Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview: Valerie from Stuck in Books

Lots of interviews going on at Little Pieces of Imagination lately. Today I have a very exciting interview for you. Valerie was one of the first bloggers who really caught my eye and got me thinking: "Wow! I want to be able to do that, too. That's incredible! How does she manage to do all that? How come I haven't heard of these authors and books before?" All these questions and more were speeding around in my head and when I thought about setting up my own book (music/movie) blog, I knew I wanted to interview her someday. So.. Today is the day I present to you Valerie from Stuck in Books as she speaks about her blogging experience, books, authors and gives you a few tips on blogging. Be sure to check out some of her links at the end of the interview. And a huge thank you to Valerie who was kind enough to answer these questions and made me happy about being in a community with bloggers like her. She is inspirational!

Q: When did you start blogging and why?
A: I'm a math and computer teacher.  I spend two summers straight working on my masters degree in Instructional Technology and when I was finished, I decided I deserved  a break summer.  I had just started getting back into reading and so I spent that summer reading as many books as I could as my reward.  I read about 75 books over 3 months.  My desire to talk to people who also loved the books I was reading and my love of technology came together and by the following January I had started  That was 20 months ago and I haven't looked back! Loving it.

Q: Why did you choose blogger? Do you regret your choice? If so, where would you like to start up a blog if you were to start one now?
A: I chose blogger because it had the simplest interface.  I had some coding experience but I knew blogger would be something I would use with my students and decided it would be best to use it for experience.  I haven't really regretted it.  Blogger makes things easier most of the time.  I know enough code to get around issues that come up using it. If I started again right now with my current experience, I would probably use wordpress just so I could expand my skills.

I agree, blogger is the easiest. Except for tumblr, but it's more of a picture thing anyway, so.. Yeah, blogger is definitely the easiest way to start blogging. WordPress seems cool though and I actually set up an account there to check out different possibilities 'n stuff, but I found it too different from blogger and since I'm not advanced or anything and my lack of computer skills constantly continues to suprise me, I'm sticking to blogger, heh.

Q: What motivates you and keeps you going? I know blogging is tough and sometimes you just can’t seem to make time for it, but you, however, are one of the busiest  bloggers I know. How do you keep up?
A: As a teacher, I love to share my books with my students.  I have a huge corner of my computer lab devoted to books and I'm starting a blogging club after school.  It's the excitement from my students that keeps me going.  Over the summer, I had a student walk to school to meet me so she could borrow books from me.  She wrote two reviews for me over the summer.  I love that.  I, also, love it when someone tells me that they really enjoyed a book I recommended.  It keeps me going.

Q: What is it about YA that captures your attention so much?
A: The YA world is where I live my life.  Since I'm a teacher, I interact with 11 to 14 years olds most of my day.  I relate to them and them to me.  I just enjoy what they read.  I read some adult books but really most of my time is spent in YA

Q: Who would be the five authors (from any era) you’d like to meet?
A: Jennifer L. Armentrout for sure. I love talking to her online but it would be fabulous to meet her in person. She’s so funny and full of snark that I couldn’t help but have fun with her.

Shakespeare would be another one I’d want to meet. Big diff I know, but when I was in high school, his writing really spoke to me. I had some struggles growing up and I loved his stories. My parents gave me this leather bound set of his complete works when I graduated from High School.

The other three, I think would be some of the lesser known authors that I have come to be friends with on twitter.  I'd love to meet M. Leighton, Heather Self, Tiffany King, M.R. Merrick, Trish Wolfe, and more.  I know that's more than five but there ya go.

Q: Which would be the five books you’ve read this year that you’d recommend in a heartbeat?
A: Onyx by Jennifer L. Amrentrout for sure - think it's the best one I've read this year.  Then Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, The One by Heather Self, and What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn.  I could go on and on.  I usually want to ask what someone likes before I recommend so it would depend on that. 

I definitely recommend What a Boy Wants and Sweet Evil, too. Haven't read Under the Never Sky yet, but I'll try to read it before the second one comes out and I'm happy that my copy is on its way already. 

Q: Have you ever considered writing a book yourself or do you just prefer to read other people’s work? Why?
A: Actually I have.  I have it mapped out and the first 5 chapters written.  My daughter and my nephews wife have read it.  They have begged me to finish it but I just haven't had time.  Someday I will because the story has stayed with me.  It is asking to be told. 

Hehe, I'm definitely looking forward to that! I love how people aren't afraid to put their stories and themselves out there and be vulnerable by doing so. I like blogging, however, I'm not quite sure I'd dare to share pieces of my own imagination with the world. I like to keep them private, but I'm always happy to discover new authors and I'm constantly suprised by how people aren't scared to enrich the world with their inner thoughts and stories they're holding close to their hearts. It's quite inspiring, actually. Here's to hoping you finish that story and take a huge step forward in our beloved book world! *sips a drink from her watter bottle*

Q: What do you think separates your blog from every other blog out there?
A: Me. I'm different that other people and that's reflected in my blog.  There's so much of me on those pages that it scares me sometimes.  I always have believed that I'm doing this for fun - my fun.  I've never cared what people think of my blog.  If they don't want to visit, it's cool.  I just be me and if you want to join in I'm happy to have ya. 

Q: What is the best thing that you’ve gained or experienced since you started blogging?
A: By far the relationships that I've made along the way.  I never expected to develop friendships that are so important to me.  Authors, other bloggers, lovers of books - this community is wonderful. 

Q: Have you got any advice or some encouraging words for people who might think about blogging but are having some doubts?
A: It's scary - I get it.  You put yourself out there and if peeps don't like you it hurts.  But if you want to blog it has to be for you and not for anyone else or for some idea that you get free books.  I spend more money on books now than I ever did before I started blogging.  If you want to take a risk and share your passion and are willing to just be who you are than it's gonna show and peeps with join you.  Have fun with it or don't do it.


  • Tango or salsa? Tango
  • Cats or dogs? DOGS! (Cats bite)
  • Original or retelling? more and more retelling
  • Black or white? black
  • Blogging or reading? reading
Since you’re a fan of JLA, here’re two tough cookies for you:
  • Alex or Katy? Katy
  • Aiden or Daemon? Daemon
Valerie is a computer and math teacher who enjoys reading books and talking about them on her spare time. Among many other things, she has hosted a blog tour for Jennifer L. Armentrout's Pure (Covenant #2) and advocated for Daemon Black (JLA's Lux Series) in the annual YA Crush Tournament. In addition to her own reviews, she posts reviews for YA books by her students which makes her blog pretty unique. 

Want to know more about her blog or find her through other social media channels? Check out her

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. Onyx is also my favourite book of this year too (so far!)! Love Val and her blog rocks! Great interview! :)

  2. Great interview! It was a lot of fun getting to know Val. I loved What a Boy Wants! Such a fab book!

  3. Thanks for interviewing me! It was great fun.


  4. @ Jana. I loved Onyx as well, it was so incredibly hawwwttt, sweet and exciting! December couldn't come any sooner :) and thank you for your kind words!

    @ Candace. Heh, love your name, girl! It reminds me of Candice Accola and she is so good in what she does. A beautiful name you have :) Yes, I thought so too. She is a very kind, sweet and fun blogger who doesn't let her followers down in anything she does. A great person follow :) And What a Boy Wants is definitely one of the best reads I've read this year ;)

    @ Valerie. It was a pleasure :) Thank you for doing this, means a lot to me!

  5. A fantastic interview! I am a regular 'stalker' of Stuck in Books, Val's blog is wonderful..

    ONYX was one of my faves as well, alongside DEITY, Sweet Evil and WaBW - i'll have to check out The One..

    Thankyou for sharing, it's such a great way to learn about the person behind the blog.

  6. Aw, thank you, Sharon! I was humbled that she agreed to answer these questions. I was a bit frightened since she is a pretty famous blogger so you never know, but she is incredibly sweet and friendly. Ha. I stalk her blog, too. Heh.

    I haven't read Deity, but I really hope that when I receive my paperback, I don't have that much to do at Uni and I can read it ASAP, I'd be devastated if I had the copy and not be able to read it right away. Haven't read The One either, but it has been getting great reviews so need to check that out as well ;)

    Thank you for visiting. Means a lot that you commented and loved the interview :)

    Have a great day, xx