03 Feb

“Always be a little kinder than necessary.” – James M. Barrie

When I self-published my first book Soothsayer in 2020, I did some research on how to market a book and get it in front of potential readers. One of the recommendations was to get reviews by reaching out to book blogs interested in your genre to see if they would read and review your book. So, I did. In addition to getting many reviews I wouldn’t otherwise have received, I was pleasantly surprised by how kind some of the folks I reached out to were and how much they were willing to do to support and promote my work, just because I asked.

One of the wonderful reviewers I met during that process is Julie, the creator of the blog One Book More. Julie has reviewed and featured all three Soothsayer's Path books on her website, and she graciously agreed to run several features on my upcoming book Amulet (she posted a cover reveal last week). She is a kind person--and also very creative, hard-working, and downright interesting. So, naturally, I wanted to learn more about her!

Q: Julie, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my newsletter. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how your website, One Book More, came to be?

Thanks, Kathryn. I’m happy to answer your questions.  I’m a 40-something mom, former English teacher, and Star Wars-loving romance reader who’s fairly convinced I missed my calling as a stand-up comic.  

I started One Book More at the beginning of 2020 because I wanted an outlet to talk about books. It’s one of the things I missed most from my days of teaching high school English – being surrounded by other people who shared my passion for literature.  Starting a book blog was actually my husband’s idea, though he swears it’s not because he was sick of hearing about all of the fictional characters I fell in love with. 

Q: One of the first things that struck me about your website was its name—One Book More. It reminded me immediately of the song One Day More from the musical Les Misérables, and reading your About Me page confirmed my suspicion. What is it about Les Mis that makes it one of your favorite things?

So many things! My mother was a big fan of the arts, and she took me to several of her favorites when I was in my early teens, one of which was Les Misérables. Colm Wilkinson played Jean Val Jean, and I was captivated. It was the most memorable theatre experience of my childhood and made me a life-long fan.  Ultimately, I think Les Mis reminds me of the wonderful relationship I had with my mom, who passed over a decade ago. 

The emotional depth of the story, the layers upon layers of messages, the music - it’s so beautiful and poignant and moving. I’ve seen the musical a handful of times, and it never fails to grip me.

On top of that, I’m the type of person who becomes emotionally invested in the books I read and things I watch, and the story spoke to me on so many different levels.  Of course, the messages about love resonate the most.  The love Val Jean has for Cosette, the innocent first love between Cossette and Marius, the unrequited love Eponine and Fantine both experience – ugh! They get me every time!     

Q: As I began following your blog, I was amazed at the sheer number of books you read and the thorough and thoughtful commentary you provide on those books, in addition to other content you put out at least once and often twice a day, every day. Can you take us through your typical day and help us understand how you are able to do so much with your blog?

As far as how I do so much, it really boils down to time management and being organized. I have some great online resources, like a fun, color-coded calendar with some handy lists, and I have a detailed spreadsheet (also color-coded!) that helps keep track of books, reviews, blog plans, social media plans, etc.  
I work mornings until I pick my youngest up at school, but I set my own schedule and hours so that fluctuates when needed. I typically spend afternoons and early evenings taking care of the family and house, and nights I blog.  Most of my reading happens after the kids go to bed. I’m a night owl and stay up super late. 

Q: You are a prolific reader. Have you always loved the romance genre? What is it about romance that keeps you coming back for more (and more and more)?

I have always loved romance.  I can remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series as a kid and being more invested in Anne’s love life than anything else. When I was a preteen, I discovered the Sweet Valley High series and read as many as I could get my hands on. Then, in high school, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts were my most-read authors, and the rest is history!  I swear I passed most of my history classes and exams because of the historical romances I read.  

I think I’ve read romances for all these years because I like to believe in love, hope, and happily ever afters.  I like seeing how relationships grow and change, and I love knowing that regardless of what happens in the story, there’s a happy ending to look forward to. 

Q: You used to be an English teacher, and I remember you mentioning on your blog that The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of your favorites. Can you name a few other books that have stayed with you long after you turned the last page?

Oh my gosh, where do I begin?  There are A LOT of books that live rent-free in my head.  

Other than The Hunger Games series, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (anything by her, really), and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier are a few of my all-time faves and ones I’ve read several times.   
More recently, I’ve been obsessed with The Drowning Empire series by Andrea Stewart and The Fate of Eyrinthia series by Heather Frost. I’ve also been loving Greek myth retellings and anything by Tessa Bailey.     

Q: Have you ever thought about writing a book? If you did, would it be a romance?

I actually have an entire sci-fi romance series mapped out and about half of the first book written. I also wrote a paranormal shifter romance and a rom-com several years ago.  Now, I’m focused more on poetry and writing a collection of fable-inspired short stories

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having your own romance book blog so far?

The most rewarding part has been connecting with other people in the book world. I’ve met so many amazing bloggers, authors, publishers, and others in the book community, and I’m super grateful for these connections.  In fact, just today a couple blogging friends reached out to do a group buddy read. So fun!   

Q: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about starting their own blog (a book blog or a blog on another topic)? What are some things you learned the hard way? Is there anything you did right purely by accident?

Be consistent, take advantage of social media, and engage with the blogging community.  Oh, and have fun! Blogging is an investment, but it’s so rewarding! 

Some things I learned the hard way have more to do with the behind-the-scenes aspects of blogging, especially learning about creating the actual blog. I had to figure out technical things that were a bit out of my wheelhouse, and learning as I went came with some trials and tribulations.    

The year I started One Book More, I created Loving the Lines, a monthly post highlighting my favorite quotes from a book or series I love.  This has become much more popular than I expected, and it drives quite a bit of my traffic.    

Q: Can you give readers an idea of what they will find on your blog and maybe what makes yours different from other romance book blogs that are out there?

Readers will find daily posts that include reviews, spotlights, interviews, giveaways, and more.  I mainly showcase fiction and tend to favor romance, fantasy, and young adult novels.  In addition to traditionally published books, I also love to support new and indie authors.  I’d like to think I offer a unique perspective and voice with humor, enthusiasm, and insight. 

Thank you, Julie, for giving us the inside scoop on your life and your blog.

Thanks for having me, Kathryn! It was fun! 

You can find Julie and all her fantastic content at https://onebookmore.com. Hers is one of the few blogs I follow religiously, and I’m so glad I came across her site in 2020!

- Kathryn Amurra

* The email will not be published on the website.