy. And thank you for showing me that it can be done." And one day, I might be in need of this kind of support too. You never know!
Booksellers, booksellers, how do I love thee? Here's the thing: books look good on my shelves. They are tangible things. I can turn their pages. I can smell them. I can get them signed. I can give them away. eBooks scare the mess out of me, and I haven't completely jumped on board that train just yet. Yes, I've bought a few "eBook Only" stories by authors I wanted to support (I downloaded Kindle for iPhone), but outside of that, hard copies are for me. Bookstores and libraries are important features in society, especially in this digital age, and I would be heart sick to see them go. We must support them!!

TN: Wow, that's in interesting question...I would tell them it's important because we need to make sure that reading books should never be a lost art. Books, booksellers and authors shape our lives. I love being able to escape to another world and I think that if we stop supporting that it will be harder to do so.

AR: The book industry is influx. It's shaky right now. And the world needs books. I recently read an article that discussed dissociative behavior in teens in Japan. The article said that none of the kids in the study read books and then went on to discuss why this is vital to a healthy growing psyche. Books open up worlds to an individual that they would never be able to experience firsthand otherwise. Books give you empathy, allow you to feel things and see things in a whole different light. Books connect people.

JP: Any favorite author stories?

KR: I've been fortunate to meet quite a few amazing authors, including (but certainly not limited to!) Rachel Hawkins, Lauren Oliver, Ally Carter, Veronica Roth, Maureen Johnson, and even Scott Westerfeld. I'm a huge huge huge Stephanie Perkins fan and I've managed to meet her twice. Stephanie isn't afraid to be herself, effectively pulling off the combat boots and the wild hair (I wish I had some sort of style outside of my yoga pants!). She's one of the sweetest authors I've met, and is genuinely thankful for readers. I'm a total fangirl, and can't wait to make a fool out of myself again the next time she comes to town!

TN: I will say with all of the "YA author drama" as of late, I am thankful that I haven't been a part of it. I love the support I get from authors when I review their books. Trinity Faegen, Cindy Bennett and Amy Clipston are some of my favorites. They all have commented on my reviews as well as pimped them out on twitter. Amy in particular is wonderful and has answered questions I have had on her last series! Plus she made sure I got an ARC of her latest book since she knows how much I enjoy her series and reviewing her books. I love when authors actually talk to us on twitter/email. It makes me feel more invested in them. Oh, and I wind up going a little fan-girl but they don't seem to mind :)

AR: At Austin Teen Book Fest in 2011, I saw Scott Westerfield speak on a panel. He was intelligent, witty and a tad bit cocky. But when the time for questions came, all these kids wants to talk to him. His books had really made an impact on their lives and their own writing. Yes, many of these kids were writers. Each time that a kid addressed a question to him, Scott devoted every single bit of his attention and focus on them. He would lean out of his chair and over the table, getting as close to them as possible. He cared so much what these kids had to say. It humbled me and inspired me and made me realize all over again what the YA genre is all about. The kids.

JP: Thanks, ladies, for some amazing answers! I hope that by the end of this series everyone understands not only how much work and passion bloggers put into their work but also how thoughtful they are about the publishing industry!

And for our last day tomorrow, another trifecta!! The fabulous Maria Cari Soto, the delightful Sarah Evans, and a blogger who also is a talented organist, Christin Baker!


Kristin Rae said...

Thanks for the interview, Joy! Great hearing these awesome ladies' answers too. :)

Unknown said...

Great interview ladies! I'm glad that you are all friends and loved reading all your answers! Great questions Joy!

WordLuster said...

Thanks so much for the interview! This post was fantastic! And I completely agree with Cari!! It's been such a great experience getting to know all these wonderful bloggers. :-D

Stephanie said...

Yay! Love these Houston gals!!

Catherine Denton said...

Enjoyed reading through these fun questions and answers. I love seeing how others found blogging and what they choose to focus on. Thanks ladies! (Came over from Kristin Rae's blog)
Catherine Denton

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