Behind the Blogger – Linda Hill from Linda’s Book Bag

Tell me about the person behind the blog?

Hmm. Well, I’m a very middle aged book lover who lives in the back of beyond  in South Lincolnshire with my husband. I have terrible sight which meant I was a late reader so it feels as if I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since. I’m self-retired (I just decided to stop working but don’t quite get my pension yet) from education. I was an English teacher, local authority adviser, an educational consultant and OfSTED inspector (but don’t tell anyone that last bit as I’ll be drummed out of the book world…).

I’m an aspiring writer (and by that I mean fiction – I don’t count the 18 or 19 non-fiction books with my name on!) and have 26000 words written so far. Apart from books I love chocolate, my husband, travel and gardening but not always in that order.

When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging on 7th February 2015 because I thought I’d like to share my thoughts about the books I read. I had previously been paid to read and assess teenage fiction books for Hodder with a view to using them in KS3 English classrooms and I’ve been on the LoveReading reader panel some time so a blog seemed the natural progression.

What are your proudest moments or achievements todate as a blogger?

Oh – loads. I absolutely love it when my name is in a book in the acknowledgements or a quotation from one of my reviews appears on the cover. It feels a real honour.

I was completely amazed last year to win the Bloggers Bash best book review blog award and that was quite a proud moment too. But one of the things I find makes me proud is when I’ve written a review that persuades someone to buy a book and then they tell me how much they loved it too. Job done!

If you had to breakdown the components of your ideal perfect book what would they be?

It can depend on the mood I’m in as if I want something light hearted the book elements will be different (like having a happy ending and some romance or humour) to when I feel like reading literary fiction, a psychological thriller, historical tale or crime for example. However,  I like a book to have an emotional pull. If the author can make me cry then perversely I’ve probably really enjoyed it! There doesn’t always need to be much of a plot if there’s a brilliant exploration of what makes us human. I think it’s the development of character and good writing that I like best. Good writing doesn’t have to be ‘literary’. I once read a novel, the name of which escapes me, where EVERY character had either their legs or arms akimbo at least four or five times throughout the story and that struck me as particularly poor!

What is your favourite genre to read?

I love so many it’s easier to tell you what I like less. I’m really not keen on dystopian, apocalyptic stories and I steer clear of science fiction and horror (this last because I’m a wimp with too vivid an imagination and I don’t like being scared). I’d say contemporary fiction is possibly my favourite, and I really enjoy a good psychological thriller or women’s fiction. Or crime. Or historical fiction or … I’m quite an omnivore when it comes to reading.

Can you recommend 3 books for me?

Right. I totally give up as I’ve read sooo many brilliant books so what I have done is go for three books that I thought we wonderful this year so far but haven’t had the recognition and buzz they deserve:

The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Gasfurd reviewed here

The Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw reviewed here

The American Girl by Rachael English reviewed here

Finally, tell me more about your blog and why we should subscribe?

The blog was initially designed to share a few thoughts about the books I read and that’s the aspect I still enjoy most. I don’t give star ratings as my 5 stars might be someone else’s 3 so I say what I thought instead, trying to be as honest as I can and I make the review personal to me as a reader. However, the blog has now developed so that people will find interviews, spotlights, cover reveals, blog tours, giveaways and guest blogs. After a few months of blogging I realised just how hard it is for smaller publishers and independent authors to get their books noticed so I’m always willing to feature them if I can. This way visitors to Linda’s Book Bag might well discover really fabulous reads they may otherwise not have heard about.

Thanks so much Tracy, for giving me the opportunity to tell people a little about my blog.

To read more from Linda and subscribe to her blog click here

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