Books Build Bridges

Last January, I put out a call on Instagram for book bloggers with an invitation to be a guest on my blog. Two women from Iran – identical twins! – responded. They have an English book club and were thinking of creating a blog. I didn’t hesitate for a moment (click this link to read about it).

A few weeks ago Shima and Shiva sent me a note attaching letters from members of their book club who had read Time and Regret. An out-of-the-blue email that made my day. Not only had they read my story, but they had taken the time to write to me. Here are some of their words.

Kimia said: “Your novel taught me to be curious about historical secrets that is behind something as well as historical events.”

Arshia said: “Reading your book was a very sweet and exciting experience! Remember that when I started reading the first part of your book, it drew my attention to read it as quickly as possible.”

Melika said: “I read your story ‘time and regret’. It’s fantastic and enjoyable. When I was reading that, I thought what happens next. I was trying to know and I guessed.”

Fatemeh said: “I like to read stories of different countries … but in Iran people don’t pay attention to it. I think if it [Time and Regret] wrote in Iran, people would welcome it.”

Did Time and Regret transport them to a different world? Does reading in English invite different thoughts? Reminds me of Azar Nafisi’s memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran.

New friends from a part of the world I’ve only read about. Books building bridges.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Book blogging in Iran

Several months ago, when I asked for people willing to be interviewed about their book blogs or bookstagram activities, identical twins from Iran got in touch with me. As it turns out, they don’t currently have a blog, however, they do belong to an English book club and are planning to create a blog. With what is going on in our world right now (!!), it’s encouraging to hear what these women have to say.

The sign advertises English Book Club

Why did you start blogging about or featuring books?

To be honest, we didn’t have enough information about blogging. We express our warm thanks to Mary for informing us and giving us this opportunity to start our own blog and read various books. That’s why we have decided to start our own blog. Thanks to her, we have this chance to connect with other readers.

What type of books appeal to you and why?

Honestly, English is our favourite language and we read a huge selection of books and articles in English. In other words, the books help us feel better and develop our minds. Certainly, the ones that have much more depth. Gaining different experience from various books is really enjoyable. We like reading the book even holding it altogether. We are highly fascinated to read and share the joy of reading with our  friends.

Do you concentrate on a specific genre? If so, can you tell us a bit about your passion?

We’re into historical fiction. In addition to it, romance and non-fiction book genres are our favourite. Above all, we’re willing to read all genres but hardly read horror.

Who are your readers and followers? How do you engage with them? [These comments refer to the English book club.]

Followers and visitors are a group of lovely readers who are passionate about reading, discussing and being informed. It’s noteworthy that some of the people join us since they are interested in English books and learning English. Likewise, some decide to follow us out of curiosity. Honestly, the book club aroused a lot of curiosity among Iranian people. Actually, it’s the first in Iran. We’re greatly interested in following other post links. We do hope they follow us.

What ways do you use to attract new readers and followers?

Via indirect story post and reading ecosystem. Above all, we have a growing interest in introducing  books through acting. We ourselves enjoy reading and sharing such posts more. Just share our happiness and joy of reading. Hope others enjoy.

How do you interact with authors and publicists?

On Instagram, social networks, post office and email. Likewise, we feel honoured and proud when we interact  with such lovely people. Our words fail to express our feelings when they contact us. Our top priority in the book club is writing an open letter to the authors of the select book. Then, we send the members’ letters to the authors by email. Actually, it planted the seed of interest for the members of book club. It’s noteworthy that childrens’ letters for the book “The Fire Eaters” were sent to Professor David Almond and his kind response was an amazing event.

Yalda is a celebration of the winter solstice

What trends or changes have you noticed in the book world?

We’ve noticed  that young children in addition to old readers are big fans of books and interested in book club. Therefore, it motivates young readers to start reading. To the best of our knowledge, smart phones keep children from reading. So that sharing the books through videos would be useful and motivate them to keep reading.

If you could wave your magic wand, what would you change about the book industry?

Nowadays, books are so expensive. In addition, the access is not easy, especially, in Iran. Finding a way to solve this problem would be highly appreciated. Another thing would be sharing the books from bookcases since even holding a book puts everybody in the mood for reading.

Dear twins – I’m so delighted you took the time to connect with me and with the audience of A Writer of History. I know my readers will be very intrigued! When you do start your blog, please send me a link so I can publicize it.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.