"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Wise Woman meets the Green Wizard - Bodicia is...Around The Cauldron

This week, I meet Bodicia.

Bodicia runs the extremely popular A Woman's Wisdom website, where, like your second favourite Wizard, she interviews authors and people connected with Independent Publishing.  

Bodicia is a top notch and prolific reviewer. Don't take my word for it - have a look at her fast developing website.

One thing is for sure - she's funny, witty, surreal and a pleasure to get to know. Full of integrity too - I asked for my book Carla to appear on her legendary Indie Hall Of Fame, as loads of my mates are on there, and she said she would only put it on if she liked the book. Surreptitious offers of blocks and blocks of her beloved choc choc wouldn't change her mind. I love integrity like that! I caught up with Bodicia on the Wizphone as she studied in her sanctum scriptorum somewhere nameless in freezing November UK. 

Here's what she had to say.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Bodicia

Well, I am old enough to have to dye my hair if I want to go out in public, wear a UK size 10 (note the ‘UK…no misunderstandings here!) and I have an unhealthy relationship with most types of chocolate,…ah, that isn’t what you meant, is it? Um...

I have a book blog called A Woman’s Wisdom where I post reviews of books I have really liked, author interviews, guest blogs and a few bits and pieces of my own including some writing and my (hopefully) humorous Tales Of The Manor series.

I also am in the middle of years of research on ancient civilisations (Ancient Egyptian, Eastern and Pre-Columbian). I am learning to write Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in case I meet an Ancient Egyptian and need to correspond with them…one never knows and I like to be prepared. 

I am also particularly interested in human origins, ancient myths, legends and culture and so I have a big stack of books and towers of scribbles which might one day be turned into something readable by others.

How do you describe yourself when someone asks you what you do? Are you a book blogger? Or is something more subtle than that?

I’m a lover of words, spoken and written, and the emotions they induce. I blog about books and the authors who write them so technically I fall into the book blogger category but I go my own way and perhaps do things a little differently than a typical book blogger.

How did A Woman’s Wisdom start?

One rainy night in 2013 my personal blog took on a life of its own and decided it was going to tell the world about fabulous storytellers who had mostly published their own work and needed the spotlight shone on them…what was I to do but allow it a length more on the leash? 

No, it is probably Terry Tyler’s fault, actually. I made a personal account on Twitter and she came under my radar when she followed me. I read one of her books and decided to write a book review for her and didn’t look back from there. At least that’s how I remember it. Blame Terry. Sounds reasonable. Love her! ;-)

Where do you find time to work on all this – AND read?

Meticulous organisation and meditation techniques for the stress! Ah, I’m not sure really. I have other responsibilities on a family level too, as matriarch of a huge extended family. 

Sometimes I sit surrounded by all my electronic devices bleeping and ringing longing for the days where I had to walk a mile to spend tuppence in the red telephone box. 

Nobody could reach me unless they knocked on the door and then I could pretend to be out. Now, there are delivery reports on texts so they know when it has been read too. They’ll miss me when I’m gone haha.

Have you placated your aunty about the time you spend doing this?

No, bless her. I think there are just some people these days who don’t understand why anybody would do anything for free. Everything has to make money. Like shredding loo paper? Turn it into a business by plugging your creations as art sculptures on Etsy. 

Ah, I’m not going to start preaching here about the evils of monetary currency but money isn’t everything and the world would be a better place if it was gotten rid of altogether, in my opinion. Live by the Star Trek axiom ‘We work to better ourselves and the future of mankind’. 

Share the resources, stop the greed and embrace kindness, compassion and respect. One day…maybe.

What is your favourite aspect of running A Woman’s Wisdom? And what is your least favourite?

My favour aspect is the discovery of genuinely good storytellers. Someone who can tell a story with emotion and description which lets me get a taste of the scene they are setting. I ‘meet’ people from all walks of life whom have something to say. They have sat down at a keyboard for hours and tapped away until they have it out of their heads and on to the screen. I respect that. 

Not every good storyteller studied English so a good editor and proof-reader is always a must (it’s been said many times) but I don’t get too picky with a few errors. It has to be readable though!

My least favourite are those with, what I like to call, AAC (Arrogant Author Complex). It’s a disease which fortunately is only found in around 3% of all known authors I have had contact with. 

More on that later haha.

Out of 100 books you receive, how many knock your socks off? And how many do the complete opposite? Have the books you receive improved, on the whole, since you started A Woman’s Wisdom?

If the subject or theme interests me then I will usually accept the book on to my submissions list. I don’t choose by reviews, whether good or bad as reading is subjective. I base the decision to review over whether I liked the book, not over how popular it is. I am a very fast reader and I read at least one book a day and only review about a tenth of what I read in a week. 

Some months I will have a spate of great books and others not so great. I read every book I receive to the sweet or bitter end, out of respect for the author who has sat down and poured their heart into it. I have lots of author friends now but I don’t automatically review all their new books or give out 5* ratings to people I know. 

It is important to me that the reviews are honest and that I conduct the blog with integrity.

I think it is still very much a mixed batch. Most self-published authors are tightening up with making sure their work is as error free as possible but, even when they pay out for an editor and proofreader, their work is still only done to the best of those people’s skills. My advice is to choose carefully and go by word of mouth.

Are you a critical critical reviewer or a fan?

I wouldn’t say I am a fan as that sort of thing doesn’t sit comfortably with me on the whole. I like to do things my own way. I know what I like but I am very open to the new and unusual too. 

My blog isn’t designed to criticise the contents of a book. If I can’t give it 4* or 5* then it doesn’t appear on my blog. I have written critical reviews in another lifetime but I think a straightforward review is sometimes better than a long-winded dissection of each sentence and whimsical phrase. I have seen some crackers on Amazon and they make me laugh rather than encourage me to buy the book. 

Sorry. I like to keep it simple – what it is about, how it made me feel, what I liked about it and where you can buy it to read it yourself.

Tell us about Tales From The Manor. It’s very funny.

Ah, good! Tales From The Manor is my self-penned humour series on my blog which gives the reader hyperbole (but not by much!) snapshots of my family and what the lovelies get up to. There are so many of us there is always something to report. Laughter is a very important part of our family life – with and at each other. It has set my children on a path of self-confidence, with the ability to produce quick witticisms and debating skills which their teachers say are second to none. So all this mickey taking has huge benefits - that’s my story and I am sticking by it ;-)

You hear stories about frustrated Indies harassing book bloggers and reviewers over their feedback. Have you been well received? Have writers been kind or are there demons hiding under the rocks?

I have had contact with a few AAC (see above) sufferers in my time. Those authors who get very cross if I don’t want to read their book or who get very angry at me via email if I say I am not going to write a review. I have been called a few choice names and had my intelligence questioned a few times which glacially thrills me, as you can imagine. But I shrug it off and, on the whole, ‘my’ authors are lovely and it is a pleasure to help them in any way I can.

Give our readers your three favourite books, two favourite CDs and a favourite DVD

Ah, a tricky set of choices.

I would have to say Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (one of the first classics I read when I was a child), 

anything by Bill Bryson...

or Tom Sharpe. 

It’s the best I can do for now; my head is buzzing with possibilities too numerous to whittle down for you!

Again a hard choice as I love my music. Graceland by Paul Simon and The Resistance by Muse are two I have been playing lately. My iPod is bursting. I like so many sorts of music from World Music to Rock to Folk. U2’s latest album Songs of Innocence is going to be a classic. 

It all depends on my mood – whether I am meditating to Tibetan pipes or dancing around the kitchen with the blinds down wiggling my behind and singing to something loudly and out of tune whilst I stir the dinner…

My absolutely favourite two DVD’s are Thelma and Louise 

and Eat, Pray, Love. 

These are for cold nights, tucked up with a large bar of chocolate and a shot of Jack Daniels. I’m also a lifelong Star Trek fan and have watched every episode and film countless times.

And what three interesting people would YOU invite to your ideal dinner party? And what could this triptych of interesting guests expect to eat should it be chez Bodicia?

I would invite Stephen Hawking because I need more explanation of several of his theories, 

David Attenborough because he is a star in my eyes and Bill Bryson because he probably has a lot to ask them too for his next book. 

Bill can amuse them whilst I compose myself and try to look intelligent. What would I cook? Hmm, probably one of my ‘All In’s’ which is a secret family recipe containing anything still edible in the fridge stirred together with various herbs and spices which Gordon Ramsay would turn puce to hear of my combining. 

Keep it simple, more time to natter!

Finally, now Christmas is fast approaching, what can Bodicia’s fans expect in 2015?

All three of them can expect a bigger waist line in my next profile picture if I keep eating all this chocolate…and a few surprises on the blog hopefully. 

I have something special for Christmas lined up on the blog…that’s a surprise too ;-)

Bodicia, thank you for coming out from behind your own interviewing desk and talking to the Wizardwatchers. It's been a pleasure and we wish you the best of luck in 2015.

Thank you, Wiz!


Website - including my interview with Bodicia


Follow Bodicia on Twitter


Bodicia is not on Facebook


  1. What a great interview Mark and Bodicia, I love it! It's wonderful to see you on the other side of the questioning B and it's good to get to know more about the person who is such a wonderful, and entertaining, support to so many :-) Love the sound of your 'All In's' I do something similar though it's called 'Stretch it Further'! Gx

    1. Thanks, Georgia! Yes, I find even eating cabbage takes on a whole new meaning when laced with some exotic spice. I rarely follow a recipe even when baking but it all seems to come out fairly edible in the end. I'm a bit like that mad chef on the Muppets actually... :-)

  2. A great interview, I love the Tales From The Manor posts and it was a treat to find out more about the lovely Bodicia. Although for some bizarre reason I got the wrong end of the stick in the beginning and thought Bodicia said she had size 10 feet. I spent the entire interview silently marvelling at her enormous feet until I went back and realised my mistake. I do feel slightly disappointed now though that she probably has regular sized feet :D

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Ha! Yep, a regular size 6! I am short of height so I would look like a penguin if my feet were that big! Mind you, I do wear black rather a lot so...hmm. Moving swiftly on, I am glad you enjoy my TFTM, thank you :-)

    3. I thought exactly the same thing E! Though I was relieved I'd eventually found a woman with bigger feet than me - haha!

  3. Love, love, love it, and any friend of Bill Bryson is a friend of mine! Thanks for the sweet mention of me - yes, I remember it well! I must recommend The Night Porter by Mark (what, me recommending that book to people? Never!).

    I know just what you mean re the phone box thing. I often think how nice it was when you could just bugger off without everyone knowing or thinking they need to know where you are (yes, I know the tenses are all messed up there!). I didn't get a mobile phone until 2000, resisted it as long as I could. Even now I only use it for essentials and often don't know where it is.

    Smashing job, chaps!

    1. I thought you would like the mention, it's definitely all your fault heehee ;-) I haven't read The Night Porter yet but I have Carla chilling in the fridge.

  4. Ancient civilizations and Star Trek - great choices - great interview.

    1. Thanks, Mary Ann. I'm a complicated gal - spirituality, science, space, fact and fiction. I wear reading glasses to help with the blurry edges ;-)

  5. Okay, that's it. This is one of the best interviews I've ever read. It covered so many emotions, made me laugh, and made me think.

    Thank you both!

    1. Gosh, thanks, Barb! Mark does have the knack of crow barring info out although, to be fair, by the time the thumb screws made an appearance I was getting a tad concerned... ;-)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.