I heard about Closed The Cover from a fellow blogger that I sing the praises of regularly (Hi Rebecca @ Love At First Book!) and after emailing Ashley- I fell in love with her straight-forward, no-nosense ways. I’ve participated in SEVERAL tours with different tour groups and fellow bloggers- and while I wouldn’t say I have a favorite- I do like when a blog tour coordinator makes you feel welcome and appreciated- which Ashley does in SPADES. She tweets and uses Facebook to support her tours- not only for the authors, but for the bloggers that are participating. Ashley is BIG PICTURE person- she doesn’t just think about next week- she’s got plans for next year!
Bloggers Made of AWESOME: Ashley @ Closed The Cover
Ashley- when did you begin blogging?
When did I begin book blogging or when I did I begin blogging? I began blogging in general in 2007 on a general WordPress blog about anything and everything. Eventually I realized my poor beloved husband was becoming bored to tears with my constant chatter about books and I decided to create a book blog. Now I talk a little and blog a lot about books! I started book blogging in 2010 but didn’t begin blogging as Closed the Cover until the end of 2011.
How did you come up with the name Closed The Cover?
It was tough. I wanted a blog name that associated with books but I wanted to avoid a lot of the commonly used words and phrases. A quick Google search told me there were a lot of book blogs using the words “bookworm, book, novel” and the term “avid reader” so I wanted something different. One night my husband said to me, “Have you ever realized that when you finish a book you don’t close the cover, you slam it?” I opened the book back up and gently closed it then said, “There. I “closed” the cover.” The light bulb went off and my blog name was born! It also seems fitting to me since I do talk about books after I’ve “closed the cover.”
What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books?
I definitely thing blogs help readers connect with good books. It’s funny because I follow a few bloggers that I never agree with on books. I actually watch their blog for books they criticize and then I pick those books up because I know I’ll love them. Different people love different things, you know? There’s actually a blogger I follow who I seem to always agree with on books. I’ve picked up books I would have never looked twice at after reading that he liked it.
When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do?
Surprise! I’m also a martial artist. 🙂 I’ve earned up to my 2nd degree brown belt in Okinawan Kenpo Karate and I’m a trained staff fighter. I fight with a 5” burned bamboo bo staff. I’ve been doing it now for about 11 years. No one would ever think it of me when they meet me or talk to me but other than reading it’s probably my greatest love (not including my husband or puppies of course).
Do you have any #literaryconfessions?
Great Expectations is the only Charles Dickens novel I have ever read. Isn’t that shameful? I’ve never read any of his other works even though I know the stories. I can even quote lines from the books because they are so well-known but I’ve never actually sat and read them myself. Great Expectations is also one of my favorite novels which makes it even more surprising that I never pursued other Dickens’ novels.
Do you have a #literarycrush?
Actually, I don’t. I read so much history, historical fiction, memoirs, autobiographies and biographies that it’s hard for me to develop and literary crushes. I read a lot of WWII fiction and they discuss Nazi’s and German politicians. I just finished two books about the JFK assassination. I just read a lot of book that don’t really lend themselves to literary crushes or book boyfriends.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2014?
ALL the books! I actually read a lot of indie authors and I have the tendency to just grab books on a whim. I never really know what is coming out when or what the next big anticipated release is so it’s hard for me to get excited about future books. Sometimes I discover a new book, love it, rave about it, then find it was published in 2010. It’s just how I read. I know I have a lot of books on my to-read list that I will get to in 2014 but the pile is about 3 dozen books deep and I’m too lazy right now to look through it. 🙂
What is a book (or 2!) that you’ve read and LOVED- but did not get positive reviews?
Hmm…I don’t know. It usually goes the other way for me. I usually find myself disappointed in a book but then look to find it has GREAT reviews from other people. I find myself feeling like, “What am I missing??” It happened to me with An American Bride in Kabul, Rise of the Governor and In the Company of Secrets.
In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013?
Ahhh! How can you choose?!!! ONE book? That’s mean. I can tell you a book I read and really loved was The Iranian Scorpion by William Peace. It’s a terrorism thriller and it seems that almost no one has heard of it. It’s really good. I also loved Of Blood and Brothers: Book One by E. Michael Helms. It’s a Civil War fiction and I love war fiction! On another note, I just finished I Am Malala about the girl who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for standing up for the right for girls’ education. It’s a pretty great book too.
You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?
Well, I live near the beach so this is kind of a regular weekend for me. I like to read light-hearted books on the beach – ones that aren’t going to be heavy or complicated. If I could choose three right now I would take A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn which I loved and two books from my to-read list: Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back (it’s about the baseball player Josh Hamilton) and Beyond the Western Sun by Kristina Circelli.
Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter?
It doesn’t matter. I don’t take my iPad to the beach so I prefer tree books for outdoor reading and eBooks for indoor reading. I donate a lot of the paperback books I receive through Closed the Cover to the Friends of the Library program here locally which supplies youth programs, prison books, women’s shelters and homes for the elderly. Since I can’t donate eBooks I require a $5 donation to the literacy Room to Read for any eBook submissions to Closed the Cover. As far as my reading goes, I can read either one and enjoy it. I have no preference.
How do you find other blogs to read? Recommendations of other bloggers?
I meet a lot of other bloggers on Twitter. I also will Google for reviews of books I’ve enjoyed and then follow the blogs I find that also enjoyed that book.
Closed The Cover organizes blog tours for authors. Do you have tips or recommendations for other bloggers who might be interested in one day being a blog tour organizer?
It’s a lot of fun but it’s a lot of hard work if you want to do it right. For one, it’s important to remember that the tour is about the author and the book not about you as the blogger or organizer. I hate when I see tour posts that emphasize the blogger who organized it more than the book itself. I’ll see banners and buttons for the organizer but only a small book cover for the book itself. I find that frustrating. I put special emphasis on making sure that the book and the author take priority. I also never restrict the number of stops on a tour. The goal is to get the most exposure possible. All I could tell someone who wanted to organize tours is this: Be organized. Be honest. Be fair. Remember – this is about promoting books not about promoting yourself.
What is a book that you’ve wanted to read, but just haven’t found the time?
I’ve wanted to read the entire Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay. There are about 7 books in the series which is a big time commitment. I’ve read the first one but I haven’t had time to read the others yet.