Vilma Gonzalez is the brains and passion behind an incredibly popular book blog entitled Vilma’s Book Blog. Vilma loves to read almost as much as she loves to discuss books with her ever growing audience. Growing up with a love of British literature and poetry, it only seems natural that Vilma Gonzalez would go on to create a popular book blog. Her website is full of wonderful book recommendations, and updates on which fictional characters she is currently swooning over. Vilma Gonzalez reviews books from a wide range of genres, including paranormal, high fantasy, thrillers, romance and more. Vilma also writes a bi-weekly column for USA Today’s HEA blog, where specifically discusses her love of suspense novels. Please enjoy my interview with the wonderful Vilma Gonzalez…
When did you begin blogging?
I ran a lifestyle blog which I started around 2010. I posted every now and again, and really just did it for fun. I’ve always been a voracious reader, however, and in early 2013, decided to evolve my blog to focus on books. Have been at it ever since!
I’m about to start Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner —an upcoming thriller. I’m really excited. She’s a master at suspense.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
Well, English is not my first language, actually. I grew up in a Spanish speaking household, and so I read the dictionary and watched a lot of TV to learn English. I was around four or five years old (was a really early reader) and was fascinated with words. Later on in middle school, I remember reading under the covers after my mom had turned off the lights. I would read a book a night.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
That’s a really tough one. I’m a big fan of literary fiction, so books like Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Yeah, read them all! I remember reading those novels in high school and they opened up my world, my thinking. I was writing obsessively then too and these authors gave me something to strive for.
Can you remember when you decided to create your blog – what inspired you into action?
I had created an excel sheet of books I’d read and it was getting passed around to friends, and friends of friends. The file started to expand with characters, plot summaries and recommendations, so I just switched to a wider reaching platform. It made sense and it allowed me to keep my writing muscle in use.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve been lucky that I’ve had great jobs in my career (blogging is my night-time gig). I’ve been in the marketing industry for 20 years and I’ve not had a bad job. Bad bosses, sure, but not bad opportunities. One of my favorite jobs before I entered the professional world was being a florist. Try having a bad day surrounded by flowers.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
No, is it possible to read too much? Is that such a thing?! My full-time job and my family (I have two young boys) keep me from reading as much as I’d like. I recently pulled back to better balance it all and I’m reading 1 or 2 books a week only.
What resources have you found useful while running your blog?
My followers are my best resource. As one would say in business, it’s all about the customer. I monitor what they’re into, what they want to see. I want to ensure they’re getting content that is valuable and fun to read.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
I’ve read the All-Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness a few times. I love that it mixes magic, science, paranormal, romance and suspense.
I’m a huge fan of the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah Maas!
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring blogger?
Figure out the blogger you want to be—what you want your brand to stand for, what you want to deliver and make a plan. Then, be patient because it takes a lot of time and hard work.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
That is such a hard question for me as I am a very diverse, moody reader. But if you can mix things up and throw some magical element, suspense and romance, I’m there.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
Yes, Sarah Maas for fantasy. Kristen Ashley for romance. I also love Taylor Jenkins Reid, Colleen Hoover, Karen Marie Moning, J.R. Ward, and lately Blake Crouch.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I don’t think so. I think we love to consume content in many forms, and those forms continue to evolve too, becoming richer and more interactive. Personally, I read on my Kindle, I listen to Audible books and I read print.
What book do you feel humanity needs most right now?
Ohhh gosh, anything that encourages tolerance and kindness. Our world is looking pretty different these days and I think we’d benefit from listening a little more.
As you can tell, I’m really bad at answering questions where I have to pick one book for anything… but Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger had a pretty big impact. I read it several times in high school.
What’s the worst advice you hear given to young people looking to start their own blog?
Well, turning your question around a bit… the worst thing I see others actually do is trying to emulate other bloggers. They lose their own voice and it becomes tough to stand out.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Yes, I am obsessed with and have a deep love for The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons. That series is unbelievable and the writing and storytelling is breathtaking.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’ve been really into Scandanavian crime fiction. So more of that!