Jill (mrstreme) wrote,

BBAW: Meet Serena!

For today's BBAW festivities, I will post my interview of fellow blogger, Serena from Savvy Verse and Wit. I was excited to meet someone I have never met before in the book blogosphere, and after interviewing Serena and visiting her blog, I have found another kindred spirit. Here is my interview (be sure to check her blog today to read Serena's interview of me and get entered in a giveaway!).

1. When did you start blogging and why?

I started a blog on Yahoo in 2005, but I transferred much of my blogging activity to Blogger in June 2007.  I initially started blogging just about events in my life, poetry, publication achievements, and my thoughts about politics and other things.  Eventually, I decided that blogging about books was something I would love to do after reading Suey’s It’s All About Books blog.  But I wanted my blog to have more than just fiction, and since poetry is one of my passions, I decided that poets needed to be reviewed as well.  It’s been a fun journey and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

2. A lot of your blog focuses on writing and poetry. Tell us about your journey as a poet and writer.

A journey, hmmm, I guess I never really thought about it.  I began writing as a kid in front of an old typewriter at my grandmother’s house.  I think the first story I finished was called The Big Apple, and it was about a young writer who finally achieves her dream of working in publishing.  Poetry came later in middle school when I started discovering a lot of intense emotions and I had to put them somewhere…paper seemed to be the best place.  A lot of those poems were shown to close friends only, and I still have those awful first attempts in a box.  I started seeking publication for my poems sometime around my senior year in college, and by this I don’t mean vanity presses, which I did have a few poems published in when I was in my teens.  I love writing and expressing ideas in print, which is the best part of blogging.  I do write daily at work, but it is not as satisfying as creating something all your own.  Just for the record, I don’t think, at least I hope, my writing journey is not over.

3. On a meme, you commented: “I write poems in my head while reading books.” Tell us more about this process. Are you writing poems about the books, or do they remind you of something else to write about? Do you write your poems down or let them stay in your mind?

Writing poems in my head is not necessarily a process.  I don’t usually write poems about books, though I have been inspired by books enough to write poems.  For instance, while reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, I was reading the section where the father and son discover a hidden storage room in the woods where they stay for a few days eating the food there and sleeping in a real bed.  This scene spurred all kinds of emotions for me and I jotted down a couple stanzas about a dark hole and discovering curled inside a nearly complete world full of fruits and comfort.  It’s still unfinished, but it’s written down, so I can go back and complete it.  I have written poems about paintings I’ve seen in museums, people on the street, on the subway, from my past, and just from my imagination.  I write a few poems a month, or I try to, though summer tends to be a slower poetry writing time, probably because I am reading a ton of books and blogging.

4. I noticed Stephanie Meyer was featured several times in your blog. As someone who has never read her books, how would you characterize them? What types of readers would enjoy her books?

Stephenie Meyer is not an author I would have sought out on my own.  Suey on It’s All About Books had mentioned the Twilight series a couple of times on her blog, but I never thought to read the books because they are young adult.  I tend not to enjoy young adult books, though I guess at this point I can say I may have been reading the wrong ones.  I characterize Meyer’s books a plot driven and in many cases character driven; the only exception to the deep characterization I will offer is Breaking Dawn, her last book in the series.  But you can read my take on that book here: http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/2008/08/breaking-dawn.html   Young adults will get attached to her Twilight series quickly and if you are looking for a quick summer read, I would recommend the series as well as her first attempt at an adult novel, The Host.  I read plot-driven books pretty quickly, but if you are not a reader looking for detailed description and thoughts from characters, you probably should stay away from the books because there are some details that can burden a reader.  I enjoyed her books very much.

5. You’ve read quite a few books in 2008. Any favorites?

Some of my favorites from this year include The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (which at first I nearly put down because the narration drove me crazy), The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, and the Christopher Moore books, which are extremely humorous if you like dark humor.  Some others I would probably include Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg, Mr. Thundermug by Cornelius Medvei, and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James.  If I had to choose one, it would be The Adoration of Jenna Fox, the narration, the characters, the plot, and the premise of the book, as well as its overarching themes are fantastic.

6. How do you determine what books to read?

A lot of the books I choose are based upon what my blogger friends are reading and reviewing, though that does not include only ones that are favorably reviewed.  I tend to reserve my opinions about books until I read them.  I read and reviewed Baby Proof by Emily Giffin even though many of my blogger buddies had given it a poor review.  Other books on my to-read list are derived from my list of favorite authors, books I pick up in the library and find interesting either from the description or the cover, and personal recommendations.  I get recommendations in a number of ways.  I really have no specific rhyme or reason.

7. Who are your favorite authors?

Anita Shreve, Christopher Moore, Christopher Rice, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, and Amy Tan, but there are great many others I like to read as well.  I also would include these poets in the list as well:  Yosef Komunyakka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Robert Frost, William Blake, and Emily Dickinson.

8. What is one of your favorite book blogs and why (feel free to mention more than one)?

My Favorite book blogs include:  It’s All About Books, The Hidden Side of a Leaf, The Book Lady’s Blog, Becky’s Book Reviews, Booking Mamma, Maw Books, The Boston Bibliophile, J. Kaye’s Book Blog, Poetic Asides, Oranges & Sardines, and many more.

9. Are you a member of any other book communities (i.e. LibraryThing, Shelfari, a reading group on Yahoo Groups, etc.)?

I belong to LibraryThing, Good Reads, and BookBlogs.

10. Do you own any pets?

Yes.  I have one dog, a Keeshong, named Charlee.  I also have two cats, who are sisters, named Mittens and Phantom.  And we have two fish, but they do not have names.

A few final words from Serena:
"Thanks to My Friend Amy for sponsoring the Book Blogger Appreciation Awards and for pairing bloggers up to conduct these interviews.  Jill, Thanks for the great questions.  Everyone else, feel free to stop by and check out Savvy Verse & Wit."


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