Q&A With Cindy Burnett
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Q&A With Cindy Burnett
The best part about doing Q&As is speaking with authors, publicists, literary agents and anyone who has projects on the side. Today’s Q&A is with bookstagrammer and podcast host of Thoughts From A Page. On top of being a podcaster and bookstagrammer, Cindy writes two book columns for The Buzz Magazines in Houston Texas and is also the co-creator of Conversations From A Page which is a Houston Author event series that brings together authors and the readers who read their work in a welcoming setting! It is truly an honor to be doing this Q&A with her today!
Q: So Cindy you’ve interviewed many authors and others in the publishing industry for your podcast Thoughts From A Page. Many of these authors I’ve interviewed and many who I hope to speak with someday! Do you still get star struck whenever you get to speak with these people?
A: Hi Bianca! Thanks for asking me to do this Q & A with you. This is a great question. I used to get pretty nervous before most of my interviews, but I really do not anymore. I have done enough of them now that I have my routine down and am comfortable talking to almost anyone. I also heavily prepare for each interview and am only interviewing authors whose books I have enjoyed so that helps with not getting starstruck as well because I am so familiar with the book. If it is someone like Alice Hoffman who I interviewed recently, I do still get pre-interview jitters, but most of the time the nerves are not present these days.
Q: Who do you plan to interview this season on your podcast?
A: Late fall is a quieter time author-interview wise for me. Fewer books are coming out, and often a fair number are celebrity memoirs. However, I am excited to chat soon with Stephanie Land about Class, Elizabeth Crook about The Madstone, Katie Cotugno about Meet the Benedettos, Matt Singer about Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever, and numerous others. I will also be conversing with Kelly Hooker of @kellyhook.readsbooks for two episodes: one about our top reads of 2023 and another about some of our favorite debut novels of the last few years. Mary Webber O’Malley and Pamela Klinger-Horn will come on to chat about their favorite reads of winter 2024 (every season they do a preview episode and these are super popular), and I am planning to source listeners’ favorite reads of the year for an episode. I also run Behind the Scenes episodes the first Thursday of the month, and for November I speak with Victoria Wood of @BiblioLifestyle. So much fun to stuff to look forward to!
Come January, I will be back to my standard format of two author interviews a week. There are so many fantastic books coming out in the first part of 2024, and I am already beginning to work my way through them to see who I want to interview for the show. Kelly Hooker and I just created a Literary Lookbook to provide readers with an idea of what titles will be publishing in the future. We had searched and searched for something that shows what is coming out in the publishing world in one central location and could not find such a thing so we made our own! I have linked it here in case anyone is interested.
Q: What made you want to start a literary podcast? What is your advice to anyone wanting to do a podcast? It looks like fun but I’m sure it is a lot of work.
A: I have always enjoyed interviewing authors since I launched the literary salon with my friend Krista Hensel five years ago. I also occasionally interviewed authors when I worked at Murder by the Book, a local independent bookstore here in Houston. When the pandemic hit, I thought it would be something entertaining to take my mind off everything else that was happening. My advice for anyone thinking about launching a podcast is to really research it all ahead of time. There are so many podcasts out there, and it is incredibly time consuming. I love it and would not change a thing but you have to be ready to devote more time than you could ever imagine to it. And it is also a costly endeavor – there are many aspects of the process that I pay for, and I think that is something that people do not always realize. I spent quite a while Googling and researching podcasts and how they are produced and distributed before I began and found that to be extremely helpful.
Q: What’s it like writing book columns for The Buzz Magazines and appearing on Houston Life TV?
A: The Buzz Magazines is a fabulous Houston magazine, and I am thrilled that I am able to write my weekly online column, Page Turners, and my monthly print column, Buzz Reads, for them. For Page Turners, I really vary up my content. I create author Q & As similar to those that you do, reader profiles and recommendations, genre-themed round ups, and much more. For my Buzz Reads column, I pick my top five books of the month. Sometimes it is hard to find five for a month, and other times I have trouble narrowing it down. Lately, I have been also doing some feature pieces for them as well such as great books for book clubs or what teens are recommending.
Quarterly, I guest on Houston Life TV to recommend five books for the season. These segments are live and were super nerve-wracking at first, but I have become much comfortable with them as I have continued as a guest on the show. It is a completely different medium than anything else that I do, and I enjoy chatting books that way. I speak to groups about book recommendations, and I think those presentations help prepare me for Houston Life.
Q: Would you ever think about writing a book of your own since you review on bookstagram and have a podcast and write book columns?
A: Ha! I get asked this so often, and the answer is always no. I love to read books and chat about them but do not feel that I want to tackle writing one. One thing that always surprises me as I operate in the book world is how many people are writing books. Many more than I ever would have dreamed.
Q: What’s it like organizing author events for Conversations From A Page?
A: This is one of my favorite things that I do! It is unlike almost any other author’s experience and is such a joy to operate the salon with Krista. We usually meet in the morning, and it is very casual and interactive. So many people who come have made friends with each other and now have friendships outside the salon. The authors mingle with the attendees, and I always feel like it is such a celebration of the importance of books and how they bring people together. Every author and publisher tells us afterwards that they wish there were more events like our salon which always makes me smile. Is there anything better than gathering with other readers?