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Friday, October 5, 2012

Blogger On Blogger Interview: Abria Mattina @ Shall Write

I interview a lot of authors, we all do.  And it is really a lot of fun.  But who is it behind those interviews?  You!!!  So now I want to interview you!  I plan on running this post every Thursday.  There are some occasions I will post a day early or late, if I already have too many posts on a given date, or a holiday.  And I will add the links up in a tab in my menu bar.  Please tell your friends!

This Thursday I had a brain malfunction, which is why I am posting now, on Friday!  And today I have Abria Mattina from Shall Write with me.  So without further ado, here is her interview!


Hi Abria!  I’m very excited to have you here today, thank you for joining me! 
Now, the facts first.  You run a blog, Shall Write.  Please tell the readers a little bit about your website.
I review mostly adult and new adult fiction, with a smattering of YA and non-fiction thrown in if a particular book catches my eye. I try to be serious with reviews, but memes and features (Weekly Search especially) tend to be a bit more tongue-in-cheek.

Click to see book on Goodreads
You are also a published author, along with a blogger.  In fact, your book Wake (which just toured in September for its anniversary), is one of my favorites from this year.  How do you balance your book blogging life with your author life, along with your life out in the real world?  
It’s a precarious balance. I work full time and do my writing, reading, and blogging in the evenings, so there are days when one of the three has to be sacrificed for the other two. I don’t let it stress me out, though. Eventually, it’ll all get done.

Funny thing is, I’m better at promoting others’ work through my blog than I am at promoting my own. Even from my safe spot behind a screen, it’s hard to stand up and proclaim that Wake exists.

I know some authors who stay away from reviewing others’ work because they’re afraid of being accused of throwing stones from within a glass house. I can see where they’re coming from. And I pick my stones carefully.

I’ve been looking through Shall Write and it is a beautiful website with some great organization (something I love in a website!).  Do/Did you design it yourself, and if not, how much input have you had?
 I tried out a few Wordpress themes before settling on a premium theme from It’s a little finicky, but I like its options and its clean design. So far I haven’t done too much to customize it, because I believe book blogs should be about featuring books, not about featuring the blogger’s life/personality/agenda. I prefer to be the woman behind the curtain.

Are you the only person who blogs at Shall Write
I’ve had occasional guest reviewers in the past, but for the most part it’s just me. For now that’s how I like it. The idea of trying to wrangle other people into fulfilling their commitments doesn’t appeal to me.

Abria, you also participate in several memes and other feature posts.  Do you have a favorite among them?
I like Top Ten Tuesday, though it’s been a while since I had the time to participate. It’s one of those features that I’d get a lot of good recommendations from. Lately I’ve been cutting back on memes in favor of reviews and author spotlights because I want to refocus the blog.

When it comes to blogging are you the type that schedules posts ahead of time, or are you more last minute (like myself!)?
I typically schedule posts ahead of time. Unless I’m down to the wire with a tour book, I’m usually at least 24 hours ahead of the game.

What is your favorite aspect to book blogging?
It looks amazing on a resume. If you blog regularly, post intelligent content, and show professionalism, it’s a hobby that reflects well on your capabilities as a person, especially if you’re trying to find work in publishing or creative industries.

It’s also been very helpful to me as an author. Rather than stabbing in the dark when I reach out to bloggers for reviews, I now know what good, bad, annoying, and batshit crazy queries look like. I know what a blogger’s time is worth, what to expect, and what questions to ask. It’s nice to have an inside perspective.

Do you have a book that you’ve read this year that you would consider a “must read” (and why)?
I could be all wishy-washy and say, “You mean I only get to pick one?” but I prefer firm answers – you must read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, if only to have your mind blown by the sheer awesomeness of Death as a narrator.

If you could merge two different books/series into one, which would they be?
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and The Lies of Locke Lamora (series) by Scott Lynch. If you’re a fan of Oceans Eleven and/or fantasy, you must read Lynch’s books. The man writes pure wit and genius.

DNF’s (Did Not Finish) are a tough reality to book bloggers to deal with.  How do you deal with them?
If I read a decent chunk of the book and have an objective reason why I didn’t finish, I’ll still review the book as a DNF. I won’t publish that review on sites where the book is sold, but it’ll appear on my blog. When it comes to books that I give up on after only one chapter, I usually don’t review at all.

Abria, if you could only read one more genre for the next ten years, which one would you pick?
I’d stick with historical fiction. Contemporary can be maudlin, sci-fi and fantasy are hard for me to get into, and romances can easily become stale. Historical fiction seems safe – nothing is weirder or more interesting than human reality.

Books and Fiction don’t exist, so no reading, blogging, or writing (eek!!).  What other career would you like to pursue?
Right now I work in graphic design for a marketing company, so I’d pursue that even if there were no books.

And on a bit of a fan note, do you have any more plans to write another book? 
 I do. Right now I’ve got one in “resting phase” and another is almost halfway through the drafting process. It’s my tentative goal (read: over-ambitious pipe dream) to publish another book early next year. I’ll have to scout an Irish beta reader this fall.

Social media is all around us now. It’s on our computers, our phones, and our televisions.  How do you feel about it, and do you have a favorite?
 I’m sort of native to Twitter, though I don’t tweet a lot. Pinterest is my addiction. I lurk Facebook, but don’t post often. My Formspring account gets occasional use. Tumblr annoys me. So far I’ve managed to avoid Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg, Instagram, etc.

And lastly, what can we expect from Shall Write in the upcoming year?
 I’m shifting my focus back to reviews and limiting my participation in memes. Last spring I sort of got hung up on following the crowd, being part of the blogging community, and it took time and attention away from the books I was trying to feature. I’m taking steps to correct that, even if it means I’ll be posting less often.

Thank you again, for joining me today!  It’s been a pleasure getting to know you more!

And if you want to follow Abria online, here are her links!