I am back in Finland, talking to Mervi, who blogs about fantasy, science fiction, and mystery books and comics at Mervi’s Book Reviews.
SCy-Fy: Tell me about a normal blogging day, Mervi.
M: That depends if I’m working during the day or evening. Currently, I work during the evenings, so I write my reviews during the day or weekend. Typically, I’m either close to finishing a book or have just finished a book when I write the review.
SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives?
M: Wow, that sounds so organized. I don’t plan much. I have a Marvel Unlimited subscription, so I’ll be writing a lot more Marvel comics reviews. I’m also taking part in the Once Upon a Time reading challenge run by Stainless Steel Droppings, so most of the books I’m reading until early June will be fantasy.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?
M: Today there are already a lot of blogs, so standing out among them is already a challenge. Also, conversations fragmenting to different platforms makes it difficult to follow them unless you’re willing to take part in every social media ever and that takes a lot of time.
Of course, any threat to Net Neutrality and limiting access to the net threaten bloggers, too.
SCy-Fy: Any advice for bloggers?
M: Be genuine and read what interest you, even if it’s not the hot new thing currently. Also, keep blogging and reviewing fun; take breaks if you feel like it.
SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?
M: I have to disappoint you there: I don’t have any secret resources. In addition to other blogs, I use Goodreads and FantasticFiction.co.uk. Since I listen to a lot of audiobooks from Audible, I also tend to look at reviews and available books there.
SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?
M: I don’t know if it’s specific to SFF, but time to read is one. I read during my commute and also try to read at least a couple of hours each day. Selecting books is another challenge. It’s so easy to read just the newest, most hyped books or books someone else thinks are “important” and forget why you enjoy reading in the first place.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
M: Blogging is a hobby, so the moment I don’t enjoy it, the blog’s gone. Reading fiction and comics is a good way to get rid of stress, though, so I’m going to keep on reading even if blogging becomes too much hassle at some point.
SCy-Fy: Posts of yours that have had the most impact or controversy?
M: Hmm. I don’t think any of my posts have sparked controversy. Recently the Tough Traveling posts have been popular and I have a lot of fun with them. The meme is hosted by Fantasy Review Barn.
SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?
M: What do you mean by best? [laughs] I reread E. R. Burroughs’ Barsoom series recently and had lots of fun, but if you read them expecting complex characters or intricate plotting, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
SCy-Fy: I followed your progress through those. What else?
M: Karen Lowachee’s Warchild was a haunting read and Liu Cixian’s The Three Body Problem was excellent and different than I expected. I’ve also been really enjoying the Fiction River short story collections.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?
M: I’m trying to lower my looming to-be-read-pile, but of course there are shiny new books I also want to get, such as Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Starbase Human and Masterminds. They will end her long-running Anniversary Day Saga and I can hardly wait to see how it ends. Another one I’m really excited about is Lois McMaster Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, but it won’t be out until February next year. I’m also looking forward to Seanan McGuire’s Rose-Red Chain which will be out in September.
SCy-Fy: Thank you, Mervi.
M: Thanks very much for inviting me!