Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BBAW: Interview with James of Ready when you are, C.B

I have known James for very long. He is one of the first male book bloggers, I came across. WE do have something in common. We are both teachers. I am basically a math teacher, while he is an English one! I have always wanted to interview him and thought BBAW 2011 was a wonderful opportunity. We kind of did interview swap but I am posting it one day after the scheduled one for BBAW. I am very happy to have him here today. New bloggers, do visit him, he reads very different, interesting books!

1) How did the name of your blog came about? Any backgrounds?

The phrase comes from an old story about movie director Cecille B. DeMille.  When he was making Cleopatra there was a scene of several thousand extras marching through the gates of an Egyptian city.  He had just enough light left for one take.  He called action and everyone went through the gate then he called his cameramen to see how it went.  The first one was in the crowd.  Too much dust, I don't think there is any footage we can use.  The second was on top of a distant hill.  Sorry, but the film jammed in the camera--we didn't get anything.  Finally he called up to the cameraman filming from the top of the huge gate.  He called back, "Ready when you are, C.B."

I've used the pen name C.B. James forever.  It's just my own names James B. Chester backwards.  When I started blogging, the phrase was just the first thing that came to my mind while doing the set up in Blogger.  I've thought about changing to something more bookish, but I like it.

2) I know you are an English Teacher. How do you pick out books for your students?

I start by picking books I think they will enjoy.  Then I look at appropriate reading levels and age appropriate material.  I also prioritize classic literature whenever I can.  I stray away from popular books like Harry Potter because I figure most of my students will read those anyway.  I'd much rather get them to read a book they wouldn't have picked up otherwise.  The world will serve them up all the vampires they can handle.  So I look for quality books they'll enjoy that they wouldn't have found otherwise.

3) How do you think the blogging world has changed over the years? Do you like the change?

I think the blogging world is more or less the same as it has always been, though many of the faces have changed.  I don't see as many little awards or give aways as I used to.  Of course, it could be that I'm just not getting as many little awards as I once did.  The large number of challenges that were all over the place years ago have settled down into a much more manageable number of regular, yearly events.  There are many people I used to read on a regular basis who have moved on, which is to be expected.  But, new people have come along to keep things lively.  

4) What is it about blogging that keeps you going? If you ever think of changing your blog, how would you go about it?

Blogging has become a habit for me.  When I finish a book, I start an entry with a few notes, expand on them over a week or two's time and then publish.  I've come to enjoy the challenge of coming up with something interesting to say about the books I read.  I've changed the design of my blog a couple of times.  Whenever I see a new level of design on Blogger, I usually jump on board right away.  I like the technological aspect of blog design though I'm not all that good with it.  I do think that everyone trends towards simpler, more elegant designs over time.  I think I've done the same.

5) Do you envisage yourself blogging after 10 years  from now? Why/How? 

To be honest, no.  I'll be keeping this blog for many more years, but ten seems like a very long time to me.  I suspect something else will come along that I'll move on to.  I'll still be reading book, though.  

6) Do you aspire to be a writer ever?

I did at one time.  My short stories were rejected by some of the best periodicals in America.  As far as novels go, I wrote one and a half first drafts, but I never took anything all the way to publishable condition.  That's when I came up with the C.B. James pen name.  That was well over 20 years ago now.  I've no interest in trying to become a professional writer now-a-days.  Any residual desire for that I work through on my blog.  

Thanks James, I loved having you here!


Serena said...

This is a new-to-me blogger. Thanks for the interview. I wonder if I should be adding to my google reader...I feel guilty enough as is.

Unknown said...

10 years does seem like a very long time. I can't see myself blogging in 10 years either, but them I'm amazed I'm still going after 3 years, so who knows!

I wish James was my English teacher - we certainly didn't read enjoyable books at my school. :-(

Good interview - thanks!

Nise' said...

Blogging in 10 years is a good thought to ponder. I know I'll still be reading then. I started my blog as a way to keep track of what I read.

I am off to visit James' blog.

bermudaonion said...

I've heard a lot about James, so it was fun to read this interview.

Anonymous said...

Great interview; very thoughtful questions and answers! I particularly liked the 10 years question. Thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me blogger. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for inviting me to take part in an interview swap. I had fun with it. Maybe I'll even get one or two more readers. ;-)

Melody said...

Great interview! James' blog is on my Google Reader list, so I'm glad to know a little more of him through this interview!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Very cool Q&A, guys! I don't know James' blog but I'm off to check him out!