I’m honored to feature Renee Chaw, aka Steeler Girl. She posts reviews at her fun site, Black ’n Gold Girl’s Book Spot. Last week she celebrated her blog’s third anniversary.
Renee loves to read. No surprise there, right? She says she’ll take a good book over TV any day. She has a B.A. in history, a degree she chose based on her love of the Victorian era and historical romance. She has a fondness for vintage jewelry and antiques and is quite passionate about watching football games, especially if “her” Steelers are playing. She’s a car aficionado and has been since fourth grade, when she started a scrapbook devoted to Barbies and classic cars. She would prefer going to a car show over visiting the mall any day of the week. In her own words Renee says, “I’m not your average girl.” I’d agree. Renee is one cool gal, and I’m happy to have her visiting today.
I asked Renee three questions about her reading and review process. After that, you’re in for a treat, because you get to learn three fun things about the woman behind the reviews.
Reading and Reviewing
When you began blogging three years ago, what was your vision? How has the site changed over time, and what can readers expect in the future?
When I started blogging I really had no idea what it was going to be like. I have always loved to read, but I really didn’t have anyone to discuss books with other than one or two friends over Facebook or through G-mail chat. The fact that I have almost 300 blog followers who love books as much as I do is crazy (in a good way, of course), and I live for the great comments and encouragement I get from other readers and bloggers. Who woulda thunk it that there are so many people in this world who have almost the same taste in books as I do?
When I first started blogging I had no idea about post format, blog backgrounds, review criteria etc., but I had a few great friends who helped me out. I really think the looks and content of my blog have evolved nicely, and I hope to continue improving it as time goes by. I definitely can say to readers, expect more book reviews and more giveaways! I have received so many review requests for great looking books that I just can’t pass up! It’s really tough for me to say no to a book LOL!
My goal is to host more authors on my blog this year. I think it is critical to get the word out about authors whose books I love and to spread the word about new authors. I know how hard an author works to get their book published, and I want to help in anyway I can.
If there’s an aspect of a story you don’t care for, you address it, but you do so with kindness and respect. How do you balance a reader’s desire for an honest review with your heart for the author of the work?
Wow great question. When I don’t care for a book it is so difficult to write a review for it, and sometimes I don’t want to do it. I hold authors in the highest regard, and like I said in the previous comment, I know how hard they work on a book–they pour their heart and soul in it, so to me if I have to write a negative it kills me. It’s like telling someone you don’t like their kid! I almost always can find something that I like in a book, and I will say so in hopes that I can balance the review out and not step on too many toes while at the same time staying true to myself and my readers.
When and where do you do most of your reading?
Hahaha I read ALL the time! I’m unemployed right now, so I can read pretty much whenever I want. Of course the housework and pets call my name so usually, IMO, the best time to read is at night when everyone else is in bed and there is some peace and quiet! Now that I have a Kindle Fire, nighttime reading is even better…gotta love that LCD backlit screen! The only place I don’t read is in the car. Me + book in car = disaster of the yuckiest proportions. LOL
Three Fun Facts About Renee
I know you love the Steelers, but I don’t know how long you’ve been a fan or how far you’ll go to support your team. When did you fall for the guys in black and gold? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to cheer your team to victory?
Okay Keli, you are not from this area if you asked that question LOL! I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, so I pretty much came out of the womb cheering the Steelers. Seriously, my newborn cries sounded like “Here we go Steelers, here we go!” Hahahaha.
I’d say the craziest thing I’ve ever done to cheer on my guys is to make posters to decorate the house for the Super Bowl. I remember when the Steelers played the Seahawks and I made a poster of a busload of Steeler players running over a bird…gruesome I know but they did win so maybe the poster was good luck.
I’m married to a guy who’s owned his classic MGB roadster since 1970, so I’ve seen how into cars a car person can be. I also know that classic car people have dream cars. What are yours? (I figure there’s more than one. 🙂 )
Keli I’m hiring you the next time I host an interview on my blog. You ask THE best questions. I’m a Mustang girl through and through, so get me any classic ‘Stang or even one of the awesome new Cobras or 5.0s, and I’ll be a happy camper. For those who’d like to see some of my faves, I have a board on Pinterest devoted to cars.
You describe yourself as being somewhat of a tomboy, but I noticed you like vintage jewelry and antiques. How often are you able to add new items to your collection? What are some of your favorite finds?
I do really love the watch pins that the ladies wore in the early 19th century through the early 20th and would LOVE to have one someday, but for now I collect old postcards and schoolbooks since they’re less expensive for a girl whose on a tight budget like me. The best thing in my collection right now is an old schoolbook that belonged to a local girl. I posted pictures of it on my blog a few years ago of some of the things that were written in the book that make it sooo neat! If you’re interested in the pics go here.
Renee’s Question for You
The question that Keli asked me about things that I like to collect has me thinking about books. I would like to know if money was no object what first edition book would you buy? Since I’m a Pride and Prejudice fan I’d definitely spring for a first edition of that book which I believe came in 3 volumes. Can you imagine having THAT in your library? *sigh*
• • •