Readers, today I am excited and maybe a little nervous to be interviewing the witch from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. I am extremely thankful that she was able to take time to meet with me here today at Book Journey as I know that this is normally a very busy time of year for witches, however she was able to fit us in. Please give a warm welcome to uhhhh……. errrrrrrr….. Snow White’s evil Stepmother…. The Witch.
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Welcome! I usually open up my interviews by asking my guests how they take their coffee.
Thank you for asking, but I am really more fond of apple cider. This time of year I prefer it hot.
Ummmm….. ok. I think I can handle that. I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I do not know your first name.
Well that is kind of you to ask. Most people just refer to me as Wicked Witch or Evil Step Mother and that is a bit degrading. However, my name was never mentioned in the original story of Snow White or during the film. In both cases this is really a sore spot with me. My name is in the script though and it is Grimhilda.
Grimhilda! Why it is lovely! Thank you for sharing that.
No. It’s not lovely, it was handed down to me from my great great great great great great great grandmother, Grimhilda the first, and believe me, she wasn’t any peach. You think I was hard on Snow White? HA! That woman would have made up look like sorority sisters.
Oh. Ok. Well, since you mentioned that some referred to you as the Wicked Witch, I am curious about how you feel about all the attention now given to Elphaba, the true wicked witch from The Wizard Of Oz. I mean, ever since Gregory Maguire wrote Wicked in 1995, she has received a lot of attention.
Oh barf on a cracker! That really gets my green up! Everywhere I look it is Elphaba this, Elphaba that! Yeah poor Elphaba, you would think she was the only one ever born green. She is like a Lifetime story in the making. As if the book wasn’t bad enough, then she became the star of a Broadway play. I seen the play. What a bunch of fly stew hookey. I just rolled my eyes. You know I was there while she was growing up…. there is another side to that witch that you do not even know. I keep waiting for her and her sob story to appear on Oprah. Or maybe she will be sipping tea with the ladies of The View.
I am sorry, I didn’t realize I was bringing up such a sensitive topic. Were you not featured in the book, The Fairest Of Them All? It just came out the fall of last year.
That book? Oh please! I was so misquoted I don’t even want to talk about it.
Lets move on. Uhhh….. I must say your hair looks quite lovely and not at all the way I remember it from the book or the movie. What is your secret?
I just had these highlights put in yesterday for this interview. I mean breaks like this don’t come around often for me. No one really talks about me anymore, so I need to take full advantage when I can. I do use a little apple sauce when I wash it.
What would you like to say to everyone Grimhilda?
I just want people to know that I am still around. Sure I don’t star on Broadway, but I do exist. I have a little cottage that I live in year around just off Nantucket. The sea air really does wonders for my skin.
Well I do not want to keep you, this is Halloween after all and I am sure you probably have a lot going on.
NO, not really. I just don’t get into it like I did when I was younger and able to mess with Snow White’s head. Actually tonight I am making a huge bowl of popcorn and am watching the first season of LOST. Sawyer really gets the heart pumping.
Well, that’s just awkward. Ok, I think I should reel this interview in, but it is tradition that I ask each person…. errr….. witch, I interview to share with me a little known fact about themselves.
Well – that’s just easy as pretty much everything about me is little known because I have not been the star of me own book. Hmmmmphhh. I speak fluent Spanish. I belong to a Book Club that has been meeting monthly for 28 years. We are called The Coven and we are currently reading The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Oh, and I also play the accordion and I am working on my first novel, ‘It Ain’t Easy Being Green’.
Thank you for sharing your time with us today Grimhilda. I wish you all the best in your future and I look forward to your book!
Readers, in the spirit of Halloween I would like to offer a lovely copy of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs by Cynthia Rylant, an author I just recently read and enjoyed. I will also toss in a Halloween treat.
To enter simply leave a comment here on this interview. If you would like to ask Grimhilda a question, I believe I can get her to stop back in and respond. This giveaway will stay open until Thursday November 4th. USA and Canada addresses only please.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
My interview swap partner this years for BBAW is Nat from In Spring It Is The Dawn. What a lovely blog she has and for my readers that love books on different cultures, Nat is a Canadian who is living in Japan.
Whoa…. wait a minute. I get to go to Japan to do an interview?
Yup, that’s right! Nat is blogging from Japan about books I am drooling over as I nosed around her blog. Well…. I have to know more about Nat and I hope you do too. Please welcome to Book Journey this morning, Nat from In Spring It Is The Dawn.
So of course my first question has to be, Nat how did you wind up in Japan from Canada?
Nat: Well, just after high school I spent a year in France on a student exchange, and this experience gave me my wanderlust, my desire to travel to different places. When I came back to Canada for university I decided to major in Applied Linguisitics (Teaching English as a Second Language) since it seemed the easiest way for a non-scientific, non-mathematical person like myself to be able to live and work overseas. Then when I graduated, I looked into a few different countries but Japan made the most sense at the time. While I was teaching English in Tokyo, I met the man who is now my husband, and I guess the rest is history. I never expected to be here in Japan this long (it’s been about 9 years all together now!) and I do hope to move back to Canada or thereabouts in the next few years.
9 years! That is amazing! How long have you been blogging?
Nat: I started my blog, In Spring it is the Dawn, on January 30th, 2006, so it’ll be 5 years come next January. How time flies! Many of those early posts are quite embarrassing now though!
I hear you there Nat – I laugh about some of my early posts…. and almost 5 years! How did you start your blogging process? Inquiring minds want to know!
Nat: Before blogging I used to belong to several Yahoo book groups. They were pretty much my only way then to chat about books, as most of my friends in real life don’t read much. Some of the friends I made in those groups started book blogs, and after a while I decided to try it out for myself. (Andi, of Estella’s Revenge (http://estellasrevenge.blogspot.com/) is one of the first people I met online all those years ago, and her blog is one that inspired me to start my own.) And here I still am. Book blogging long ago replaced those online book groups as my main source of all things bookish.
I know Andi and her blog, I love that we all seem to remember those early connections. What do you like to blog about?
Nat: When I first started my blog I didn’t think I’d have enough to post about regularly on just books (I’m a slow reader) so I originally thought it would be part books, part photo blog, and I used to post photos more regularly. Nowadays you can find more of my photos on my dedicated photo blog, watashi no shashin, which in Japanese literally means “my photos”, and is a replacement for my older photo blog which had been on hiatus. I do still post photos occasionally on In Spring it is the Dawn, of places we visit here in Japan, or anything from daily life that somehow seems to warrant a photo. I’ve found though that there is no shortage of bookish things to talk about, so it’s now primarily a book blog, with a bit of everyday randomness thrown in.
I try to talk about all the books I read (although I’m woefully behind on reviews right now) which often ends up being a mix of various genres, but inspired by my circumstances of living in Japan, my blog has evolved into having more of a focus on Japan and Japanese literature over the last couple of years. To that end, I host a Japanese Literature Book Group, as well as some read-alongs of Japanese lit. Plus, I also host the Hello Japan! monthly mini-challenge, with topics and tasks (and prizes!) related to some aspect of Japanese culture. I’m enjoying discovering some great Japanese books and authors myself, and am happy to hopefully bring a little taste of Japan to the blogging community.
You are very community oriented! I love that! Are there certain genres you prefer?
Nat: I like to think I’m willing to at least try most genres but I definitely have a fondness for literature in translation. Whenever I hear about a book that’s been translated into English from another language, my ears always perk up! I think it goes back to my original travel bug, as I love experiencing different places and cultures through books. Otherwise, if you look at my shelves you’ll mostly see literary fiction, classics, my bookshelf dedicated to Japanese and Japan-related literature, and with some YA/kids lit, and non-fiction mixed in.
Ok…. let’s have some fun. You have been given a 30 minute notice that your boss is sending you to a remote island for a little weekend R and R. There will be no electricity just plenty of sun and beach time. The limo (I like to think big) will be picking you up in mere minutes – what book do you grab off your shelf and why?
Nat: Just one book? Something thick then, to last the weekend, and which promises to be entertaining. In other words, a book to get lost in. Perhaps The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I got at BEA but still haven’t read yet. Or maybe it would be a good time to finally read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Or maybe a big classic like The Count of Monte Cristo, which I started earlier this year but has been languishing on my nightstand. Or maybe The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, since I haven’t read any of those yet. Ultimately, it would probably end up being whichever one caught my eye as I madly dashed around throwing a few things into a bag to take with me.
LOL… that would be my first reaction too Nat, “just one book?” What is one thing you wish you would have known from day one of blogging that you would like to share with those considering or starting out?
Nat: I often wonder if I would have ever started blogging if I’d known how much time it would take, and how much my To Be Read stack would explode from all the book recommendations. But now, even when I play with the idea of giving it all up, I can’t really imagine my life without it.
Great answer! I always like to know how other bloggers pre for a book review. How do you do yours?
Nat: While I’m reading I’ll add little sticky notes to any passages that stand out, or that I want to refer back to later. Then when I’m finished reading the book, I’ll try to put down some of my thoughts about it. I usually let a review sit for a day or so after I’ve written the draft as I invariably seem to change it up as the story continues to rattle around in my head. I used to be quite good about writing reviews just after reading the book, but this year I’ve gotten so behind that I sometimes write reviews quite some time after I’ve finished the books. This can make it hard to have enough to say though, and I certainly don’t recommend it.
If you could hang out with any fictional character who would it be and why?
Nat: Hmmm… one of the first that comes to mind is Thursday Next, from Jasper Fforde’s series. It would probably be a lot of fun hanging out with her, meeting all those characters, and visiting inside their stories. It sounds like a book geek’s fantasy come true! But then again, Thursday does seem to find herself in trouble quite a lot…
Please share a little known fact about yourself.
Nat: I used to play the piano, and took lessons for years. One year at the local music festival, my friend and I even won a medal for our piano duet. (I wonder where that medal is?) Sadly it’s been years since I’ve even touched a piano. It’s not something that would fit in our typically small Japanese apartment, that’s for sure. Besides, I’d rather save that precious space for books!
Thanks Nat, this was so much fun getting to know you! Readers, please take time to stop in and see Nat’s gorgeous blog and leave her a comment or two or three…. She will also be interviewing me today!
I am so excited! I logged on this morning to discover that the Spotlight Interview I completed with Amy at Park-Avenue Princess is on her beautiful blog today! Color me *Giddy*!
I love interviewing other book bloggers and hearing their stories and it was fun to share mine with Amy. If you go over and read the Spotlight post I am offering up an Amazon Gift for her to give away – and who doesn’t like gift cards? Amy’s giveaway is open international so everyone click your way over to Park-Avenue Princess.
In honor of this great guest spot that Amy has given me, I too want to offer up a $10 Amazon gift card here as well. To qualify here is what you can do:
1. You must leave a comment on the Spotlight post over at Park Avenue Princess
2. For an additional entry – come back here and comment on one thing you learned about me from the spotlight interview
That’s it! This giveaway is open internationally as well and I will end this on the same day that Amy is, on October 30th (mine will end in the morning however as that is the day I leave for Honduras).
What has been fun about this particular interview is that Ryan and I had connected through Book Blogs early on and were already chatting back and forth through Twitter and on our blogs. I was excited to do this interview and get to know him even more! ~ Sheila
Ryan, first I want to know about this avatar that you use. Who is he?
When did you develop your love for books?
I was and still am a lone reader of the family. Now that’s not talking cousins and extended family cause I really have no clue as far as that goes. I am teaching my son the love of books and it seems to be one he is taking too.
Why read as opposed to do something else productive like errr…. lets say… sky diving?
Actually, I love sky diving, camping, hiking, horse back riding, snowmobiling, cooking, dancing, and a million other things. I actually want to learn how to fence. With foils and epees not sell stolen merchandise. Reading however is my escape. It’s how I relax, decompress, and feel better about myself. It’s what has saved my sanity a million times and will probably do so a million more.
Favorite genre to read?
Fantasy hands down. It allows me to escape into a world that is totally different from our own that I’m able to forget everything else and allow myself to “be” there in that world for the period of time the book is open. I’m starting to read horror/suspense right now as well. Though I think it has more to do with the approach of Fall then anything else.
When did you start book blogging and why?
Your blog title, Wordsmithonia… where did that come from?
From Barnes & Noble’s bookclub site again. A few months prior they had started a laurel system in which users could give laurels to posts they like for any reason. Along with the laurels we were given different ranks as well bases off a still a not completely understood criteria. One of the higher, new ranks was that of wordsmith. On a lark another user, Kathy, made up the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia and appointed me her son and heir the King of Wordsmithonia. It started as a lark and grew into something that is just now losing steam. I love the idea though of a place were words and the usage of them is celebrated and revered. So that’s the name I chose for my blog. Not sure if I’m living up to it yet or not but I’m striving for it with every post.
Do you only blog on books or do you have other blogs out there on other topics?
What do you find to be the best part of book blogging?
What do you think is the best blog post you have written?
Since it just happened last week I do. I got Dark Time by Dakota Banks from the publicist. I was so excited I did my own version of Snoopy’s happy dance. I had recieved ARCs from the First Look program on B&N’s site before but this was different in a way I’m not sure I can fully put across in words.
What have you learned from blogging that you wish you would have known in the early stages of your book blog?
What do you look for in blogs that you enjoy reading?
The blogger’s personality to come through in how they write is what I connect with first in a blog I haven’t been to before. Great reviews or features are an added bonus as well as an introduction to books I haven’t heard/read before.
Share with us a little known fact about you.
I was a state officer of Health Occupation Students of America when I was in high school. After 5th grade and until I started high school, we traveled with a carnival and I would go to school week by week in whatever town we were in.
Thank you Ryan! Please stop by and see Ryan at the very cool Worsdsmithonia!