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This is always a favorite of every BBAW, a chance to learn more about each other beyond reviews and other posts. The diversity of our group never fails to amaze me, and it is such a privilege to learn more about the individuals in our wonderful, albeit extremely large, group!

This year, I have the good fortune of presenting to you Jehara from Quirky Girls Read. One look at her individual posts and autobiography, and I knew I had found another kindred spirit. Her tastes are as eclectic as mine, as she calls out everything from Nora Roberts to Harry Potter. I loved the chance to get to know her a bit better and look forward to following her blog in the months and years to come!

Image: Photo of Jehara
The lovely Jehara!

Your site is a group site. I’ve always considered them to be fairly tricky, managing multiple personalities and egos.What made you start one?

Books were starting to take over my personal blog, but I wanted to keep that one the way it was and decided to create a proper home for book blogging. I had originally planned on maintaining a separate book blog and did all the work to get it set up. Just as I was ready to launch it, Molly posted about group blogging for her blogging tips feature. I was super inspired by that post and decided that instead of maintaining a book blog by myself, I would make it a group blog. The beauty is that there is a variety of content and I don’t have to write every day. I knew it would be a lot of work to maintain two blogs and I wanted the book blog to have a proper presence in the book blogging world. I think it is much more fun having other people be a part of it than if I had kept it as a solo project.

How did you go about picking those who would participate with you?

I chose people that I already had relationships with, people I knew that had a deep love for books and reading. Molly and I have been blog buddies for some time now. As it was her post that provided the initial inspiration, I definitely wanted her to be a part of it. Faith and Izzybella are two real life friends who have personal blogs and they are big time readers. I thought it would be fun to have them on board. Molly recommended Margot, with whom she had a personal relationship with, (so glad she did!!) and QGR was born. 🙂

How do you manage the site and the reviews?

Molly, Margot, Faith, and Izzy have assigned days for posting. I didn’t want people to feel overwhelmed as they already have their own blogs. So I asked for a minimum commitment of two posts a month. Some post twice, others have taken on other projects with the blog such as maintaining memes or taking on an extra posting day a month. I fill in the gaps where the others are not scheduled. We have a shared calendar on gmail so we can all see who is posting when. Everyone has access to the site so they can write and publish their own posts. We have agreed-upon guidelines for posting, content, etc. which is in our shared google documents for reference. Now that I have written that all out, it seems very organized, yes?

Any behind-the-scenes drama that occurs with multiple reviewers?

Oh no, not at all!!! We are a laid-back bunch. There has never been any issues. Everyone is willing to help out each other when anyone needs help covering posts when personal emergencies arise. Everyone has been great about participating as a group in blogging events such as Armchair BEA and now BBAW. I am so honored to host this group of women.

Even though you all have various interests, do you ever find yourself wanting to review the same books? How do you manage this?

So far this really hasn’t come up. I have been reading more books that my fellow QGR-ers have reviewed because of their reviews, but I opt out of reviewing those books. One time Izzybella and I did a double review of a book we read at the same time. I read it right after she did based on her recommendation. I loved it so much that I wanted to share my thoughts on it. That was really fun to do. Our reading is so varied that this doesn’t seem to be an issue for us.

Are there any differences between solo blogging and group blogging that surprised you?

I don’t know that there is anything that surprised me about it. I am enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I really like being a part of a group effort. I like the variety it brings, the cross-section of readers it brings, and the exposure to new things.

We have very similar tastes in literature, especially the interest in vampires, werewolves, and witches.
How do you feel about this trend now?

I really enjoy paranormal subject matter so it is nice that there are so many books to choose from. The downside is that because there are so many, there are going to be more mediocre books so I am much more discerning about which ones I read than I was as an adolescent. At that time there weren’t nearly as many so I pretty much got my hands on whatever I could at the time.

In your opinion, has the quality of these themes remained as high as a few years ago? Why or why not?

Hmmm. I think there are still some good books coming out; however, there is a bit of an oversaturation of the market. There are more mediocre books out there, but I’d say that is because there are more books out there period in this genre, as is the case with any genre.

Have we reached critical mass yet? Will novels about vampires, werewolves and witches ever get old? Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing?

I don’t know if we have reached critical mass yet. It will probably ebb at some point, but I think there will always be books about the paranormal being published. There may come a time where there aren’t as many being published as there are now. I, for one, will keep reading as people keep writing. As for too much of a good thing, there can be sometimes, in terms of reading too many vampire books in a row. Although, I don’t want the stories to stop being imagined. I just have to pace my reading. 🙂

In your autobiography on your site, you mention your previous shame about reading and loving YA. Do you think that bloggers were the reasons for you overcoming your embarrassment or was it something else?

Part of it was befriending Izzy and Faith and realizing they love YA too. That was the first a-ha moment. Then when I discovered book bloggers, yes, absolutely, I realized I was not the only who had an ongoing love for YA even though I am no longer in that specific age group. 😉

Why do you think YA has become so popular these days? Are they truly better than adult fiction?

I don’t think YA is better than adult fiction. I read plenty of adult fiction as well. I just really really enjoy YA stories. Part of it could be that I will never stop relating to that adolescent self. Another part is that I still follow the YA authors that I loved as an adolescent. And another part doesn’t want to miss out on the great YA books that are being released now. Hmm, let’s just say I am unbiased in my reading.

You mention that your mother taught you to read at the age of three. Is everyone in your family such avid readers?

I would have to say the women in my family are. My mom is a big reader and definitely passed that love to me. My sister also reads quite a bit. We continually give each other recommendations. For instance, I got her hooked on Blue Bloods. She got me hooked on Vampire Academy.

What do they think of your blogging? Do they follow you? Would you ever consider letting them become a part of Quirky Girls Read?

Um, actually, my family is unaware of my blogging. . . I started my personal blog anonymously using an alias and only told a few choice people about it. And because I use the same handle for book blogging I haven’t really clued in anyone beyond the few choice people.

I adore the name of your blog and love the fact that you have highlighted the quirks of the individual reviewers. What made you opt for that as a brand?

When I was originally going to do a book blog as a solo project I decided on the name Quirky Girl Reads because I am a quirky girl and it seemed catchy and concise. Once I brought others on board I offered to take suggestions for the name, but everyone liked the name I had already picked so I just added the letter s to the end. 🙂

What have you learned about blogging, especially group blogging, that you would like to share with your fellow book bloggers? Anything else you would like to share?

Well, having other people holding me accountable I definitely stick to my schedule better than I do with my personal blog! Being a part of something bigger than me motivates and inspires me; it makes me feel braver to dream bigger for the blog.

Thank you, Jehara, for providing such interesting insight to the world of group blogging. I feel privileged to have been partnered with someone with such similar interests.

Please take the time to give Jehara some love and check out her awesome group blog, Quirky Girls Read!

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