BBAW Partner Intervew: Mandy from Edge of Seventeen

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today I have the honor of introducing you to fellow blogger, Mandy, from Edge of Seventeen! Mandy is a fun and prolific blogger who blogs mainly about young adult novels.

Thanks for stopping by for an interview, Mandy! So, what made you decide to start a book blog?

I work at a very cool independent bookstore in Waterloo, Ontario, and I read a lot. I had been following Bookshelves of Doom and The Story Siren for like a year or more, and just decided one day to start one of my own. I also started it for the teens who come to my store asking for recommendations. I love recommending books and I wanted to extend this beyond my day job. Plus, fun!

What a wonderful idea! How did you come up with the name of your blog, Edge of Seventeen?

Heh. I'm a huge Stevie Nicks fan and I love the song and I love the title for a teen blog. Even last year I was like "If I ever have a blog I will name it Edge of Seventeen", and it grew from that. It's the same as how if I ever become a roller girl I will be called "Stevie Nicks-and-Cuts". Just one of those silly things you keep in your head. Also, I love how the song is about this vulnerability as a teen, the edginess and rawness of experiences at this age.

Tell us a little about your blog.

Well I'm very new to blogging so I'm completely addicted. I try to pop off one or two entries a day. It's been total fun so far. I'm worried that I've been blogging more than reading!
But my blog is a general interest blog for teens of all ages, male or female. I try to keep my content varied so anyone can enjoy the posts.

Oh, I totally understand the blogging more than reading! I'm very guilty of that too. What is it about young adult/teen books that makes it your favorite
(wait, I'm assuming that's what it is! Correct me if I'm wrong).

Oh no totally, it IS my favourite genre. I can't really put my finger on it. It has to do with this sense of awakening, coming-of-age, that I feel never leaves us, and this theme plays out repeatedly in YA books. Also, in YA there is more of a focus on the plot, characters, action. Often, in "adult" literature there is this concern with how a story is written and it often overshadows the actual story. I want to feel something as I read.
Interestingly there is this movement online and in bookstores, as we watch book after book published, there is a shift toward considering the strengths of genre writing; giving literature more plot, more action, a story arc. In Canada we're especially plagued with flouncy writing; writing for the sake of how things sound but not how they move.

Where do you get your books? (ie. store, library, website,
publisher/author, etc.)

Well, I am in the extremely fortunate position of having publishing representative contacts who send me galley copies of books they think I might like. I can also request titles I know are coming out. Even without a blog, booksellers have this resource; it's a way for us to know what is going to be published so we can handsell it when it releases. What's awesome about this arrangement is that regardless of the books we receive we don't have an obligation to necessarily like them or give them a good review. I'm not a reviewer for a publisher, I am my own agent and all of the opinions I have on my blog are my own and uninfluenced by publisher's expectations.
I also love my public library and get many many books through there. I can put holds on them online and make the trip up the street weekly to pick a stack up. I wrote this fun article about my library love.

How do you balance reading and blogging with working full time and doing other activities? Do you have a routine for your reading?

Right now, because my blog is so young, I am just burning on the rush of a first blog. That first love where I think about it all day, check for comments and read other people's blogs. This will become more chilled in a bit and then I guess I will do my best to continue writing blog entries every day. No routine for reading except that I try to get two books done in a week at least so I can review them. I don't want my blog to just be a book news blog. I want reviews, interviews, giveaways, everything.

What's your favorite book?

Always a tough question. My favourite genre is YA SciFi, including sub-genres, fancy names like Dystopian lit, etc. My favourite book growing up was Ender's Game. I freaking loved reading Genesis by Bernard Beckett and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
But I pretty much read anything and have loved a lot of books. I follow a weekly meme held by At Home With Books called My Favourite Reads where I write about my absolute favourite books in the past. Every week I'm surprised that I can come up with yet another book that I have read and loved in the past. I'm a huge fan of the backlist.

What's the favorite book/other topic you've blogged about?

My favourite blog entry so far has been my review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I blogged my way through the last 100 pages and posted my reactions as I read by page number. It was a ton of fun and I felt like I was speaking to a group of friends who were reading the book with me. The downfall though is that it is total spoilerville for anyone who hasn't read it. Obviously I cautioned this at the beginning of my post.
I also like the posts where I will show various cover art design for a book title to consider which one is best. I love writing about older YA books like those by V.C. Andrews, a retrospect. I also participate in a weekly meme held by The Story Siren called In My Mailbox, where on Sundays you list the books you've received in the mail, bought or borrowed from the library. It's a cool way to show what you'll be reading and reviewing in the upcoming weeks.

I see you also read a lot of graphic novels. How did you get introduced
to these? What do you like about them? Any favorites?

I used to work at North America's oldest comic book store, Now and Then, until they closed their doors a few years ago. I would sit and read in the evenings I worked there, everything from the Wolverine collected archives to funny mini-books by Jeffery Brown. Reading Blankets by Craig Thompson made me go "whoa" and see that graphic novels could be superior to just reading text.
My favourite right now is Kim Dong Hwa's BEAUTIFUL Korean trilogy, beginning with The Color of Earth. Really amazing storytelling. Also, Skim by Mariko Tamaki and the Essex County Trilogy by Jeff Lemire.

Is there anything about book blogging that you didn't expect or that has
surprised you? What's your favorite thing about book blogging?

I think I was actually surprised by how big the internet is. I shouldn't have been! It is a huge place where so much is hiding away, unnoticed. There are SO SO many people with books blogs, a million people blogging about YA books. It's hard to see them all, leave comments and keep my own blog relevant. Everyone has access to galley copies, everyone is doing book giveaways, author interviews. There's almost too much information. And I don't even Twitter or use Facebook for my blog.
My favourite thing about book blogging is seriously the comments I get. I really love them. I follw their links and check out other people's blogs. I love to know that people are reading what I've written. If I visit a blog I always leave a comment, just to let them know that their time was not wasted. Sometimes it does feel like you're throwing your words out into the void. Although this can be freeing if you're nervous about reception. All-in-all blogging about books is the coolest thing I've started for myself.

I agree that book blogging is definitely fun! Thank you so much for the interview, Mandy!


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Hi Mandy and Jenny. Great interview!

What We're Reading! said...

Aw, Jenny, this was a blast to do! I have your interview up at my blog:

Andrea said...

Great interview.
"Stevie Nicks-and-Cuts" is made of win.

justicejenniferreads said...

Great interview. I love that so many bloggers that I follow seem to work at book stores! I think I need to start looking for a book store job! I work in the university library right now and I love it, but we don't really carry much fiction (mostly just research books), which is great, but not so fun.

sumanam said...

Good interview.. a very cool way to get to know other bloggers.

Ryan G said...

What a interesting interview. One my way over to read the other half of the swap.

readwhatyouknow said...

I love that you started blogging to connect teens with books. And "Skim" is one of the best graphic novels ever! I had the pleasure of reading it last year. Great glimpse into the bookselling world.

Thanks for the interview, Jenny!

Jenny said...

Thanks everyone!

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