Today, Tilbury talks to… Jen Lucas. Thank you for agreeing to visit the blog today Jen. Please introduce yourself.
I am a late bloom blogger, having been at this for just about two and a half years but at ‘life’ for considerably longer. I am a former Transport Manager currently looking for something new to entertain me until I retire and so my focus is all on books and blogging. I have two cats, love travel and love reading (obviously). Crime is my go to genre but I do experiment with the odd bit of chic-lit and the like. In a former life I was a qualified Track Judge and Timekeeper for athletics and once share a bag of jelly babies with Linford Christie (which goes to show just how old I am …)
What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I’d like to say a speeding bullet but nothing quite so dramatic as that. I was at Crimefest in Bristol and fairly oblivious to the whole blogging phenomena at this time. I’d seen a few bloggers about at the conference, seen a few on Twitter and during the course of the weekend gave some thought as to how it might work and if I could do it. I’ve always been technophobic to a degree so the idea of creating my own website gave me kittens, but I figured if I didn’t give it a go, I’d never know. And here I am.
What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
Best things – the camaraderie with other bloggers. It is wonderful being part of such a great community and the way we support each other can be really special. Yes’ it’s nice to get the opportunity to read some truly fabulous books and to expand my reading horizons which I have since blogging, but the people can make or break and experience and I’ve made some wonderful cyber & real life friends.
Worst things – putting too much pressure on myself. I want to help everyone as much as I can and even now I find myself overcommitting to reads just to not let people down. That and not having enough hours in the day as real life stuff can be a terrible burden.
How soon after finishing reading a book do you write a review?
I vary. Sometimes, but not often I write them straight away. More often than not it can be a good week or two before I put pen to paper as I am so excited to get started on the next book. The longest between read and review is probably ten months … That is very rare but it has happened.
Have you met any fellow book bloggers in ‘real life’ and what were they like?
I have been fortunate to meet so many bloggers as I’ve been able to get to a few bookish events. I could literally go on for hours naming them all. They are all lovely folk and so passionate about books you can’t help but love them. It it daunting meeting everyone for the first time but as you tend to know each other so well from your online conversations it soon feels like you are talking to old pals. My absolute bloggish treat though has been being able to meet and get to know Vicki Goldman, Katherine Sunderland, Kate Noble, and Abbie Rutherford who are all truly wonderful ladies and it is my honour to be able to call them my friends. They have been a source of unending support on my bloggish journey and I couldn’t do this without them. Would still love to meet Lorraine Rugman, Eva Merckx and Abby Slater though who are fabulous online pals.
Have you met any of your favourite authors? Did the experience meet your expectations?
I have. Met all four in fact. Angela Marsons, Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and John Connolly. Angie is about as shy as I am but she is such a lovely person that it was wonderful to meet her. I am a complete doof in real life and a lot less confident than I may appear online so generally the experience has been to mutter something about liking their books, get a signature in the book and scuttle away.
I have managed several actual conversations with James Oswald now which have gone beyond I really like your book (poor bloke probably thinks I’m his stalker and my sister threatened to steal one of his cows so we are expecting the restraining order any day), and I got an unexpected and impromptu hug off John Connolly for the review I wrote earlier this year which was nice. I’ve met a lot of authors through bookish events and they have all been wonderful. I think the main thing to remember is that 90% of them are as nervous as we in meeting folk and to my knowledge, none of them are axe wielding maniacs so there is nothing to be scared of in going up and saying hi. Easy to type … not so easy to do.
Which book has had the most emotional impact on you? This can be any emotion – sadness, laughter, fear etc.
There are probably two. Angela Marson’s ‘Dear Mother’ and Luke Allnutt’s ‘We Own The Sky’. Angie’s book took me on a really emotional journey and had me in bits at certain stages. There are some parallels between the family in the book and my own fond memories of childhood, though thankfully mine weren’t as severe, but it certainly resonated with me and the ending nearly killed me emotionally. With ‘We Own The Sky’ it may have just been the timing of my read but there was so much emotion on each page, especially in the scene between Jack and his friends, that I was in tears and I don’t often manage crying as I’m a hard cow.
In your opinion which book should everyone read at least once, and why?
Gosh. There are so many. If I had to choose one then perhaps Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I studied it at college as part of my A Levels. There is just something about the book, perhaps its stark and brutal honesty, that captivates the reader, but there is also an overriding sense of strength through adversity which I think many could take an example from. It is hard reading at times, but so important as an understanding of the kind of journey so many people have had to make just because they are seen as different, be it race or religion which defines them, and the fight that so many still have to endure. And as a child who escaped her own challenges through reading, there is much I can identify with in the author’s story. In fact, I really want to read it again now.
Thank you for taking part Jen, and for such great answers!
As always, thank you for your support.