Debra here, and this is a treat for me as I get to host Jessica Baker (Don't you love that smile?) . I had the pleasure of spending time with her in August. As in... we traveled through three states and back to attend the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat in Cincinnati. We had plenty of time to talk about books and life and the ins and outs of blogging and writing. AHah! I "picked her brain!"
Jessica--First of all, thank you for hosting me today! Wow, I am on the Inkwell. I mean, how many people get to say that!? It is such an honor and a blessing. I love the blogger spotlights you have been doing! Such a wonderful way to not only spread the word about these amazing bloggers, but learn more about them as well.
Debra--Wow! Thanks so much. I had this 'inspiration' last spring and I'm very thankful for it. It's hard to come up with ideas for blog posts and this has been so much fun. I get to know more about you all, and yes, hopefully promote great bloggers and encourage readers to become reviewers!
Tell us how you came up with the idea for your blog.
J- I started my blog a little over two years ago, although I have been reviewing books for longer than that. I was applying to be on Amy Clipston’s street team and one of the questions you had to answer was if you had a blog or not. If not, it was recommended that you start one. I thought to myself, hey I can do this. I love talking about books and what better way to do that! As for the name? Well, I’m not going to lie, I have about zero creativity. When I first started A Baker’s Perspective, most of my friends and family thought it was going to be about baking, forgetting about my last name. It was just something that came to mind and kind of stuck.
D- What’s the best part of being a reviewer?
J- Most people think that the best part of being a reviewer is the fact that you get so many free books. Let me enlighten those people – it is not the best part of being a reviewer. Don’t get me wrong, it is awesome that we get free books, and it certainly helps the budget. It’s just not the best part. The best part of being a reviewer is sharing my love of reading with others. I am a book nerd, there is just no getting around that. So if I can help someone find a new author, a new book, or encourage them to review on their own, I am a happy girl.
D- I perfectly understand. When we started our group blog I was hoping it would be helpful to my writing. I didn't think about how much these ladies would bring to my life as friends!
What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?
J- Blogging and reviewing is a job, I just want to get that out there. Yes, it is fun and no, I do not get paid. It. Is. Work. I think that is really the hardest part, the fact that it takes time and is work. My TBR pile is about a mile high. I will get to every single book, but it might take a little longer then I’d like. I’ve never missed a deadline, and I hope that I don’t in the near future, or ever. But I have to discipline myself, and I really need to start learning how to say the word NO. Hard word to say, but we’ve all got to learn some time! Pray for me. This is a word I’ve struggled with basically forever.
D- What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
J- Wow, this is a tough question. I have read so many good books this year. So I guess I’ll literally go with the most recent book I’ve read that I couldn’t put down. Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey. It was full of suspense, excitement, and a swoony hero. I devoured the book – literally couldn’t put it down. The ending was rough – kind of left you at a cliff hanger. Me and cliff hangers do not get along so good, but it is making my hungry for the next installment!
D- Ha ha. Dani did her job then!
What do you do when you aren’t reviewing (and making authors happy!)
J- Don’t judge – my life is extremely boring. I work a full-time job, come home and spend time with my family. And Sunday’s I go to church twice, and go again on Wednesday night where I am in charge of the young youth group. That is it! My daughter just turned 15 and is a sophomore at high school. I’ve realized that the clock is ticking faster and faster every day, and I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she goes off into the real world. To add to that, seven years ago my husband almost lost his life. That tends to give you a whole new outlook on life, and made us realize how precious our time with our family is. It may be extreme to some, but it works for us.
D- Boring is good when it means a wonderful family that you don't take for granted. I think you had enough excitement when your husband was so sick!
What is your favorite setting? Place and time? Genre?
J- I’m not sure I can give you a straight answer on this question. The truth is that it depends on my mood. I typically only read Christian fiction, of all genres – contemporary, suspense, historical, Amish, dystopian. Pretty much all of them. I have yet to find a genre in Christian fiction I didn’t like. There are a few authors that are outside of that world that I will read as well. I have a soft spot for Nicholas Sparks, and my daughter has introduced me to a few young adult books that I really enjoyed. I guess you could call me a well-rounded reader. But I can tell you, my favorite setting is always in the country. I think that’s because I am a country girl myself, and really have no interest in the city life – therefore I think the characters I’m reading should feel the same 😊
D- I kind of envy that as I feel I need to expand my horizons! What would you like to share about yourself that few people know?
Jessica as a Grandma Christmas
for a church party!
J- I have an obsession with Peanut Butter, and Christmas. I have some form of peanut butter every single day. I think I need help. lol. And as for Christmas... well, Christmas in my house runs from like November 1 through February. One year I even had my Christmas tree up until St. Patrick's Day. Sad, I know.
D- well, I share one of those obsessions and I'll just leave it at that. Ha ha. Okay, I still think about that peanut butter milkshake I had at Steak and Shake!
What’s your favorite movie to watch if you had a rainy afternoon alone? And hey, how about a free catered meal...
J- Only one movie? Wow, these are some tough questions! Since it’s raining, and my husband will probably be with me, I would settle on watching The Choice. It’s based on a Nicholas Sparks book (by the way, the book is better!), and it’s been a new favorite of mine lately. Take-out food is simple, but it has to be a Friday night. A local eatery in Cooperstown has the best fish fry I have ever had in my life, and they make a delicious apple cranberry cole slaw as a side. YUM!
D-I've seen it --but just once. So many things to love about that movie!
If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be?
J- I just want you to know that I am wiggling my nose as hard as I can! I have had this dream for years, no joke. I’m waiting for God to catch up with me on that (okay, I know His plans are the best plans, but you can’t blame a girl for trying!). I would love to open a bookstore/bakery. I love reading and I love baking. Combining those two things would be like paradise for me. At Christmas time I go a little overboard on the baking part. I’m not just talking cookies. No, there’s also candy, fudge, bars, bread, and more. To be able to do that everyday? I can’t even imagine such a world!
D -What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out?
J- Write what God puts on your heart. Don’t listen to those who tell you not to. There’s a reason God wants you to write that exact story. Don’t compare yourselves to other authors – you are not them. You are just you and that’s all God wants you to be. If you follow His lead, the rest will fall into place.
D - Same for bloggers...
J- Just be yourself. Don’t worry about what other bloggers are doing, it’ll just eat you up and make you feel awful about your own blog. I know, I’ve been there. Blogging in the Christian world is not supposed to be a competition. We’re all supposed to be helping each other out and supporting authors together. Have fun. And again, be yourself!
D- Absolutely. As an author it's so easy to compare yourself and forget that we each bring something different 'to the table'. Blogging began as 'logging in' thoughts and really that's what it's all about. The graphics and promotions are wonderful, but so are the basic blogs where a reader gets to know the blogger through their words. Especially with reviews! As we can't all feel the same about each book we read, it's important that a 'visitor' gets to know the blogger as a real person with opinions. I think it should feel casual and comfortable, like a conversation. I don't know how you all read and review so many books but I do know how important (and unpaid) it is!
Thanks Jessica! I really enjoyed our time together this summer and having you visit the Inkwell! I enjoy following your blog and I hope you gain some new readers!
Here's Jessica's contact information:
Okay, so I have to try this one soon--- yum!
|from "Southern Living" website.http://www.southernliving.com/recipes/apple-cranberry-coleslaw-recipe|