Blog: Tied up in Romance.
Blog website: https://tiedupinromance.blogspot.com
- Tell me a little bit about yourself (the non-blogger version of you).
Suzanne: I’ve been married for nearly 20 years and we have two beautiful daughters – 6 and 9 – who keep me feeling young and old! LOL. I’m also the oldest of four sisters and while I love them to bits, we’ve had our moments! ? I also work in the communications field and travelling is one of my greatest passions.
Stephanie: My name is Stephanie, I’m 35 and from Belgium. English is not my mother tongue – French is and I’m learning Dutch. I manage two blogs – Tied up in Romance and one for a French singer – Matt Pokora – with my two best friends. I love TV shows. My favorites are One Tree Hill & White Collar. I’m also watching The Walking Dead, Vikings, Games of Thrones, Black Sails, Westworld, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Chigaco Fire…
Katy: Ok well I work on a busy Orthopaedic ward and been there for the past 12+ years we look after bones and have a high amount of dementia patients whom have fallen over or whatnot I’m lucky to be there for them and their families, I love my job even if it can be tough at times. I’m a wife to my hubs we’ve been together for 11 years, we have three girls 9,7 and 5 and that’s my world in a nutshell they keep me busy 24/7 lol I don’t stop but it’s lots of fun my family is my world so if I’m not at gymnastics, then we’re at swimming, reading, playing or crafting and having fun (most of the time lol). Aside from that I have been running for the past year so that’s my other big thing I enjoy (that is my me time). I also love watching vampire diaries when I get a free minute haha I’m on series 6 and team Damon, I’m all for the torchored hero don’t you know.. ‘wink’ and then there’s Harry Potter…
- When did you start reading? What pulled you in the book world?
Suzanne: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. I think for me, when I was younger there were two books that I just loved – The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (still my favourites. I cry every time I read either one!). Later it was Oprah’s Book Club that got me reading again and while I always loved romance, it was Fifty Shades of Grey (of course), that pulled me heavily into the romance world of books.
Stephanie: I think I’ve always read. My mom is a reader, so at school I was probably the only child happy to read when given a book. I stopped reading for a while, but picked it back up when Twilight came out.
Now I don’t know how to function without a book or my iPad.
Katy: I’ve always been an avid reader I started with the babysitter club books when I was a teen but as I grew I suppose clubbing, makeup and my friends came before books and it slowly stopped. Then back when I was breastfeeding my middle child I was sat their in the middle of the night twiddling my thumbs so I read the twilight series AH-MAZING that got me then onto fifty and the rest is history.
- When did you think of becoming a blogger and why?
Suzanne: When I was looking for books to read, I came across Maryse’s blog and would check it religiously for new reads. And then I discovered Goodreads, meet some amazing readers who have become great friends, and it was through GR that my interests grew into reviewing. I wanted to review these great stories with gifs and graphics that I created. Then Katy and I started talking about me doing guest reviews on her blog and it grew from there. And now, we have our mighty trio!
Stephanie: I was on Goodreads and I quickly discovered Netgalley. I wanted a place where I could put my reviews. Goodreads was great but I wanted to interact more with people so I created a blog & a Facebook page. Then last year I teamed up with Katy and Suzanne.
Katy: I got hooked onto fifty I think back in 2012 I read it 3 times back to back and so got hooked onto Romance so I went about finding a source for more books like that. I found Asteas book blog and then I soon found Goodreads where I met so many lovely book friends, a lot I’m still close to now and that started opening up the world of reviewing. I basically wanted to learn all about blogging after that and see if I could be part of one. I’ve actually been in three different blogs in those early stages of learning how it all is, it’s been a learning curve in good ways but with Suzanne and Steph these couple of years though have been amazing it’s been a real team effort and I love our little unit.
- Okay, so I’ve always been a little bit curious about it since I suck at coming up with titles myself, how did you come with your blog name? Was it difficult? Did you guys have numerous brain-storming sessions?
Suzanne: We kinda did a virtual brainstorm, and yes it took a few weeks! Katy came up with the name. You’re right, it’s not as easy as you think!
Stephanie: I bet, finding titles are not easy! As for the name of our blog, I think it was Katy who found it. I was struggling with it because with English as a second language, I had no idea what sounds right and what doesn’t. I remember we wanted something sounding a little naughty but not too much and we wanted the element of romance to be part of the name and Tied up in Romance fit.
Katy: I use Pinterest as a source for all sorts of things, I believe I found something along the lines of our blog name their, but we made it different and unique for us. We have a thread for our blog where we discuss everything for the blog and we did chat what worked at the time. I think it’s pretty puurrrrfect for us right??!
- Another thing I’ve been so curious about: How much work/hours go into blogging? How do you guys find the time to blog? Do you follow a strict schedule?
Suzanne: Blogging is more time consuming than you think. You really have to enjoy it and be passionate about books and reading as it requires not only reading, but reviewing and then promoting and sharing. And also, coming up with exciting ways to engage your followers. For our blog, Steph does all the coding and blog posts – she’s amazing! – and Katy does a lot of FB stuff, and we share and promo our own reviews and giveaways.
Stephanie: I’m in charge of the blog and creating posts. We use Google docs for scheduling our reviews and posts. And I create posts from there letting Katy & Suzy know what’s done.
I also try to share teasers, new releases or anything that can be related to authors we love on social medias.
I have to admit this is real time consuming. It takes me +/- 2-3 hours per day, but it’s also fun and I love interacting with others.
Katy: Steph is in charge of the blog mainly but I help where I can in sharing and pimping out. With life being as crazy as it is I tend to share and help as much as I can on my iPhone <<<< that is a genius phone LOL (sorry ) anyway we all review and tend to share our reviews ourselves otherwise we communicate with the others to see who can do it. I’d say though I’m a visual blogger and I tend to pimp teasers and my top favs as much as I can. We do have a schedule we follow and ask each other who wants to apply for what arc etc, then there’s our thread where we tend to discuss ideas and how we plan to go about things…
- There have always been a bit of tension between new authors and bloggers. New authors think bloggers don’t want to give them a chance and bloggers say that it isn’t the case. What are your thoughts about that?
Suzanne: I don’t think it’s the case, for the most part. I think this industry is super competitive and let’s face it, as a blogger, while you’ll promote new authors, reading is a passion and you’re going to want to read your favs. And there’s only so much time in a day. I used to try to read at least one new author a month. I’ve discovered some of my favourite authors that way. I’ll continue to try new ones because I love variety and you never know when you’ll come across that next great read!
Stephanie: I think it can be hard for new authors to find people to read their books. Mainly, I think it’s a question of time. For example, I’m willing to try something new, but I also want to support the authors I know and love, and I can’t always do both.There’s also a problem with the amount of requests we receive. It must be hard for an author to show you’re different and you deserve a chance. It’s like a lottery. There are so many readers that I think there’s always someone out there ready to help. In my opinion, there’s also a problem with the way certain authors reacts to the criticism. As a reader, I really don’t like reviewing a book I didn’t like it. And some authors don’t accept it. So, after bad experiences, I tend to read books I want (new authors or not) and not books I’m asked to read.
Katy: I don’t think that’s the case I just think there’s only so many hours in the day so I suppose bloggers do lean on their favourite authors, that said I try my best to help new authors as much as I can and I try a new one every so often. Its our job as bloggers to help you guys but if we don’t pimp and fan girl your book it’s plainly because we haven’t read it. Our rule is that we only share books we’ve read or authors we’ve read before, we can’t recommend work that we know nothing about. It’s our name at the end of the day but I try my best to try new upcoming authors once in a while and I’ve read some amazing work that way too.
- How do you pick a book? What attracts you to a book in the first place?
Suzanne: Cover, cover, cover! I love going in blind so I practically NEVER read a blurb! It’s all about how that cover looks that will pull me in. I’ll also go on recommendations from friends or if I see/hear about a book people are talking about, I might be intrigued to pick it up.
Stephanie: Usually it’s the cover. I think if a cover is not attractive enough I won’t read the blurb. Sometimes it’s a pity because I’ve read some books where the cover didn’t do the book justice and I was glad someone recommended it because otherwise I wouldn’t have read it.
And then they are authors I know and I will read just because it’s one of my favorites, so I’ll always be interested in reading their books.
Katy: I’d say the cover is a HUGE deal you can see what kind of book your in for most of the time by the cover and then the little teasers, I want to read the book myself so I rarely read excerpts I’m an all in or all out kind of gal so an excerpt I can’t get into (I know I’m odd but that’s just me). Then the blurb will win it over or not. I’m a romantic at heart so it’s got to pull me in that way. If I’m not feeling it then I’m onto the next.
- How do you like to be approached for a review? Are there any guidelines on your website? Facebook messages?
Stephanie: There’s a part on our blog to request a review with questions. But usually nowadays authors send us an email.
Katy: I don’t really read many of our Facebook messages if I’m honest there’s so many of them I just can’t keep up. So for me email is our no 1 way to get in touch with us or if your friends with me on my Facebook page then yes in-boxing there but I’d say email is our main base.
- What advice would you give to an aspiring blogger? What is the secret of success, do you think?
Suzanne: Have fun with it! It can be stressful when you have ARC-i-tis (saying yes to too many ARCs – I’ve a bad case of that). If it gets to be too much, lighten your reading load and if you’re not going to make a deadline that you’ve committed to, let the author or promo company know. Life gets in the way and most understand and appreciate knowing the review is coming, but it’ll be a little late.
Stephanie: Well that’s a though question. I would say the secret to succeed is to be different. They are so many bloggers that I think people are lost. We try to add our small piece by doing a special feature each month called: “What’s hot? What’s next?” I think it’s our most read post on the blog.
People love recommendations.
The key is also being able to do giveaways. People love them too.
Katy: Don’t get swamped by the amount of stuff there is to do and arcs out there (when I first started I didn’t know where to look first), so I’d say just make it YOURS. Do what fits you and make it fun, there’s so many out there small and large and everyone’s different just do what works for you.
Now, that the serious questions have been answered, let’s do some fun things:
- One author and ONE author only that you’d read no matter what they publish or how busy your schedule is:
Suzanne: One? That’s pure torture, do you know how hard that is?! I’d have to say JA Huss. I love variety and having my mind fucked with and Julie always delivers!
Stephanie: Oh, but this is hard to pick only one! I would say Sawyer Bennett because she’s the author I read the most.
Katy: oh my goodness that’s tough! But it’s got to be Cecilia London thank you Suzanne for introducing me to her I’ve not looked back since. Can I say Mia Asher too? She’s given me Arsen after all
- Pick one: Billionaire hero or the nerd guy?
Suzanne: Billionaires are so overdone – nerd guy all the way!
Stephanie: Billionaire. I have a weakness for a CEO. Always have. Hudson Pierce is my book husband, even after all these years
- If you ever wrote a story, what would it be about?
Suzanne: Actually, I’ve written many stories and published my first book, with another one on the way! I like stories with characters that are flawed and real. As for the story, it could be anything, as long as it’s interesting.
Stephanie: I always say to my boyfriend that I’m not a creative person and I have no idea how to write a book, but one day I did try to write fan fiction that I never finished. The main heroine was amnesic and woke up in a hospital. She was in a relationship with her favorite singer but couldn’t remember a thing about it. I think I wrote 5-6 chapters but that’s it. Maybe I should find someone to finish that story for me 😉
Katy: Oh man, something with pain and regret and an epic love story they’re my fav. I love the characters to work for it so if I wrote then I’m sure I would make em work for it too.
- Trope you LOVE. No questions asked, you’ll read the book if that trope is there.
Suzanne: I don’t really have one. I will say that I love dark romances and Motorcycle Club romances! They’re my go to.
Stephanie: That’s easy! XD Escort, ha, ha. Oh, but you know more seriously, I’ll come back to my answer for the third question: Amnesia is something interesting. I think there are not a lot of books that approach the subject. It must be hard because Amnesia is so unknown and unpredictable, but the mind and how it works has always intrigued me.
Katy: Angst/ second chance Romance, you feel their pain right? It’s a page turner for me ALWAYS.
- Are you a romance novel heroine? What type would you be: A. independent/take no shit type? B. Damsel in distress C. Quirky/clumsy
Suzanne: Oh, I’m A – independent, take no shit – all the way. Although, I love quirky/clumsy as well. I’m not a huge fan of the helpless heroine. I tend to be pretty critical of them and I know I shouldn’t. We girls have to stick together!
Stephanie: Not really :/ I’m usually on the man side. I’m always harsh with a heroine. I accept more flaws in a hero than a heroine. I’m trying to change that because I’m aware of it, but I’m weak lol
But if I have to choose I love both a heroine with confidence, independent with a sassy mouth ^^
Katy: OMG I’d like to think I’m the independent take no shit kind which I am in my head LMAO but I’m afraid I’m the clumsy one, I’m blonde for a reason haha.
- Before you go: Tell us a little about your real life love story?
Suzanne: I meet my husband when I took a temporary position just after coming back from backpacking through Europe. I’d met some wonderful people from Australia and that was my next destination. I just needed to work for a bit because I needed money! Well, we started dating and I never did go on that trip! I always joke that it’s because of him I never went to Australia and if I had, I’d most probably be living there with my Aussie hubs. Ha!
Stephanie: Before meeting my boyfriend, my dad went to see a fortune teller and she told him that I was going to meet someone thanks to him. Six months later, we were meeting some of his friends to spend a weekend in London and there was a younger shy man, and we bonded. So I always tell my friends that I met my love in London which is my favorite city.
Katy: Ok well I met my hubby at my job (we both work In the NHS – hospital different areas though) we were friends for a year before anything happened. Then we met out of work one Christmas and that was that, three kids later, a mortgage and our cat Abigail he’s my home and my best friend through thick and thin but he’s nothing like the heroes I love in books.. LMAO!