Enna Answers Everything! (1)

WOW! I got a lot more questions than I expected. I've sorted them into four categories: Blogging, Reading, Personal, and Writing. Sorry that I have a tendancy to be long winded. But this was such fun!


How did you decide that you wanted to be a book-blogger?
  • To be honest, I wish I could tell you that I don’t remember. But I do. The reason I become a book blogger was to get free books. Which is COMPLETELY THE WRONG REASON. You’ll see in a later question that getting free books is HARD and UNPREDICTABLE. What’s more important is why I chose to STAY a book-blogger. If I wasn’t a book-blogger, I probably wouldn’t read half as much as I do. I’m not very good at internal motivation. But if I know someone, somewhere wants to read my review, then I’m going to read more. Also, reviewing helps me organize my thoughts and remember how I felt about a book long after I’ve finished.
How did you make your blog so well known?
  • “Well known” is a relative term. I still think this same thing about many other blogs. The simple answer is networking. Get to know other bloggers, host multi-blog contests, and just be persistent. It didn’t happen overnight. I was blogging for about 2 years before people actually started to notice me. A pretty blog design helps. *wink*
Who volunteered to sponsor your international contests? I mean, I don't want to know the person's name, but how it happened and how you know them and stuff.  I assume someone didn't just come up to you on the street... :)
  • Actually… that’s kind of how it happened. Of course, it wasn’t a stranger. That would be crazy. I can’t say much for fear of giving away HER secret identity, but my international contest “sponsor” isn’t really a sponsor. I still pay for the books. But instead of ME buying them from the Book Depository, I pay HER and then SHE buys them. That way her name is on the packages instead of mine, thus protecting my secret identity. She’s someone I’ve known… forever, really. And not on the internet, in real life. And she has always been very supportive of my blog ‘cause she’s a fellow bibliophile. And… that’s the whole story.
How do you get ARCs? Every time I ask a blogger I get vague answers. "There's lots of different ways..." What ways do YOU know of? Especially getting ARCs in the mail.  That one seems the most mysterious to me.  A step by step process of your experience would be immensely helpful to me.
  • Oh boy. I asked this question a MILLION times when I first started blogging, and the sad fact is that it’s really vague. But I’m going to be as specific as I can here. I can’t tell you how EVERYONE gets ARCs, but I will tell you the various ways I get mine:
  • The #1 way I get ARCs is from TOURS. Namely, Around the World Tours. I don’t get to keep them, but I do get to read them pretty far in advance. Any blogger who meets the requirements can join tours.
  • #2 The next most lucrative way is through Amazon Vine. This is Amazon.com’s reviewer program. Every month they send out a list of things and you can choose 4. They usually have some big-name books as well as smaller ones. Vine is invitation only. I found out about vine about 3 years ago and have just been DROOLING to get in ever since. People gave me tips, but nothing worked. I couldn’t get that stupid invite! Fast forward 3 years. This summer I got an invite. Just out of the blue. It might be because e have Amazon Prime. It might be because I post reviews on Amazon. It might be because I buy a TON of books through Amazon. Or all of the above. I don’t know! I really don’t!
  • #3 The next way I get books is directly from publishers. I’m currently on the mailing list for Bloomsbury, Macmillan, and Tor. By mailing list I mean THEY send ME lists of books sometimes and let me choose what I want. How did this happen? I’m not entirely sure… I know Bloomsbury heard of me because I always sent them requests for Shannon Hale’s books, and I’m kind of a Hale super-fan. I was part of Macmillan’s “In Group” back when it still existed, and when it went away I guess I stayed on their list. Tor just randomly sent me an e-mail one day and asked if I’d like to be on their mailing list.
  • #4 DUMB LUCK. In case it isn’t clear that most of this is dumb luck anyway, I’ll say it again. It’s DUMB LUCK. Some of my ARCs I get because I’m lucky enough to actually know the authors. Sometimes, though, they really do just show up. When A Million Suns showed up I TOTALLY wasn’t expecting it. Sometimes Candlewick just surprises me with books in the mail (which is awesome. I love everything from Candlewick). I’ve never gotten a Harper book for review from Harper. Never.
  • So what’s my advice? BE LOUD. Tweet your reviews and include the publisher’s tag. E-mail them your reviews (do this for at least a few MONTHS before you request books). And then cross your fingers. Do I tweet at publishers? Nope. Do I e-mail them? Nope. But remember that it’s taken me over FOUR YEARS to get where I am. If you want to speed up the process, BE LOUD.
  • But my even BETTER advice is to be happy with just blogging. If the only thing making you blog is getting ARCs, you should just stop now. You’re gonna end up being super-jealous of everybody all the time, and jealousy does not breed happiness. Just saying.
Do you ever give away the ARC's you get once you've read them? I've always wanted to have one, even if it's super old.
  • Usually if I LIKED a book then I keep the ARC and don’t buy a finished copy. If I LOVED the book then I keep the ARC and buy a finished copy. But if I DON’T LIKE a book then things get hairy. I have a policy where I don’t ever give away anything I wouldn’t want to win. It drives me NUTSO when there are those blogs who have a MILLION contests but all they give away is crap they don’t want. If I’m going to hold a contest, it’s going to be for something that I think is worth winning. This usually means that I host all of my contests. I can’t remember the last contest I had that was publisher-hosted. So, I have a bunch of ARCs that I don’t want, but I don’t give them away. When they really build up then I usually put them up for trade or “pay shipping and it’s yours” or give away a “box of ARCs.” Some of my ARCs, though (like the ones I get from Amazon Vine) cannot be traded or given away. Either I have to keep them, or I have to destroy them. It’s in the Vine agreement. Kinda annoying.

I've always wanted to know what was the thing you had with bad language in books.
  • I’ve talked about this before. The simple answer is that it just bothers me. Plain and simple. Call it a pet peeve. I grew up being told that profanity is what people used when they weren’t smart enough to fully express themselves. (I know that’s kind of extreme and not entirely true, but that’s what you get for growing up around a bunch of public schoolteachers). (You also asked about A Touch Mortal. To be honest, I can’t even remember what it was about. So sorry. Can’t answer you!)
How many hours per week do you spend reading YA novels?
  • This is a hard question because it totally depends on the week. Do I have a test this week? Any required reading? Did a new Zelda game just come out? Are my friends in town? Am I in a reading slump? If you were to average my total reading throughout the year, then I read about 7 hours a week. But that’s an average. If you’re a math person you know that averages are not always super-reliable. The median is probably closer to… 12? In the summer I can read up to 20-30 hours a week.
Have you ever read any adult novels that you like, or do you ONLY like YA novels? (If you do like any adult novels, please list them! We'd like to know!)
  • Um… usually I read adult books on accident (as in, I thought they were YA). Technically Maria V. Snyder’s books are adult books, and I love those. I also love Shannon Hale’s adult books. But… I think that’s it. I just think that YA novels are usually much more interesting, and they have less questionable content on average (in my brain at least), and they usually aren’t as preachy or fluffy. But this is coming from someone who has almost no experience with adult lit. I still don’t really consider myself an adult.
What's the most overrated YA book you've ever read? By that I mean: is there a book that everyone and their brother raved about, couldn't gush enough about, etc....but you didn't like it?
  • Hm… I’m going to briefly mention Twilight, only because I read it before it was cool. I read it only a few months after it came out after the insistence of all my friends and neighbors and I thought it was SUPER lame. But, for a more modern example? Um… there are loads. I’ll just list some of them: Criss Cross, The Scorpio Races, Carrier of the Mark, The Replacement, Crown Duel (which I liked, but everyone promised me I’d LOVE).
What book from 2011 surprised you the most? By that I mean perhaps you thought you'd dislike it but wound up truly loving it.
  • Aha! An easy question! Blood Red Road. I didn’t even really want it, but Amazon offered it to me and I wasn’t gonna say no to a free book. Then I got it and saw that it was HUGE and without quotation marks AND written phonetically and I was like “NOOOOOO!!!!!!” It ended up being my favorite book of 2011.
I love the fairy tale type of books. I also hate ANY profanity or sex scenes at all. What book like that is your absolute favorite that you would recommend?
  • If you’re looking for totally clean, and AMAZING books then you must read Shannon Hale’s books (though Book of a Thousand Days and Enna Burning do have very, very slight nudity[and they tie for my favorite book of all time]). Others would be Heather Tomlinson’s books, The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott (but if you’re that sensitive then avoid Shadows on the Moon), Beauty by Robin McKinley, Sun & Moon, Ice & Snow by Jessica Day George, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, and… oh. I could go on for hours.
If you owned only copy of your all time favorite book left in the world and someone came up to you offering you ten thousand dollars for it, would you sell it?
  • WHAT KIND OF TERRORIST ARE YOU!? This is hard for me to imagine because I have about 6 copies each of my favorite books (Book of a Thousand Days and Enna Burning). To be honest… I’d probably find some way to contact Shannon. I do know someone who can contact her directly. :) Maybe if I gave Shannon $5,000 then she could write me a new one.
Thoughts on Mockingjay?
  • All I’ve ever said and all I’m ever going to say is that it was a necessary evil. She couldn’t make everyone happy, so she decided to make no one happy, and it kinda worked. In a crappy, necessary-evil way.

How hard is it juggling blogging and college AND reading?
  • Ugh. Hard. I’m not very good at it. My problem is that I always let reading suffer the most. If I have a ton of homework, then I feel like I can’t read for pleasure, but I don’t want to do my homework, so I’ll waste time online or something. I need to be better than that.
Are you going to see the Austenland movie?
  • Nah. It sounds super-lame. I mean, Keri Russell? Fer real? Psh. She’s not in ANYTHING. And she’s certainly not in Waitress which is certainly not my FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME. And Shannon Hale isn’t all that great. I mean, it’s not like she’s my favorite author and actually co-wrote the screenplay or anything. What kind of question is this? *wink*
What size are your feet?
  • This is actually a crazy story. My feet USED to be a size 9, but now I can wear as low as a size 7 and prefer and 8. What’s up with that?!
What are some of your favorite movies?
  • My favorite movie of all time is Waitress with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. I also love Baby Mama, anything by Hayao Miyazaki, Jean De Florette, and Inception. Let’s see… am I missing anything big? I don’t think so.
Do you like proofs?
  • NO! BIG FAT NO! For one thing, no one actually does proof like it’s meant to be done! For another, at my school the proofs professors are all codgerly old men who love math more than people and are very nice but have no idea how to teach it. It’s hard to love proofs when you don’t know what you’re proving.
What is one unusual trait you would like to find in a husband?
  • I’ve been musing over this one ALL DAY. Unusual trait? He has to be tall enough so I can wear heels (Thank you Shannon Hale for making me realize how important this was). I’m not a big fan of freckles. He has to care about how he looks, but not be vain. And, oh yeah, he has to EXIST. That’s pretty unusual for me.
What classes are you taking this semester?
  • Mathematical task design (I love this class already, seriously), Theoretical Literary Analysis (everything I hate about English in one class. Blah!), multicultural education, theatre teaching strategies, a religion class, and… one other that starts in second block. I can’t remember. My last semester was so crazy, and I’m taking spring semester classes this year, so this semester is pretty light.
How did that job at the library work out? Are you still stocking shelves or are you a librarian?
  • I’ve never wanted to be a librarian (well, not professionally). I’m technically still employed at the library, but when school got to be too crazy I went from part-time to on-call. So they only call me in if they need me.
You've said that you're a Christian, but I was wondering what type and how much does it play into what you will and will not read?
  • I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t mention this specifically very often because I don’t feel like it’s very important to my blog. It doesn’t matter what religion I am or you are if you read my blog. And does it play into what I will and will not read? Um… not directly. I’ve NEVER said “I won’t read this because my religion tells me not to.” That’s a silly thing to say. I also don’t read LDS fiction because it’s usually so cheesy I want to gag.
  • However, my religion has definitely affected my life and my life affects what I read. For example, I don’t hate swearing because Mormons don’t swear (and sometimes we do. Hey! We aren’t perfect!). I hate swearing because I was raised to believe that profanity is what people used when they weren’t smart enough to fully express themselves. I don’t like explicit sex in books because I think that intercourse is a very private act. Do I still read books with pre-martial sex? Absolutely! You can’t escape it. And I’m not na├»ve enough to think that grit doesn’t exist in the real world. I have no problem reading books with witchcraft or devils, BECAUSE IT’S FICTION. Silly goose. But I know some people do, and that’s fine!
  • I don’t believe in “blind faith.” I think that you should always find the truth for yourself. If my religion has an effect on what I read, it’s because I really believe in what it tells me. Not just because it tells it to me.
Are you ever going to write a book? I'd love to read it when you do!
Have you ever tried to write a book?
Have you ever written a book? If so, would you ever consider publishing it or sharing it? If not, would you ever consider writing a book?
  • When I was in high school I KNEW I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I idolized them. They were my heroes. And they still are. But writing… has become less important to me. I don’t “write” per say, but I do have a TON of ideas. My longest attempt at a novel before I stopped ended up around 20,000 words. I’ve already mentioned that I have a hard time with internal motivation. If I had a critique group, I could probably write a book. Because I would know that there were people counting on me to keep writing. But I don’t know how to find a good critique group, and as I am now, I just don’t have the motivation. There is something I want to be more than a writer, and that’s a teacher. I’m working toward that goal right now. But writing might happen someday.

WOW! That was FUN! I've gotta do this more often. I LOVE talking about myself! And this was a great writing exercise. Excuse me while I go find a quiet place to pop my ego.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011


  1. Thanks for taking the time to answer! I think it's actually really interesting to read some of these answers and find out more about you (I mean this in a non-stalker way...). It'd be cool to see more bloggers do this!

  2. Great Q&A!

    I LOVE Waitress. I stumbled across it on netflix and now it's one of my favorite movies.

  3. I love what you have to say about your faith. You had a clear cut, honest answer to a question I have been struggling to find good words for forever. Thank you!

  4. How fun!! :D This was such a great idea! It was fun learning more about you! :)

  5. this was fun! Liked getting to know you.
    Loved the 'how to get ARCS' bit. I didnt know about Amazon Vine.
    I've only ever gotten one ARC to review, like in physical condition (not ebook). Mills and Boon! And they contacted me, so it was super awesome.
    I've written a lot of reviews but I've never sent 'em to publishers/authors. Will do that now.

  6. I married someone two to four inches shorter than me (we've never really measured) and I still wear heels. And I'm just over six feet tall. And I love doing it.

    Just saying. Height ended up being rather unimportant to me.

  7. Oh my goodness, there's an Austenland movie? Thank you so much for mentioning that! See, this is what happens when I pretty much drop out of reading blogs for 8 months....

    And ha! I always thought you were LDS. But I wasn't sure. ;) Totally agree with everything you said. And especially the sappy LDS books thing (don't get me started on Anita Stansfield...).

    It was a great post, I'm so glad I got to read it!

  8. My question was how you fit blogging into your schedule, but I figured you'd get that one about a hundred times. :) I'm always interested in how people get ARCs. That was fascinating. Thanks for answering all these!

  9. I'm a Mormon and I swear. *sigh* I'm most certainly not perfect. I swear when I'm feeling particularly ignorant.

  10. Wow!! Good of you to answer all these questions! I couldn't think of one to ask you!

    La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

  11. When was the last time you read an LDS Fiction book? The market has increased in quality dramatically in the last 10 years and then again in just the last five. I challenge you to try out Being Sixteen by Allyson Condie. I think you would love it.
    Another good bet would be to check out the winners in LDS fiction at the Whitney Awards website.(http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress) There is good stuff being written in LDS Fiction right now there are some awesome writers too.

  12. That's why I say USUALLY. Not always. I have Being Sixteen and love Ally, so I'm sure I'll love it when I get around to it. I also love My-Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright and The Icing on the Cake by Elodia Strain. But those are all the LDS fiction books I've ever liked. I've tried reading others before because people "LOVE" them (ie Secret Journal of Brett Coulton) and couldn't STAND them.

  13. wow loved some of your awnseres and thats great that you don't let your religion interfere with your reading

    I do however want to introduce you to adult fiction since I was in the same boat and was hesitant about it and didn't was a smut cussing kind of thing http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/71811.Moon_Called while I'm only two books into the series and things are suppose to get rough come book three I would highly recommend this book as a "starter" to Adult lit

    you don't have to but I just wanted to suggest it and I have so we are good and you can do what you want with it

  14. Very interesting interview--thanks so much for sharing and for being so honest with your answers. It's always interesting to me to get a behind the scenes peak into the business-side of blogging, so thanks again for sharing all that info about ARCs and building a blog following.


  15. This was interesting! I never know how to answer "how do you get ARC's?" esp since it's been SO long since I started. But I think you got it down pretty good lol.

  16. It's official, I'm the only person in the world who loves Mockingjay. It even made me happy, except for one thing that I can't mention, because SPOILER!


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