My thanks to my fellow blogger Andrea Lundgren for thinking about me as worthy of the Liebster Award. It’s always a great honour to receive an award from a fellow blogger. It’s a thrill that I always feel I should acknowledge by accepting the award. And let’s be honest, it’s nice to brag about ourselves every now in a while.
Andrea maintains a blog about the writing craft and if you haven’t visited it yet, you sure should do it right now! Then… you know… remember to come back for my acceptance post. You’ll remember, will you?
The rules are as follows:
Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the award.
– Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you.
– Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know).
– Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions
- What is your favorite book, or if you prefer, your favorite author?
Since I’ve talked about my favourite author, Sherman Alexie multiple times, I’ll go with my favourite book. The favourite book is a tricky matter, because of course it changes over time, as we read more books. My most recent favourite book is The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney.
I stumbled upon it on NetGalley and I almost decided not to read it once I downloaded it, I’m not even sure why. So happy I did read it, because I ended up absolutely loving it. And no surprise, I mean, it’s set in the 1920s, it has a bunch of very crafty Tolkien references (professors Tolkien and Lewis even appear as characters in the story), and it’s a perfect mix of historical events and fantasy visuals, with a deep symbolic meaning.
It is indeed the kind of story I want to write. No surprise I loved to read them too.
- Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, and if so, where?
I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland. I still hope one day I’ll be able to go. It is such a beautiful country, still so wild, so primordial. I love the sceneries.
And besides, I’ve always been fascinated with the history and especially the mythology and legends of the northern European countries. And the language! Icelandic has the most amazing sound. Of course such a language would produce such epic stories!
- What do you enjoy about blogging, and how has your blog changed in unexpected ways since you started it?
What I most love about blogging is the community. I realised this in the very early days of my blog: so many friends and fellow bloggers supported me and advised me just because I was a newbee and I was in need of help.
I try to do he same now. Of course I’m no expert or anything, but I like to give back what I’ve received. It really doesn’t cost anything and it may make a small different for the person on the receiving end.
Community is also what has made this blog what it is. I’ve often told this story, still I don’t know whether I’ve ever told it here. When I first started blogging, I decided I would never blog about the 1920s. Yes, it was (as still his) a subject I’m very passionate about, I had already researched extensively for my stories, but I didn’t feel I was an expert (I still don’t). I thought I would never be able to write anything worthy on the subject.
Then in 2015, one year after starting my blog, I decided to take part in the AtoZ Challenge. Now we’re talking about writing 26 blogs, possibly interconnected, one per day, for a month. I needed a plan, and I needed something to blog about that I could cover in a month. I didn’t have much choice, I decided to go with a 1920s theme.
Believe me when I tell you I was shocked when I realised people actually liked reading these articles about 1920s life. I truly didn’t expect it.
And it made me think hard. Maybe, in spite of what I felt, my blog was supposed to do just that. It was supposed to be devoted to share what I’ve learned during my research and to confront with other people who are equally passionate on this subject.
Never regretted it.
4.What is your favorite time period to read or write in, and why?
Well… guess what!
The 1920s is another passion I discovered by chance. Ghost Trilogy, the series I’ve been researching for, was initially supposed to be set in the 1930s. I did start researching the Great Depression, but when I discovered one element in my story was going to be anachronistic if set in the 1930s, I was forced to move the story back one decade.
And so I discovered this fantastic time in history.
Sure, I suppose it can be said of any past time that it relates to our own times one way or another, because I firmly believe history can teach us a lot more than we think about ourselves, but the 1920s are particularly relevant to us, today, in my opinion. It was a time of huge change, involving all aspects of life, happening at an unprecedented speed. Exciting as it was, it was also very scary, and I think this is exactly what is happening today. It’s not simply the change, it’s how fast it’s happening that scars us, because we can’t keep up with it.
The 1920s also gives me hope. Scary as it might feel now, like in the 1920s, this time will pass and we’ll be better off afterward. In the 1920s, elder people worried about young people becoming immoral and superficial. About the old ways fade and leave nothing worthy to replace them. About machines crashing down everything that used to be good and familiar. And sure, the world did change in that direction, but the apocalypse people expected never happened. What looked like chaos was actually the beginning of a new way of life. The life we live today.
- What is your favorite time period to watch on film or television, and why?
Same as above. In addition to everything else, the 1920s was a time of stunning visuals. I’ve just visited an exposition about 1920s Art Deco in Italy and I’m super excited. I saw so many beautiful things in that exhibition, I came out elated.
The 1920s was a pivotal time in the history of Italy. It was the time where industry started to be important and changed the way we lived and worked. In particular (and this is the core message of the exhibition) we tried to find ways to transfer the near artistic practice of craftsmanship into industry-produced items. That was the beginning of what we now call Made in Italy, which to us – far from being just a label – is a way of feeling, thinking, living and working.
- How do you find inspiration?
Jeez, I hate this question! How do you find inspiration? That’s like asking, how did you find that 50 euro note on the sidewalk?
I know this may sound not very professional, but I think inspiration is quite random. You never know when it’s going to happen, or what it will bring you. Inspiration is really something you can’t control, in my opinion.
But you can encourage it. By being curious, by exploring, by researching. Not just because you amass info – and that’s a part of what produces inspiration, anyway – but because it makes you accustomed to think, to ponder, and it helps you connect the dots. Dot-connecting is probably the most effective way to encourage inspiration, at least in my experience. You acquire the knowledge, you ponder it and somehow, you’ll start making connections. You’ll notice a coincidence, or a repetition and that will start you thinking at the possible explanations or consequences. Than, inspiration may very well happen.
In his film The Business of Fancydancing Sherman Alexie said it in the most beautiful way.
- What started you down the road of writing and blogging?
I started writing stories when I was nine. I’m honest when I say I don’t remember (I don’t know) why I started.
But blogging, I started three years ago and it was again one of those serendipitous things. I had never thought I’d ever had a blog. I’ve always been convinced I didn’t have anything interesting to say.
But as the time of publishing my stories approached, I started reading about building an author platform, and it became clear very quickly that I couldn’t possibly do it without a blog, a place on the internet which I could call home.
I was still very reluctant. What was I ever going to post on my blog? I had no clue!
Still, I needed to do it, so I built my blog and I started posting articles. Those articles are nearly all inaccessible now because honestly, they were unreadable and not very interesting. I learned a whole lot about blogging, the AtoZ Challenge was particularly enlightening there. And the sense of community! That’s what finally won me over. Today, I’d be very sad if I should be forced to stop blogging and really I’d do whatever I can to keep going.
- How do you keep yourself motivated?
Once again, I should say community. Sharing is one of the most motivating forces I know. When we are part of a community, we can’t wait to share what we do and what happens to us with our friends, and at the same time, we can’t wait to hear from them and to help when we can.
It gives you a sense that it matters, I don’t know how best to explain it.
- What four people would you invite to a dinner party (contemporary, historical, or fictional)?
May I go with fictional?
Waylander (author David Gemmell) because he was one of my first book crashes, so I suppose I won’t ever be able to let him out. He’s the classic kind of brooding, dark anti-hero, but he has a lot of good qualities he doesn’t like to advertise.
Thomas Builds-the-Fire (author Sherman Alexie) who’s one of my favourite characters at the moment. Alexie has many characters named Thomas Builds-the-Fire in his stories and although they are never exactly the same character, they all have common characteristics: they are good-hearted and funny, witty and wise if quite a bit naïf, and very involved with tradition. I think we’d get along perfectly.
Anna Francis (author Paul Kearney) who’s the essence of the world of today. A refugee who has integrated in her new homeland, if not to a point to forgetting where she comes from, she feel perfectly at ease in the old and the new life. There is no contradiction to her in belonging to both. I’d like to learn lots of things from her.
Galadriel (author J.R.R. Tolkien). People usually think at Galadriel as she appears in the Lord of the Rings and never realised that at that point she has lived for millennia and she has seen and done a buch of ‘interesting’ things. Prof. Tolkien is often accused to have very few female characters in his stories. Which is true, but let me tell you that his few female characters are among the most complex and nuanced I’ve ever read.
Do you think these is all too brooding characters? Well, people let surface all manners of unexpected sides of their personalities at parties.
- What is your favorite kind of weather?
Believe it or not, I like rainy days. Which may explain why I felt so at home in Ireland.
Far from feeling lonely and depressing, they feel inspiring to me, though why? I really don’t know.
And yes, rain may be annoying if you have to go around (for example to work). Going around with an umbrella, how cumbersome is that? That’s why, if it isn’t really pouring, I often don’t use it. I’ve lived more than a year in Ireland, and I never own an umbrella while I was there.
- If you could have any pet, real or fictional, what would it be?
Actually, I already have the most amazing pet I could wish for, my chubby cat Apache.
Cheryl @ Impromtu Promptlings
Margot @ Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…
Shilpa @ A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose
Irene @ Pompulsively Quirky
Jack @ Riding the Blimp
- What is the one reason why you like that author so much that when a book of his/hers comes out you automatically buy it?
- Do you read in just your mother tongue?
- Do you think reading in the language a story was written in is the best thing? If yes, why? If not, why?
- Do you read in a preferred genre? Which one? Why you prefer it?
- Do you ever go exploring genres you don’t normally read?
- Have you ever being part of a reading group? If yes, how was the experience?
- How do you feel about all the new formats available to readers?
- I’ve meet people who basically only read in one format (for example only ebooks) Do you? Would you?
- Today, getting in touch with our favourite authors is a lot easier than before. Have you ever taken advantage of it?
- Turning books into movies. This most upsetting practice.
- Would you ever write the novel you want to read?
Congratulations on this well-deserved award! Your blog is such a rich resource! I learn every time I come here. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the blogging community. That’s one of the best things about blogging, for me. Thank you so much, too, for the kind nomination – that means an awful lot to me. 🙂
It was a pleasure, Margot. You’re blog is awesome! 🙂
Thanks, Lillian. Every award is such a great rewarding 🙂
Really interesting, thoughtful answers!
Glad you enjoyed the post. accepting an awrd is always kind of challenging, but such fun 🙂
Sara C. Snider
I also love rainy days! Visiting Iceland is high on my to-visit list. I read somewhere that the Icelandic language is probably the closest we have today to the language the Vikings spoke, which is pretty cool. And thanks for nominating me! It’s always nice to be thought of. 🙂 I’m currently on a bit of a blogging break, but will probably do an acceptance post when I’m back in the swing of things. Hope you are having a lovely summer so far.
Can’t wait to read your acceptance blog 🙂
And I understand your need for a bit of reast after the fit that was Hazel and Holly. I’m so in awe of what you manged to do with that story.
Congrats on the award, Sarah! I don’t know if I can speak for all of your readers, but your posts about the 1920s are one of the reasons why your blog (and you as a person) is so unique. It’s not a time period my teachers focused on much during school, so for me it’s fascinating to learn about the culture, attitudes, etc. from that point in history through you. And your passion for it shines through – and who can resist a blogger who writes about her subjects so passionately? 🙂
My heart did a happy-dance when you talked about Iceland. Gosh, what a gorgeous place. I missed it as soon as I landed back in Boston after the writing retreat. I guess that means I need to go back, huh?
Aww, thanks so much for the kind words, Sara, they mean a lot to me.
And I knew you’d say that about Iceland! 😉
I’m avious. At least you’ve been there once.
Congratulations, Sarah for the Liebster Award and thank you for sharing it with me.
Agree with you that blogging is community. I love the support and camaraderie that is seen especially in blogging groups. And the inspiration bit struck a cord too. For me too, inspiration strikes anytime, anywhere and sometimes nowhere.
Interesting answers and it was good to know a bit about you through this post.
I believe we’d never met without the blogging community 😉
Congrats and thanks for the nomination! I will definitely do an acceptance post. I’m glad you decided to share about the subject you’re passionate about. Your posts are an education and the level of research is always impressive. I liked your thoughts on gaining inspiration, too.
Can’t wait to read your acceptance post, Nick. YOur snippets of writing are always so fascinating 🙂