Always Write Challenge Interview Series #20
Welcome to Always Write. I am your hostess, Marsha Ingrao, creator, and editor of my blog, Always Write, a blog to reach and befriend like-minded bloggers.
Today I welcome Debbie – Deb’s World, Donna –Retirement Reflections, Jo – And Anyways, Sue – Women Living Well After Fifty as my guest challenge hosts of “What’s on Your Bookshelf?” Good thing they don’t want to know “What’s in My Wallet?” That could be embarrassing.
What’s to Love About Challenges?
The benefits of joining writing, reading and photo challenges are:
- Showcase your photography and writing.
- Be inspired to create more diverse posts.
- Challenge yourself to get creative with the weekly prompts.
- Make new blogger friends.
- Build a blogger community.
- Find great books to read.
- Form relationships with the authors.
Welcome Debbie, Donna, Jo, and Sue
Please make our four guests, listed in true teacher form – alphabetical order, feel right at home here by leaving them lots of comments and following the links to visit their blogs.
Let’s meet our guests.
Donna Connolly lived in Beijing, China, for fourteen years. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada, in June 2015. To document this transition, Donna initiated Retirement Reflections. Her favourite part of blogging is the interaction with others.
Sue Loncaric is an Australian Over 50 lifestyle blogger, certified health and life coach for women and the founder of Women Living Well After 50. She is a qualified Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor and takes classes for Over 50 Women in the Strong Healthy Women Virtual Studio.
In 2020 Sue fulfilled a dream of starting the Conversations with Women Living Well After 50 podcast interviewing and sharing stories from women who are Living Well.
Sue is passionate about living a full and active life. Her mission is to encourage and inspire women Over 50 to live a fit, fabulous, healthier and happier lifestyle by guiding them to realise their full potential.
Sue’s motto is ‘Make it Happen because life is too short to wait”.
You can meet up with Sue on the following platforms.
Debbie Harris suffered a tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen. That didn’t deter her from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her e-bike and a good cup of tea! Her four grandchildren call her Granny Debs.
You can find Deb here:
Jo Tracey is an unapologetic daydreamer, eternal optimist, and confirmed morning person and juggles a day job in the financial sector with writing contemporary romance, women’s fiction, cosy crime, and what she likes to call foodie-lit.
When she isn’t writing or day jobbing, Jo loves baking, reading, long walks along the beach, posting way too many photos of sunrises on Instagram and dreaming of the next destination and the next story.
Jo’s life goals (apart from being a world-famous author) are to be an extra on Midsomer Murders and to cook her way through Nigella’s books.
She’d love you to drop by at:
How did you connect?
We all met through our blogs. Sue previously co-hosted a weekly blog linkup series, Midlife Share the Love. Most of us connected there.
We are all spread out across a large geographical distance. Jo and Sue live 170 km (nearly 106 miles) apart in south-east Queensland (Buderim and Surfers Paradise, Australia). They live 1400+ km (870 miles) away from Debbie (Tumbarumba, Australia, and Donna’s located over 11,900 km (7,394 miles) from there (Vancouver Island, Canada). Jo, Sue and Debbie have all met in person. So far, Donna has only met Sue in person but has big plans to meet Debbie and Jo in real life as well!
At the beginning of the pandemic, we began to have regular Zoom calls together. This branched out to us taking an online group photography class together. We found that we spoke a lot about books in our online meetings, so hey presto, an online book club was formed. In our book club, we’ve been reading our way through the Brontë sister’s catalogue. We all read a section of the book, meet to discuss, and repeat.
At the end of each book, we do a Zoom-baking session inspired by the book. We’ve just finished Charlotte Brontë’s The Professor and baked Yorkshire Parkin. Jo always publishes the recipes on her baking site.
Why did you begin hosting ‘What’s On Your Bookshelf (WOYBS)?’
In August 2021 we started WOYBS is an online opportunity for readers to share their favourite books, recent reads, or anything bookish-related. Participants can join in via the comments, social media (#whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge) or by linking a post of their own.
We just published our sixth post in this series (links are in the introduction). The four of us have been delighted by the engagement and the quality of responses. We have all received great book ideas and have had extra opportunities to discuss novels that we love. For all of us, it’s about promoting the enjoyment of books and encouraging others to do the same – and maybe even to read outside their usual genre.
How did you decide to create/host this challenge?
This challenge piggybacks on ‘What’s On Your Plate’ hosted in part by the Widow Badass. As the four of us each have a deep love of reading, are in a book club together and enjoy a new challenge, it was a natural fit.
Tell us about your bookshelves? Do you buy books, shop at antique stores, order Kindle copies, go to the library, borrow from a friend, or acquire them some other way?
We each have slightly different styles. Sue predominantly downloads online books. Donna typically borrows from the library. Jo is a combo of all of the above and owns more cookbooks than anyone else that we know. Deb also employs a combination of all of the above, including the occasional audiobook thrown in for good measure – sometimes even at 1.3x speed!
What is your purpose in hosting the challenge? What’s on Your Bookshelf is not just for book reviews, the goals of WOYBS are to keep it simple, share the love of books and reading and inspire others with great book recommendations.
How do you follow up with your participants? We have recently added InLinkz to make post sharing even easier. Click link to read some of our contributors’ posts.
Shout Outs to Blogging Heroes
Did any other bloggers influence What’s On Your Bookshelf?
Absolutely. As mentioned above, ‘What’s On Your Bookshelf’ is partly a spin-off of ‘What’s On Your Plate,’ hosted by Widow Badass and Retirement Reflections. What’s On Your Plate was inspired by A Virtual Tea Party hosted by Curls & Skirls and Zimmerbitch. There is now ‘What’s In Your Glass‘ hosted by Picture Retirement and ‘What’s on Your Christmas Menu‘ hosted by Grammy’s Grid. The connections have been awesome!
WHAT’S ON YOUR BOOKSHELF GUIDELINES:
What: What’s On Your Bookshelf (#whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge).
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere).
Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.
Who: This linkup is open to everyone.
How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. Include the hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge so that we can find you and include your link in our posts.
Be a proud contributor to #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
To show our appreciation to all participants, contributors are welcome to display this badge on their blog, website or social media.
Thank You for Joining Today
It’s been a pleasure getting to know the four of you better through your blogs and over Zoom. I’ve been honored to have you all as my guests today and I look forward to participating in more of your challenges in the future.
Now it’s your turn
Please leave a comment for Deb, Donna, Jo, Sue, and me, Marsha your humble, can’t-live-without-you hostess. Be sure to follow some of the links to meet their favorite people. They would love for you to join in this fun challenge and inspire others to read great books. Thanks so much for all your comments.