Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Interview With Cathy From Kittling: Books

It was my pleasure to be paired up with Cathy for the BBAW interview swap. Cathy was nominated for, not one, but two BBAW awards: Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense/Crime and Best Series or Feature. As soon as I got word of who I was to interview, I headed to her blog & my heart skipped a beat...how lucky to be paired up with such an awesome person. Cathy took the time to answer my silly newbie questions and always makes me laugh (just read one of her posts and you will see what a great sense of humor she has!)

Now without further ado, here's your chance to meet the infamous Cathy!

NAME: Cathy

BLOG NAME: Kittling: Books

BLOG URL: http://cathyskye.blogspot.com

ABOUT ME: I'm addicted to: books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, photography, travel... anything else? Oh yeah... my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!

I'm a baby boomer who grew up in a small farm town in central Illinois. When it came time to start planning for college, I was tired of everyone in town knowing my business before I did, so I looked far afield until I found a college in Utah. One year after visiting family in Illinois during the summer, I returned to Utah via Arizona. I stopped in Phoenix. It was 110 degrees in the shade, and I fell in love with the heat, the light, and the Sonoran Desert. When I graduated, I moved to Phoenix and never looked back. After twenty years, I knew I was Home.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR BLOG? I started my blog in June 2008 as a way of keeping track of my reading. At that point I had no inkling that mine was one of many book blogs in existence nor any clue that people would want to read what I have to say.

WHAT IS YOUR BLOG ALL ABOUT? Basically it's still just me having fun in the world of books, although I've learned that I'm not talking to myself! What started out as dry-as-dust book reviews has branched out a bit in other directions.

ANY FAVORITE FEATURES THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? My favorite has to be Scene of the Blog which posts every Wednesday. I'm amazed and thankful at the number of book bloggers who have been willing to let everyone take a peek at their creative spaces. Another favorite is relatively new. It's called Bookself and appears most Saturdays. I'll post a photo of one of my many bookshelves and ask readers to leave their opinions in the comments as to what sort of reader they think I am, if any of the books appeal to them, etc. The following week I'll respond to all the comments and give some insights into a few of the books on that particular shelf. It's been a bit slow to take off, but it's something that I enjoy, so we'll see how it goes!

ANY TIPS OR ADVICE FOR THOSE STARTING OR THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BLOG? If you just want a blog to record your thoughts about books, and you don't care who sees it or if anyone ever comments, then jump in and have fun. If, on the other hand, you do want other people to read it and like it, and you do want to be a part of the book blogging community, I'd say you should do a little homework first. Read a lot of book blogs. Enough to get a feel for what you like and what you don't like. If there's a particular genre of books you intend to focus on, put most of your attention on that type of book blog. Hang out where other book bloggers hang out: Twitter, Book Blogs on Ning, LibraryThing, etc. Most of all, don't be afraid to ask questions. Book bloggers can be some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. I've had plenty of my own questions, and still manage to come up with them on a regular basis. Never once have I been turned down when I've asked a
question. I've always been met as a comrade-in-arms and given rafts of information for every single one of my questions.

HOW DO YOU WRITE YOUR REVIEWS--DO YOU TAKE NOTES AS YOU'RE READING OR WAIT UNTIL YOU'VE FINISHED THE BOOK? Normally I only take notes when something really striking occurs to me as I read. My regular modusoperandi is to use Post-It flags to mark significant passages. When I'm writing my review of the book, I'll go through all the marked passages. Some I will include in the review, others simply refresh my memory about certain plot points or characters. What I find most difficult in writing a review is to write one and not include spoilers. I want to give enough information about the book to intrigue a potential reader without giving away "the good bits"! I've read a little of everything on other book blogs about the wisdom in not rating books, in only sharing positive reviews.... All I can say to that is "Whatever floats your boat." It's my opinion that most people who search out book reviews are wanting to know both good and bad. If I were only to post
favorable reviews, how would you know if your reading tastes were really similar to mine? Fortunately I'm more and more in tune with my reading tastes as time goes by, so I don't post very many unfavorable reviews, but you can find them if you look!

DO YOU HAVE A REVIEW SYSTEM? IF YOU DO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO EXPLAIN IT TO US? I use a rather simple "grading" system. A's are given to Excellent books, B's to Very Good books, C's to Average books, D's to Poorly written books, F's to books that came close to being thrown against the nearest wall, and DNF's to books that I just couldn't finish.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE GENRES AND/OR BOOKS CURRENTLY? Almost ten years ago I got hooked on crime fiction, and it won't turn me loose. The more crime fiction I read, the more wonderful books I find. One new-to-me genre that I've been enjoying recently is Young Adult. Wow! I wish they had some of these books when I really was a young adult in body (and not just mind)!

HARDCOVER, TRADE PAPERBACK, OR MASS MARKET PAPERBACK? Any way I can get my hands on 'em, m'dear!

BUY OR BORROW? IF BUY, AMAZON OR BRICK-AND-MORTAR? I am absolutely positively horrible at returning books on time; therefore I buy or use Paperback Swap for almost everything that I read. When I do buy books, it's split 50% to Amazon or Book Depository and 50% to my favorite brick-and-mortar, the Poisoned Pen.

ALPHABETIZE BY AUTHOR, OR ALPHABETIZE BY TITLE, OR RANDOM? I'm a former librarian...there'll be none of this "random" crap! LOL I have about 27 bookcases in this house. The books are divided by genre. Fiction books are alphabetical by author. Biographies are alphabetical by subject's name. History is shelved by time period and country. And I will glare at you if you don't put that book back where you found it! LOL

READ WITH DUST JACKET, OR REMOVE IT? One must have a pristine dust jacket, so I remove mine while I'm reading the book. If it's a book that I'm keeping, I have a stock of Mylar covers to protect the dust jackets.

STOP READING WHEN TIRED, OR AT CHAPTER BREAKS? I do try to stop reading at chapter breaks, but many times I just can't time it perfectly. The magnetic bookmarks that I use allow me to mark exactly where I left off on the page.

MORNING READING, AFTERNOON READING, OR NIGHTTIME READING? Mark me down for all three, please! I'm an opportunistic reader. If some unexpected free time waggles its little butt at me, it can expect to be grabbed!

STAND-ALONE NOVELS OR SERIES? Why limit myself? If it looks good, I'll grab it no matter if it's a stand-alone or part of a series (although I prefer reading series in order)!

FIVE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME? In no particular order (other than the order the titles splurt out of my mind): East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, A Place of Execution by Val McDermid, Land of the Firebird by Suzanne Massey, Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler. Ask me in five minutes, you'll get five completely different titles!

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes and Blood Safari by Deon Meyer. You can't get much different than that! LOL

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON AN ISLAND, WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK YOU WISH YOU HAD THAT YOU COULD READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN...AND WHY? Little did you know it, but you've just described one of the lesser rings of hell to me. I don't re-read books. I stopped doing that several years ago when I read three books that were beloved during my formative years. All three fell very flat during the re-reads. The person I was when I first read them was long gone. So...no more re-reads and keep the happy memories, thank you very much! However, if I were in that situation, I would hope for something like the Bible or the Complete Works of Shakespeare. And maybe I could learn to make my own paper, ink and pens. I could make lists of all the book titles that can be found in either book, I could memorize large sections, I could act them out playing various roles. And while I'm doing that, I'm also going to be building myself a raft so I can make my way to the nearest bookstore!!

Thanks Cathy!

Stop by Cathy's blog to check it out and say "hi"! You can also read her interview with me here.


  1. Excellent interview! The last bit made me think of Gilligan's Island. No three hour cruises for me without a book!

  2. Great interview, Mel! She sounds like such a fun person!

  3. Kaye & Lisa ~ Thanks and yes, Cathy is hillarious :)

  4. I love Cathy's Scene of the Blog. Great interview!

  5. 27 bookcases in the house? I think I just died and went to Heaven! Did she mention if she was interested in adopting anyone (namely me)?

    Great interview!

  6. I love Cathy's blog, your questions and her picture. Cathy is usually good for a laugh or two!

  7. What a great interview. I find myself visiting her blog quite often so it's nice to learn more about her.

  8. It's fun to learn more about Cathy (now I'm going to have the image of free time wiggling its butt at me when I next get some, uh, I mean have some, oh well, you know what I mean).
    And it's fun to find your blog. Hello!

  9. I knew this would be a good interview. I thought the picture at the top set just the right tone. Cathy's blog is one of my must-reads every day. It's definitely a quality blog. It's also nice to meet you Mel and to look around at your blog.

  10. YAY - another PBS user! And I too love East of Eden - more people should be reading that book.

  11. That was a great interview. I';m jealous of her bookshelves

  12. Thanks everyone, it was a treat to get to know Cathy!

  13. Thanks everyone, it was a treat to get to know Cathy!

  14. Great interview Mel, really enjoyed reading about Cathy and the fun photo!