Thank you to Ellie Holmes once again for this lovely interview with Kaisha Holloway of The Writing Garnet book blog. Kaisha is another person who likes to keep herself very busy!
I am delighted to welcome Kaisha Holloway to the RNA Blog’s monthly series where we speak to book bloggers and get an insight into their world. Welcome Kaisha.
Your blog The Writing Garnet has such a pretty name, what made you start the blog and how did you come up with the name?
Thanks so much! Oh my, where to start! I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, pretty much since the moment I learned how to read. I have always been able to speed read and retain the information weeks after. So, due to my love of reading and the fact I became chronically ill in 2006, therefore using books as an escape, I realised that I had a lot to thank authors for. Without authors writing such touching and memorable novels which have allowed me to travel all over the world whilst still being in my pyjamas, I honestly have no idea what place I would be in now without them. All of that is why I started my blog; to thank authors and showcase their work. As far as I am concerned, my reviews are minimal return considering what they have done for me.
I came up with the blog name as I don’t just write reviews on there; I write other things too. That was how ‘The Writing’ part came about. The ‘Garnet’ of the name was added because garnet is my birthstone.
What’s your review policy?
I ask that all new review requests are sent to me via e-mail and not via social media direct messages. If review requests are sent that way and I haven’t worked with you before, I will ignore them.
If an author’s book isn’t my cup of tea, and because I get multiple review requests a week, I do state in my policy that I won’t respond to requests which just aren’t for me.
Also, if I do accept a review request and a date hasn’t been specified or agreed upon, that means that I will read and review the book when I come to. However, if a date has been agreed, I will always stick to my word and, if anything were to crop up, I would always let the author know.
What’s your favourite thing about running a blog?
So many! I love being able to read books by authors I haven’t heard of before. I love being able to get my thoughts down about a book and having readers reply saying that due to my review, they have purchased the book. I am also known as ‘the blogger who makes authors cry’ (in a good way). Whilst I don’t jump up and down about that, I love that fact that my reviews connect with the author of the book, emotionally. I just love 99% of things about running a blog!
Congratulations on your recent nomination for the RNA’s Social Media Star, how does it feel to have your achievements recognised in this way? Has your blog been nominated/won any other awards?
Thank you so much, I was extremely flabbergasted when I received the e-mail. I thought it had been sent to the wrong person! In all honesty, when I started my blog, winning awards never entered my mind at all. I didn’t even realise bloggers could win awards. I am over the moon, shocked, proud and extremely emotional (still) that my blog is being recognised in this way. I cannot thank all of my supporters enough. Yes! A month after I started my blog I was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in the Blogger Bash Awards (2016), then last year I was nominated for ‘Most Inspirational Blog’ in the same awards, which I also went on to win. My fingers are crossed for this year!
You are very active on social media, which do you prefer Facebook or Twitter and why?
I actually prefer Twitter when it comes to books and following publishers. However, I also like Facebook because I am able to get to know authors a lot better and find out the personality behind the books. In answer to your question (sorry, I ramble) I like both for very different reasons.
You describe yourself as a freelance social media manager, author PA and proof reader as well as a reviewer, that’s a lot of plates to spin! Tell us a little more about some of the services you offer to authors.
It certainly is! I like to be challenged. You can also add writer to that as well haha. Well, I have a background in retail marketing, so I am well equipped to market an author’s novel/blog tour/event etc, via social media. Being so active on multiple social media platforms comes in handy as I am able to get the author’s work out to various different audiences. I also ghost write for authors and can take over their admin, purely so that they can just write.
If you were able to host a fantasy dinner party for your favourite authors (alive or dead), who would you choose as your guests and what would you prepare for them?
Ooooo fabulous question!
I’d pick Enid Blyton because I would love to get to know the brains behind ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’, and find out why she wrote for children when it’s been reported that she wasn’t a very nice person. That intrigues me! I’d pick Jane Austen because, well, it’s Jane Austen! Sarah Vaughan because she has such an incredible mind, I would love to be able to sit down with her and get taught the lessons of the world. Beatrix Potter is a lady who I have admired for many years and I would love to find out why she wrote what she did. I’d pick Lucy Vine because her humour is side splittingly hilarious and, whilst I think she may end up getting on the wrong side of the historical authors with her colourful storylines, she would be an excellent addition to my dinner party. She is fab! Lastly, I would choose Lisa Jewell. This author continues to amaze me with every single book she produces. I think Lisa has some hidden grit waiting to come out and I would love to delve a little deeper in conversation with her.
Although, that list would be ten times longer as I have so many favourite authors!
I am all for comfort, homely food so I would probably do either a chicken casserole or a lasagne with a lemon tart for dessert. Simple!
We often ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what do you hope to see in 2018?
I hope to see storylines which are unique and memorable. Certain storylines within multiple genres have, in my opinion, been reproduced to the point where the shock factor, or emotion, ends up becoming a ‘oh not again’ type moment. Whilst I do appreciate that creating unique storylines when there are millions of other books out there is a task in itself, I really hope a novel is released which makes me go ‘wow, I have never read anything like that before’.
Find out more about Kaisha via her social media links:
Thanks for being such a wonderful guest, Kaisha, and for showing us a little bit about your world.
Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction with her heart in the town and her soul in the country. Ellie’s debut release was The Flower Seller. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors, Ellie’s latest book, White Lies is out now.
Great interview, ladies. The Folk of the Faraway Tree is my favourite book from my childhood, Kaisha My daughter has my copy, which for its age, has remained in tact. Keep reading, writing and blogging x
Lemon tart. Yum.
I love the Faraway Tree books, so did my kids. I remember the excitement when my daughter saw ‘cake pops’ and thought they were ‘pop cakes’…
Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoying interacting with people on Twitter too. It’s great fun and you can connect with people from all over the world. Congratulations on your blogging awards Kaisha!