A warm welcome to Tuesday Talk JB. I’ll start things off with my usual question – can you tell us a little bit about you…
Hi Jo and thank you for having me. Well, most people online know me as JB Johnston and I run Brook Cottage Books. I am a full time social worker also and I use every spare minute I have to indulge my love of books. I also love to run, go to the gym, go walking with friends and hike up the odd mountain and generally have fun! I’m always on the lookout for something to challenge me or something that scares me! It’s good to face your fears and be brave. I am married to a wonderful man and I have 2 children and 2 step children. I’m also a carer for my daughter who has special needs. One day I also hope to write something that makes people go WOW! Watch this space! I’m involved with various sites reviewing books and I am a beta reader for some authors. I also like to take part in fundraising for various charities too. It’s good to put something back into the community (see me in ridiculous costume with large elephant!).
What made you decide to start Brook Cottage Books?
A couple of years ago I was reviewing books on my personal blog. Soon the demand for book reviews became so great that I decided to start Brook Cottage Books. It kind of snow-balled from there and Brook Cottage Books has evolved into more than a review site. I am so grateful for the support I receive from authors such as yourself and from other book reviewers. My wonderful online family continues to inspire me.
What services do you provide for readers and writers?
At Brook Cottage Books there are a wide range of author services both free and some for a charge. You can get anything from a promotional post right through to a virtual book tour to help promote your book. Advertising space is also available for both authors to share their book covers and for other publishing professionals such as proof-readers, publishers etc to advertise their services. For readers, there is the chance to find out about new books, enter competitions, read reviews and find out interesting things about authors. For those readers with book blogs, there is also the chance to become a Brook Cottages Books tour host and join my bookish family, reading books and making new friends.
Have you have wanted to become a writer? If you did, what sort of book would you choose to write?
It has always been a lifelong dream to be a writer and I have taken part in a few writing projects such as contributing to anthologies. However, my latest project was in conjunction with a group of lovely writers who asked me to co-author a children’s book to raise money for Alzheimers Research. Each of us wrote a chapter of the book. I am very proud of the part I played in helping to raise vital funds for research. Check out the book http://amzn.to/1KuQuZr
I would ideally love to write a crime thriller but not sure if I’d be able to pull that off. I have written a few tentative chapters of a book but not sure even where that story is going yet but I suspect it’ll be aimed at female readers. I have a notebook full of ideas for books. It’s just finding the time to actually sitting down and writing that I find so difficult. Plus, when confidence was being handed out, I think I was at the back of the queue. I have zero confidence in my own writing abilities. I definitely need to work on that!
Your book tours cover a very wide range of genres. Do you have a particular favourite?
When I first started reviewing books I was always drawn to horror or crime or thrillers. However, once I started touring I began to be a bit open minded about what I read and I now do read a lot of chick lit which I was pleasantly surprised to find I really enjoy. However, my all-time favourite has still got to be thrillers / mystery.
Brook Cottage Books must take up a huge amount of your time. How do you fit this in with your work and family life?
It is extremely difficult trying to fit everything in but it can be done. My day usually begins at 5am or earlier and don’t finish until after midnight or sometimes I don’t get to bed at all but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often. I am lucky in that I have a very supportive husband who takes over a lot of the domestic duties and some of the childcare duties. I am also lucky enough to be one of those people who can still function perfectly well on a couple of hours sleep or no sleep at all! It’s how I’ve always functioned. It’s very important for me to still find a little bit of me time and pursue my hobbies and spend quality time with my family. It’s vital that they never feel neglected. After a rocky childhood I am extremely family orientated and family life is what drives me. The desire to make sure everyone is feeing loved and wants for nothing is my priority. I’ve seen the darker side of life both personally and professionally so I’m very over-protective. Parts of my life read like a novel! Lol.
And lastly, if you were holding a party which famous people would you ask and why?
Oh that’s a good question. Well here’s my top guests –
- Stephen King – The master of horror!
- The Beatles – because my husband would kill me if I didn’t invite them!
- Gerard Butler – no explanation required!
- The Bronte sisters –what genius!
- The Queen – because my mother in law would kill me if I didn’t invite her!
- Temple Grandin – a totally fascinating woman who can educate us all about autism.
If you would like to know more about JB or would like to join the Brook Cottage Book Tour Hosts and Reviewers team, check out her links below: