An Interview with Dee & Dee
You were probably thinking to yourself: it has been an Awful Lot About Laura lately on this blog. Well, really, an Awful Lot About Laura’s Chocolate.
Well. Never fear. I have, in fact, had something Not All About Me just waiting to post. Just lurking for the slightest chance.
As I mentioned before with the interview with the two Ja(y)nes of Dear Author, I love the phenomenon of reader blogs. As both a writer (who gets reviewed) and a reader (who loves to hear about good books from other readers), I find them fascinating.
So, for our much delayed second episode of the Better-Know-a-Reader-Blogger series, I’ve invited dee & Dee to tell us about their reader blogging. (I think there is a rule about reader bloggers that they are supposed to have the Almost Exact Same Name, that they differentiate by one little tiny detail, like Y as in Jane/Jayne or a capital letter. They do this to confuse wounded authors. I am almost positive.)
dee and I met over truffles,
and you might say that chocolate has coated our relationship in its nefarious and delicious way ever since.
[The above is dee’s copy of Blame It on Paris. Can anyone peer beyond the chocolate smudges and guess what was the first and most remarked inaccuracy by those who know me well about the above cover?
If you guess the glossy hair, the perfectly manicured nails, the waist smaller than Cover Double’s arm, or the incredibly long legs, you are Immediately Disqualified. I stopped looking in mirrors once I got this cover copy and now when I want to know what I look like, I just check my book. I find it’s a nice way to live, except when shopping for jeans, when I keep picking up size subzeroes and failing to fit them.
So…besides those things…what other thing completely lacking in verisimilitude just LEAPS to the eye?]
Back to the main topic here:� obviously dee has good taste in many things, INCLUDING BOOKS, and so we bring her and her partner in crime, capital-letter Dee to you today.
Apologies for the weird format of the following interview. It got sent back over email, and after realizing exactly how much time I would have to spend to fix all the html coding, I decided…it looks just fine as it is, thank you.
And on to the interview…
Laura: I am fascinated by the phenomenon of reader blogs. How did you two
get into doing yours?
dee: I started doing book reviews on my personal blog,
deeceetalks.blogspot.com . My first ever attempt at a review was
really not much more than a big FanGirlSqueeFest for Madame Mirabou’s School of Love. You can check it out for yourself here…
Before long, I realized that I wanted to be telling people about books
more often, so I started an offshoot blog. Then I asked Charity to
join me, since she was also doing reviews on her own blog. The rest is blogging history. lolDee: dee makes it sound so nice, but really, I didn’t leave her much choice but to invite me over to do reviews with her, it was that or she’d have to deal with comments just as long as her posts, really, it was far easier this way and I thank her for not making me sound like the bugger I am. We both just love books, love talking about books, and with the blog the way it is, we have a chance to do just that.
Laura: I notice you two have been instituting several new things on your blog
this year, in particular your FAB pick, and you’re constantly
attracting more and more people. What’s your reaction to the way it’s
dee: Totally flabbergasted! When we first started, it was just a place
where we could go to talk about books that we’d read. I can still
remember the first ‘negative’ review we posted. Scary stuff, that.
Before long though, people started commenting. Then Charity installed a hit counter, and started telling me to look at how many people were checking us out every day. It really blew me away. No, we’re not as big as some of the other review sites out there. Yet. But for a small site, with only two people who do reviews in their spare time, I can’t believe how many people check us out on a regular basis. It’s overwhelming, and really fun!Dee: Truth? Amazed. I constantly wonder why anyone would care what I had to say. We started out two busy moms just talking to each other about books, so to see that so many people are enjoying what we have to say, well, it’s just….amazing! And a little scared, because sooner or later, these great readers we’re getting are going to start wanting more reviews, and I review at a snail pace compared to how fast I read.
Laura: What have been the positive surprises of doing this blog?
dee: The readers are so nice! They will send us e-mails, even if they
don’t comment, and tell us they like us. Some of the nicest things
I’ve read have been comments about how they like that we don’t trash
authors, or their books, but we’re still honest if we don’t like
something. Also, the authors are just wonderful. Without exception,
every person that we’ve contacted about a review has responded. Plus, we’ve even had people submit stuff to us to be reviewed. There is nothing that a reader likes better than free books. Except maybe
chocolate.Dee: I agree, the readers, without a doubt. Our readers send us e-mails thanking us for such honest thoughts on a book, and that’s just about the best thing ever, Getting to “meet” new authors has been a ball, and something I’m really enjoying, it’s wonderful to see how very giving of their time the authors are, especially since they are so busy! (And if you are an author wanting to send chocolate, make sure it gets to the other dee, it will be wasted on me)
Laura: You made my heart seize up with the idea of wasting chocolate there. Have there been any negative surprises?
dee: Not really, I guess. Except that not every author is nice enough
to send a chocolate covered book to us. That’s a real bummer.
Sometimes people try to get one over on us during contests, but that’s a whole other topic.Dee: Writing the bad reviews. I guess that shouldn’t have really been a surprise, but it’s a lot tougher than I ever imagined. We refuse to be cruel, and when writing those not so stellar reviews, I’m constantly second guessing what I type. I guess I just thought it would be so much easier than it is:)
Laura: So, just for…umm…research purposes, how could I get one over on you during the contests? Because you offer some great books as prizes. Okay, okay just kidding. Do you feel a real split between your blogging life and your “day job
life”? Do you try to keep them separate? If you do, is it a little
bit like being Batman and Bruce Wayne?
dee: A split? You mean, they are supposed to be two totally different
things? UGH! My life consists of homeschooling six kids between the
ages of 14 and 5, working at a restaurant part time, being very active
in my church, working on finishing three different books at the same
time, and keeping up with the book review site. I try to blend it all
together though. Being a writer is part of me. Being a reader is part
of me. Just like being a mom is part of me. If I had to keep them
separate, I’d feel too much like Cybil. As for the super-hero
comparison, my husband regularly asks me if I remembered to drop my cape off at the dry cleaner. I think the stuff that I do every day
just baffles him, and thankfully, he hasn’t caught on to the fact that
part of my “job” is actually reading and eating chocolates. I hope he
stays in the dark about that for quite a while!Dee: I’m a stay-at-home mom (although that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one) and I do a LOT of volunteering at the school, so it is kind of tough writing the posts for an adult audience. I’m just so used to talking to kids all day that switching to adult mode can be tough sometimes! But the same principles I try and live my life by are not very different from my blogging standards – Always Honest. Never Cruel. So I really don’t feel split at all, yet, anyway!
Laura: Both of you are writers, as well, I believe. Do you feel reviewing
books and writing books feed each other, or does one distract from the other?
dee: If I want to be a good writer, I have to stay on top of my game.
Reading and reviewing really helps me do that. Before I started really
reviewing books, I could tell you what book I liked, but not
necessarily why. Doing reviews has forced me to really pick things
apart and get down to basics. Is the story well plotted? How is the
character arc? Are the turning points strong enough? How is the POV? Being able to see that in published books has really made it more important to me as a writer. I can read a book and be able to
distinguish between something that is technically good or not so good, without too much personal preference going into it. That has made me a much stronger writer, I think.Dee: I’m a procrastinator of gross proportions, so the review blog? Yeah, it can distract from my writing. At the same time though, like dee said, it helps, because analysing the different stories has really helped me see what I want to do with my own writing, and things I’d rather avoid.
Laura: Do you have any future blog ambitions you would like to share or are
you happy with where it’s at now?
dee: We’ve got lots more in store! We are pleasantly overwhelmed with the current state of things, but also have plans to expand. More on that in the very near future though…Dee: What dee said, LOL
Laura: I realize what you like and don’t like is a matter of taste, but other
than coating her book with chocolate, what else can an author do to
get your attention?
dee: Send us her book! Seriously, we love getting books. And if it’s
sent to us, we’ll more than likely review the book. In our FAQ, we
mention that we like getting books, but they should be sent with the
knowledge that not all books will be reviewed, and not all reviewed
books will be loved. However, we promise to be honest in our reviews, and refuse to trash either a book, or an author, in the hopes of amusing our blog readers.Dee: Agreed, send us the book. We can’t promise we’ll love your book and pick you for FAB, but we’ll do our best to review it, and we won’t ever kick your virtual dog. We’ll be honest, we just won’t be cruel.
Laura: I love that you mention the care you take when you have to say what doesn’t work about the book. I think this goes back to our discussion about the challenges in reviewing well. I’m sure there are many, many authors who appreciate your courtesy! Thanks for coming on. Everyone, be sure to check out their site for great reviews and lots of chances to win great books. They’ve got R.L. LaFevers on right now, whom I haven’t read yet, but I’m looking forward to trying her. Theodosia looks like my kind of girl!