7 Questions with Joanne Stapley

We asked Joanne Stapley seven questions about being a blogger and her favourite books! Jo is a book blogger and a children's book seller.

Follow Jo!

blog  |  twitter  |  goodreads 

1) What was your inspiration for writing your blog?
"Starting my blog was just a way for me to talk about the books I had started reading. I normally spoke to my dad about the high fantasy books I read – books that, more often than not, were his that I had borrowed. While at uni, I took a Young Adult Fictions module, which introduced me to the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. They switched my interest from high fantasy to urban fantasy, mostly adult books, like the Shifters Series by Rachel Vincent, the Cassie Palmer Series by Karen Chance, and the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost. These aren’t the kinds of books anyone I knew read, so I started a blog simply to be able to say what I was thinking. I didn’t realise at the time that I had started a book blog until several months later when I got involved in the community. The community opened me up to more YA books, and I read most genres they fall under."

2) What were the main challenges that you faced when starting your blog and what are the challenges that you continue to face?
"When I started blogging, I struggled with some self-doubt.  Was I any good at reviewing? Why would anyone want to read what I write? But I found blogging tips on various blogs and they helped me work out the kind of blog I wanted, and help me discover my reviewing voice, and belief in myself became easier.

The challenges I face now are trying to get people to read and comment on my blog. About two years ago, I had some computer difficulty, and I was unable to post on my blog for a good few months, and then last year things slowed down again when my nan became ill. The absence and the less frequent posting lost me a fair number of readers and commenters. It doesn’t matter too much because I still enjoy what I do, but I’m working on trying to get more people reading and commenting. It might take some time to build up followers again, but that’s part of the fun!"

3) As a child or young teenager did you want to be a book blogger and if so, is it as you expected?
"I didn’t, because I didn’t know book blogging existed! But even so, I’m surprised every year by how wonderful the book blogging community is. We’re such a passionate and enthusiastic bunch of readers, and we get behind our favourites in such a big way, yet are so supportive of each other, too. The love shown on Twitter by and for the book blogging community is just amazing, and it’s wonderful to see the supportive events organised, such as those organised by @MeetUKYA,  and the opportunities we are afforded from publishers due to our hard work. Just this year the inaugural UKYA Blogger Awards were held, nominated by authors, publishers and publicists. We’re an awesome group of people, and it’s fantastic we’ve been acknowledged for our work."

4) Who are the bloggers and writers that have influenced you?
"Before I came across Eleusinian Mysteries, Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me, and Saz101, my reviews were only a few paragraphs long, and not too detailed, as I had seen on most over blogs I had read. And then I discovered these blogs by three very talented women, and I loved their reviewing style! They all wrote long and highly detailed reviews, and I just loved them! From their reviews, I could judge better if I would enjoy a book, and whether positive or negative, they injected such personality and humour into their writing, I always had fun reading their content. I switched up my reviewing style so I was writing the kind of reviews I loved reading. I now write quite long reviews, sometimes almost essay-length, and I would hope more of me shines through in them. I don’t think my reviews are funny, but I think they’re more helpful to the reader than they used to be. Unfortunately, Brodie, Lisa and Sarah, who ran those blogs respectively, no longer book blog; but their blogs are still up and running, and I’d strongly suggest going to visit and browsing through their archives! I’ve read so many books based on their recommendations. They were fantastic reviewers.

As for writers, I am in complete awe of Louise O’Neill right now. I was completely bowled over by the horrific world she created in Only Ever Yours, how thought-provoking and eye-opening it was. I’m really looking forward to Asking For It, coming out in September, that looks at rape culture, consent and victim blaming."

5) What are your favourite blogs/who are your favourite book bloggers?
"At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Afterwritten and Paper Fury. Cynthia brings a lot of diverse books to my attention through her reviews on Afterwritten, and we have similar tastes so I really trust her judgement, and Cait bring so much humour to all of her posts, they never fail to make me smile, and such interesting discussions. I love them both!"

6) What's in your reading pile currently?
"Oh, so many! O’Neill’s feminist YA has had me looking for more, so the next two books I have to read are The Awesome by Eva Darrows, an urban fantasy, and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, a historical fantasy."

7) What is your all time favourite book?
"I find this question so hard because I love so many, so I tend to go for Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. It’s the book that made me fall in love with reading when I was 12. If it wasn’t for Eddings’ novels, I wouldn’t be such a prolific reader, or have been blogging for the past six years."