This week I am having my virtual evening out with the lovely Linda Hill, personal inspiration and award-winning book blogger at Linda’s Book Bag.
Thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening, Linda. First things first, what are you drinking?
Thank you so much for having me here on your lovely blog Julie. I can’t drink ordinary wine as it makes me ill these days so if it’s OK with you I’ll have a glass of champagne please. Or a Bailey’s. Or a cocktail. Or all three?
Why not? If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
My ideal evening out with you would be at a Bryan Ferry concert on the front row. I may have been a little bit obsessed by him for around 45 years and have been to 21 of his concerts but I’m sure you wouldn’t mind coming to just one more! We would, of course, have a lovely meal beforehand with some chocolate based pudding.
Sounds great, I have never been to a Bryan Ferry concert, although I have eaten a lot of chocolate based puddings! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
I’d love Bryan Ferry of course, but actually I think I’d like to ask Sir David Attenborough to join us as he’s such an inspiration. I went to see him give a talk once and I’d love to have time to speak with him in person. My female guest would have to be Charlotte Bronte. I did my dissertation on her novels at university (a very long time ago) and I’d love to chat with her about my findings!
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
At the moment life is a little bit on hold with family commitments as my elderly Mum is unwell, but the blog is still a priority for me. I’ve blogged over 500 times this year, so I have decided to cut right back and focus back on reading and reviewing from now on. I have tried to showcase as many authors as I can on the blog, but I also have so many books I’m desperate to read and haven’t got to because setting up blog posts takes up so much time, hence the change. I’m also mulling over finishing my own novel (but I keep saying that!)…
I feel your pain! I never realised just how much work went into book blogging until I started doing it, and I am nowhere near as prolific as you are. What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been time management and saying ‘No’ as I always want to help out with independent authors or blog tours. I’ve found myself spending anything up to 4 or 5 hours a day prepping posts, replying to emails and so on and that has got to change so that I can fit in other things too.
My proudest moments have been multiple since I began blogging. I’ve been really thrilled to receive awards for my blog. In the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve received one for the best book review blog from Bloggers Bash in 2016, the RNA Media Star Award in 2017 and the Best Overall Blog from Bloggers Bash this year. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I adore being quoted on books and have found quotations from my reviews all over the place which is so exciting. I even became a character in one of Tara Lyons’ novels which was so exciting. However, one of the elements of blogging that makes me proudest is if someone buys a book as a result of one of my reviews and then comes back and tells me how much they enjoyed it too. What could be better?
What is the one big thing you’d still like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
Ha! What I’d like to do, which I know I’m never going to achieve is to read and review EVERY book on my TBR. If I read a book a day for almost 7 years I might manage it – as long as I don’t buy any more!
I am in the same boat! What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I’m working on saying ‘No’! If I can stop wanting to be all things to all people and actually concentrate on reading I might make a dent in that TBR after all!
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
Oh, I couldn’t agree more. I LOVE travel. I’ve been all over the world from Australia to Zanzibar. My favourite places have been the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica, I think. Also, I loved seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland.
This year we went to Uganda to see gorillas in the wild, India to look for tigers and Bali and Indonesia to see Komodo Dragons. We should have spent a while in Hong Kong but the typhoon scuppered us and we had to come home early. Our next trip is to Sri Lanka for 12 days, then across to Singapore for a couple of nights, though we have been there before, and then we cruise around Malaysia. I’m looking forward to that. As for my bucket list for places to go, I think Peru will have to be next as I’d love to see Machu Picchu and also I haven’t been to the Taj Mahal so yes, I think Peru and a return to India might be on the cards for next year too.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
When I was teaching I was always embarrassing myself. For example, I was reading a short story to a big class of 35 year 9 students about a boy who had made up a girlfriend. The class also included the Head Teacher’s daughter. As I was reading the line should have been, ‘And she kissed me on the end of my conk…’ as in nose. I’ll leave it to your imagination what I actually read…
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
It is almost impossible to answer that question. I’ve been privileged to read so many glorious books. One that has stayed with me from the beginning of my blogging is Lindsay Hawdon’s Jakob’s Colours. It was one of my first reviews before my blog really took shape, but it is a must read for any WW2 or history lover.
After reading your review, I’ll definitely be adding this to my TBR – as if it wasn’t already long enough!
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
A very large glass of water before bed helps, and actually I don’t drink often. However, if I do feel a bit hungover my go-to cure is to get my husband to do everything the next day as he never seems to get one!
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
It’s been such a lovely night with you Julie and I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for having me. To round off the weekend I think a long walk in the countryside or on the beach and then the afternoon settled by an open fire with a pot of builder’s tea, a large bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and my book would be lovely.
Thank you so much for joining me on the blog tonight, Linda, it has been lovely talking to you. Your blog has been such a huge inspiration to me as I set mine up, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better, we seem to have a lot in common.
Make sure you check out Linda’s wonderful blog and catch up with her on social media.
Facebook: Linda’s Book Bag
Next week I will be out on the virtual tiles with the lovely author, Emma Cooper, so make sure you check back for that one.