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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blogger On Blogger Interview - Hwa Sun @ The Shangri La of Books

I interview a lot of authors, we all do.  And it is really a lot of fun, right?  But who is it behind those interviews?  You!!!  So now I want to interview you! This post will run every Thursday (give or take a day due to scheduling) as long as I have people who want to be interviewed!  Check out the tab up there in my tab index for this feature.  That's where you can check out past interviews, upcoming bloggers, and sign up for your own interview! :)

Yay, It is Thursday!!  One more day until Friday, right?  Woohoo! 

Welcome back to this weeks edition of Blogger on Blogger Interviews!  This week is all about Hwa Sun from The Shangri La of Books!

ALSO!!  I am adding something NEW to this feature!  Swag Giveaway!  Ok, I kind of feel like Oprah with all of these exclamation points LOL.  This Swag Giveaway will be international, and it will end on Sunday night, so get your entry in now!  Can you see all of the stuff there?  There are magnets, pens, bracelets, pins, postcards, trading cards, bookmarks...whew!  All kinds of stuff from your favorite bloggers and authors!

Now on with the interview!


Hello Hwa Sun!  Thank you so much for signing up to be interviewed.  I’m so happy to meet you!

I'm glad to be here ;)

Your blog name is The Shangri La of Books.  What can you tell our readers today about your website?

It's a place for rainbows and unicorns who live in a place called Book-filled Wonderland. No, just kidding. I wish, but no. Let me give you a simple formula for my blog:

Books + Internet + Me = MY BLOG :D

Let’s start off with a tough question!  You are a teenager.  Does that ever pose any problems for you, or what kind of things do you have to deal with when people may not realize your age?  Or are there no problems at all?
Ooh, that is a tough question. Let me think… 

There’s not really any issue with being a teen book blogger (well, at least none that I’ve had to face). A huge portion of the book blogging community is made of adults who love YA, and I think that the reason why I haven’t had any issues is because most of the adults don’t treat us (us, as in the teen bloggers) any different than they would treat an adult reader. Maybe it’s because they read so much YA… I don’t really know. That’s just my theory.

I see you do some vlog reviews!  That is so awesome!  Do you ever get camera shy, and what kind of advice to you have for the rest of us who might want to start vlogging?
I used to be camera shy (I used to have a different channel, and the videos there were REALLY MEGA-AWKWARD…) but I kind of got over it after a while. It's still a bit strange to talk to a camera, but it's not as weird.

As for advice for vlogging, here’s a couple:

1. Make eye contact. No one likes watching a video where the person looks at everything BUT the camera lens. And for me, when someone keeps moving their head around to avoid making eye contact, it distracts me from the actual content of the video.

2. Edit your videos. Unless you’re a super-duper amazing talker who can talk for five minutes without getting distracted, stumbling over words, or having awkward pauses. (If you are one of those people, I’m so flippin’ jealous of you.)

3. Give yourself room to mess up, and make horrible videos (at least when you first start making videos). You know my old channel with the extremely awkward videos that I mentioned? I made videos on that channel for almost a year. 
That’s how I learned how to make my now only semi-awkward videos. (You don’t have to make two channels, though. I just did that because I didn’t like my old username. Which leads me to the next one.)

4. Choose a username that you're sure you'll want to stick with. So make it something about you or your videos, and try not to have one of those account names that have a bazillion numbers in them.

You’ve read and reviewed some really great books since you began blogging in April.  Do you have any that the rest of us should put on our “must read” list?

I always hesitate to give out book recommendations that says it’s a “must read” for everyone because I know that not everyone will like it. So, I’ll break it down into a few genres, with books that I think people who like that genre will like:

(These are only from the list of books I’ve read ever since I started blogging, so they’re all YA.)

Contemporary: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Paranormal: Unearthly & Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, andEverneath by Brodi Ashton 
Dystopian: Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth and Starters by Lissa Price
Fantasy: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Destined by Aprilynne Pike, and Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman
Sci-fi: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Mystery: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris and Slide by Jill Hathaway

That’s a big list... And yeah, I LOVE paranormal ;)

What would you consider your favorite part of book blogging?

There are so many things that I absolutely LOVE about book blogging ;)

First of all, I love how big the community is. There are so many book blogs out there; you’ll find all sorts of readers. And there are lots of really cool opportunities for bloggers to participate in. Plus, you can interact with other readers as well as some authors through social networking sites. (Like Twitter! I < 3 data-blogger-escaped-below="below" data-blogger-escaped-font="font" data-blogger-escaped-for="for" data-blogger-escaped-more="more" data-blogger-escaped-on="on" data-blogger-escaped-see="see" data-blogger-escaped-that.="that." data-blogger-escaped-twitter.="twitter.">

Also, because of book blogging, I’ve learned about some fantabulous books that I would have never heard of otherwise. When I first started blogging, almost all the books I reviewed were books I’d heard about through recommendations from friends or family or found by randomly looking around the library. But now (looking at the 20 most recent books I’ve read), about ¾ of them are books I learned about through other blogs. Around half the books that I’ve reviewed so far, I found out through the book community. And it’s so easy to keep track of what/when books are coming out because there are memes like Waiting on Wednesday, and some people do a weekly or monthly post of all the books that are being released. Before, I rarely ever kept track of what/when books were coming out. Now, I'm much better informed on new releases. 

(My to-read pile has been steadily increasing ever since I started blogging. I just can’t read fast enough to finish all the books!)

Do you have any favorite book blogs you could recommend to the rest of us?

Ooh, I like this question! :D I love reading blogs (and not just book blogs). Some of my favorite book blogs are:

Anna Reads (She's funny. I love her Things I Like in Books posts and her Top Ten Tuesdays posts, which are often more than ten lol. And I HAVE to show you my top two favorite posts of hers:Charts she made about her, the books she likes, and her blog and The one where she somehow managed to predict a new trend in YA TWO YEARS BEFORE IT HAPPENED)
Cover Analysis (Monica is so funny. Seriously. Follow her Twitter, and you shall see.)
Badass Bookie (Another extremely funny person. Also someone who you should follow on Twitter.)
The YA Sisterhood (THE FIRST BOOK BLOG I EVER READ. And plus, they host the awesome tournaments, which I hope will be returning next year.)
Novels, News and Notes from Your Northwest Neighbors (Okay, I'm a bit biased on this one, since I live in the PNW, and I'm one of the contributors, though I don't do much.)

Yeah, I like funny people ;)

How do you normally go about preparing a post?  Are you a last minute poster, like myself – or are your more prepared and schedule your posts in advance?

I’m a mix of both. I usually schedule cover reveals, blog tours, and interviews ahead of time because I don’t want to accidentally forget to post them. As for other things, like reviews and all that other stuff, I usually just type it up, make it all nice and neat and then post it.

If you could live in one book’s world for a week, which book would it be?

Hogwarts. Where else would I possibly want to go?

Prince VS Hogwarts Acceptance - Silkscreen T-Shirt

MY ACCEPTANCE LETTER IS COMING!!! It just... got lost in the mail or something...

(The picture is from HERE. And I would totally buy this t-shirt... but I have no money right now XP)

And if you could put your arch-rival into a book, which book would you send them to?

Well, I don't have an arch-rival anymore, but if I did, I'd choose The Hunger Games... (*Speaks with Effie's accent* MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.)

Hwa Sun, what prompted you to start a book blog, and how did you come up with your name, The Shangri La of Books?

I started a blog for several reasons. For one, I was really bored. Also, I only had one friend who loved YA and liked talking about it with me, so I wanted to have someplace for myself where I could just talk, talk, talk about books. (The Friend also happens to be one of the only two people that I know in-person who know about my blog.) And lastly, my mom always told me that after reading a book, I should summarize it and write my thoughts on it so that I could get something more out of the book, so the blog was supposed to do just that.

As for how I came up with the name, I wanted to choose something unique and cool sounding, and after going through lots of other fancy words that had a similar definition, I finally chose on Shangri La (it basically means a utopia).

What kind of things can we expect to see from The Shangri La of Books in the coming year?

The only thing I can guarantee is that there will be lots of reviews. Other things I will probably have are more cover reveals, blog tours, interviews, guest posts, and maybe even some giveaways! I also have lots of other ideas just floating around in my head…

How do you balance reading and blogging with school life and a social life?  

HA! It’s funny that you should ask this question because I’ve been doing a horrible job lately. I’m a freshman this year, and the amount of homework I’ve been getting is a lot more than I got in middle school. It’s exhausting. School has been kind of burning me out lately (I think that if it wasn't for my night-owl habits, I wouldn't be as tired because getting an average of 4-6 hours of sleep on school days are never good.), so I’ve been a bit lazy with my blog and reading (which isn’t good because my TBR isn’t going to shrink any time soon). And I’m not very good at managing my time, so I’m trying to work on that as well. I'm considering taking a blogging-break for a little while...

What kind of advice would you give to someone else just starting out with book blogging?

There are so many useful advices I could give. (I actually have a post about that here.)

There’s one that’s not listed on there that I personally have a bit of a struggle with, too: Don’t compare your blog with other blogs. I often compare my reviews with other people’s reviews because I’m not that good with words, and all it does is make me feel like my reviews aren’t good enough. So, don’t compare.

And lastly, let’s talk about social media.  We’ve got Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr… the list goes on and on.  Do you have a favorite?

YES. I love Twitter and Goodreads. I have a slight obsession with Twitter. I tweet the most random things. (YOU SHOULD TOTALLY FOLLOW ANYWAYS ;D)

As for GR, I’ve always found Goodreads to be very useful because it’s easy to keep track of what books I read on it, but recently, something happened to make me love GR. In August, for some reason, Blogger deleted a bunch of my reviews from my blog. They just went POOF! Fortunately, I had them all saved on Goodreads, so they weren’t lost forever. Thank goodness for GR!

Thank you so much Hwa Sun, for taking the time today!

Thank you for having me on your blog! ;)

Here are the links so you can follow Hwa Sun for yourself!

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