Medieval Penguins and Red Velvet Cake (Interview)


What do you get when you combine someone who likes cross stitching, sewing, baking, reading and penguins?  You get Gemma Feltham, of course! As an avid reader myself, I quickly became interested in Gemma’s writing.  That said, although her basis for blogging is reviewing books, it was her thoughts around blogging itself that intrigued me even further.

With over 11,000 followers, Gemma’s If Books Could Blog site is a great example of how your audience will find you when you choose to blog about something you are passionate about.  As you will see below, she started posting as an outlet, but obviously found common ground with many others sharing her love for reading.  In my conversation with her, she was genuinely surprised at the number of followers she has acquired– she simply doesn’t pay attention to it!  (Imagine that…a blogger who doesn’t spend half their day on their ‘Stats’ page!)

As a brief bio, Gemma graduated from Leeds Trinity University a few years ago as an English and Media major, currently residing in Leeds, U.K.  She has pursued her reading passion personally as well as professionally, working in the publishing industry at the moment.  She believes “a house is not a home until it has a book shelf crammed with books”, and her go-to vice of choice is Red Velvet cake.  Why am I totally picturing her sitting beside a medieval, 15th century English fireplace, giant book in one hand, giant piece of cake in the other?

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us in this interview Gemma. As for everyone else, please read on– I’m confident you’ll be glad that you did.

Gemma, what motivated you to start your blog?
“I found that although I loved reading I was feeling stunted, I wasn’t part of a book club or writing group but felt I needed an outlet. So I turned to blogging. My parents inspired my love of books and encourage me to write, act out and were very much involved, so my blog is a way for me to act on what I read and involve anyone and everyone from across the globe.”
Perfect! What I heard was…act on your passion, pursue it…find others in the blogosphere who share your interests. What one thing do you feel has contributed the most towards growing your follower base?
Variety and my minimum spoilers rule. Without a doubt my blog would be much more boring if I only ever read books by well-known, fully established authors, and books of the same genre. And as you know I don’t just blog my reviews, also a big thing for my blog is I try to avoid spoilers and detailed descriptions of the plot of any book I blog about.
My takeaway from that answer is to write creatively, being thoughtful of what will provoke your readers’ interests without saying too much! What do you feel has been the biggest thing you’ve learned about blogging since you started If Books Could Blog?
Trying different kinds of posts and gauging the response from your audience is just as fun as writing book reviews.
I’m hearing you say, “have fun” as you’re blogging. Let your readers give you direction by what they like.  Can you name one of your favorite blogs and why?
Leeds Reads is a blog posted by Leeds Libraries on WordPress, it’s diverse, fun, informative, regular and always the right length.
OK Gemma, last question…and it’s an important one…how do you take your coffee?
Strong, dark with a touch of milk and a good slosh of caramel syrup and 2 sugars for good measure!
Now that sounds like a great cup of coffee to enjoy a good book over!  Once again, my thanks to Gemma for taking the time to take part in this interview– we appreciate her insights! If you haven’t had a chance to do so as of yet, I would urge you to grab some java and head over to If Books Could Blog to check-out Gemma’s work for yourself.  She has a great Blogging Tips section, and if you are a reader yourself, be sure to click her 50 Books to Read Before you Die link! I’m working my way through that list very slowly since I’m not quite ready to head to that big library in the sky just yet ;-).
Have a great week everyone!  Come back next week for the next interview in our series!

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