Today we are lucky to have Lauren of Shooting Star Mag and Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance!
• Give us the history of you. (family life, where you’re from, etc.)
My name is Lauren and I’m from Kentucky, though I’ve never been on a horse in my life and I don’t really have a southern accent. I’m the youngest of three kids. I have a brother (who is married and has a girl, a boy, and another girl on the way) and a sister who is seriously one of my best friends. My mom is one of my other best friends. We’re all very close.
• When did you start blogging? Was this your first blog?
I started blogging in 2007 and yes, ShootingStarsMag was my first blog. The Mag stands for Magazine, because the original idea was to have “issues” but the person I started the blog with, Keaton, and I decided setting it up like a regular blog would ultimately be easier. We focused a lot on music at first, but I started finding book blogs, and Keaton and I had met in an online book club, so we slowly started adding in books. Now, the blog is about 75% books and 25% other lifestyle and entertainment, because I like a little mix of everything.
• What made you start blogging?
I was in an online book club and that’s where I met Keaton. We decided to start the blog together. She’s actually the one who set up the blog on Blogger and made the official email, as she knew more than me at the time. She no longer blogs with me, but the beginning of ShootingStarsMag was a lot of fun and we had a lot of help from other book club members who did reviews and interviews with us.
• How did you come up with your blog name?
I actually came up with the name. I liked the idea of Shooting Stars because we wanted to focus on artists (and eventually authors) who weren’t completely main stream. We wanted to help spread the word and get them new fans, and I hope I’m still doing that.
• How long were you running your blog before you started getting many followers?
I have no clue to be honest. We started the blog in 2007 and we never had a ton of followers. I feel like that has grown more in the past few years. I started to use social media more and figure out more ways to help spread the word and get noticed. It’s definitely helped. I like having people reading the blog and leaving their thoughts.
• Walk me through the process that you went through to get your blog to where it is today.
It was definitely a long process, though it didn’t take that long for us to start adding books to what we were already writing about. Over the years, the people who have helped have definitely changed. Now it’s me and my co-blogger Alicia, who I met through a fellow book blogger years ago. I’m still growing though! I love books and reading, but I’ve always wanted to feature other topics, so I hope to continue to do that.
• How many books do you read in a month?
I’m not sure, to be honest. It honestly changes month to month, but I suppose on average, it’s about 10 books a month. I’m not a terribly slow reader, but I’m not as fast as I wish I could be!
• What book did you read most recently that you loved, and would recommend to everyone?
It depends on what type of books you like! If you don’t mind m/m romance, then definitely Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn. Such a beautiful novel. If you really like graphic novels, I’d suggest the Saga series as I’ve recently finished the last collection that is out.
• What are the top questions you get asked by your readers?
I’m not sure I really get asked that many questions! I know some people seem to think my name is Mag because of my blog title, but Mag is short for magazine. I don’t mind this though, because it’s kind of like being given a nickname!
• If a new blogger came up to you today, and you only had a few minutes to talk, what would be your best blogging tip?
My blogging tip would be to look at as many blogs as you can and figure out what you do and do not like, and then make the blog you’d most want to read.
• Have you ever liked the movie more than the book? Be honest!
I tend to see more movies based on books without having actually read the novel, than having read the book beforehand. I don’t know if I’d say I like the movie better than the book, but I do love the film A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (and it’s a movie where I DID read the book beforehand).
• Are there any popular books you know you would never read (i.e. 50 shades of grey, tell us which one)?
Definitely not 50 Shades of Grey! Hah There are probably a lot of series out that are popular that I know I won’t ever read, but the one I can think of right now is The Mortal Instruments. Just not interested.
• Any new blog features you are working on?
I’ve been recently trying to do Bridge the Gap more. This is where I focus on books that were published by authors NOT from the United States. Other blogs can do this too, if they like. If you’re not from the U.S., then of course U.S. novels would be your Bridge the Gap books, but any other country too.
• What are 5 items you never leave home without?
Money/card, gym lanyard so I can get in, lip gloss, usually my Kindle, and facial wipes (usually for after the gym).
• Anything else you would like to add?
I also blog at Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance (www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com) which focuses on LGBT+ news and entertainment (which does include book reviews!).
Thank you so so much for being here Lauren!
PS: Is there anything you would like to know about Lauren?