Holmes brings us another in her excellent series, Book Bloggers and Reviewers.
are delighted to welcome Linda Hill to the RNA Blog’s monthly series where we
speak to book bloggers and get an insight into their world. Welcome Linda, tell
us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
I'm a blogger over at Linda's Book Bag. I used to be an
English teacher and local authority adviser
before I went over to the dark side
as an independent consultant and OfSTED inspector but I loved that as my work
took me all over the country and to Jersey, Paris and New York to work.
I live with Steve, my husband of
almost 34 years, in the Lincolnshire Fens where it can feel like being in a
Tupperware box at times with vast grey skies. I adore cats and used to have
four at one time, including a diabetic one we had to inject with insulin twice
a day, but have none now as we go away so much.
I'm mad about Bryan Ferry, having
met him twice and been to 21 of his concerts and you won't find me more than a
few feet away from chocolate, fudge or toffee and preferably all three.
When I'm not blogging or reading
I'll be planning a holiday! Thanks so much for inviting me to appear on this
What made you start to review/blog?
I've always been a bookworm - or
rather, I was once I got glasses at the age of almost 8 and realised those
strange smudges on a piece of paper were actually magical words that could
transport me somewhere else. I loved inspiring youngsters to
read for pleasure when I taught English and then when I left teaching and
became an Educational Consultant I was asked by Hodder to read and review KS3
aged children's books with a view to them being used as class readers. Imaging
my delight at being paid to read!
After that I looked for online
reading groups and found Love Reading
who were looking for review panel members so I applied and was taken on as one
of their reviewers. At the same time, I retired (life
is too short to work!) and joined my local University of the Third Age (U3A)
reading group where the members encouraged me to share my thoughts. It suddenly
dawned on me in 2015 that I could actually blog and so Linda's Book Bag was
What’s your review policy?
I don't have one! I've thought
long and hard about it and whether I ought to have one and although I avoid
anything offensively sexual, racist, homophobic etc, I'll consider most things for
review. I don't much like horror as I'm a wimp and don't like being scared. If
an author would like me to consider a book for review I'll always do a bit of
research and see if I think it's for me.
Trouble is, the TBR is now huge
so my current 'review policy' is that I have to decline an awful lot as I know
I'll never get to the books.
I saw on your blog that you won the Best Book Review Blog Award
2016. Congratulations! Tell us a little
bit about how you came to be nominated and what it was like to receive the
I'm not sure how I came to be
nominated and it was a complete shock to me and even more that I actually won!
A few people since have told me that they nominated me and I'm so grateful. I
was in a field at Burghley House waiting for Bryan Ferry to perform (which is
why I wasn't at the award ceremony) when I got a Facebook message from fellow
blogger Shell Baker telling me I'd won. I was so thrilled.
How many times a month do you blog?
It varies. I'm trying to cut back
as I spend too much time blogging and not enough time reading. Last year which
was so awful for me personally meant I didn't have as much time as I would have
liked, but I still blogged
Unless I'm on holiday, or taking
a break as I did in April this year I rarely have a day when I don't blog and
many days have two posts.
What’s the best and worst thing about running a blog?
After the sheer joy of reading,
the best thing has to be the people. I have made real and virtual friends
including other bloggers, authors and publicists. We all try to support one
another and it is a delight when I get to go to events and meet these people
face to face.
The worse thing is the time it
takes up and the occasional lack of understanding about what goes in to setting
up a blog post that some people seem to have. I wrote a bit about that when I
explained my reasons for going AWOL in April
and I'll be doing the same and being absent in August too.
This week, for example, I didn't
receive the extract I was supposed to have for a blog tour on the Monday, even
though I'd reminded the publisher to send it. I really didn't have time to read
the book but I didn't want to let down the author so I got up at 5 on Sunday
morning and read solidly for five hours to be able to write a review so that I
had something to post. If I'm honest, I was very annoyed and could just have posted
a spotlight but I felt it wasn't the author's fault and they still deserved as
much coverage as possible.
You are a Netgalley member – can you tell us a little about that.
Honestly? I try to avoid
Netgalley if I can. Partly it's because I always seem to get in a pickle when
posting reviews and feedback but mostly because I tend to forget I have
e-books. I have over 900 physical books that have been sent to me unsolicited
and awaiting review so I rarely request a Netgalley book unless I have been sent
a specific widget for a blog tour.
What do you like to do in your spare time when not reading?
I love to be outside. I love
walking and I garden as much as I can and have an allotment so I can grow our
own fruit and veg. I run a local U3A gardening group. I write a little bit and
have a novel lurking in the background. However, my biggest passion is travel,
especially if it combines with wildlife. One of the most exciting things I've
ever done was snorkeling with sharks in the Galapagos. My husband and I have
been all over the place from Antarctica and Australia to Zambia and Zanzibar.
We are going to Uganda in the hope of seeing gorillas and India to look for
tigers in 2018 and I haven't quite decided what we're doing this year although
we've already been to Wales (very exotic), Lapland and Spain.
We often ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next
'big thing' - what do you hope to see in 2017?
I'd like to see some of the quiet
books that get overlooked picked up more. One of the books I've really enjoyed
this year so far is The
Words in My Hand
by Guinevere Glasfurd as it is exquisite but I've
hardly seen it mentioned.
Thanks for having me Ellie. I've
really enjoyed taking part.
Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction
with her heart in the town and her soul in the
country. Ellie’s debut release
was The Flower Seller. A member of the RNA and the Alliance of Independent
Authors, Ellie’s latest book The Tregelian Hoard, set in Cornwall, is the first
novella in her Jonquil
Jones Mystery Series
Ellie and Linda for such an informative interview.
Would you like to write for the RNA Blog? Do you have a book about to be published and want to tell members of your journey? Contact us on email@example.com