Welcome to April’s Featured Blog, something I’ll be posting here on Lit and Scribbles most of the month to introduce all of you to perhaps some new future friends and get to know a little more about your blogging community.
Let’s chat it up today with Alisa, author of the blog Picture Me Reading and avid book reader. It’s likely if you want a review on it, Alisa has probably read it.
J: So, Alisa, when did you first start blogging and what is your blog about?
A: I started my blog, Picture Me Reading, about nine months ago. I had never really considered blogging until I helped my husband out with drawing the banners for his Doctor Who blog and realized that he was having all sorts of fun without me! 😉
Knowing that I am an avid reader, Aidan suggested that I might want to do a book blog and that I could draw cartoons about how books made me feel. The idea just started there and in the last few months we’ve started reviewing audiobooks, film adaptations, graphic novels and we’re about to start reviewing board games based on books too!
J: Which of your posts was the most fun to write and why?
A: It’s hard to pick just one but I think my review of Death of a Schoolgirl was definitely a highlight for me. It was the first audio discussion we had posted and I was super-nervous to see how people would respond. I ended up getting some wonderful feedback including a note from the author asking if she could repost the discussion on her own website!
J: What are your favorite genres to read?
A: I tend to read young adult novels, particularly fantasy, dystopian and stories based on fairy tales. I also love classic novels and my all-time favorite book is Jane Eyre!
J: Protagonists excluded, which characters would you say were your favorite? Why?
A: I really enjoy characters whose motivations are initially hard to define. The Darkling in Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone is a recent favorite as is Brimstone from Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
J: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Of the authors currently writing, I’d say Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo and Kristen Cashore. My all time favorite author though is Charlotte Bronte.
J: What are the last three books you read, and would you recommend them?
A: The Dark Unwinding – I enjoyed this book though it is quite slow paced. The setting is marvelous though and I loved the characters. Goblin Secrets – I would definitely recommend this. It perhaps has too many ideas but I really loved the sense of magic in this story and thought it was incredibly creative. The Forest of Hands and Teeth – I know this is a popular read but I struggled a little with this book. I loved the world that the author creates and wanted to know more but I couldn’t connect with the characters at all.
J: I love the comics that you draw. Tell us all about them!
A: The comic book idea has been part of the blog ever since I started it. I had never really drawn cartoons before I made those banners for Aidan’s blog but I had really enjoyed learning how to do them. I thought if I drew my reviews it would give me an excuse to keep experimenting with new techniques (and to read more books!).
I tend to think about which characters I’d love to draw and what they might look like. I start out with a pencil sketch, ink it and then I scan it into the computer. I tidy up some of the lines and then color the picture digitally using textures and add shadows and other details.
I try to match the tone of the story in the panels I draw and then I write out short sentences to go alongside explaining what I think of the book. I try to keep them brief!
J: Aside from reading, what are your favorite things to do?
A: There’s something other than reading? Well, I love working on art projects and I love to travel too, though I don’t get to do that anywhere near as much as I’d like! I love going to the movies and trying out lots of different types of food.
J: If you could be granted one superpower, which would it be?
A: I think telekinesis would be a huge help while I’m working on a cartoon. Why should I have to reach over and pick up the pencil when I can just levitate it into my hand?
J: Where’s the farthest away from home you’ve traveled?
A: I’ve traveled a little in Europe (it was where I first met my husband!) and of the various countries I visited it’s probably Italy. I spent time in Rome and Florence on that trip and loved seeing the artwork and architecture there. I’d love to go back!
J: What’s the one thing you wish writers would stop doing that you see in lots of books?
A: Though some stories have great love triangles, often they feel forced into stories that just don’t need them.
J: What advice would you give to new writers from the perspective of a reader?
A: I think a lot of books would be improved with tighter editing. Just because a scene or character is fun, it doesn’t mean that it is driving the plot forward or fits the main themes of the story.
I really agree with what you mean about “just because a scene or character is fun.” There have been a few books I’ve read recently where I said aloud, “Who cares?” Sometimes I think we writers get too caught up enjoying creating that we don’t craft a good story. And I’ll have to add The Dark Unwinding and Goblin Secrets to my library queue.
All right lovelies! Questions for Alisa? Have you read any of the books she mentioned? Have you written scenes you realized were fun to write but no good for the plot? Let Alisa know below.
And for more recommendations and comics, be sure to stop by Alisa’s blog.