ANNA BELFRAGE

Step inside and steal some moments in another place, another time

A reader comes a-visiting

I can never emphasise enough how important book bloggers are to us writers.  Not only do they take the time to read and review our books, but they also come with advice and smart suggestions, and they generously give of their time to spread the word about our books.

So I felt it was about time that some of these book bloggers are given some “air time” of their own, and today I start with dear Stephanie, who, despite never having met her in person, I count among my real friends. Internet does have its upsides, doesn’t it?

Should one go browsing, this is what one finds about Stephanie:

StephanieStephanie M. Hopkins conducts author interviews, helps promote the B.R.A.G. Medallion and participates in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. She has reviewed books for the Historical Novel Society, is Co-Admin of English Historical Fiction Authors Group on Facebook, and is an avid reader of Historical Fiction, Alternate History, Non-Fiction and History. She currently has several writing projects under way.
When she is not pursuing her love of a good read, chatting with authors and fellow readers (which is pretty much 24/7). Stephanie also enjoys creating mix media art on canvas. She is into health, fitness and loves the outdoors. These days she has no idea what rest is!

I would like to add to this that Stephanie is one of the more supportive people I have ever met, always generous in her comments, never snide. Not that many people are, these days… (And I can see her squirming on her chair, peeps. She doesn’t really like being in the limelight) Plus she now and then goes into these bouts of super-healthy living when she posts about her gym routines and her food (no carbs, no fat, no chocolate…)  – but I forgive her for this 😉

So dear Stephanie, welcome! And before we start chatting about the real stuff, how about some tea or coffee? I’ve even made my famous carrot cake to go with it. 

Thank you for having me visit with you, Anna! It is always a pleasure to chat with you. I would love a cup of tea and your carrot cake sounds divine!

(As an aside, I can assure you my carrot cake IS divine…)

 I read in a recent post with you, that your reviewing career sort of happened because of another book blogger spurring you on. But I would suppose that the main driving force would be your love of books, right? So, do you have any favourite genres?

Right on both scores! My favourite genres are Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction History and Alternate History. One of the things I love to do is talk books and spread the word on great reads. What better way to do than with writing book reviews?

I bet there are also some types of books you stay clear off. Any tip on what not to send you?

I’m not a fan of- Ahem- erotica, western romance, werewolves or vampire stories….
No, I’d sort of understood the paranormal is not for you 😉

You have a pretty strict policy when it comes to your reviews: if you don’t like the book, you will simply not write a review. Some people could argue this is the coward’s way out – and also, if only positive reviews are posted, what’s the point? What are your thoughts on this?

Well, I would have to disagree with those people about it being the coward’s way out. We all have our personal- and different – purposes in how we review or why we review for that matter…. I strive to share my love for reading and the books I love by writing positive (but honest) reviews…that is my purpose and personal decision. It is also my purpose to share what I find worthy of a reader’s time and money.
I have on occasion shared thoughts to fellow bloggers and friends about books I did not find agreeable to my taste-privately and occasionally in book groups or on my wall on facebook. And I have been known on occasion to give a bit of constructive criticism in my reviews…. Lol. Most of all, I know how hard writers work, what they sacrifice in their own personal life and their families lives to write stories to share with the world. So I respect writers too much…. 

One more thing….I have been known to reject a book for review and I will tell the authors why. Kindly and with respect that is….it is my way of helping the writer and letting know what I expect in the stories I read.

If you’re looking for a book, do you go to a real bookstore, or do you go to Amazon? 

I do both. My first love is an actual standing bookstore, of course. There is nothing like brushing your hand across the books on the shelves as you walk by them and seeing all the wonderful books surrounding you. I could probably live in a bookstore. I am the most comfortable there.
That makes two of us – as long as there’s a steady supply of tea and cake….

 Do you see a conflict between e-books and real books? Will one cannibalise on the other, and if yes, is that a problem?

E-books are here to stay and I’m sure e-books will eventually take over whether we like it or not….but there is still a small hope in me that won’t be the case. I love printed books way too much.

If you were to have your own bookstore, what would you not serve in the adjoining café? (Of course you’d have an adjoining café, right?)

A Café is a must in a bookstore….I probably wouldn’t serve alcohol. I wouldn’t want people drinking irresponsibly in my store and causing scenes or damage precious books.

 I know for a fact that you’re presently working on a novel of your own. How do you think your book blogging has affected your approach to writing? 

Yes, I’m hoping to get my first draft of, Poison Letter, done soon. It is so hard to find time in the day to focus solely on my own writing. Which – I know – I need to make a priority at some point during the day. 

Hmmm…..book blogging has given me a great deal to think about in my style of writing, how to proceed with it. Not only from what I’ve written and posted but from other guest authors on my blog. 

I believe there is a positive approach to writing and a negative one. Blogging has helped me discover the joy in writing. I have to admit, long ago I struggled with it and was too worried what other people thought of my writing, so I wouldn’t write stories. I would just write down my thoughts, ideas for stories and poems I love. Now, I write for myself and for the people who are encouraging and appreciative of what I do. I love to tell stories and by golly, I will. 

What drives you to write? And how do you find the time? 

As I said above, I love telling stories. There is putting my imagination to the test. That is a great thrill in itself. These days I am finding very little time to write but hopefully I will find more time when my daughter’s school starts back. That remains to be seen. As I type this, I’m planning on writing today. Ha!

Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you bring along? And why them?

Just three? Yikes! Oh, dear. The pressure is on. Okay, here it goes….

  1. The Holy Bible. Because it is the written word of God and is my instruction book on how to live the life that God wants me to live as a Christian. 
  1. The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. If I recollect this book is the first I have read of Sharon’s. It is a brilliant rendition of the controversial Richard III and the first historical fiction story I had read about him-if I remember correctly.
  2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The first two lines in the book says it all. “A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. My first thought on waking was to tell my best friend about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.”

Good choices – but I would not be without Lord of the Rings…

Thank you so much for stopping by, Stephanie! 

Anna, it was an absolute pleasure! Thank you!

If you want to know more about Stephanie, why not pop over and find her on:

Layered Pages

Layered Pages Facebook Page

indieBRAG

indieBRAG Facebook Page

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4 thoughts on “A reader comes a-visiting

  1. Thank you, Anna for welcoming me to your website and for such a wonderful chat!

    Stephanie

  2. Looking forward to Poison Letter! Great blog post! Well done!

  3. Lovely to read this post about Stephanie – a very generous-hearted individual! You’re both so busy with your contributions to the writing world. Anna, now that you’ve tempted us with your divine carrot cake you’ll have to share the recipe!

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