Zoe O’Farrell

It is great today to be talking to Zoe after a bit of a hiccup when her site was down due to her changing her hosting service. She finally got it sorted, and here we are. Zoe describes herself as human, a good start, a mother to a gorgeous little spitfire who is 4 years old and keeps her on her feet. She is married to a soldier and has found a home surrounded by the White Cliffs of Dover. She also has a cat which she admits to being slightly obsessed with, something else she has in common with many bloggers / writers.

Can you tell us about yourself please?
Hi I am Zoé from Zooloo Book blog. I am married to a soldier aka the Boy and we have a little lady Alicia who is 4. I have a black cat called Jet who is referred to as the devil cat, but she is scared of her own shadow.
I am originally from Watford, but we have moved to the sunny seaside town of Dover and looking to make it our home.
Aside from blogging, I love my sports, movies, embroidery and gigging!
I currently work in Finance for an arts charity called Creative Foundation. Plus, I go on a lot….

How did you become involved in book blogging?
Ready for this…. So, my friends outside the blogging community know how much I love reading and at the end of Jan 18, I kept banging on about a book I read…little known novel called The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. On WhatsApp I was telling my friends and they suggested setting up a bookstagram. I was like what? So, I set it up took some picture (not so great!) and learned about hashtagging and off I went. Then I heard Twitter was mentioned a lot and I hadn’t a clue about it. So, I wrote that I had finished the book, and was thinking of starting another little book called The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn, and lo and behold they replied to me on Twitter. So, I was dancing around at home, the other half didn’t care but my two best friends were over the moon and encouraged me to start a blog. My friend Cyran, who has a lifestyle blog, helped me get started and February 2018 Zooloo Book blog was born (God I went on a bit didn’t I!!)

What is the best thing about blogging? What is the worst thing?
I love the community, I love speaking to the author (such as yourself!) and the fact they someone wants to know what I think. When an author emails me/acknowledges me on social media, I get all fangirling. I love the feeling. I have loved getting to know some of the publishers and the fab ladies who put on the book tours – they are in the “naughty” list – just asked Noelle at Bookouture she will know what I mean!
Stereotypically, too many books not enough time, although it’s not a bad thing I need to learn the word No (although not sure it should exist) lol. But mainly, being a newbie still, is learning that some bloggers out there do give us book bloggers a bad name and that makes me sad.

Our gallery

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What is your favourite genre? What genres do you review?
I love Thrillers, (hence reading your book Blood Ribbon, love a good ole name drop) Please, carry on!  😎 Mystery, Horror, Chick lit to lightening the mood, YA….so most things.

How do you go about writing a review?
God, I don’t know lol. I keep changing my ways. I used to write notes as I went but it slowed me down. So now once I am in bed, I sit on my phone on the notes app. Throw all my thoughts in there, email it myself, loads it on to the blog proofread it, publish. Then sometimes, I check out other reviews to make sure I haven’t missed anything or added something too spoilerish.

Have you ever considered becoming an author?
I have, when I was young I use to write all the time, think my mum still has the books! Since I have started the blogging I have thought of a book, started the first chapter and I know the end, it is just the middle and how to get to the end and whether anyone would want to read it. So maybe maybe not lol

What have been some highlights you have had whilst blogging?
Well for me, it’s been talking to the authors and meeting new bloggers and making friends. Like I said before I still go giddy when speaking to authors, and I would like to think some of them have become friends which is amazing! Especially when they add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter even seeing my name on a tour poster or being quoted on an advert for a book! EEK! I got a thank you in a book in my first month of blogging and the author is making me in to a character in her book. Biggest highlight was being nominated for Best Newcomer at the Bloggers bash – so unreal to see that I had been shortlisted, albeit my “Friend” Mart aka the Beardy blogger won, and he didn’t even go – he got an ear bashing from me!

What type of blogging events do you love and take part in?
I really want to be able to go to the festivals especially the one in Harrogate, Theakston crime festival – so next year and the authors book signing events they look epic.
Although we host a book festival at work in Folkestone, so I am checking that out with Alison Weir in the building!

Any special places blogging has taken you to?
Not yet but hopefully soon!

Which author would you most like to meet?

Oh god this is hard.  So many! I would love to meet Rich Amooi because he got me out of my biggest reading slump with his book Five Minutes late and to say thank you for his fab books. Then I would love to meet the ones I have made friends, to name two Gina Kirkham and Miranda Grant (although cheating here as I am meeting her next year!) Would love to hassle George RR Martin as I have been waiting nearly 6 years for the new Games of Thrones book!!!!!!!

What advice would you give to authors wanting to approach you for a review, what would make you more inclined to accept requests etc?
Start an email with my name and tell me about your book and you (don’t worry I don’t need your life story or stats) but be interested about my blog. At the moment I answer everyone and have only said no once – oops!

Now to some fun questions about you:
Favourite movie:   (NOT fun I have too many! lol) I can narrow it down to Dirty Dancing, Lord of the Rings trilogy, ANYTHING with Arnie in and Star Wars
Favourite music:  Rock chick through and through American and UK. Do love a bit of cheesy pop though and Rock and roll from the 60s
Favourite food: Curry, end of – Agreed, nothing like a good lamb madras, although the cost of lamb in Australia you would think it had become an endangered species!!
Favourite book:   Do love the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. But The lion, the witch and the wardrobe may top them
Favourite holiday destination:  Love Florida! We do spend a lot of time skiing so would have to say Avoriaz in France
Pets:  I have a cat and a hamster. I want a tiger……is that allowed?    I’m guessing not!

Besides books, do you have any other passion/hobbies?
I watch sport…a lot of sport…. Football is my biggest passion, season ticket holder at Watford (ssh) My dad was a Watford fan, so no negative comment from me, but I was tempted. 😛    Golf, Tennis, Cricket, NFL. I am a MASSIVE movie geek. I love to do my embroidery in front of the tv if I am not reading. And I go to a lot of music gigs! Off to one in a couple of weeks, seen Stereophonics 8 times and Tom Jones 3!
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive who would that be and why?
First would be Elvis with my dad. I lost my dad 9 years ago, so I know he is up there with Elvis now partying, so I would have to see them together as I was brought up on his music.
Failing that Arnie, because I have had a school girl crush on him for about 30 years (Let’s not judge!!lol)
What would be your idea of bliss?
5 minutes to myself at home with my book? Or sitting on a beach reading…oh wait that was my lunchbreak
Any fun facts/stories you would like to share about yourself?
I am only 5ft, oldest out of my friends and I am always the one left behind getting ID
Zooloo is my nickname, my first name is Zoé- Lee and in an old job the IT man set me up as Zoe-Loo and my friend thought it was hilarious so 13 years on it has stuck.
I am sure I will think of loads later, but I think I have bored everyone enough now lol

Thank you so much for having me – it has been great fun…everyone can wake up now 😊

Zoe, it has been great chatting,  keep up the good work with your excellent blog.

You can find out more about Zoe and her blog at the link above or through social media.

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