Earlier this month I found a notification in my Facebook feed that I’d been nominated for a Liebster Award. The delightful Melinda Kovac had singled out my blog — yes, the very blog you are reading now! — for this award. Of course, my first reaction was to be chuffed. To be honest, that was probably my second and third reaction as well. Lots of chuffing going on. And once the chuff had worn off a bit I got around to wondering what exactly the Liebster Award was.
I did what Melinda did when she received her nomination. I googled. Turns out the Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to connect with other bloggers and give them a virtual pat on the back. It’s a bit like a chain letter. You get nominated, and in turn you nominate other bloggers you feel deserve some recognition.
I think it’s a grand idea. Writing is a solitary pursuit, and the culture of blogging is changing. Fewer people actually subscribe to blogs and read them regularly, and commenting on blog posts seems to be waning as well. So a chance to let fellow bloggers know they are doing a good job is a wonderful thing.
From what I can gather, the original guidelines for nominating a blog included the number of readers the blog is allowed to have. The idea was to select blogs with fewer than 3,000 readers, which according to some estimations included Twitter followers. I’m not clear on how that works. But anyway, like any good chain letter, things change with passing iterations.
Given the many and varied versions of the Liebster Award Rules out there on the interwebz, I’m going to stick with the ones Melinda used in the blog post where she nominated me.
- Display an image of the award and write about your nomination.
- Thank and link the person who nominated you for this award.
- Answer the 11 questions prepared for you by the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate 5-11 awesome bloggers who you think deserve this award, and create 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
- List these guidelines in your blog post.
And on to Melinda’s questions!
Who has inspired you the most?
Probably the Dalai Llama, for a lifetime of working towards peace for all humanity in the face of considerable adversity.
If money was no object, where would you most like to travel to and why?
I’d love to go to the Moon. There’s something haunting and magical about photos of the Earth rising over that cold, grey horizon. And who wouldn’t want to go boing! boing! boing! like that? The videos from the lunar landings look so fun!
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m about to start The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley. Does that count? Otherwise, I’m reading my latest manuscript as I do a structural edit.
What is your favourite book and why?
Gosh. This is incredibly difficult. Pride and Prejudice would have to be right up there. It’s hard to go past Jane Austen for wry humour, flawed yet lovable characters, and emotional investment.
But for a book I read more recently I’d have to say The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. It had been a while since I read a book and bought the rest of the series before I was half way through. It’s a murder mystery that’s equal parts police procedural and urban magical fantasy. Laugh out loud funny, genuinely scary in parts, and more surprising than most books I’ve read lately. Go read it. Now.
Another contender would be The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is a sweeping tale of the hunt for Dracula. I was totally caught up in this book and foisted it on anybody who stood still long enough for me to force a copy into their hands. It is sumptuous and engrossing, and so beautifully written that you don’t have to be a fan of Dracula stories to enjoy it.
Now, if you were to look at my bookshelves you’d be forgiven for asking where Terry Pratchett is in this answer. It’s true — I own pretty much everything he ever wrote. His humour and humanism and incredible imagination appeal to me more than any other single author. But I honestly couldn’t pick one of his books as my favourite. Impossible task.
What was the last film you watched at the cinema?
Pretty sure it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams is always worth watching for his command of plot and story elements, so even if you’re not a die-hard Star Wars fan I think this film is worth a watch.
Who was performing at the first concert you remember going to see?
Pink Floyd, the Delicate Sound of Thunder tour. They were amazing.
What was the last TV show you binge watched?
Jessica Jones. Totally worth it, too. You just have to be willing to see David Tennant as a twisted evil psychopath, using his Doctor Who accent. I think one time he even said “Brilliant!” and it made my skin crawl. Still, watch it for the flawed hero and amazing redemption story.
What’s the earliest piece of writing you’ve ever had published (either online, newspaper, newsletter, etc)?
I think an article in the academic journal Bioacoustics. Please don’t hold it against me.
In 140 characters or less, what would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Stop writing poetry and start writing prose. Actually, just stop writing poetry.
What do you do outside of blogging?
I have an 18 month-old toddler. That should tell you all you need to know. Oh, and in my day job I’m in IT.
In keeping with my studies: history, or historical fiction?
Historical fiction, because it’s the best of both worlds.
My nominees for the Liebster Award
Dawn’s current blog is unlike the others I’ve nominated. It consists entirely of poetry. Her previous blog was a gratitude blog. For every day in 2014, Dawn wrote about something she was grateful for. If you need a bit of poetry in your life, or are considering a gratitude project, go read Dawn’s blogs.
Amy’s blog has a nifty descriptive line: Come for thoughts on writing; stay for posts about social justice and life as an American in Australia. This pretty much sums it up. If you get fired up over wrongful convictions, or if you like to read insightful posts about writing, you should definitely check out Amy’s blog.
Alison writes crime novels, and her blog has some juicy articles about the research she does for her books. She also posts up an obscure word every Wednesday, which gives you a chance to brush up your vocabulary.
Linda is an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher as well as a writer and avid reader. Naturally, her blog is an eclectic mix of book reviews, pieces about her life as a writer, and fascinating insights into the English language from the perspective of someone trying to teach it.
Renee writes middle grade fiction, and she also reviews children’s and YA books. On top of that, Renee blogs about writing and reading, with personal insights into her writing process and issues related to reading to, with, and by kids. If you’ve got children of your own, give Renee’s blog a look.
Karen blogs about writing and storytelling, and also writes book reviews. She has thoughtful posts about the process of writing and the people she’s met pursuing the writing life. Karen’s blog is always worth a read.
Heather is a writer of short stories and historical fiction, with one manuscript under her belt and another in progress. She blogs about her writing process and research, posting photos of the bucolic Tasmanian landscape. She also writes book reviews and the occasional author interview with other historical fiction writers.
Karen writes short stories and, like me, has a background in science. Her blog includes posts about the process of writing, craft tips and tricks, and also some interesting insights into self-publishing. My favourite piece is a look at research into whether reading can improve your levels of empathy. (Spoiler: Yes.)
Simon’s blog is like your personal cheer squad — a blend of motivation, encouragement, and the occasional well-timed kick in the pants. If you sometimes find yourself getting in your own way, you should give Simon’s blog a read.
11 questions for my Liebster Award Nominees, should you choose to accept
- Who is your favourite James Bond, and why?
- Pride and Prejudice or Bridget Jones’ Diary?
- What was your favourite tv show as a kid?
- What is your favourite tv show now?
- What is your favourite city to visit? (Or the city you’d most like to visit if you haven’t been there yet.)
- You’ve just been captured by an evil villain. Who comes to your rescue?
- Night out on the town or night in?
- What prompted you to start blogging?
- What motivates you to keep blogging?
- Who is your favourite author?
- What book has most influenced you?
(Let me know if and when you post up your answer, and I’ll link to your responses!)