Getting Real with TNC Founders

Getting Real with The Novel Connection Founders

Dearest Friends we have been so humbled by your encouragement and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You may be wondering how we came to this point, what connected us, other than being book bloggers, and why ‘The Novel Connection,’ why now. We’ve interviewed each other to give you more background:

Helen, you’ve been a book blogger for 3 years and in the travel industry for 14 years. Share the idea of combining the two interests. 

I’ve only been blogging about books since April 2013, and I got into it when I was recovering from a major surgery. To cut a long story short, to improve my ability to retain information and vocabulary, it was recommended that I read more and complete crosswords. I’d always been a reader so that part was easy, and then one thing led to another and I discovered Goodreads, followed by a ton of book blogs. I wanted in! I quickly found that although I love to read, the word and memory issues I still deal with, don’t really help when it comes to reviewing books. I wanted another way to stay involved with this world I had found. Pulling my travel industry knowledge in with the connections I have made with authors and publishers through blogging, just made sense.

How about you, Stacy, how long have you been book blogging, and what encouraged you to build on that with the launch of The Novel Connection? 

The short answer is I was struggling with the loss of my career due to worsening MS symptoms. I started, and ran, a non-profit working with abused children and their families. Leaving that job was like losing a child. The fact that body and brain were the reason was devastating.

A friend of mine said I wrote beautiful letters and had I considered that new thing called ‘blogging’? Reading has gotten me through every single setback I’ve ever had in my life. So talking about books seemed to be a natural fit. The more I got involved, the more I loved this thing called book blogging. I still do.

Book blogging directly led me Booktopia, a reader retreat hosted by blogger/podcasters Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness of Books on the Nightstand. When they announced in 2015 that it was their last year of hosting the events, I contacted Michael and Ann to see if anyone was taking over or providing the service in the future. They had heard of no one picking up the mantle so I allowed it to percolate in my head…til you posted your idea on Facebook. Once I knew you were considering a similar concept it seemed like fate brought us together {queue the music}. I couldn’t undertake starting a new business by myself, and for it be done right. So I reached out to you. And the rest is history!

Helen, you’ve been working on this concept for over a year, right?

I did start thinking about the idea about a year ago. I wanted to be able to bring readers and authors together in one location. I have enjoyed meeting a number of authors at signing events but I always want to talk with them more, learn more about them than just their latest book. It would have to be a fairly small crowd for one author to connect with their readers on that level. But what about a handful of authors, and a full day, even an entire weekend. The idea manifested from that. Originally, I was thinking more along the lines of a retreat. It was also very daunting to try and organize something on that scale on my own. I had put the idea to bed until a few months ago when I put the feelers out in a few Facebook groups to see if others thought it was a viable idea. That’s when you reached out. As you sais, the rest is history!

Did you realize what you’d be getting yourself into, Stacy?

At first, no. When I initially reached out to you, this was still a vague idea. Once we connected, things started moving, and moving fast. It’s so hard to believe how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time AND how two strangers from different sides of the pond have come together to create a new business. I think it all goes back to serendipity!

Share what you hope our readers and attendees will gain from The Novel Connection experience. 

S: I envision an exclusive event where authors and readers have time and space to connect. Probably the best benefit from book blogging has been creating connections. I want to share that experience with bloggers and readers alike.

H: Can I just say ditto? Stacy has this habit of wording things just perfectly. I can’t? Okay, then I want to give other readers the same opportunities I have had over the past few years since I became more involved in the online book world – to connect with authors and really expand their understanding of what it takes to share a novel.

Where do you see The Novel Connection headed?

S: Big dreams? On my perfect vision board, having four weekend events a year in four separate locales across the U.S. would be amazing. Adding to that, a weekend specifically for book bloggers and authors would be icing on the cake!

H: We’ve actually talked about hosting themed weekends, such as a murder-mystery with various guests, which I think would be a lot of fun. But I also hope that we can expand into other areas and share The Novel Connection in states other than our own. I’d also love to offer retreats, maybe for book clubs. Overall, I just want us to make a difference in readers lives, and to spread bookish goodness in every way we can!

Survey Time

We’d love if you shared your thoughts on creating connections in our brief survey. We know your time is valuable so if you include your email address at the end of the survey then you’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Thank you for your input! It helps us so much in planning our first-year events.

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