Today I’m really lucky to bring an interview with Clover from Fluttering Butterflies to you. Fluttering Butterflies is one of my favourite blogs and I suggest that if you haven’t visited it before, then please do now!
1. Welcome to Queen of Contemporary! For those people who don’t already know your blog (they’re missing out!), can you tell us about yourself and your blog?
It is an honour to be on your blog! Thank you so much, Lucy, for having me here today! My name is Clover and I write the YA blog, Fluttering Butterflies. I’m also a mother of two beautiful little boys who are 4 and 7. They’re gorgeous and mischievious and sweet little boys who are currently Harry Potter obsessed and they make everyday of my life different and interesting. Recently they’ve both started full-time in primary school, which gives me quite a few hours in the day to myself. In that time, aside from reading and blogging, I’m also studying for a degree in Psychology with the Open University. I’m an American expat who has lived in the UK for nearly 13 years. I’m married to an amazing man I met over the Internet who I’m still madly in love with. I love jelly beans, and butterflies and collecting Eeyores.
I’ve written Fluttering Butterflies for a full 7 years (which still seems crazy), and it’s a mixture of YA reviews, bookish posts and more personal posts. I try my very best to constantly change things about and create new features and to write blog posts and reviews that I hope my readers will find interesting. I really hope that that comes across if you ever visit my blog!
2. You have various features on your blog celebrating UK bloggers and authors, why is this important to you?
Oh, that’s a really good question. It’s not something that I think I’ve ever consciously thought about before, I don’t think. I’m going to try to answer your question as best as I can, but first – do you have any older brothers or sisters? I have an older brother, David, who is 2 years older than me. I don’t know how much this stuff comes across online, but I am quite a shy and awkward type of person. I always have been. And my older brother is like, my complete opposite. He’s very sociable and outgoing. He was very popular and athletic growing up, and because of this, there were a great number of people who only ever referred to me as ‘David’s little sister.’ Which was great, I love my brother and I really wasn’t jealous of him at all because he excelled in areas that just felt alien to me.
But, and here’s where I’m going to try to link this back to your question, I felt like the things that I was good at, even though they might have been on a smaller, quieter and less noticeable scale, weren’t always given the same sort of spotlight as David’s achievements. And in a similar way (and don’t try to read too much into this crappy metaphor) I feel like British authors are given a bit of a backseat to their American counterparts who are writing YA. This was something that Becky from The Bookette noticed a few years ago which is why (I believe?) she started up the brilliant British Books Challenge which has since been passed on to Kirsty from The Overflowing Library last year and is now being hosted by Sarah from Feeling Fictional. I’d never really been aware until then of how predominantly American my YA reading had become. Having adopted the UK as my home, I felt like I should be doing my part to celebrate and highlight the amazing talent that the UK has to offer! And it’s also my duty to do this as a younger sibling who has been lost somewhat in the shadow of a brother with a bigger personality 🙂
As for my Celebrating British Bloggers feature, that idea came about mostly as a way of forcing myself to branch out and meet other cool bloggers. I felt like for the longest time that I was only reading the blogs of people I knew already and in doing so, I was really missing out. I think the blogging community in the UK especially is very friendly and welcoming and I hope that my feature helps to introduce us around to everyone else.
3. You have your own family to look after, so how do you fit reading and blogging in to your schedule?
I’ll be the first to admit, it hasn’t always been easy. When I first started blogging, my eldest was only a few months old and he was still in that stage where he slept for 3/4 of the day and I had loads of time on my hands. Even as he got older, there’d still be plenty of naps in which I could alternate between reading and blogging. But as the naps started disappearing and with the birth of my younger son, it did begin to be a bit of a struggle to get everything done during daylight hours. So, along with my university studies, a lot of work was then done once the boys had been asleep for the night. And they’re still little, so they’re both usually in bed by 8, giving me a good few hours to myself before passing out from exhaustion. Then E went off to nursery and then to primary school and I’d slowly get more hours in the day. Now they’re both out of the house between the hours of 9 and 3:30 and I have heaps of time that I don’t know what to do with! I still don’t blog every day. I find that things work out a lot better for me if I spend a lot of time planning blog posts or reviews away from the computer and then when I finally do sit in front of a computer screen I focus a lot better and actually get loads done. But that only works if I avoid Twitter entirely.
4. If you had the chance to be a fictional character for the day, who would you be?
Hmm. That is one tough question. I’ve got to admit, when I first read this question I spent a good 45 minutes trying to decide on a female character that has the highest likelihood of making out with a favourite fictional hottie. And I wasted a good chunk of time trying to figure how to narrow THAT list down? Four? Dimitri? Adrian? Alex? John After? Jonah Griggs? How am I going to choose just ONE?
And then I came to my senses and realised that this is a huge opportunity, why am I basing this decision on who I want to make out with? When I could be like a kick-ass witch like Hermione Granger or at least have some cool special powers or be someone that is awesome in ways that are completely different to me. And that got me thinking about my favourite female characters from fantasy, dystopian and paranormal books, which was a lot of fun. But, with further thought, a lot of the characters that I was thinking of are in some sketchy worlds or are dealing with heavy things. And I don’t want to spend my once-in-a-lifetime day dealing with evil people or corrupt governments.
So I tried to think of a character that could do cool things and who lived in a world that doesn’t pose any great danger. And you know, I could think about this question FOREVER and answer it in a million different satisfying ways. But I think I’m going to go with Bennett from Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone. With some minor restrictions, he is able to picture anywhere in the world he’d like to be and just be there. In Time Between Us, he takes Anna to this cute little village in Italy and also goes back in time to see epic gigs by musicians that were popular when he was a baby and I love the sound of both of those. There’s such possibility there and I could definitely work within that premise!
5. Of all the books you have read, which setting is your favourite?
…I don’t know how to answer this! There are so many different settings that I love. Fantasy settings that take me to a world entirely different to the one I know! Or real-life places like Paris and Japan, that I’d love to visit but I’ve only ever known through films and TV or on the page. How do I choose just one? Especially as there too many to choose from, ahh!
Okay. I’m just going to do it and pick the one that springs to mind first that I can back up with an actual answer that’s more than just ‘because OMG, love!’ And that is road trip novels. I flippin’ love road trip novels like Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and Saving June by Hannah Harrington and Going Bovine by Libba Bray and so many more. They don’t have to be American road trip novels to make my list of favourites, and it really doesn’t have to include a car, necessarily. Any kind of travel-based story makes me happy but particularly road trip novels.
Growing up, my dad never flew anywhere. He was afraid of flying after the traumatic experiences of being shot down from his helicopter multiple times when he was in Vietnam. But he’s also a very restless person. So the two of those combined meant that our family went on some really epic road trips when I was little – the road trip that happened most often would be between Alaska and northern California driving down the beautiful Pacific coast. Some of my happiest memories as a child happened in the backseat of our car on a road trip. There’d be break-downs and weird things to stop and see. There’d be snacks aplenty and singing along to the radio and playing endless games of car bingo and other pointless games and it’d be my whole family in one place together, kind of forced into interacting with each other. We may not have always been a perfect or ideal family unit, but during those road trips, we always bonded and I loved that about them. So reading great stories of road trips brings back those happy memories as well as creating more as I read about other amazing adventures…
6. What one book would you recommend to someone who doesn’t read?
Lucy! Why the difficult questions?! How am I ever going to answer that? I want to know more. How old is this mythical person who doesn’t read? What things do they like? What are they looking for in a book? What put them off reading for so long? Ahhh! Impossible question.
But I can’t just not answer the question either, so I’ll tell you about the last time I gave such a blind recommendation. My dad had come to stay. And while I remember him reading a lot when I was younger, I hadn’t seen him with a book in his hands in *decades* at this point. It was coming close to the end of our visit and we’d pretty much talked ourselves out. There was nothing else we really wanted to say to each other anymore, so he was sitting in my living room and we were both a little bored of each other’s company and he just randomly says, pointing to my ridiculously packed bookshelves, ‘which one of these books would I like?’
And I was at a complete loss for words. I didn’t know what to pick for my dad who has completely different tastes in music and film and activities to me. And I couldn’t actually picture my dad sitting down to read any of my books. But my eye caught onto my copy of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman and I thought maybe this could work. It’s an interesting and exciting story, one that I thought would appeal to either gender, and across the age divide. I was slightly worried about the fantasy element of it, but I thought the strong characters and intelligent writing would balance that out.
And you know what? It was a hit. Before my dad left back to America, he finished all three books in the His Dark Materials trilogy. (And left me with three battered books with heavily creased spines, I might add *grumble, grumble*) But I was quite happy to have gotten that one so right.
Again, thank you for being awesome and for having me here on your lovely blog today!