Today’s post for Book Blogger Appreciation week is the best day of the whole week! It’s the interview swap. I have met so many great bloggers through the BBAW interview swap and this year is no different. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Bernadette, co-creator of #blacklitchat who blogs at her eponymous site. I hope you’ll take a few seconds to hop over to Bernadette’s site and visit her blog. Now, onto the interview!
1) Let’s start out with the big questions: What’s your favorite book? Who is your favorite author?
Choosing a single favorite book is so hard. And this answer changes, so I’m sure I’m contradicting some previous declaration. I’d say Patternmaster, by Octavia Butler is my favorite and she is my favorite author.
2) Could you tell me a little bit more about #blacklitchat? Why did you co-found this chat? What have been some of the most memorable moments to come out of the chat?
I co-founded #blacklitchat with Dee Steward (@deegospel) in 2010 to help promote contemporary novels by black writers on twitter. We connect readers with authors in our monthly chats by having the author join us for one hour to discuss their books and writing. Our chats have featured debut authors as well as award-winning authors who have been favorites of mine since college. Some of the memorable moments include having authors other than the author guest stop by to say hello during the chat, our one-year anniversary conversation with Tayari Jones (Oct. 2011) and the speed of questions and comments with each chat.
3) I love that your blog combines a personal blog with a book blog. What made you decide to start a blog? Has your blog changed and has it changed you? Has it changed the way you write?
I started a personal blog in 2002. It was early in the trend and at the time I was a full-time web producer, so it was a natural thing for me to try. I was fairly inconsistent with that blog and stopped posting. In 2005 after realizing how many of my favorite books by black authors were not, in my opinion, getting the attention they deserved, I decided to start a blog focused on books. I merged the older more personal blog (which I began updating again to post about traveling in Asia) with the book blog last year.
4) This introductory post to your 30×30 project about community and accountability really resonated with me. What has been the best thing about the community you have found through your blog?
The best thing about the community I’ve found through blogging is that I’ve found other bookworms who do social media well. It is a fun outlet for me and is the way I maintain a connection to my love of literature. I have a couple of local friends who I may not have met were it not for blogging, Tweeting, etc.
5) If you could only recommend one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be? Why? If it is different from your answer to number one, why?
So hard. There are truly probably 5 – 10 books I’d recommend and it feels vaguely disloyal to choose just one. But one of those five is What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearl Cleage. Cleage is a poet, playwright, essayist and this was her first novel. I really loved it and have re-read it numerous times. I recommend it because it is smart, heartfelt (without any corny-ness) and she writes so well about contemporary life and challenges. The women in the book are amazing and when I read it, I took away some real life wisdom about living. Her book, Mad at Miles, would be one of the other 10 books I’d recommend.
6) During my first BBAW, my interviewer Steph asked me this question and I’ve asked it every year since: what’s the meaning of life?
What’s the meaning of life? (This is the go big or go home question, for sure!) I don’t know. I feel like the meaning of life is to keep searching and to not only learn what you’re searching for and find it, but to share it with others. I’m no philosopher, though.