Very exciting evening for me, because tonight I am joined for Friday Night Drinks by the first book blogger I ever started following when I discovered her fantastic damp pebbles blog, and she remains one of my favourites. She is also a fantastic blog tour organiser whom I love working with, so welcome to my humble blog….Emma Welton.
Emma, thank you so much for joining me for drinks this evening, I am so excited to have you here! First things first, what are you drinking?
Thank you for inviting me! I’m a bit of a coffee addict and seem to live on the stuff, but seeing as it’s Friday evening I’ll have a white wine please – but only if you’ll join me.
I don’t drink much wine these days as it tends to give me a hangover, but I guess one won’t hurt! 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?
Seeing as we’re both book bloggers I would want it to be book-themed, so…….. I would take you to damppebbles – my future bookshop (and the name sake of my blog!). I love book shops and it’s always been my dream to own one. A few years ago, my husband and I were walking through Plymouth and he asked me what my book shop would be called. We had just passed Waterstones so I (with the huge imagination, I have! 😜) said ‘damppebbles’ (Water Stones = damp pebbles) and it kind of stuck. My book shop would be different though, instead of the usual coffee and books on offer, it would be wine and books. Perfect for two book bloggers to meet for a night out!
That is a fantastic concept. If I won the lottery, I would definitely open a bookshop too. 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?
One would have to be an author so probably Chris Carter, who is my favourite author and writes the brilliant Robert Hunter series of books. I think he would be quite fun on a night out. I think Kylie would have to be the other. I’m a huge secret Kylie fan.
Kylie would be great, we could go dancing. I’d also not be the shortest person in the group for once! 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?
I’ve been blogging for four and a half years now and it’s such a huge part of my life. If you had asked me, back at the start of 2016 before I hit publish on my first post, where book blogging would take me – I would never have believed you. I have made some of the most wonderful friends and met some truly inspirational people. Blogging has also allowed me to start my own little bookish business which I am very proud of – damppebbles blog tours. My days are full to the brim with books, and that’s all thanks to damppebbles.
I can’t believe you have only be going for four-and-a-half years, you feel like one of the grandames of book blogging to me, and one of my inspirations for starting my own blog. What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?
There have been so many highlights over the years. I’ve won an award, I’ve been quoted on book covers, I have a flourishing little blog tour company, I’ve met famous authors and they know who I am! So many wonderful experiences. I think many bloggers suffer a lot from self-doubt and that’s a big hurdle I’ve had to cross. Are my opinions valid? Does anyone actually care what I think? When I realised why I was blogging, that it was for my own personal enjoyment, it put things into perspective for me.
That’s such good advice for new bloggers, and certainly something I can relate to. I think it takes us a little time to build that level of confidence. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
Another tough question! What are you doing to me, Julie?! I don’t have big aspirations for the blog – I love it exactly as it is. But I would love for damppebbles blog tours to continue to grow. I love what I do – working with bloggers, authors and publishers – so the more I get to do it, the happier I am.
And you are so good at it! What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
It’s not something I’m ‘working on’, as such, but I’ve found a rhythm with the blog now and I’m really enjoying reading and writing reviews. I think many bloggers lose their reading mojo every now and then, but mine is currently in full flow and I’m excited to be sharing the book love again.
Again, not strictly something I’m working on at the moment but I’m really looking forward to the start of my regular end of the year feature #R3COMM3ND3D2020. I invite authors and bloggers to recommend three books to the rest of us, but there’s a catch! They must have been published in a certain year. On 1st November I’ll start sharing the 2020 book love and I can’t wait to see what everyone picks!
I think that is my favourite feature on your blog. I’ve taken part twice and it’s a great opportunity to recommend some books that might otherwise slip under the radar, I always challenge myself to try & pick things others aren’t choosing! I have also discovered books I’d not come across, and great new bloggers too, when I read the posts featured, so I’m looking forward to it again this year.
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?
My favourite place in the world is Las Vegas. My husband and I went there for our honeymoon and I loved every single second of it. I would love to return one day (when the kids are a lot older; they’re 9 and 6 at the moment so I expect it won’t be for a few years!).
Top of my bucket list is to write a book of my own. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years but I don’t have the confidence to put pen to paper. One day inspiration will strike, I’m sure! I’d also love to open a real life damppebbles book shop.
Great goals. You should definitely start that book, what do you have to lose? Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know.
I was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic two weeks before my 3rd birthday so I’ve had the condition for *mumble mumble mumble* years now. My parents lived on a knife edge when I was a child. But the first time I had a big hypo as an adult was when I was pregnant with my daughter and we took a holiday in France. I woke in a daze surrounded by hunky French paramedics and a very concerned looking husband. I was whisked to a French hospital to be monitored. Unfortunately both my husband and I only speak ‘school’ French (Où est la gare?) and the poor nursing staff didn’t speak a word of English. They repeatedly said ‘Confiture?’ to us and we hadn’t the foggiest what that meant. Turns out it’s jam. They were offering me jam on toast to get my blood sugar levels back up!
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’?
Only one?! 😱 If I’m limited to one I’m going to make it a book that’s probably crept under the radar for most people. The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell is absolutely outstanding and one of my favourite books. If I’m allowed two then I’ll also recommend the stunning We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker. It’s highly likely We Begin at the End will be my book of 2020.
When tragedy strikes in a small Scottish village, everyone in the community is affected.
Most people believe one child is to blame for what happened.
But could a young boy really be responsible? And what lengths will his parents go to protect him?
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?
Sleep! Lots and lots of sleep, which I unfortunately don’t get with a 6 year old in the house! And paracetamol. And coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
A perfect weekend for me would be curled up on the sofa with a good book and plenty of time to read it.
Emma, thank you so much for coming on, it has been great fun.
Emma Welton is full-time mum, book blogger and blog tour organiser who lives in South Oxfordshire with her husband and two young children (9 & 6). She’s a complete book addict and has been for as long as she can remember. It’s something she encourages in her children too (she likes football, he likes books so she’s halfway there!). She started her blog, damppebbles, in January 2016 and now can’t imagine life without it.
She reads and review mainly crime fiction, psychological thrillers and horror with the odd guest post thrown in for good measure.
Next week I will be joined by another fantastic blogger for Friday Night Drinks, Aruna from The Literary Shed, so do come back then.