In association with Book Blogger's Appreciation Week (BBAW) I was very lucky to be able to interview, Masha du Toit. Please click on her name below, to visit her blog.
SB: You have a very interesting and varied blog, Masha. As a wife, dog owner, teacher, reviewer, animation and web designer interested in embroidery, puppetry, ceramics, animation, drawing and you also have another teaching site, Bravemouse, for your notes on Flash CS4, HTML and CSS, you must be so busy! How do you find the time to blog? Do you have a regular blogging routine? Have you favourite organisational tip for other bloggers that also have a lot going on in their life?
M: That's a very good question! I am not as organised as I would like to be. I also dont want blogging to become a source of stress so I dont have rules about how many posts to write when and so on. I use delicious bookmarking to mark anything I find on-line that might inspire a blog post, even if I'm not planning to write about that topic. When I'm feeling uninspired, I can go to that tag and find a whole list of interesting articles and images that often spark an idea for a post. So I try to keep my motivation to blog to be out of passion, not duty :) Another tip that I read about frequently, but really works: write posts ahead of time and save them for later. Don't always feel like you have to publish it immediately.
And the most important thing - create the blog that you yourself would like to discover and enjoy.
SB: I see you live in Cape Town, South Africa. I've never been, but I have some South African friends over here in England, and from what I've seen in their photo's it's a beautiful place. How do you feel about having the opportunity to share, and reflect on, the differences of culture and history of South Africa with the world?
M: Its a difficult thing. I'm still finding the "voice" of my blog, if you know what I mean. Some people are very comfortable writing about their lives and situation. I'm still finding out how to do that, and also if I want to do it in the first place. I try to share my enthusiasm for where I live through the little photographs I put up every now and then. And sometimes something happens that moves me to write how I feel about the issues you mention. My brother has a blog that is mostly about those things - he is much better at articulating his opinions than I am. I'm not that comfortable expressing my opinion, as I worry that I will come across as racist or insensitive.
SB: You also write your own stories and have one on your blog, The Princess Troll, which I am enjoying very much. Please could you share with my readers if you have any future plans for your writing?
M: I was tagged a while ago, one of those question meme things. One of the questions was something like "what is the one thing you would most like to achieve". I found myself answering "writing a story that other people would enjoy". Up to then I'd never written any fiction (outside of essays for school) and did not ever consider the possibility. Now I've written two stories already. The Troll one you refer to, and a new one called "Heart of Glass" that I'm still busy with. I'm enjoying the process very much, and also feeling so very insecure about it! Its like being a teenager again. It actually brings up an interesting point - should one publish your writing on your blog? Apparently many publishers dont like it if something has already received that type of exposure. On the other hand its such a fabulous way to get read.
SB: I've been reading your blog, and I do enjoy your reviews. What would you say your favourite genre is and why? I'm sure we have all read books that we wish we had written. Can you name one and give a reason why, please?
M: Oh I think Fantasy is probably my favourite genre, but I prefer "thoughtful" Fantasy that digs a little deeper than the surface, if you know what I mean. Not neccesarily with a moral, but something that questions and exposes things. An example of this (and a book that I would have loved to have written) is "Talon" by Janet Lee Carey. I took a long time to get into it, but it is such a powerful book. It touches on all kinds of issues that we all have to deal with in life - coming to terms with your own imperfections for example, or how prejudice and hatred deforms people. Her language is wonderful too - very direct and poetic at the same time, if that is possible. I'm supposed to be writing a review of it soon.
SB: Finally, thank you for exchanging interview questions during the Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, it's been a pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to reading your future posts.
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