Interview with Charlotte’s Library: Armchair BEA

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As part of the ongoing Armchair BEA festivites, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlotte’s Library. I love the answers she gave to my questions, so please read on, even if your reading taste isn’t similar!

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Can you please tell my readers a little about your blog?

My blog is somewhat specialized–I generally review science fiction and fantasy (sff) for children and teenagers, with a smattering of other children’s books. About three times a month I publish lists, with blurbs, of the new sff releases for kids and teens.  Every Sunday I do a roundup of middle-grade sff reviews and news from around the blogging world, and on Tuesdays I try to review time travel stories.

I saw your TimeSlip Tuesday feature and it sounds interesting. Which book(s) got you interested in time travel?

I’ve loved time travel stories for as long as I can remember. Some of my favorites from when I was young are The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit, The Ghosts by Antonia Barber, and Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer.

Have you ever been or do you think you’ll ever go to BEA?

I’ve never been to BEA, and I’d like to go someday.  I did get to go to ALA Midwinter last January,and found it tremendously exciting to rush from booth to booth seeing what ARCs were on offer. That was a much smaller affair, of course, than BEA, which might be too much for me, what with meeting authors and all. I would probably end up hiding in a corner, surrounded by more ARCs than I could carry….But I would like to go next year! I would have gone this year, but my husband got his way paid to go to Ireland to play music at a prestigious event.  That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I am bravely staying home with my dear children and my dear job.

What made you decide to start a book blog?

I was asked this question in another interview last year, and this is the answer I gave:

“I knew that someday Megan Whalen Turner would release a new book and I wanted to get an ARC of it. So for the past two and a half years I’ve been trying to establish myself as the sort of blog to which you would automatically send ARCs if you happened to be Greenwillow Books…”

Well, A Conspiracy of Kings was released in March, and I did indeed get an ARC from the publishers.  I considered throwing in the blogging towel, now that my goal had been achieved. But, of course, I soon realized that, d.v., Megan Whalen Turner would be writing other books, so I needed to keep blogging….and here I am.

The boring answer is that I wanted to be more than just a spectator of blogs–I wanted to be part of the fun!

What are a few of your favorite books and/or authors?

Obviously Megan Whalen Turner! Fantasy-wise, Diana Wynne Jones, Connie Willis, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Non-fantasy, Elizabeth Goudge, D. E. Stevenson, and Elfrida Vipont (she had two books that were published here in the US–The Lark in the Morn and The Lark on the Wing).

I saw on your blog that you have two sons. Are they readers? What kinds of books do they enjoy?

I have done a very good job modeling reading behavior to them, but so far it hasn’t resulted in them spending hours and hours reading while I spend hours and hours reading….

They do, however, enjoy books, and just yesterday had a bit of a scrap over who got to read a new book I gave them (Polo and the Dragon).

My older son, who is nine, has a book review blog of his own–Pickled Bananas.

Just a few getting-to-know-you questions now.  What’s your favorite vacation spot?

My dream vacation would be to be home alone for a weekend. Failing that, I’d love to visit my husband’s sister’s new cottage near the Welsh border– lots of English children’s books in it, beautiful scenery, and in spitting distance of Hay-on-Wye (the used book store mecca of the British Isles).

Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye

Your favorite food?

Chocolate cookies–a very bad habit left over from my youth. Everyday I would come home from school, grab a handful of cookies, and read.  Carrot sticks just aren’t the same.

I’m not really a movie person, although my husband is. When we were just starting to go out, we went to movie after movie, and he proposed to me thinking my interest was genuine. Little did he know….although he did pressure me into going to see Avatar with him last Christmas (which I suppose I am glad to have seen).

I saw that you’re an archaeologist, which sounds incredibly interesting.  How did you get into that field?

When I was nine, my mother said: “Charlotte, you would like to be an archaeologist when you grow up.” And, being a sweetly docile child, I said “Yes, Mommy.” And indeed, there were interesting bits on the way to where I am now, digging in various places around the world. Where I am now, however, there are many piles of paper and few adventures–I work for the state historic preservation office, mostly in a regulatory capacity.

I have never dug up anything cursed, although I did work on an abandoned medieval farm in Iceland that was seriously haunted.

Turf-Roofed Icelandic House
Jennifer:  I don’t have any idea what a medieval Icelandic farm would have looked like, but this turf-roofed house looked cool.

Do you have any pets?

We have three chickens, which we coincidentally got just after I read Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (disaster hits earth, food shortages ensue). They have yet to pay their own way in eggs (they still owe 29 dollars for chicken wire, food, and straw).

We also have a cat, who ostensibly catches mice, but I am actually better at it than she is. I have, in fact, caught mice myself (the slamming bowl on mouse technique), and then given her the mice to practice on, but it has not helped.

Mouse in a Glass
Image taken from dezeen design magazine. Design by Roger Arquer.

Thank you Charlotte, for allowing me to interview you!  I truly enjoyed learning more about you and checking out your wonderful blog!

Go visit her yourself at Charlotte’s Library!

Find new bloggers and learn more about ones you already know! Go check out Armchair BEA today and follow the links! I was interviewed by Suey at It’s All About Books! Thanks, Suey!

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  1. Great interview! Love the photos you added. And wow…what an interesting woman!

  2. I LOVE her reason for becoming a blogger. Too funny, even though I would have to say that I imagine many of us have had a similar thought about our favorite author's future works at one point in time. 😉

  3. I'm a regular reader of her blog but I learned a bunch of new things about her.

    Here's my posted interview of Valerie of Life is a Patchwork Quilt

  4. I always enjoy Charlotte's posts even though I'm not much of a sci-fi fan. I'd love to hear more about the chicken raising adventures and I'm going to have to check out Pickled Bananas.

  5. Somehow I read "chicken" as "children" at first and it made total sense that they still owe money…although it is in chicken wire instead of clothing, music and sports events, etc :-).

    Great interview!

  6. I love that Charlotte bought chickens after reading Life as We Knew It. I totally get that. What an interesting blogger!

  7. Very fun interview. Great questions, and Charlotte is just too much fun. (And that's really cool about her husband!)

  8. Awesome interview!! I loved the added pictures, as well! This is such a fun way to get to know knew blogs and bloggers! I loved the questions and Charlotte sounds like such a fascinating person!!!

  9. Very cool! I hadn't even thought about the possibility of becoming the go-to blog to get an ARC. Ingenious!

  10. Starting a blog because of Megan Whalen Turner? Wow! We are reading her series for book club this summer and now I'm even more excited. I've only recently heard of her.

    A haunted medieval farm in Iceland? How cool is that!!

    And the other thing that I find interesting is the blogging nine year old. I'm suddenly finding all these very young bloggers which is so cool.

    Great interview! Thanks!

  11. What a great interview!

    I love the fact that she loves Time Travel and is an archaeologist! Somehow they seem like perfect fits together!

  12. This is such a fun blogging day! I love meeting all these new, exciting, interesting, wonderful book bloggers!

    I found your blog by way of Suey's interview and I must say that I think the Character Connection sounds like such fun. I also like the title of your blog — it suits me to a "T"

    I look forward to following you in the future, Jen! And now I am off to read Charolotte's blog 🙂

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