Hey, you guys! Today I have a bit of a different post for you which is also part one of two posts with or about Christine! I recently joined Mikaela’s Big Blogger, Little Blogger project and got paired up with Christine as my little blogger and today I’ll introduce you guys to her before she shares a guest post all about reading critically next week! Let’s jump right into this Q&A we did!
1. Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself to introduce yourself to our readers and anyone stumbling across this post!
Hi, everyone! My name is Christine, and I blog @ The Story Salve here on WordPress.
I currently live in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but I previously lived in New York City and Philadelphia, and I’m originally from Oklahoma.
Aside from reading and blogging, I’m also an aspiring novelist. I’m currently working on a Young Adult novel about a bisexual protagonist dealing with clinical depression—it may or may not be partially autobiographical 😉
2. Question: Tell us a little bit about how you got to blogging! Have you always loved to write?
I’ve loved writing since I was a kid when I used to make up elaborate stories about my imaginary friends. Back in high school, I had a Xanga blog for a brief time (I’m totally dating myself right now) and then in college I got really into Tumblr as a distraction from all my school stress. Neither of those were super serious blogs, though, and I honestly have so much respect for young bloggers still in school who keep up with their online life so consistently. Y’all are amazing.
I started seriously blogging in January. One of my goals for 2017 was to review every book I read, as well as reading more diverse books. So I started out with a lot of reviews, and have since branched out to discussion posts and memes.
3. Question: Tell us a little bit about your history when it comes to reading! Do you remember your first book you ever read? Have you always enjoyed reading?
I fell in love with reading at the ripe old age of six, when my brother gave me his copy of The Boxcar Children. I loved the book so much that I once started writing it down word for word in a spiral notebook—because my 6-year-old self just wanted to know what it would be like to write a book.
Reading has always been a part of my life. One of the main reasons I call my blog The Story Salve is because stories have always acted as a balm on my heart. I was an awkward kid and an even more awkward teenager, but reading helped me feel less alone as well as expanding my understanding of the world.
4. Question: What is your blog’s main focus – if it has one? How long have you been blogging?
As I said before, I started my blog as primarily a book blog, without really knowing what I was getting into. As I started following more blogs, I decided that I wanted to find my own niche way of blogging. Around the end of March, it occurred to me what my unique take on books is: I’ve dealt with depression for about 10 years, and I’m passionate about how mental health issues are represented, particularly in YA fiction.
I’ve had the same WordPress account for probably two years or so, but I didn’t really use it regularly until this year. The Story Salve itself has only been at it for about 2 months now. I started out with only a few other blogs following me (most of whom I’m pretty sure are inactive anyway) but I’m slowly building more of a following – and I’m always looking to make new friends.
5. Question: What are your favorite genres to read? What are your favorite books for each genre?
I mostly stick to realistic fiction. I, unfortunately, am one of those people who’s really picky about fantasy: it has to be really character-driven rather than purely plot-focused (a good example: The Game of Thrones series, which everyone should read because it’s better than the show).
I tend to read “issue-focused” YA contemporary. I like to watch characters go through a difficult situation and solve a major, almost adult-like problem. I think it’s because there weren’t a lot of YA books like this around when I was actually a young adult. Some great examples I’ve read in the last year or so:
- A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan
Other genres I read a lot:
what I guess is termed “literary fiction” (some good examples include Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith)
memoir (please please read anything by Mary Karr)
6. Question: What are some other things you love to do other than reading and writing?
My other hobbies include cuddling my cat, walking about in nature, and doing home yoga videos on YouTube (check out Yoga With Adriene if you wanna know about my life).
I honestly don’t do much that isn’t related to reading/writing. Stories have been the one constant in my life, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do with myself if I couldn’t read.
7. Question: Who is your favorite author/your favorite authors? What do you love about them/their writing?
This is the hardest question!
Usually, when strangers ask me this, I rattle off Jane Austen and then duck out of the conversation really fast. I think, as a writer, people expect something from my answer to this question. The reality is that my favorite authors change on a regular basis. I’ve been reading so much YA contemporary lately, so I guess you could say some of my most recent favorites are Becky Albertalli, Riley Redgate, Louise Gornall, Whitney Gardner.
Generally, what I look for in good writing amounts to two things: ease of prose that flies by so fast you don’t even know what happened and the kind of writing that makes you want to slow down so you don’t miss a single word. Those sound contradictory, but they actually aren’t.
Fun fact: I was an English major in undergrad, so I read all the classics and obscure stuff that nobody’s heard of outside academia. I enjoyed it, really I did, but when I graduated, I realized how much I missed reading things that didn’t require taking pages and pages of notes trying to parse out what the author’s trying to say. I still read a few classics a year, just to keep my head sharp, but I truly think that good writing doesn’t have to be difficult to read.
8. Question: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which one would it be? (No Harry Potter!)
This is easy—I’d read Anne of Green Gables all day every day. It was my favorite book when I was 8, and I re-read it every couple of years. It’s about an 11-year-old orphan girl in Canada, about all the mistakes she makes and experiences she has grown up in the nineteenth century. And I swear, every time I re-read it, I get something new out of it. Anne is such an inspiring character. If you haven’t read it, please check it out for me!
Let’s do some this or that kind of questions!
1: Paperback or Hardcover? Paperback. Hardcovers are too heavy.
2: Physical or ebook? I prefer physical, but I end up with more e-books because they’re cheaper.
3: Standalone or series/trilogy/duology? I actually prefer standalone, generally. I think series are harder to accomplish and keep me interested. Plus I forget everything that happened in the first book by the time a new one comes out.
4: Reading all day or reading all night? All day. I’m an old lady, I’m in bed by 10 pm most nights.
5: Short books or long books? Long books! More bang for your buck.
I had so much fun thinking of questions and reading through Christine’s answer! I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know a possibly new blogger too! Make sure to check out her blog and Twitter and give her a follow and/or leave a nice comment!