Today we’re happy to be featuring an interview with podcaster Mark Blevis of Just One More Book!! If you missed the interview with Andrea — his JOMB co-podcaster and his wife — last week, then here’s the link if you want to read all the reasons we here at 7-Imp enjoy the book reviews and author and illustrator interviews over there and if you want to know everything that great site has to offer.
What you might not know about Mark is that he produces a whole slew of other podcasts: Electric Sky (interviews and documentaries) and Canadian Podcast Buffet (which supports the Canadian Podcast community) are just two of them. If you visit his web site, you can read some of the others he produces (in the left sidebar under “Produces”). In fact, the “About” page at Mark’s site includes text that we think sums him up pretty well; rather, you can tell from his podcasts at JOMB that he most certainly fits the following profile he wrote about himself:
I live new media.
I’m curious. Everyone has a story to tell and ideas to share and I value hearing them.
I’m creative. Creating a high impact new media program takes the right combination of technical skill, artistic instinct and emotional investment and I thrive on the challenge.
I’m community-minded. I build and participate in communities because communities make things happen.
And what I love about listening to the reviews and interviews over at JOMB is the passion that Mark has for picture books and the people behind their creation (from authors to illustrators to editors to art directors); his answer to the Pivot question about what turns him on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally is no surprise. You can hear it in his voice in JOMB’s interviews. At the recent 1st Annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Chicago, we got to see that in person when we all met Mark, huh? I remember standing behind him at one point during the Author/Illustrator Meet-and-Greet and waiting and waiting and waiting on him to finish up his conversation with illustrator Laura Nyman Montenegro so that I could meet her, too. But I was far from annoyed. Instead, I was listening to him and watching him lean over the table, talk to her about her work, point out all the elements of design in her books, and just generally revel in picture books with her. His energy and passion for the subject was almost palpable. It was a great moment. I was happy to wait, as long as I was waiting behind someone that enamored with well-done illustrated books for children.
You’ll also read below that Mark is a musician. Who knew? You can even hear his blues rock tune over at that link.
We’d like to thank both Mark and Andrea for their interviews. I think we failed to mention last week that Just One More Book!! was featured as the TechKnowledge Site of the Month in the January 2007 edition of School Library Journal (posted here at Kathy Ishizuka’s SLJ blog). And here, in case you missed it, is the picture of both Andrea and Mark that I snapped at the kidlitosphere conference. Thanks again to them both! Without further ado, here’s Mark . . .
7-Imp: What do you do for a living?
Mark: I split my time between being an “information security, privacy and risk management consultant” and a new media specialist.
7-Imp: How long have you been podcasting?
Mark: I published my first podcast (Electric Sky) in April 2005. Like many podcasters, the thought that my first episode is still online (along with other early train wrecks I’ve published) makes me cringe. In my heart, I’m an archivist, though, and I can’t bring myself to remove the embarrassing stuff.
7-Imp: Why did you start podcasting? Why do you continue to do it?
Mark: You can trace my origins as a podcaster to my childhood when I broadcasted my own radio show in front of my family’s console stereo (one of those big pieces of solid wood furniture that had a turntable and radio receiver hidden under a lid) using my Radio Shack 100-in-1 electronic project kit. The signal was strong enough to reach the opposite side of the room. I was hooked.
When I was in high school, I really wanted to get into radio and landed a co-operative education placement with The University of Ottawa radio station. I loved being a part of the radio station. I did everything from editing, cataloging the record (yes, LP record) collection, live and recorded audio engineering, and on-air hosting. I was talked out of registering for a broadcast journalism program at a local college and into a career in computers (the argument was that computer jobs pay better -– they do). I ended up in an information security career, still longing to be that radio guy no one could miss hearing.
In early 2005, I heard Tod Maffin discussing this ‘”new thing” called podcasting on CBC Radio. At last I could pursue my radio interest in my own home and on my own terms. Within two months I was podcasting, and now I can’t stop.
I love podcasting for many reasons -– mostly self-indulgent ones. I produce several different podcasts and each of them allows me to learn new things, meet and speak with new and interesting people, and Just One More Book!! allows Andrea and me to do something amazingly fun together on a daily basis. I’ll stop there, because I could exhaust you with my passion for the podcast community.
7-Imp: Which podcast or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?
Mark: I have so many favourites; I don’t think I could pick just one. Also, my interests evolve so I tend to rotate my “prom date” a few times a year.
7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and podcasting?
Mark: You mean there’s something else we should be doing??? Given more time, I’d love to play my bass more often and work on that CD I started before becoming a podcaster (Mark Harold Band). A song I recorded, “Freedom for My Soul,” is available under the name “Mark Harold” in the Podsafe Music Network.
7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Mark: Those who follow my online activities would never believe that I actually get six hours of sleep each night.
7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?
Mark: I mostly listen to podcasts; shows like Quirky Nomads, dicksnjanes, This American Life, Vinyl Café, and the TED Talks. Musically, I listen to a lot of The Police, ZZ Top and Matthew Ebel (a fantastic podsafe musician).
7-Imp: If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?
7-Imp: What is your favorite word?
Mark: I’ve been using “pervasive” a lot lately. Its use is spreading everywhere.
7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?
Mark: I really dislike the word “hate,” particularly since it typically involves indoctrination.
7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Mark: Discovering and dissecting ideas with other people.
7-Imp: What turns you off?
Mark: I have absolutely no patience for office and community politics.
7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)
Mark: This is a family-friendly site, right?
7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?
Mark: Any sound that I can record and use in an audio production. I love great photos through which I can remember events and people; a great audio recording allows me to relive the moment.
7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?
Mark: The easy answer is poorly-produced audio. Also, horrific and sensationalistic news coverage has led me to turn off my radio.
7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?
Mark: I think I’ve had my fill of information security, privacy and risk management.
7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Mark: First of all, thank you for the reassurance that I’ll be going to the Pearly Gates. I think I’d like “him” to say that they want me to run their podcast.