Today I welcome Sandra Danby. Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature Sandra. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m a reader who became a writer. Since I first was able to read, I’ve loved books. It was magical when I discovered I could write one myself. This led to lots of home-made magazines, an English degree then 35+ years as journalist and magazine editor. And now, finally, I get to write books, read books and review them. Every day. So I’m living my childhood dream.
What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?
I started with Enid Blyton – Famous Five, Secret Seven and Malory Towers – and moved on to Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series. As a teenager I pinched my Mum’s books so read copious amounts of Mary Stewart, Maeve Binchy, Jean Plaidy, Daphne du Maurier and Winston Graham. I had a concentrated crime phase reading Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers. From my father I developed a love of spy thrillers, so John le Carre, Nevil Shute, Frederick Forsyth, Ian Fleming and Len Deighton. Then I went to university and read Henry James, F Scott Fitzgerald, John Updike, William Faulkner and Joseph Conrad for the first time.
What made you want to start blogging?
I came late to blogging, the thought of writing about the books I read did not occur to me. Even as a journalist! Then a friend of mind who was writing a novel, wrote about a girl who writes an environmental blog. I checked out blogging and discovered WordPress. My first blog post, one of my own short stories, was posted in 2013.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Blogging is like gossiping with your friends about the book you’re reading, what they’re reading, and the books in your To-Read pile. I have discovered so many new authors through recommendations from bloggers. It was a while before I discovered Net Galley, which still makes me feel like a child in a sweet shop. One week I may read a preview copy of a book before it is published, but other times I will pull something off my shelf or read something I bought at Oxfam or a book whose cover caught my eye in the library.
Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!
I blog about reading and writing, as I do both, and my blog posts reflect my own interests. So there is a mixture of book reviews, author interviews, poetry and writing tips. I have a regular monthly feature called ‘Porridge and Cream’ which in which an author explains which book is their comfort read, the book they re-read most often. There have been some lovely choices, from Terry Pratchett to RF Delderfield and Colm Tóibín.
What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.
My favourite book of 2016, so far, is Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton. It deserves to win awards. It is beautifully written, deceptively simply yet very intuitive about the relationship between a woman and her mother. Here’s the link to my review. My Name is Lucy Barton
What are you reading just now?
Today it is September 9, 2016 and I am reading Nutshell by Ian McEwan. What a book, it’s hard to describe without giving too much away. It is written in the voice of a foetus in his mother’s womb who overhears his mother and her lover planning to murder her husband. It is at times funny, shocking, and original.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I am a book lover, but find my Kindle easier to read at bedtime [because of the light] and on train and plane journeys. My family and friends know I love books though and are kind enough to give me hardbacks for Christmas and birthdays. I have been known to smell the spine as son as I remove the wrapping paper. Apart from that, I read pretty much everywhere. I’m the girl who is never without a book in her bag, so I can read every spare minute spent standing in a queue.
How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?
Author website http://www.sandradanby.com/
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Ideally I would be a combination of Nancy and Titty in Swallows and Amazons. Nancy has so much fun, she is brave, and mucks in with the boys. She takes charge and isn’t intimidated. Titty is a bit of a dreamer, she considers things, is willing to let her imagination loose. As a child, I was a combination of both: a tomboy with muddy knees who was always climbing things, but often to be found in a corner with my nose in a book.