Today’s interview is with Kate Kenzie who runs the From Under the Duvet book blog. She is also a member of the NWS!
Hi Kate, welcome to the RNA blog. Why don’t you start things off by telling us a bit about yourself.
I am a book blogger and hoarder from the Yorkshire Coast; I spend far too long living under blankets because of chronic illness and dystonia. Luckily, books exist so from my bed I can travel the world, meet different people and experiences many lifetimes. When I’m not reading, I am spending time with my family, dogs and drinking tea.
What made you start a book blog?
Boredom and loneliness. I always enjoyed reading but when I had to leave my ideal job at the library due to ill health and it became more important as a form of escapism. The number of books I was reading rocketed, but I had no one to talk to about them. I was used to having my day filled with book related chat and I missed it. Book blogging seemed the perfect way to share my recommendations and talk to fellow book lovers.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a book blogger?
The best thing, apart from receiving an email saying you have been approved to read a book you have been longing to read, is discovering authors and books I would have missed if it wasn’t for the blogging community and NetGalley. There are many hidden gems from independent authors that may not be seen in the library or book shop and I feel privileged to read and blog about them.
The worst thing is not having enough time to read and review all the books on my overflowing TBR pile. Being active in the book groups online is dangerous because there is always another book that spikes my interest and is added to it.
Do you meet up with other bloggers and reviewers?
Though there are blogging meet ups and events around, my health means I have not attended them yet, so I have only met one blogger in real life. Luckily, there is a strong online community of bloggers and some have become my closest friends. Hopefully, I will meet some of them at this year’s RNA conference.
Can you tell us how long you have been running your blog and share your review policy with us?
My current blog has been running for 3 ½ years. It started life as a blog to keep track of books read for an online book club, Duvet Dwellers but has since evolved into a personal book blog and had a recent name change.
I love most genres; if the blurb grabs me, I will try it. One of the exceptions is novels about aliens, they give me nightmares. A more in-depth policy is on my blog, but I keep strict deadlines to a minimum as my health is unpredictable and I hate letting people down. I only post reviews on my blog for books I enjoy and would recommend. Life is too short to read a book you dislike. Rather than star ratings which I feel are arbitrary books I love are given a place on my forever shelf where they are reread and cherished. Since I can’t review as many as I would like, I am happy for authors to do guest or Meet the Author posts to get exposure.
I see from your blog that you are very active on NetGalley. Can you tell us a little about that?
I have a love/hate relationship with NetGalley. I love how it allows me access to advanced copies of a range of books in exchange for an honest review shared across media platforms but there are too many books which grab my attention and it is easy to get carried away and be overwhelmed with book reviews to write. Bloggers are only given copies to review from popular authors if they submit a high percentage of reviews compared to the number of books they receive, so it is important to keep requests in moderation.
It is always exciting to receive an of email approving a book I am desperate to read after hearing about them or a tweet of thanks from an author who likes your review.
You’re a novelist yourself. What are you writing?
I am on the NWS and I have two projects on the go. One is a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist, set in my favourite place, Whitby. The other is a YA fantasy. There is an overlap in the characters and worlds which makes it easier to work on both.
Between the writing, real life and the blog, you must be pretty busy. What do you do when you’re not reading, writing or reviewing?
I sleep. Dystonia and my medication cause chronic fatigue which is why my blog is called From under the Duvet. Daily siestas are a must. I also love spending time in the countryside so attempting to grow plants especially bonsai to bring nature indoors.
We often ask industry professionals what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what do you hope to see more of in 2019/2020?
I am hoping the trend for uplifting and inspiring novels continue because life is daunting without them. It would also be good to see some gothic, dark ghost stories given a modern twist.
Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope the blog goes from strength to strength (and you do too!).
You can find out more about Kate at:
Rhoda Baxter writes feel good stories about strong women and nice guy heroes. She especially likes it when they make her laugh. She also writes multi-cultural romances as Jeevani Charika. You can find out more about her award nominated books and manuscript critique services on www.rhodabaxter.com
Lovely interview, Kate.