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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Meet the Tour Hosts of HFVBT: Erin from Flashlight Commentary

Posted By amy @ 6:10 am | No Comments

HF Virtual Book Tours is fortunate to be working with the most fabulous bloggers in the blogospere and today I would like to spotlight Erin from Flashlight Commentary with an interview. Erin is a fantastic reviewer and it has been a lot of fun getting to know her over the years and I hope you enjoy getting to know her as well! Her blog is one of the best out there and I recommend you checking it out if you haven’t done so already!

To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, let’s see. I’m twenty-seven years old. I was born in a little town few have ever heard of, but raised all over the western United States. I live with my husband, our two children, and Erin Davies Flashlight Commentarywhat might very well be the most spoiled dog known to mankind.

I can’t remember a time before I became a reader which is probably due in large part to my mother. A casual reader, she surrounded me with books hoping I’d develop a love of learning at an early age. What developed was a full blown addiction to the written word.

How long have you been blogging and what was the inspiration for starting your blog?

My story isn’t much different than most really. I started blogging during my stint as a stay-at-home mom. At the time, I was one of the few in my close circle of friends to have kids and though we were still close, a certain degree of distance had started to grow and it was wearing on me. I loved the moms I was meeting, but I needed an outlet to discuss things besides developmental milestones and when to start different foods.

I’d always been a reader and reviewing offered me an opportunity to connect with other book lovers between play dates and nap times without detracting from the time spent with my daughter.

Now, two years later, the site is still going strong.

How did the name of your blog come about?

Ever see pictures of children hiding under their blankets with a flashlight and book? That was me as a kid and though I’ve graduated to book light and don’t have to conceal myself in the sheets anymore, not much has changed.

To this day I do most of my reading late at night. My reviewing too for that matter. Connect one to the other and voila! Flashlight Commentary.

What genres do you review?

Mostly historic fiction since it is my favorite, but I’ll pick up fantasy, historic nonfiction, biographies and, on rare occasion, contemporary fiction.

What other hobbies do you have beyond reading and blogging?

I enjoy traveling a great deal. Having moved around a lot as a kid I developed a real affection for site seeing. Closer to home I spend quite a lot of time cooking, crafting and dabbling in photography.

What is the novel that introduced you to the HF genre?

That’s a tough one. I’d read historic fiction as a kid, books like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Sing Down the Moon, Julie of the Wolves and The Sign of the Beaver are still very near and dear to my heart, but the book to which I attribute my obsession with the genre is Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Champion. I was fourteen when I discovered it and have been hooked ever since.

Who are your favorite HF authors?

Oh goodness, we might be here a while. Elizabeth Chadwick, Kate Quinn, Pam Jenoff, Peter Yeldham, Sara Donati, Ann Moore, C.W. Gortner, Michelle Moran, Christina Courtenay, Anna Belfrage, Carol K. Carr, Deanna Raybourn, Ken Follet, Robert Alexander, Jeanne Kalogridis, Anya Seton, Sharon Kay Penman and Tasha Alexander.

What is your favorite time period and/or setting to read?

If I had to pick one I’d say WWII era fiction, but it’s a close race. I also really drawn to English fiction from the Norman Conquest clear through the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Colonial America, the Victorian era and the Gilded Age.

What HF books have you recently read and enjoyed?

The Turncoat by Donna Thorland, Forbidden Frontier by Zana Bell and The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle.

What HF books are at the top of your wishlist?

The Lion and the Rose by Kate Quinn, Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak, and House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty.

What is the HF book you would want to read again for first time?

Peter Yeldham’s Barbed Wire and Roses. Heart wrenching story, but beautifully written and hauntingly memorable. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

HFVBT thanks Erin for the interview and for being such a wonderful tour host, we are truly lucky to have her!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meet the Tour Hosts of HFVBT: Heather from The Maiden’s Court

Posted By amy @ 8:01 pm | 4 Comments

HF Virtual Book Tours is very lucky to be working with the most awesome bloggers in the blogosphere and I’ve had such a wonderful time getting to know them all that I wanted to turn the tables and put the spotlight on them!

HFVBT’s first interviewee is Heather from the wonderful blog, The Maiden’s Court

Q: To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I am 24 years old and have lived my whole life in New England – split between Connecticut and Massachusetts.  I live with my boyfriend of five years and our 2 crazy cats.  I am currently (somehow) balancing my time between a full time government job, an hour commute each way, working on my Masters degree in History (concentrating on the Ancients and Classics) online, and still finding time to read and blog.  I love reading across many different genres – nonfiction, classics, YA, historical fiction, romance etc – everything in moderation.  I have found that audiobooks are the best tool for a long commute and I can catch up on all kinds of reading I would not be able to otherwise.

Q. How long have you been blogging and what was the inspiration for starting your blog?
A: I have been blogging for just over 2 ½ years now.  I first started out as many do with purely reading and following blogs. I was a senior in college at this point and had a little bit of free time on my hands.  I saw what everyone else was doing and thought “I could do that and have fun”.  My boyfriend was sure getting tired of listening to all my historical tidbits I had found (particularly about the Tudors at that time) and I wanted to share my conversations with others who loved the genre too.  I started out just simply by reading what was on my shelf and writing about it – never dreaming that an author would actually read my blog or that I would actually be requested for a review.  It all took off from there!

Q: How did the name of your blog come about?
A: For that one I can take absolutely no credit.  The above mentioned boyfriend who was tired of hearing about my historical fiction obsession came up with it for me.  To paraphrase his reasoning – I was young, like a maiden, and I read about all kinds of courts, and courts were where you went to socialize and gossip, and pretty much that is what a blog is – a la – The Maiden’s Court.  He also does almost all of my graphics on my blog because I am not that talented when it comes to Photoshop!

Q: Tell us a bit about your blog…what genres do you review?  Do you host any special features or memes?
A: On my blog I feature mostly historical fiction and historical based non-fiction.  Every once in awhile I will review something from my personal shelf that doesn’t fit that mold but is something I really want to share.  I review both print books and audiobooks but at this time have not ventured into the world of e-books (too much time spent in the digital world all day).  I have two signature features that I post, usually once a month – Two Sides to Every Story and Caught on Tape.  Two Sides is a feature where I take an issue or historical event that has two distinct sides and look at them both objectively and encourage a discussion on the two sides.  One such example was Perkin Warbeck v. Richard, Duke of York.  In Caught on Tape I pick a historical figure to feature and discuss some of the films or TV adaptations they have starred in.  This usually adds to my list of movies to view.

Q: What books have you recently read and enjoyed?
A: Of my most recent reads I have loved A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware, 1906 by James Dalessandro, The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Q: What is the one book you would want to read again for first time?
A: Ooh, tough one!  I thought I knew the answer to this one right away, but then another popped in too!  I would have to say it is a very close call between Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  Both I have read multiple times and in multiple formats and that is saying something for someone who never rereads books.

Q: What other hobbies do you have beyond reading and blogging?
A: I love traveling – even if it is just locally.  I like to get outside and see the sights – particularly historical sites.  Hand in hand with traveling is photography.  Part of the reason I like to travel is some of the wonderful photographic opportunities it offers.  I have taken some baby steps into scrapbooking and a basic sewing project (both of which feel like epics and will never be great or completed).  I also love to play games – video, board, card…any kind of games – but I’m not a great loser!

Thank you, Heather, for telling us about yourself.  I still don’t know how you do it all, but my hat is off to you!

Readers, I hope you enjoyed learning more about Heather and her wonderful blog as much as I did and that you check her blog out, you will be happy that you did!  Stay tuned for more HFVBT Tour Host Interviews!