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Bookish. Publisher at Louise Walters Books. Reader, writer, and editor.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

From The Other Side: Book Blogger Linda Hill

Welcome to the second of my "From the Other Side" interviews, in which I chat to book bloggers on my author blog. My guest today is the lovely Linda Hill. I've been following Linda on Twitter for some time: I've noticed she reads a lot of books and writes a lot of reviews on her award winning blog! I was keen to find out what makes Linda tick, and it was fascinating to find out. Here she is...

All book bloggers are surely book lovers. How and when did your love of reading begin?

I was actually a bit of a late starter as I have terrible sight but it wasn't picked up until I was 7. I got glasses at 8 and a whole new world was opened up to me when I realised the smudges on the page were actually words and could take me on all kinds of adventures. I also have a sister who is almost 9 years older than me so she used to read to me, making me lazy!


When did you start your blog?

I began on 7th February 2015.

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading and reviewing?

I find this a tricky question to answer as I have quite eclectic tastes and enjoy all kinds of books. It's probably easier to say what I don't like and I'm definitely less keen on horror, dystopian fiction and sci-fi. If pushed I'd have to say literary fiction is my favourite, but I like historical fiction, women's fiction, crime, chick-lit and I love a psychological thriller.

Do you have a “day job” (work, children, and/or caring responsibilities) - and if so, how do you fit in all your reading, reviewing and blogging?

No! I am 'self-retired' which means I simply decided not to work any more so I can do what I like and this means spending around 4 hours a day blogging! In fact, I spend so much time organising blog posts that I'm actually reading less so I'm going AWOL this April to catch up a bit and just read and review. I also garden, write a little bit, drink a lot of tea, eat chocolate and love travelling.

If I don’t like a book, I usually don’t review it on Goodreads, Amazon, Netgalley or on my blog. For me, that’s the kindest thing to do. As a writer, I know how disheartening negative reviews can be. I also appreciate not every reader enjoys every book. How do you stand on this issue?

If I don't like a book, or it won't be 3 stars or more on the different sites, I don't post on Goodreads, Amazon and so on. I do blog about it, but I always try to be polite and constructive because no writer sets out to write a bad book and what may not appeal to me might be the perfect read for others. That's why I also try to say who the book would appeal to even if I'm not keen. That said, when I've had books that I think are truly dreadful and badly written I just don't post a review on the blog either because I probably won't have finished it and I never review a book I haven't actually read. 

Have you ever had a negative response from an author after reviewing their work, and if so, how did you handle it? (No names needed!)

Fortunately not! (I expect I'll get one tomorrow now!)

How do you feel about indie authors? Do you consider self-published books?

Always. I actually feel pretty guilty as I have a huge pile of indie books awaiting review and I can't get through them quickly enough. I would say that often I've read an indie book and can't see why it hasn't attracted a conventional publisher too. There's some wonderful writing out there. The odd one isn't as good but that's true of big names in writing and publishing too!

On the other hand, how do you feel about those over-hyped books from the Big 5 publishers?!

It depends. I have a couple on my TBR (not mentioning names) that I simply can't get into no matter how hard I try. I understand how books need the hype, but I always like to make up my own mind. There are some like Girl on the Train I haven't even bought, let alone read. At other times I've read what I thought was an over-hyped book and have been absolutely blown away by it.

There has recently been some negative stuff on social media about book bloggers. I know how this feels, as I have self-published my second novel, and we all know how indie authors get looked down upon in some quarters! So - how do you respond to that negativity?

I ignore it! Bloggers do a brilliant, unpaid, job and try to support one another and authors of all kinds. I've made some fabulous real and 'virtual' friends as a result of blogging and there will always be those in any sphere of life who are negative or jealous and try to put others down. I actually feel a bit sorry for them. It must be awful to spend your life being nasty about other people. How sad.

Have you made “real life” friends as a result of your book blog?

Oh - yes! I have made friends with both bloggers and authors, some of whom have been to my home and others I meet on a regular basis at different events.

Tell us about the art of writing a review. How do you avoid spoilers but manage to convey the sense or feel of a book? I find it difficult, so any tips will be gratefully received! I’ve seen some fantastic reviews, which I suspect were pretty tricky to write…

I'm not sure I'm qualified to give advice here! I only give a couple of sentences to set the scene of the book at the beginning and then don't reveal anything else about the plot. I'm one of those who hates spoilers of any kind and I even slide post-it notes onto the final paragraphs of books so that I can't inadvertently see the last few lines. When I write a review I concentrate on the quality of language, character, theme and setting and I always try to convey how a book made me feel. Reading is a really personal experience for me.

Big question: Have you ever been tempted to write, or have you written, a novel (or any kind of book) yourself?

I am part way through my first novel. I intended writing it during NaNoWriMo in 2015 but my husband was diagnosed with cancer on 6th November and that rather distracted me. So, I thought I'd crack on during NaNoWriMo 2016, but my father was dying and passed away on 9th November so I didn't have the emotional energy. Maybe NaNoWriMo 2017 will be my year. I have it all planned and 26000 words written but I doubt I'll ever show it to anyone. {26,000 words is a terrific start. Good luck with this Linda, how exciting!}

Quick fire: E-reader or print?

Yes to both! But print really!

Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 

I'm just starting Dawn O'Porter's The Cows but have only read 10 pages so far.


Linda blogs at Linda's Book Bag, and she tweets @Lindahill50Hill

Many thanks to Linda for this fantastic interview. I don't know about you, but I'm curious about that novel she is writing...!

Join me again soon for another "From the Other Side" interview. I'll be chatting to Nicola Smith, AKA "Short Book and Scribes". 


  1. Thank you so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog. I'm thrilled to be here x

    1. You're more than welcome, Linda. Thanks for making this post so interesting x

  2. I thought this was a lovely post about Linda and great questions that I am looking forward to answering.

  3. I love the suggestions about dealing in thoughtful ways with books you're not so keen on - many could do with using that tip, instead of getting a thrill from being over critical, when they've no idea how hard it is to write a book!

  4. I agree Ross, it's pretty easy to spot those who just love to "hate on" a book or an author, and say nasty things. Sometimes books just don't work for us and it's fair to say that, and to say why it didn't engage us. But plain nasty comments are unhelpful to all.