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Interview with a Book Blogger | Ghazala Anjum | Pristine Books



Ghazala Anjum
aka Pristine Books

Q.1 Please introduce yourself – Where are you from? How long have you been blogging? What’s the name of your blog? What made you decide to start a book blog?
A. My name is Ghazala Anjum. I am basically from Ramanagaram, it’s 30km away from Bangalore; famous as the town where the movie “Sholay” was shot. I currently reside in Saudi Arabia. I hold a Master's degree in Structural Engineering. But my interest lies in the writing world. I have been working as an editor from past 5 years, along with that I took up writing for Litgleam magazine a couple of years ago, and more recently, I took up reviewing books (I also run a review program where I provide bulk reviews to authors and publishers). Hence, I am kind of multitasking all the time. I am a huge introvert and rarely speak unless spoken to. My idea of a good weekend is either dinner out with my husband or under a blanket with a book. I love exploring new places to eat, but pasta is my ultimate favorite. I am also a cat mom. I have 5 cats in my home named Oski, Cookie, Hiccup, Loki and Pepper. 

Other than books, I like doing Yoga or binging on series or learning something new. I started blogging about a year ago mostly because of the suggestions from fellow bookstagrammers about the importance of it. I felt it arduous at the beginning, but I grew to love it. Although, I can say with surety that I still haven’t got a hang of it, but patience is the key.

Q.2 What is your favorite genre and book?
A. I am an ardent fan of Fantasy, especially high fantasy. I adore fantasy, and whenever I go to purchase a book, I look for fantasy. I just can’t get enough. For me, the true pinnacle of a writer’s imaginative capability is being able to create worlds that don’t exist, and make them believable as if they are just a room away. I also love to read sci-fi, mythological (preferably Biblical and Greek), and historical fiction. I don’t usually prefer other genres unless I am in a mood to explore something new. And I absolutely hate horror. Can’t stand it. Period. Also, I love the series more than standalone. My favorite book keeps changing year to year, last year it was Mistborn trilogy, this year it is Song of the Shattered Sands series, who knows what next year will bring.

Q.3 What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you first started book blogging?
A. I wish someone had told me what exactly to write because the most difficult part of blogging is having good content, what seems good to me may not seem so to others. So, it’s always a conundrum of what to write and what to omit.

Q.4 What piece of advice you would like to give to other bloggers?
A. Blogging is a sinusoidal curve. There will be ups and downs. Take time and see what your downs are and how to tackle them. A good blog will run itself and will be easy to monetize, later on, a starter one will fall short of the requirements soon. Enjoy the learning curve for it will help you avoid problems later on. And let’s not forget, quality of content matters.

Q.5 How many books are actually in your bookshelf/shelves right now?
A. I have two bookshelves divided between India and Saudi Arabia. The one in India has about 30 books, all read, and the one in Saudi has about 40 out of which 13 are unread. And it goes without saying that I am always planning to hoard more books.

Q.6 If you could be a character from a book for just one day who would you be and why?
A. Oh my! This is probably the toughest question to answer, how can I just select one character, what about other equally awesome ones?? Major FOMO feels right now! I think I would like to be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice at the time when Mr. Darcy proposes to her, one can never go wrong with classics (wink).

Q.7 Is blogging your profession or just a hobby? Does your family support you? What’s their take on this?
A. I currently see it as a requirement. I don’t take my blog so casually as to call it a hobby nor do I have time to put in so much effort that I can take up blogging professionally. So, I think it’s dangling somewhere in-between. As far as my family is concerned, only my husband knows, and he’s pretty indifferent about it mainly because he doesn’t understand why I do what I do, but he lets me pursue it in my own way. My parents and friends think that my editing job itself is a waste of time, (because I have a hi-fi master's degree), so I have stopped bothering them with my doings. I am patiently hoping that my success will someday speak for itself.

Q.8 What do you think is the best strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
A. Technically, learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization), ideally, have a good rapport with your followers. If they trust you, they’ll trust your work, and hence your content and will look forward to it.

Q.9 What are the top 3 characteristics you look for in a good book?
A. 1. A wow plot - Considering the hundreds of books I have read, nothing is surprising anymore, so a good plot is always attractive to me.

2. Good worldbuilding - I love exploring new fictional worlds, the better detailed they are, the more real they seem.

3. Sarcastic and relatable characters - If there’s someone downright merciless and evil, I believe him more than I believe the two goody shoe protagonist. Also, who doesn’t love a healthy dose of sarcasm?

Q.10 What are your favorite Instagram/Bookstagram/Booktuber accounts?
A. I don’t follow the booktube, but I am friends with all my followers on bookstagram. I love to talk to them and love each of their content. So it’s really hard for me to pick a few. However, a few have been there with me ever since I started my account. thatvoraciousreader and worlds.within.words are who I go to when I need a good dose of non-bookish talk. They make me realize that life needs to be taken in the flow and not fretting over details. 

hookedonbookz, teaandtales_, kiranmai_kiran, confessions_of_a_bookoholic have been working in my program since its inception, and it’s their dedication and effort that has motivated me at every step.

stunning_bookworm and my_weird_bookish_heart are people who support me even without me asking them to. They understand me and my work like no other.  

fortheloveoffictionalworlds has such good knowledge of books that I am in awe of her work, plus she is super sweet and a pleasure to talk to. She always responds as if we are long lost friends and it’s so heartwarming. There are tons of others with great content but as people, these are very close to my heart. I have not met any of my followers but still, it’s as if I am a part of their life as they are mine.

·  A few words for our readers and Books Charming - 
First of all, a great initiative by bookscharming. I interview others on my account, and it’s a great feeling to realize that people might want to get to know me too. It’s a huge motivator. All of us work hard, sometimes for free of cost so a little recognition goes a long way to keep our spirits up.

As for my fellow readers, bookstagram is the most peaceful community I have met so far. People are extremely supportive, understanding, and jovial, and I hope it remains that way. Keep supporting each other and let no one bring us down for our choices or way of life, we already have enough of that in the outside world. Thank you for having me, it was a good experience and great pleasure.

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