I am really happy today to be talking to Susan Corcoran who describes herself as a passionate reader who loves theatre, travelling and spending time with her friends and family. and, believes in fairness and equality. If your wondering about the meaning of the cwtch in the title, she explains. It’s the welsh word for a hug that’s imbued with love, it’s also a place where you feel place. Books and reading have always been my safe place and hence the title of her book blog. Good to know – I was wondering.
Can you tell us about yourself please?
Well, I am currently 50, a former civil servant and now working for the NHS. I live in Cardiff and love it. No husband or children, but I do have a wonderful niece, god daughter and various gorgeous little people in my life.
How did you become involved in book blogging?
It was an impulse decision. I had started reading and reviewing books for an on-line Facebook group and thought I would start a book blog. I needed something to keep the old brain cells functioning and thought this was the best way to do it, given that reading has been a life-long passion.
What is the best thing about blogging? What is the worst thing?
The best thing about blogging is the amazing community of like minded people who share the same passion as I do. It’s like finding your tribe and a sense of belonging just settles over you, because they are so incredibly supportive and welcoming. Then there are all the amazing books and new authors I suddenly become aware of and my reading horizons were expanded.
The worst thing?
All the new authors you become aware of, because I am sometimes overcome with a sense of anxiety that I can’t keep up with my pile of newly purchased books.
What is your favourite genre? What genres do you review?
I read and review most genre’s, with the exception of horror, Erotica and Chicklit. My favourite genre tends to change with time, it used to be historical drama, then I moved onto fantasy and SFI and now I read lots of thrillers and have an interest in LGBT+ fiction, but I love diversity in my reading and reviewing, so will try most things.
How do you go about writing a review?
Anyone that knows me knows that I am badly organised and quite chaotic and that seems to spill over into my review writing. My reviews can vary from short to long and detailed. I don’t have a defined style that I’m aware of. I once had a lecturer who on reading one of my essays, said I was a confused combination of academic writer and the high drama of a exceedingly emotional Mills and Boons writer. Which pretty much sums my reviews up. I just try to write what feels right.
The way you write your reviews is fantastic, have you considered becoming an author?
Never. Well I say never, I day dream about it, but I know it is never going to happen.
What have been some highlights you have had whilst blogging?
Getting to know all these wonderful bloggers.
Which author would you most like to meet?
Oh so many! But if you insist on just one, then Madeline Miller. I would love to meet her, just to tell her how much I love her book, The Song For Achilles.
What advice would you give to authors wanting to approach you for a review, what would make you more inclined to accept requests etc?
Patience. Bloggers have lives and sometimes book reviews get delayed. Other than that, I am happy for an author to approach me, I just can’t always say yes.
Now to some fun questions about you:
Without any doubt it has to be Star Wars – A Force Awakens. It is the first film that made a real impression on me and I have remained a lifelong fan. We went to see it on a wet and windy childhood holiday and I was mesmerised. Other girls were into Jackie or Disney Princess, but for me it was Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. While other teenagers where worried about ever getting a boyfriend, I was was worrying about Han Solo surviving being frozen in carbonite at the end of The Empire Strikes Back!
I am not a big music lover. My sister-in-law once told me I had the saddest collection of CDs she had ever seen. It has always been books for me!
Pasta with a cheese sauce and chicken. Yummy. Or pizza, equally yummy.
The Song of Achilles is my favourite book of all time and I still can’t read the ending without welling up. I read the last chapter on a train home from London, great big ugly crying, barely able to breathe properly, desperate for an ending I could live with. Tin Man came very close to knocking it off the top spot last year, such a tender, beautiful book, but Madeline Miller’s stunning book is still top and I wonder if I will ever find a book that will replace it.
Favourite holiday destination:
No pets, but I do have half shares in next doors cat. Half a cat is better than none – but it doesn’t sound as cute when put like that!
Besides books, do you have any other passion/hobbies?
Going to the theatre. I adore both plays and musicals and frequently travel around Britain to see them.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive who would that be and why?
Oh I can sneak another author in this one. This one is dead though, so it’s different. Rosemary Sutcliffe whose children’s books were some of my favourite reads and it was her books that fired my interest in Roman history.
What would be your idea of bliss?
A great book, a nice drink and cwtching into a comfortable chair.
Any fun facts/stories you would like to share about yourself.
I nearly got arrested in Heathrow airport on my way to America. Being dippy, disorganised and chaotic one of my friends decided to buy me a travel clock, one with batteries, which she taped to the top of the box because of the above. In my case it went. You can imagine what that looks like when it goes through the scanning machine at the airport. The friend I was travelling with was laughing as I was being given a telling off by airport security. She soon stopped when it occurred to her, they might arrest me. Well I hope it was because she was scared I would be arrested and not that her holiday would be cancelled lol.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me Susan.
You can find Susan’s excellent reviews on her WEBSITE or catch up with her on social media.