- My first thought when the amazing Winter Betancourt told me she’d nominated me for the Real Neat Blog award was that I was hallucinating! I’ve never thought of my book review and literature blog as anything other than an online presentation of my interests — books I love and want to share with others, as well as interesting news from the literary world, such as how the US Postal Service chooses literary figures for its stamps, or the 100th anniversary of influential Black poet Gwendolyn Brooks’ birthday. To learn that someone I like and respect considers me a Real Neat Blog was an honor that truly came out of left field! Thanks so much, Winter!
- Include the award logo in your post.
- Answer the following seven questions, asked by the person who nominated you.
- Thank the person/people who nominated you.
- Nominate any number of bloggers you like by linking to their blogs.
- Notify them that you have nominated them.
Here are my answers to her questions:
- If you could meet one character from your favorite book, who would it be and why? I didn’t even have to think about this one: Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Alan Bradley’s series. I want to pick her incredible brain, because she’s so preternaturally intelligent and perceptive, not even considering her age. I need her advice and counsel!
- What is one thing that is special or interesting about your hometown? Chester is one of twelve “census-designated places” in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The Commonwealth is unusual in that counties can contain towns and CDPs, but not cities, which are separate entities (the City of Richmond, which is the state capital, borders Chesterfield). Some people refer to it as a village, which is a quaint hail to its roots as a stop at the intersection of the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad and the Clover Hill Railroad, but today it’s a bedroom community with a substantial commercial presence. I’ve lived here since I was 12, so I’ve always considered it my hometown — I graduated from high school here, attended the local community college before moving on to a state university in Richmond, and my family and I have continuously lived here since 1973. If that’s not home, I don’t know what is.
- If you were a superhero what would be your superpower? Teleporting. Although this sounds selfish, it would be a gift to the world, as I’m a pretty bad driver, so getting me off the road would make the world a safer place.
- What is one goal you have for yourself for 2021? I want to grow the audience for A Girl and Her Book Reviews. I don’t reap any financial advantage from the blog, as I don’t allow advertising to preserve its editorial independence, but I’d like it to become an influential voice in the world of indie publishing. Every book has an audience, and even if I’m not in that group, I make sure to promote it to those who’d enjoy it. I’m gratified that many authors consider me a friend and include me on their ARC lists.
- What do you consider to be one of your strengths? Writing has always been one of my strengths, but talking, especially extemporaneously, is not one. I’d much rather keep my mouth shut and let my written words speak for me.
- If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I want to visit Canada — I’ve always considered it a magic place, even before Justin Trudeau (swoon) became prime minister. I like cold weather, progressive government, multicultural populations, and considerate people, and Canada has all of those. If the political situation in America doesn’t change in November, I might apply for Canadian residence as a refugee – seriously.
- If you could offer your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t be so hard on yourself — forgive yourself for making mistakes and move on. I spent a lot of time in my 20s and 30s beating myself for mistakes and considering myself less than worthy. As I’ve gotten older and, thankfully, wiser, I’ve wanted to go back and tell young Book Review Gal that mercy is the greatest gift we can give ourselves — and never, ever think you’re not good enough, girl. You most certainly are.
- What prompted you to start writing?
- What’s your first memory of reading?
- What’s one thing you’d do to make the world better?
- What is one goal you have for yourself for 2021?
- What do you consider to be one of your strengths?
- If you could offer your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
- If you could live anywhere else, where would you choose?
And we’re off! I hope my nominees are as honored as I was to be nominated.