Behind the Screen: A Book Blogger Tag

Behind The Screen Book Tag

With a few new readers this year, and the positive reception to the post in which I opened up about my career change, I want to do more personal posts on occasion. I was mulling this idea over when I came across this list of questions (in Book Blogger lingo- this Tag) at Molly’s Book Nook and thought this would be a fun way to share a little bit more about me, the blogger behind the screen.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase an item through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks for supporting the blog.

When did you start blogging and what was the first book you [traveled for]?

*I put my own spin on the ending of this question to make it more literary-travel appropriate.

When did I start blogging?

My first foray into blogging actually started during library school in Boston (some time in 2010 or 2011). I opened an account on Blogger to record my weekend adventures around the city. This effort was abandoned and now I don’t even recall the title of that blog. In 2015 I logged in once again to Blogger, changed the look and the name and became The Anachronistic Archivist. While I was determined to make this take off, well-meaning friends told me nobody knew what this meant or how to pronounce it. It was around this time that I took my first literary inspired trip to England and decided after returning home that blogging about travel would be more fun (and perhaps more universally interesting than archiving?). So I finally got serious, made the move to a hosted WordPress site and renamed myself once again… to Wanderlusting Elizabeth! This name too fell by the wayside eventually. In August of 2016 I finally came up with A Suitcase Full of Books and made the change.

What was the first book I traveled for?

My favorite childhood books were the Famous Five mystery books by Enid Blyton. The main character, a girl named George had her own rowboat and an island with abandoned castle ruins. I don’t remember when it was or how I found out that George’s Kirrin Castle was based on a real place, but I decided I HAD to go there someday. In 2015 I finally went to Corfe, England to visit the real castle from my books. It was quite a surprise to find out that there was no island. Corfe Castle ruins are instead inland on the top of a hill. Read about following Enid Blyton’s footsteps here.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, England, the inspiration for Enid Blyton’s Kirrin Castle.

Who/what inspired you to start blogging?

My step-grandfather had the best stories. When I was young, he encouraged me to write by telling me that for each piece of writing I sent him, he would send me one of his written memoirs. At the time I was too embarrassed to send him anything I’d written. My writing couldn’t compare to his childhood misadventures, or his wartime experiences. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was in high school, but when I discovered blogging, it seemed to best way to share my stories and adventures with my remaining grandparents.

Frederick Bettleheim

Frederick Bettleheim, my grandfather as a young man

What is a blog-related goal that you have?

When I started blogging, my goal was to travel with author Sharon Kay Penman next time she leads a tour with Academic Travel Abroad, and somehow get invited on the trip for free. Four years into blogging, reality has set in, and my goal is simply to make enough to cover the cost of the blog hosting each year. (Though if anyone at Academic Travel Abroad should read this, I won’t say no to a trip with my favorite author…)

Where do you usually blog? What does your setup look like?

I have an entire room devoted to my bookshelves, reading nook, and computer desk. One wall has a gallery of travel photos while another has shelves of nick-knacks, mostly related to Harry Potter. The room is cozy, calming, and a perfect retreat in the evening for blogging. But to be honest… more often than not, most of my blogging happens on the living room couch instead. At the end of the day, it’s just wherever my laptop ended up last.

My reading and blogging nook

My reading and blogging nook

What is one thing you wish someone told you about blogging?

I can’t actually think of anything I’ve learned about blogging that I wish I’d known before I started. I’ve enjoyed the process of learning through Superstar Blogging courses, attending TravelCon, and just doing. The only thing that comes to mind is I wish I’d known how much time it would take each week, but if somebody had told me that I don’t think I would have listened. Every second has been worth it.

Check out the Superstar Blogging for courses on travel writing, photography, vlogging, and the business of travel blogging.

What was your biggest blog-related accomplishment?

I can’t say I’ve had one overall huge accomplishment related to blogging but I can think of a few small instances that would not have happened if not for the blog.

  1. Before blogging, it would not have occurred to me to connect with authors via social media simply to tell them I liked their work. The first time I reached out to an author and got a response was very exciting. I believe it was Shannon McKenna, co-author of Novel Destinations.
  2. I got my first paid freelance writing work through the Superstar Blogging Opportunity Board.
  3. I got to interview the creator of the Read on the Fly program because she replied to something I had posted on Facebook. I was over the moon that somebody who started a book-related program in Alaska noticed me!
  4. I decided to attend TravelCon and got to meet several of the bloggers and vloggers I admire.
  5. This hasn’t happened yet, but thanks to TravelCon, I will have the opportunity to be on a podcast later this summer!

What types of posts do you enjoy writing?

My favorite posts to write are the travelogues that include surprising and amusing anecdotes of experiences I didn’t expect to encounter. For example, when I visited Leicester because of Richard III, I did not think I’d end the day with a Richard III flavored gelato. (No, it didn’t taste like old bones. Gross. Go read the post.)

What was your last 5-star read?

Amazon link to purchase When Christ and His Saints SleptAre we counting audio books? I’m going to count it because I’ve read the print version at least twice before. Sharon Kay Penman’s When Christ and His Saints Slept recently came out on Audible and it was just as good as reading it the first several times.

Purchase When Christ and His Saints Slept via Indiebound | Amazon | Audible

 

My last 5-star read in print was European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss. So far I’ve loved both of her Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club novels and can’t wait for the next one.

Purchase European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman via Indiebound | Amazon

 

What was your last 1-star read?

I’m currently in the middle of Walden; or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau and I’m not really enjoying it, either the print or the audio version. I hope that visiting Walden Pond will help  turn my opinion around, but right now I’d give it a 1.

What are three words that make you pick up a book?

  1. Historical-Fiction
  2. Eleanor of Aquitaine
  3. Medieval England

I just can’t shorten any of these to one word answers. But I’m a sucker for anything related to British medieval history. Especially Eleanor, I just find her a fascinating figure.

What is your Hogwarts house?

Gryffindor.

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and although I love the books best, I will not discriminate against visiting locations related to the films. After all, it was all inspired by books to begin with! Check out my post about visiting the Harry Potter Experience London here.

Harry Potter Experience London, Platform 9 3/4

Harry Potter Experience London, Platform 9 3/4

What is your favorite reading environment?

My favorite place to read is in bed while the house is quiet. These days, however, life is busy and I’m happy to read in any quiet place I can pull out my book for a few moments.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

My best advice is just start, and also…it’s not about you. After reflecting on what I’ve learned about blogging in the last four years, these were the top two lessons. For further explanation and my top 5 Lessons for Beginning Bloggers check out this post.

Tell me about yourself, I tag anyone who wants to do this!

Here are the questions again, for easy copying purposes:

When did you start blogging and what was the first book you [traveled for]?
Who/what inspired you to start blogging?
What is a blog-related goal that you have?
Where do you usually blog? What does your setup look like?
What is one thing you wish someone told you about blogging?
What was your biggest blog-related accomplishment?
What types of posts do you enjoy writing?
What was your last 5-star read?
What was your last 1-star read?
What are three words that make you pick up a book?
What is your Hogwarts house?
What is your favorite reading environment?
What advice would you give to new bloggers?

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