Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #56: Andrea of Just One More Book!!

h1 November 12th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule}

We’re so pleased to be shining a spotlight today on one half of the dynamic duo over at Just One More Book!!, Andrea Ross. Andrea and her husband, Mark, are — hands down — the hardest working duo in the kidlitosphere, and their podcast over there, which is all about picture books, is terrifically informative and fun. And what we love the most about them is how professional and consistent they are with their podcasts, the look of their site, and . . . well, everything. Best of all, their BIG ‘OL, HUMONGOUS passion for picture books is evident in each and every podcast they do.

They are also really nice people. Those of you who went to Chicago (where Mark and Andrea presented on podcasting as well) know that, and meeting them in person confirmed for me (Jules, that is) my suspicion that, if I had as much energy in my entire body as they have in their little pinkies, I’d be a much more productive and interesting person. Eisha is especially pleased to be working with Andrea on this year’s Nonfiction Picture Books Nominating Committee for the Cybils. Andrea really knows her stuff and will be a valuable team player once deliberations get under way. And Jules knows what she means, ’cause she worked with Andrea last year in the Fiction Picture Books category, and — not surprisingly — she was enthusiastic and always on-top-of-things.

If you are a picture book lover, in particular, and aren’t familiar with JOMB, please consider our enthusiastic plea to get your bootie on over to their site and take in their great podcasts. And if you aren’t familiar with them and are wondering, what’s the deal?, the deal is that Mark and Andrea go to their favorite coffee shop (north of the border in Ottawa, Canada) and record podcast reviews of their favorite picture books, the ones they’ve read to their children. “We’ve been bombarded by impassioned cries of ‘Just One More Book!!’ since our girls learned to speak,” Andrea told us when we asked about the blog’s title. “Despite its sometimes less than melodic delivery, this earnest refrain is one that makes you as a parent feel you’re doing something right — so it seemed like the perfect name for our show.”

Here’s how hard-working they are, Andrea’s response when I asked about the regular features at JOMB:

  • Monday interviews with authors, illustrators, publishers, editors, literacy/literature experts, enthusiasts.
  • Coffee shop book chats {on} Wednesdays, Fridays and usually Saturdays.
  • Listener-submitted reviews — when listeners grace us with them (which is almost never!!!) {Ed. Note: Uh, Jules has been meaning to submit one for a long, long time now, and this is a nice reminder to just do it already}.
  • We contribute audio components to The Edge of the Forest e-zine, when we’re organized enough.
  • Our reviews appear in The Reading Tub Book Bag and Childs Life monthly newsletters.
  • JOMB is an inaugural member of the MommyCast & Friends Family Channel.

If you’ve never heard one of their interviews, then you’re in for a treat when you head on over there. Mark always asks thoughtful questions of picture book authors and illustrators (we’ll be grilling Mark next week. We love that they opted to do two separate interviews instead of one. They thought the latter, since they’re a husband-and-wife team, would be “kind of sugary we-dress-the-same-and-everything,” which made us laugh).

Andrea has also started a new podcast, Swimming in Literary Soup (“Serving a love of Reading and Life through Children’s Books”). “It is meant to provide monthly ramblings about clumps of related books. I haven’t been so good at the monthly part, but I’m working on it,” said Andrea, who is contributing this podcast as a segment of GNMParents (Grasshopper New Media), a multi-media channel featuring blogs, podcasts and video, “aiming to provide a full and rich content experience for parents at all stages of parenthood,” as their site puts it. “Swimming in Literary Soup was named,” Andrea told us, “in an attempt to describe the way that the books we read as children simmer and stew to become an almost 3-dimensional something that fills us, surrounds us and determines the way we perceive and relate to our world. Margaret Shannon used the term ‘literary soup’ to describe the blend of literary ingredients that our reading creates and I thought, ya, that’s just how I’ve pictured it: we’re swimming in literary soup!” Here’s a portion from Andrea’s “about” page at the site:

I’ll share with you my thoughts on the quality and quantity of possible ingredients for brewing up delicious, nutritious, leave-them-begging-for-second-helpings-style Literary Soup. I will suggest combinations of books which I hope will inspire, engage, educate and entertain and practices that may nurture strong reading skills and a love of reading in our young swimmers so they’ll not only stay afloat but will enjoy the experience so much that they’ll eagerly continue to add wisely to their own soup as our window of influence diminishes.

Now, normally in these intros to our blogger interviews, we give you examples of some of our favorite posts, but bottom line is that, as we mentioned already, Mark and Andrea consistently deliver with their podcast reviews and interviews and everything else they contribute to the kidlitosphere. They are truly a godsend to those of us Picture Book Nerds in the world. In other words, you can throw a rock at their podcast site (which we don’t recommend, seeing as how rock-throwing is just generally dangerous and all), and you’ll hit a great entry — a well-thought-out review or wonderfully informative interview with the creator of a picture book (sometimes interviews with others, such as editors). Just look at today’s entry as an example: An interview with the one and only Kevin Hawkes.

So, we’d like to thank Andrea for stopping by, and we look forward to chatting with Mark next week. Here she is, without further ado . . .

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: What do you do for a living?

Andrea: I’m a software designer at a telecommunications company. Enough said.

7-Imp: How long have you been podcasting?

Andrea: I started experimenting with JustOneMoreBook in July 2006 (but don’t listen to those early episodes! Yikes!). Swimming in Literary Soup was just born this spring, but it’s a neglected second child: no photos, no baby book, no listeners!

7-Imp: Why did you start podcasting? Why do you continue to do it?

Andrea: I’m crazy about kids’ books, Mark’s crazy about podcasting … and I’m crazy about Mark so I really had no choice but to start JustOneMoreBook!!. I continue to do it for those same reasons and because I’m completely addicted. I love the way it connects me to the generous, talented people who create and celebrate children’s books, to the friends I’ve made in the kidLit and podcasting communities, to Mark and to our two daughters. JustOneMoreBook!! gives me a blend of anonymity, distance and intimacy that allows me to be a person I could never be in my real life and to maybe even do some good.

7-Imp: Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Andrea: How could I ever pick? I love different blogs for different reasons on different days. I’m a scanner, so my favourite posts are usually point-form lists full of juicy news or opinions;, frank, terse reflections; and book reviews comprised of small but great images and concisely stated opinions about themes and impact, more so than plot. I enjoy these all over the place — is “bloglanderer” a word?

7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and podcasting?

Andrea: I do love family time, but if we’re talking recharging, just-for-me activities I’m always up for enjoying strong coffee, red wine, delicious food and, optionally, good conversation.

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Andrea: I think a lot of people know I suffer from major social anxiety, but I don’t think many people really “get” that. Almost all interactions are very difficult for me. I’m extremely self-critical. I am extremely sensitive to conflict and criticism. I don’t rebound well and I never forget. Online interactions give me a nice buffer of time and space, but even I am shocked at how an email (or comment) from a perfect stranger can make my heart race and my head spin, leaving me jangled for days. That sucks.

7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

Andrea: I subscribe to a number of podcasts, but my two favourites right now are Whitney Hoffman’s LDPodcast, a weekly Podcast about parenting children who struggle with school, and Dr. Dave Brodbeck’s Why? The Science Show For Kids. I’m still holding onto the hope that Vivian Vasquez will revive her wonderfully inspiring Critical Literacy In Practice Podcast.

7-Imp: If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Ian WhybrowAndrea: My first choices would be Sheree Fitch, Ian Whybrow and Betsy Hearne — but would we have to stop at one glass of wine??

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Andrea: It may be corny, but I think it would be “Power.” I grew up without any and, as a result, it’s something I desperately want for my children and for children everywhere -– so much so that the word itself can choke me up.

That or “Yikes.”

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Andrea: I have no tolerance for the jargon-du-jour; words like “synergy,” “go-forward.” Yech.

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Andrea: Oh, so many things. Genuine friendliness, collaboration, and honesty charge me up. Hope, helping, being helped and honest appreciation. Originality. Success. Understanding. Being understood. And, of course, red wine & coffee.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Andrea: Bullies and pushy people turn me off. And then my strong reactions to bullies and pushy people turn me off again. Imagine what a drag it is, then, when it dawns on me that I’ve inadvertently been bullying, pushy or just plain thoughtless. Yikes.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

“Frig.” Lately, strings of much more offensive words have crept back into my vocabulary, but when I fire out a “frig” as I lose my cool in front of my children, it’s a clear admission that I’ve crossed a line, I’m no longer in my right mind and yet the silly sound of the word somehow adds a touch of levity to the situation. I do try to refrain, though.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Andrea: We live in a row house with a shared alley at the back. When I hear our rickety gate slide open in the alley, I know Mark and our two daughters have arrived home. I love that.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Andrea: There are lots of noises I wouldn’t want to hear, but the most irritating ones that I hear regularly are those unsolicited computer sounds: that Microsoft Windows startup sound; music, shrieks ,and audio-advertising from websites. (Especially when I’m stealth-surfing at work. Shhh) . . .

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Andrea: Being a successful researcher and solving big problems would have been really cool. I’ve also spent a lot of time fantasizing about delivering mail in a nice pedestrian urban neighbourhood.

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Andrea: Sales, nursing, cleaning, politics, PR, HR . . .

7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Andrea: That’s an easy one: “Do as you please.”

19 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #56: Andrea of Just One More Book!!

  1. Great stuff, J&E! It’s a real treat to get to know Andrea better – we’ve been corresponding some since the Chicago conference, and the more I learn about her, the more I know she’s a kindred spirit bordering (the Literary Soup about page, the red wine, her thoughts on online vs. face to face interactions … I get it all). Thanks so much!

  2. What a great interview. Their podcasts rock and so do Andrea’s answers….

  3. Thanks to Anne for linking to the interview at the Cybils blog. Here’s the link. I love the post title.

  4. Ooh, I love her answer for her favorite sound. I’m glad I got to meet you in Chicago, Andrea!

  5. Jules & Eisha,

    What an absolute thrill and honour it is to bask in your warm hospitality (note, I resisted the temptation to use the adjective “creamy” there, Eisha) and to be slipped into your star-studded lineup. THANK YOU!

    And thank you to Jen, Liz, Anne & Sara for your very supportive comments. Your cheques are in the mail — and they’re in Canadian funds!!

  6. Great interview! And thanks for posting a picture of the coffee house! Now, when I listen while sipping my cup-o-joe, I can pretend I’m eavesdropping from a nearby table!


  7. Great answers, Andrea! I’m with you on the unsolicited computer noises. I hate it when a web site starts playing music without any warning. I have to disagree with you on the word “synergy,” though, but I guess one person’s favorite word is another’s jargon-du-jour, LOL.

    A software designer? Cool! I’m constantly amazed at the breadth of talent in the kidlit world!

  8. Very interesting interview, y’all, and new podcasts to try. Yay. Thanks. Andrea from your upbeat and confident online presence, I would never have guessed your anxiety. At all.

  9. A software designer! I am one of those people who has pretty much one skill (I studied English in college, I am a librarian–basically, I can read really well.), so I am always amazed and impressed with people who have such a wide array of skills. Cool!

    What I love best about JOMB is it’s just so relaxing. If I’m stuck in traffic or climbing a ladder or whatever, it’s nice to have part of my mind in the coffee shop talking books.

  10. Andrea is so personable and enthusiastic on JOMB, I would never have guessed about the anxiety. Podcasting and web communications really have opened a lot of doors for the Shy People of the world, haven’t they? Anyway, great interview here, and keep up the good work!

  11. Great interview Andrea! I really like that Mark and you are doing the interviews individually – now I get to look forward to his too!!

  12. You are all too too kind. What a beautiful strand of kindness this post has become — I’m going to keep a permanent copy handy so I can pull it out and soak it up when I’ve knocked myself down flat. Thank you all!!

  13. Thanks for this great interview on Andrea! I really enjoy learning more about her and appreciate her honesty about her anxiety (which I can definitely relate to).

  14. […] Last week Jules and Eisha, the clever, creative and captivating hosts of the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast children’s book blog, featured Andrea’s side of the Just One More Book! story. […]

  15. […] though the interview wasn’t enough, they said some amazingly nice things about me. Last week the light shone on my wife and Just One More Book! co-host, Andrea […]

  16. Thanks for the kinds words Andrea!!! Yes- many clip episodes are en route!!! I’ve had a very busy past few months but I’m definitely working on getting new episodes out there!


  17. […] books from their local coffee shop with ambient noise playing a key supporting role. Andrea is “a software designer at a telecommunications company” and her husband Mark is […]

  18. […] and enjoyed great friendships, hosted and participated in terrifically silly get-togethers, contributed generously to the world of children’s literature and literacy, thoroughly enjoyed four PABs, two PCTOs, one KidLitCon and the online and offline social media […]

  19. you got a very fantastic website, Gladiola I noticed it through yahoo.

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