In the Spotlight ~ Booker Talk

Today we welcome Karen from Booker Talk.

For those of you who love the feel of a paperback or hardcover, Karen feels the same way, she is a lover of books – real ones I can touch.

"E-readers are great for travel but I miss the feeling of the printed page."

Her tastes are eclectic. It’s easier to say what she doesn't like – science fantasy is a big turn off. So is anything in the science fiction genre. Gothic novels don’t do much for her either.

"A good book for me has to have characters I feel I could get to know and a plot that intrigues. Over-blown descriptive passages leave me cold. I want writing that sparkles and doesn’t feel like someone has laboured in the literary mines for days to find yet more adjectives."

Welcome Karen!

When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?
I'm very much a new girl on the block since my blog has only been up and running since February this year. I decided to do this in January when I embarked on a plan to read my way through all the Booker prize winning novels. It took me weeks to figure out all the technical stuff. And even longer to decide what theme and colour combination I wanted. I'd tried blogging a couple of years ago after a terrible customer service experience at one of the big supermarket chains in the UK - but I quickly ran out of steam and realised that blogs are only worth doing if you actually have something to talk about.

So far, what’s the hardest part of being a book blogger?Just finding the time to write my reviews. I usually like to include some info about the author or comments by critics on the book which takes time to research and absorb. Then of course I want to keep up to date with all the blog sites I follow and comment on some of the postings. The deep sighs coming from my husband in the living room are usually a sign that I've spent too long on the computer

What do you do when you are not blogging? 

My days are pretty full since I work as a communications manager, helping managers to communicate with employees. Outside of work I am in the final stages of a literature degree course - I actually started this about five years ago thinking it would be 'fun'. How naive could I be? It's fascinating to read about different interpretations of the novels on our course but actually writing essays is a totally different thing. I have to constantly remind myself I already have a degree, no-one is making me do this and it is supposed to be enjoyable! One more module and that will be it.

How many followers do you have? How often do you post to your blog?My follower base is quite small at the moment but it's growing. And what pleases me even more is that people are actually commenting on my posts. I try to post every few days - I know I should really be more active but there are only so many hours in the day.

You have a catchy name for your blog, tell us how you came up with the name, Booker Talk?
The name wasn't difficult to choose since I wanted it to be about the Booker prize. Now that the content is evolving into more general content around books, it's still relevant. I chose 'talk' as a signal that I really wanted the site to be a way of getting into discussion with other people who have similar interests.

What genre(s) do you read, can you tell us what is it about the genre(s) that grabs your interest?
My tastes have changed over the decades - I used to read a lot of historical fiction at one time but became increasingly irritated by authors who created caricatures rather than full-blooded real people. So now I'm a 22 carat realist fan. Anything which smacks of science fiction or fantasy is a turn off - I need to feel the places and people I'm reading about might actually exist.

Who are your three favorite authors? I can pick only three??? That's a tough one. George Eliot is one author whose work I can read and re-read (Middlemarch in particular). Emile Zola is someone I am just getting into though reading one of his novels can be harrowing at times. And for a complete contrast, I enjoy Maggie O'Farrell - The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a master class in how to handle multiple narrators.

Which author would you most like to meet (dead or alive)? Tell us more..
There are many long-dead authors who would fascinate me but if they're dead the conversation would be rather one sided wouldn't it? So I'll settle for someone who is still living and breathing. They can't be too much of an intellectual otherwise I'll just be intimidated and won't be able to think clearly about what to ask them. My choice would be Anjali Joseph, a young writer who has been tipped as most exciting of new authors. A native of Mumbai, she writes about the city in a way that is endering and evocative without being sentimental. I recently finished reading her first novel, Saraswati Park and loved the way she recreated the vibrancy of a city I've visited a few times. I would love to talk to her about how writers can conjure up a strong sense of a place within their novels in a way that appeals both to people who know the location and to those who have never been there You can see Joseph talk about her work in this You Tube video

How big is your TBR pile? How many books do you read/review in a month?
 My pile has just passed the 50 mark but I haven't counted all the ones on my husband's bookshelf that I also want to read. And of course it just keeps growing because I really can't resist buying books. If I'm on a long haul flight I usually have one novel in my hand luggage and another one in the suitcase, then I will buy two more in the airport bookshop 'just in case' I don't like the one I already have. I thought having a Kindle would cure me but I just end up buying a book anyway because there is always at least 30 mins at take off and landing where you're not allowed to have electronic equipment switched on. That's an hour less reading time!

I don't actually read that many books in a month because I don't like to rush them. So probably I read no more than 3 a month and listen to at least one on audio while commuting to work. But if I do any travel in that month then I get to read more....

Finally, if someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? 
Butterfly Girl' ( a reflection of the fact that my brain always seems to be attracted by something new and off I go down another avenue

On a Personal Note: 

I live in Wales in the UK with my husband. Both of us were journalists many moons ago so have a shared passion about the art of writing. And a shared distaste of lazy use of language - my pet hates are words like 'leverage' and 'pre-book'. I sometimes write about this in my Twitter feed. 

Contact info; 
Twitter handle is @kheenand
I'm also on Facebook 
and on Goodreads 

Karen Heenan-Davies


Christine (Rainy Day Reads) said... Best Blogger Tips

I just came across your site from booker Talk and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
Christine x
Rainy Day Reads

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