Without further ado! Ladies and Gentlemen, Wendy Shatwell and Claire Allmendinger!! (....and the crowd goes wild!!)
1. How did the two of you get into blogging, and what keeps you going?
Wendy: In April of 2012 I was on holiday. I had just turned 37 (for the 3rd or possible 4th time? It’s hard to remember at my age lol). I was not having a great holiday. I was feeling a little lost because my daughter had just left home to start her first year at University (I was a gymslip Mum), and I was lying there on my sunbed by the pool thinking, “What the hell do I do now”?
So, I powered up my kindle and opened a book that I had downloaded the day before we left for holiday, something I didn’t really know much about but thought I’d give it a shot. And so it began, I read all day, only stopping to appease my somewhat bored husband. I finished the book and had my first WTF moment at the end of a book in quite some time.
The book was “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I practically sprinted to reception to get WIFI signal to download the next 2 books and finished all 3 on holiday. My love of reading was rekindled and over the following months I was reading every day. I knew nothing about “Indie” authors and self-publishing and suddenly I was finding some great people on Facebook and Twitter and do you know what? They interacted with their readers (Jenn Sterling & Madeline Sheehan were just lovely to me) and shared comments about their books and suddenly I felt like I was home. So a few months later i thought, why not start a blog to give something back to the inspirational writers that devote a huge chunk of their lives to giving us some of the best book boyfriends ever, those heart in the mouth moments, WTF, OMFG and the ultimate happy ever afters. It was then that I ‘virtually met’ Rachel Brookes and M.R. Joseph, I posted reviews for their new releases as my first posts on the blog and they have become my great friends.
What keeps me going? Mostly Claire lol, but also some of the amazing authors i have met over the last 18 months that I now consider my friends.
Claire: I’ve always been a reader, and I followed BNW as we had mutual twitter friends that the blog supported. I saw Wendy post asking for help and thought I’d give it a go as I had a few spare hours a week (my kids were getting older) I think I offered 10 hours didn’t I Wendy? I said a week, sometimes that’s a day...LOL.
Wendy: It’s true we never ever stop blogging, we do it in every waking hour we have spare and even in those hours that aren’t spare lol
Claire: What keeps me going? I love it, I’m love waking up to a message from an author, I love the excitement when I pick up a book that a ‘friend’ has written and realise that I’ve got goose pimples, and I love that authors, actual writers, respect my opinion (they clearly don’t realise I’m just squealing inside).
2. As a reader, what is your favorite genre to curl up with and why?
Wendy: I love, love, love contemporary romance and i am always looking for that extra something in a book that takes me completely by surprise or that has me reliving the scenes i have read over and over again in my mind. if i lose sleep over a book, then the author has done a great job.
Claire: I’m multi-genre, in fact I’ll pretty much try anything depending on my mood. I usually have 3 or 4 books on the go and feel a bit bereft if I haven’t.
3. What is the greatest behind the scenes benefit of being a blogger? (i.e. meeting new authors, the books, events, etc...lol)
Wendy: All of the above but I have also been very lucky to have become a beta reader for several authors that I have become friends with along the way, and to have earned their trust enough that they send me their manuscripts and want my opinion still makes me very proud. Then to see your name acknowledged in print in a book either as Wendy or as Bare Naked Words still makes me cry every single time it happens.
Claire: Oh my, too much to mention. This indie world is a whole other world I never knew existed. I’ve made some fabulous friends, read some amazing books, had a ball helping at author events, and I have access to fantastic books. But even more amazing than all of that is my relationship with Wendy! She is my rock; she has guided me through this, throwing her trust, encouragement and love of all things pink at me with no hesitation. I don’t think she will ever realize the difference her being in my life has made to me.
(Awwwwww. That gave ME the feels, folks.)
4. What was your greatest Fan-Girl moment?
Wendy: Oh my goodness, there has been so many. Meeting Abbi Glines for the first time, meeting Jenn Sterling, Samantha Towle, Pepper Winters and Jodi Ellen Malpas, receiving emails & personal messages in signed books from Tiffany Reisz, Madeline Sheehan, Pepper Winters and Katy Evans to name but a few.
Claire: Meeting Pepper Winters in Edinburgh, she was so lovely! But didn’t bring Q along, unfortunately…
4. If you could crawl into ONE book and live there for a month, which would it be and why?
Wendy: This is so hard, but I think I would have to say the Thoughtless Series by S.C. Stephens. This series truly broke me. I lost a lot of sleep over these books. They actually made me physically hurt inside. But I will always and forever love Kellan Kyle.
Claire: Can I choose two? Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton, I so wanted to play Lacrosse and have midnight feasts; that really happens, right? And…Fifty Shades of Grey. You have to ask why?
5. When we first start out, one of the first things an author learns is how invaluable the alliance is with bloggers. What advice would you give new authors as they take their first few baby-steps...Into the Blogiverse?
Wendy: My advice to new authors is treat people how you yourself wish to be treated. Bloggers voluntarily give their time to promoting books. A please and a thank you goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to contact the bloggers. We don’t bite and we are here to be approached for help, a nice message to our Facebook inbox or our Gmail is fine, we’ll help if we can. We would never be rude to anyone who approaches so expect the same courtesy.
Claire: Into the Blogiverse…LOL. Just to remember that bloggers are just fans, they aren’t in this for free books. Hell, I had no idea how much time this takes. They are in it because they love authors and they love their words, a quick thank you on a post or a chatty inbox goes a LONG way and you will have a very loyal ally in the crazy, tough world.
6. Any parting thoughts?
Wendy: Being a blogger is hugely rewarding, although its the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Having an author acknowledge a review you wrote is the best thank you we could ask for. When I started Bare Naked Words 18 months ago I had no idea really what I was doing. It’s certainly been a learning curve and the people I have met along the way have become some of my closest friends, even though I have still to meet some of them in person.
There really are too many people to thank, but my biggest supporters from the very beginning were Victoria L James & Jacqueline Ayres, they have taught me so much and given me valuable input and ideas along the way.
Claire: Thanks for doing this, Aria and spotlighting how hard we work. We do it though, because we love it – so keep those wonderful words coming, authors. I truly love being a part of this world.