Renee Conoulty – Blogger in the Spotlight

Today we are heading ‘down under’ to meet Australian blogger Renee. She blogs at Hey Said Renee and you can find her blog by clicking here.

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’m currently living in Darwin, in the tropical north of Australia. My husband is in the military, so we move around the country every few years. I have two kids, a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. I work part time as a teacher’s aide in a primary school. My other passion, apart from reading and writing (and eating chocolate) is swing dancing.

What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?

Enid Blyton. She’s always the first author who comes to mind when I think of my childhood. I particularly loved her fantasy – The Wishing Chair adventures and The Faraway Tree ones.

A friend passed on her collection of Trixie Belden books, which I devoured.

At school, my teacher put me on to Susan Cooper, Victor Kelleher and Isobelle Carmody – I systematically worked through everything they’d ever written. I need to catch up on Isobelle’s books now though.

I also have vivid memories of sitting on the floor in the second hand book store picking through the teen romance section for Sweet Dreams books I hadn’t read yet.

Rather eclectic tastes back then, not much has changed.

What made you want to start blogging?

OK, I’ll admit it. I started for a free book. A friend on Goodreads put me on to Netgalley, where a book we were planning on discussing the next month was available. As I was filling in my profile, I thought “Well, I’d better start a blog.” I hadn’t even read any book blogs before. An afternoon of research later, I had a blog. In the end, I got that book from my local library before it was approved on Netgalley.

Once I’d discovered the world of blogging though, I was hooked. A handful of free books is a great perk, but what keeps me blogging is being able to share my love of books with the world and the fantastic connections I’ve made with authors, other bloggers and readers.

Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!

My blog is called HeySaidRenee. It’s a book blog where I mainly share short reviews. I’m not one for rehashing the plot in my review, I post the blurb to cover that. I just get to the guts of what I liked in a couple of paragraphs.

I also share author interviews and guest posts.

I have a few posts with tips, such as my all-time most popular one, with ten time more page views than any other post – How to ask a blogger to review your book. You can read it here http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/how-to-ask-blogger-to-review-your-book.html

Sometimes I share snippets about my personal writing journey too. Last year I decided to give this novel writing thing a go, so maybe one day Joanne will invite back for an author interview to complement this blogger one 😉

What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.

Over the past 12 months? Oh, that’s way too many books to get my head around at once. I’ll narrow it down to so far in 2016.

Dating for Decades by Tracy Krimmer. A great chick lit women’s fiction style book full of quotable lines. Tracy is one of my favourite authors. I love her voice.

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Fitzgerald. Historical fiction set in New York in the 1920s. I loved Natasha’s blend of literary and commercial fiction. Her descriptions made me feel like I was there. Her book is amazing and her blog is inspirational (it inspired me to start writing).

What are you reading just now?

It’s July 14, 2016. I thought I’d better include the date as well as the month, because this will all change in a few days. I read lots. I mean LOTS. Most people set personal goals to read more. My goal is to read less than 200 books this year.

I’m reading Copping it Sweet by Anna Clifton on my ereader. A contemporary romance with an alpha male cop hero.

I’m reading Blame by Nicole Trope via a text to speech app on my phone. It’s a psychological thriller full of unreliable narrators. Quite dark topics. Loving it.

I’m reading Alice-Miranda at school by Jaqueline Harvey to the kids as a bedtime story. We’re all enjoying this one.

Tell me about your reading habits:  book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?

Um … All of the above.

Actually, my first preference for reading is audiobook. A great narrator brings a whole new layer to the story. If I can’t get my hands on a great narrator, my text to speech app isn’t too bad. I have an awesome set of Bluetooth headphones so I don’t get tangled in cords while I’m listening (long cords and dishwashers don’t play together nicely). I love listening to books while doing housework, watching the kids play outside, driving to work and even in the shower (my sexy shower cap convert my headphones to waterproof).

I have a Kobo ereader, several reading apps on my phone (I even went through a speed reading app phase, just to shake things up) and a pile of paperbacks. I’m not big on hardbacks, they hurt when you drop them on your face.

I read any time of day (and night). Whenever I get the chance.

How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?

I’m everywhere …

If you view my blog on a computer, there are lots of fun follow buttons on the top right. 

Blog http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au/

I’m most active on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HeySaidRenee

Twitter https://twitter.com/HeySaidRenee

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heysaidrenee/

I also have a monthly highlights newsletter where I share a little about my blogging, my reading, my writing and my life. You can sign up here http://eepurl.com/bPay5r

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Hmm. The heroes and heroines always get so many problems thrown at them, I’m not sure I want such a difficult life. The villains always get vanquished – I don’t like the sound of that. The support characters are very likely to get killed off. Hmm, the best friend – the one who has all the answers. They’re usually safe. I’d like to be the wise best friend, like Sarah in Love at First Flight by Tess Woods.

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