I’m very pleased to welcome Stephanie Cox as the last Blogger in the Spotlight for 2015 – back again in January. Stephanie blogs as Words Are My Craft – you can find her blog here: www.wordsaremycraft.wordpress.com
Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Stephanie Cox and I’m a 25-year old publishing professional from Hull (the City of Culture for 2017!). I’m an avid reader as all of us are, and work as Publishing Editor at an academic publishing house called Emerald Group Publishing. I have just joined the Society of Young Publishers North and Midlands branch as Events Organiser and a guest blogger for BookMachine, as well as a blogger on my own site, Words Are My Craft.
I am a very chatty and friendly person, very opinionated, and can be quite loud, but hopefully not in an obnoxious way. I love to knit and crochet as well as read, so spend most of my time either reading, crafting or attending industry events.
What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?
I actually wrote a post about this on my blog. My favourite books of all time (other than the expected answer of Harry Potter – I love those book and am not ashamed!) are the Angels Unlimited Series (now renamed Agent Angel) by Annie Dalton. I fell in love with these books when I was ten years old. They’re about a young teenaged girl who dies and goes to heaven, and turns into this trouble-shooting, time-travelling babe who fights against the Opposition and protects vulnerable people on the Earth. These books are absolutely magical. I emailed Annie telling her about my love of the books and how she made me fall in love with reading, and after a couple of years of friendship I was wonderfully surprised when she wrote me and my triplet sisters into one of her books, Fighting Fit, as ancient Roman goddesses and gladiators. Annie is definitely the reason I pursued a career in publishing.
I also loved the Charlie Bone series (Children of the Red King) by Jenny Nimmo, The Casson Family series by Hilary McKay, The Faerie Wars series by Herbie Brennan and pretty much every single book written by Meg Cabot, especially The Princess Diaries.
What made you want to start blogging?
Admittedly, the reasons were entirely selfish. I had the idea to start up a blog when I started looking for a job in publishing (a very, very difficult thing to pull off right now) and decided to start interviewing publishers, authors and other people in the industry. I wanted to keep my own knowledge of the industry up to scratch, have tangible proof on my CV and in interviews that I had a strong passion for publishing, and use it as a way to build up a network of industry contacts, which every article and book told me was a vital step in getting a publishing job.
I also wanted a place to share my love of great books, since other than my triplet sisters, I knew very few people in my day-to-day life who were as passionate about reading as I was.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Without a doubt, it’s meeting people in the industry. I have a good solid network of publishers, authors and fellow book bloggers now and it’s fantastic. It means I can immerse myself in the industry on a daily basis, chat with the friends I’ve made whilst sourcing interviews for my blog, and make a contribution to the sales and success of authors’ work. Book Connectors is one such example of how blogging, and following peoples’ blogs, has lead me to make a lot of new friends in the industry.
Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!
I like to think my blog Words Are My Craft is quite unique as, along with regular book reviews and author blog tours, it features weekly interviews with people who work in the publishing industry. I’ve interviewed independent presses, digital app publishers, editors, book marketers, authors, publishing houses – people from all areas of the business. There are so many book blogs out there, and many interview authors, but I wanted to stand out a bit and offer readers something different – those behind the books, those that help make a book the masterpiece that it is but don’t ever really get any credit. There are so many amazingly talented publishers out there and I like to try to sing their praises, as well as those of books and their authors.
What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed so far this year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.
I was blown away by I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, about a pair of twins who go through a family tragedy. As a triplet I’m particularly interested in things about multiple births, but the narrative, the story, everything was absolutely outstanding.
Another one that really impressed me was The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder, by John Ironmonger. It is incredibly clever and explores philosophy and the human mind whilst being hilarious at the same time.
What are you reading just now?
I’m currently reading How To Be Brave by Louise Beech, a writer from my home city of Hull. I’m loving it so far. It’s selling well and set out to make a real impact.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I do own a Kindle, and How To Be Brave is a Kindle copy, but I always try to get my hands on a print copy if possible. There’s no competition for me: the print book wins hands down. They are what make me really feel like I’m reading and in touch with the author’s work. The Kindle, while amazingly versatile and offers cheap books, just doesn’t quite capture my heart like a print book does.
I used to read in every spare moment of the day. I would even read at the dinner table and while brushing my teeth! Now, however, since I started work full time at a place that takes me over an hour to drive to, my time is more limited. I read in bed for about half an hour before I sleep, at lunch at work, every time I have a bath, and for an hour or so during the evening. It’s not as much as I’d like, but I manage OK
How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?
You can follow my blog if you have a wordpress account. Just go to www.wordsaremycraft.wordpress.com and press ‘follow’. You can follow me on Twitter @cox_stephanie or add me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.cox.3990. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat.
If you’re not on wordpress, you can still catch all of my interviews as BookMachine, a major publishing organisation, also features my interviews on their blog bookmachine.org.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Oof, that’s a hard question! I would have loved to be John Watson, Sherlock Holme’s partner. I’d love to see Holmes in action and be part of his team, but I wouldn’t want to be the man himself. It must be Hell inside his head, really, but to be close to him would be brilliant. Plus, John Watson is very cool.