I’m very pleased to welcome Julie Ryan to the blog today. Julie is an author as well as a blogger but is taking part with her blogging hat on today.
Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born and bred in Yorkshire and didn’t stray too far, studying French Language and literature at Hull University. Then the wanderlust kicked in and after living and working in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand, I’m now happily settled in rural Gloucestershire. I worked as a language teacher for a while but now I run the local Post Office in the mornings and teach English to French companies over the phone in the afternoons, fitting my writing and blogging around both. I also have a husband, young son and two cats, one with half a tail but that’s another story!
What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?
I was brought up on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven. In fact when I started secondary school my English teacher criticised my writing because it was too much like Enid Blyton’s and she encouraged me to diversify. I then became hooked on Agatha Christie. Once I develop a passion for a writer I want to read all their books.
What made you want to start blogging?
It wasn’t until I started writing my first book that I realised how much writers depend on bloggers to get the word out. I then decided to set up my own blog where I review other writers. It seemed a natural step as I was already reviewing books on Amazon and Goodreads. By setting up my own blog I could keep track of what I’d read. I also love it when I get book post and it’s from a writer that I’ve long admired. It still seems a bit surreal at times.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I love the contact with other writers and bloggers. There’s a lovely Facebook community and so far I haven’t met any hostility. Letting other people know about a brilliant book gives me a real buzz. If I had physical copies, I’m sure I’d be the one going round all my friends saying ‘Here, you really must read this.’ Blogging is the digital alternative.
Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!
My blog is called ‘Allthingsbookie.com’ and it’s where I blog about all the brilliant books I’ve read. I’m lucky that I sometimes get advance copies so you might find out about a book that hasn’t been published yet. There’s usually a competition or two where you can win books so what are you waiting for? In the first year I had over 100,000 hits so I must be doing something right!
What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.
I could probably choose at least ten as I read about 100 books a year! Anyone who knows me will vouch that I love books set in foreign locations where I can lose myself for a few hours. Romance, thrillers, mystery and historical fiction are my preferred genres so if a book meets a couple of those categories, I’m fairly sure I’ll love it. I’ve also got a soft spot for anything Greek in case you didn’t know.
My first choice therefore has to be ‘The Sunrise’ by Victoria Hislop. Set in Cyprus just before the troubles of 1974, it tells the story from both the Turkish and Greek viewpoints. It had the location, the historical background and a gripping storyline. I can’t ask for much more. It was one of those books where you slow down towards the end because you don’t want it to finish yet you can’t wait to find out what happened.
What are you reading just now?
February 2016 – Feeling in need of a pick-me up after all the rain, I’m currently reading ‘The forgotten summer’ by Carol Drinkwater. I’m loving the descriptions of the South of France and also the suspense of trying to anticipate what the secret is. I’m about half way through so can’t wait to see if I’m right yet at the same time the writing is so lovely that I don’t want to finish the book.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I’m a prolific reader which means I can be found reading almost anywhere, in the car, on the train but usually it’s at night in bed. I love reading until my eyes droop and it’s time to go to sleep. I love the feel of a ‘real’ book, nothing can beat that but I love my Kindle too for allowing me to carry hundreds of books around in my handbag. I think it’s fair to say I’m rarely without a book.
How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?
Website/blog for book reviews
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Looking back at my teenage stroppy self, I think I probably modelled myself on Scarlet O’Hara in ‘Gone with the wind’. She may not be everyone’s first choice as she’s spoilt, throws a tantrum when she doesn’t get her own way and sulks like there’s no tomorrow. For all that, she ‘s a wonderful character and meets her match in Rhett Butler. She goes through so much but comes out a much more rounded and more likeable person. The main reason for choosing her though is to get to dance with her adorable beau. I’m not sure I’d actually want to be her but I’d sure love to step in her shoes for a while!