Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ask the Bloggers - Bob Milne from Beauty in the Ruins

Today's guest is "Bossman" Bob Milne from Beauty in the Ruins.

What made you want to be a book blogger?
Actually, book blogging was just something I just sort of fell into as a side-project to my original blog, which was focused on sharing the photos and history of ruined, abandoned, historic places. I enjoyed writing the reviews, and quickly get involved in the social aspect of places like Goodreads. Once I discovered the existence of Advance Review Copies, I knew I had to get my blog to a level where they would start coming my way.

What have been your best book blogging experiences?
Two recent experiences come to mind. In one case, I’d been begging for an ARC of Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars, without luck, when Theresa over at Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' Reviews offered to ship me her copy, because she wasn't going to have time for a review. That was classy, and much appreciated. The second was being invited to not only review last year’s Agent Pendergast novel, but being invited to interview Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. That was a huge adrenaline rush, both as a fan and as a blogger.

What has been your worst book blogging experience?
Learning how to politely navigate the flood of review requests is probably the experience that caused me the most grief. For a while I accepted everything that came in the door, which very quickly left me buried under books that I was reading purely out of obligation, not for my own pleasure. Reading became a job, and that nearly caused me to turn my back on blogging altogether.

How many books do you own?
I've lost track, but if you were to count my e-books along with my physical books, I’d estimate somewhere around 1500 titles. I've got one treasured shelf of signed books and rare editions, 8 shelves (2 rows deep) of physical TBR titles, and boxes upon boxes of books in the basement, plus years of electronic review titles and Kindle freebies.

Who is your favorite author?
Clive Barker – no question about it. That man can write like nobody else I have ever encountered. It’s the quality of the narrative itself, the imagination behind the stories, the depth of the mythologies, and the layers upon layers of meaning. He’s one of the few authors I enjoy deconstructing, looking for hidden meanings and messages in the text, and just about the only author I can happily re-read.

What is your favorite book of all time?
That’s a tough one. Clive Barker’s Imajica is the one book I can (and do) re-read every few years, and which still manages to provide new surprises. Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, on the other hand, is the first ‘adult’ book I ever read, way back in elementary school, and it’s always had a sentimental appeal as my ‘favorite’ book.

What are your thoughts on ebooks?
I love e-books. For somebody who can’t even walk to the store without a book, being able to carry an entire library with me when I leave the house is amazing. I was hesitant at first, but having a proper e-reader makes all the difference. Being able to read outside, in direct sunlight was a must, but having the back-lit model for reading at night is a major bonus. I still prefer a physical copy for some books, especially those I want to take my time with and enjoy, but there’s no doubt e-books have opened a whole new market in terms of readership.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
That’s something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s created an amazing amount of diversity in publishing, particularly with books that have limited or niche appeal. I've thoroughly enjoyed some self-published books that I cannot imagine ever making it to the shelves with a mainstream publisher. On the other hand, however, it has made the act of publishing too easy, which has put a lot of poorly written, poorly edited books out there. I think self-publishing is a fantastic tool, but only if you’re willing to invest the time and effort in a few beta-readers and an editor before releasing your worlds into the wild.

Any literary aspirations?
Oh, absolutely. I've published a few short stories over the years, have 2 novels under my belt that I've been shopping around, and have 2 more novels plotted out and in the works. I would love to get that big magical break and make a career out of it, but I’ll always be writing, even if it’s not selling - I enjoy sharing the stories far too much. If you're reading this, and you're a publisher, drop me a line. :)

What's your favorite joke of all time?
I like cheesy, punny, bad humour. It’s not technically a joke, but there’s a scene from Dinner for Schmucks that my oldest son and I have to spontaneously re-enact at least once a month, just to drive my wife crazy.

Marco (the blind swordsman): “I love to paint.”
Davenport (dinner guest): “Oh really?”
Marco: “I love to paint.”
Davenport: “Oh wow. Are you any good?”
Marco: “I don't know.”

“I don't know.” Gets me every time. LOL