Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #1:
Liz from A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

h1 January 18th, 2007 by jules

Hi to all from Jules and Eisha. We regret that we are not participating in Poetry Friday for a second consecutive Friday, but we had it in our heads that we would try to highlight a blogger or author or author/illustrator (yes, we have an author interview coming up that makes us squeal in adoration like Eddy Tulane in front of a mirror) once a week. And here we are sneaking up at the end of another week, so we want to go ahead and feature our first blogger, the always-gracious Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy.

And in the name of Coming Attractions, we will feature the fearless Fuse #8 in an installment of Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast, coming to a monitor near you in the very near future. Ditto for Roger Sutton, whose blog so many of us have a swoony crush on. Yes, I boldly asked and am pleased to say that Robin Brande cannot call me a wuss. And the respectable Mr. Sutton agreed and even said it sounds like fun. I think I squealed when he agreed, though I’m trying to sound all calm and professional about it now. Many thanks in advance to him, as he’s one busy editor, we’re sure. (And we will get to all our favorites before the twenty-second century. In the meantime, while you wait, you can ruminate upon and formulate your witty and insightful responses . . . “ruminate, formulate” — isn’t that a lost INXS song?).

We are pleased to feature Liz first. She not only generally rocks and, we might add, rocks hard (isn’t that how those young ‘uns talk today?), but she also went out of her way to give us thoughtful feedback on a nerdy blogging question we had recently.

One last thing, and we’ll get right to it: Remember that we use the Pivot Questionnaire in our interviews. Remember that it includes the what-is-your-favorite-curse-word question. It’s optional for folks to answer, but if they do, we will not edit their responses in any way; yup, we’ll post their responses exactly as they send them to us. Some people might not use “*”s to edit their saucy words. If you’re easily offended, just don’t read that question. Now on with the show.

* * *

Here’s what we love about A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy: Liz, the blogger extraordinaire who is president of that blog, is not only informative and funny, but she also a> doesn’t spend too much time spewing forth negative energy and b> goes out of her way to, as she put it, jump on others’ ideas and reviews and such. She pays attention. She listens. She obviously reads other sites and is a cheerleader of other bloggers and their ideas. For instance, she’ll review a book and then, below the review, link to other bloggers’ reviews as well (see here for an example of one in which she kindly linked to one of our reviews). {Jules would like to comment that Liz’s reading lists and many reviews put her to shame and make her feel like a book-reading poseur. That’s a compliment, even if it doesn’t sound like one. Eisha says she enjoys the Buffy quotes and, particularly, likes that Liz covers all media}.

Okay, we think that covers it, though there are many things to love about her blog.

Her blog’s tag line is the following — “All I want: like Buffy, I want a chair. A fireplace. A tea cozy. And to talk about stories. Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea.” She features a Buffy Quote of-the-Week (“I started because I think it’s the best TV show ever, and I also knew that way I would always have at least one quote”). She provides readers ongoing “Best Books” sidebars (“so far, I have a sidebar for my Best Books for 2005, 2006, and 2007”). She participates in Poetry Fridays and aids with Poetry Friday round-ups. She’s on the board for The Edge of the Forest. And, finally, she’s also involved in the Cybils.

Liz is pictured above. This is fun; who knew she was a red-headed babe? Fun fact: The photo on her blog is of her Nan as a kid.

What do you do for a living?

Liz: I am a public librarian. Currently, I’m the branch manager of a small branch in a large system. (Look around your living room . . . Okay, maybe double that. There’s my branch!). We have only 2 full-time staff and 3 part-time. And I’m the sole librarian, so I do it all: kids, teens, babies, adults, computer classes, outreach, etc. I’ve been a librarian since 2001, and I’ve been in the same system (Ocean County Library) since then, but in different branches (Lakewood, Pt. Pleasant, Toms River, Waretown) and different roles (youth services, young adult, reference).

Before this, I was a lawyer (in-house, contracts and employment law). I get paid a third of what I made before, have twice the free time, and have the pleasure of loving my job.

How long have you been blogging?

Liz: I started Tea Cozy on Tuesday, April 26th, 2005. My first non-welcome post was about “Veronica Mars”; my first book post was Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez. There is no significance to that date, except that is when I finally hit on a name for my blog.

Buffy once said, “I don’t want trouble. I just want to be alone and quiet, you know, with a chair, a fireplace, and a tea cozy. I’m not even sure what a tea cozy is, but I want one.” (Ep: Anne). For some reason, that just felt right for me. Well, that and when I googled it no one else was using it and, to the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t some hidden dirty meaning to any of it.

While I do post mostly about books, my broader interest is in stories. The stories we tell, the stories we believe, the ones we read and the ones we watch. The ones we want to believe in, the ones we’re afraid of, and the stories we tell because we’re afraid and we want comfort. I think stories are important, and whether it’s a picture book or a T.V. show or Gossip Girls, it’s important.

Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Liz: Sophie Brookover invited me to be a guest blogger at her blog, Pop Goes the Library, during the NJLA Conference in April 2005; this turned into a full time gig at Pop starting April 28th, 2005. I still post there about library issues and pop culture — with the occasional cross post when it’s something that fits in either blog.

I blog at Pop and Tea Cozy because I have something I want to say, and blogging makes it easy to say. I continue to blog because the community of bloggers has been so welcoming. I love books, movies, pop culture, and I like talking about all those things. Sometimes I want to peel back the layers and really get into something; othertimes, I just want to say “this is a fun book.”

Especially with Tea Cozy, I started blogging mostly for myself. But now I blog not just for me; I’ve found that there are people who like to read my two-cents-worth about different things, people who like to chat about it, and people who care about what I care about.

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

Liz: Cynthia Leitich Smith (Cynsations and spookycyn). Hands down. Such a
wealth of information — and so friendly.

And, on a personal note, I was blogging less than a month and she mentioned my blog. That was the first time I realized people were reading it, and it made me see for the first time that I wasn’t blogging for me anymore. It’s one of the reasons I kept on blogging.

What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Liz: Life outside blogging? I love T.V. and movies. I have a sister who I am very close to and a niece and a nephew, and I spend time with them. When I can, I like to
travel. I like museums.

What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/ipod lately?

Liz: Actually, I’ve been listening to an old radio show from the 1940s and 1950s — it’s called Suspense. I got them on CDs at the library. Each show is about a half hour long, and they are a mix of ghost stories, horror, thrillers, mysteries.

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

Liz: The three people I’ve never met — and I’m convinced from their blogs I could be their bestest friend ever — are Meg Cabot, Jennifer Weiner, and Ally Carter.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

Liz: I’m quite shy in real life. I have the hardest time making small talk or chit chat. But once I know you, you cannot shut me up.

The Pivot Questionnaire:

What is your favorite word?

Liz: “Actually” . . . Actually, my niece and I had a conversation about this just the other day. And, actually, we agreed that this is our favorite word.

What is your least favorite word?

Liz: I cannot think of one!

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Liz: Connecting with people.

What turns you off?

Liz: Self-absorption.

What is your favorite curse word?

Liz: F*ck. Used properly. It’s a great, powerful word that has lost its greatness from over-use. (Yes, Nick & Norah, I’m looking at you!). Tho since I adore “Battlestar
actually, I could have said “frack” . . .

What sound or noise do you love?

Liz: My niece’s and nephew’s voices.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Liz: That chalkboard screech sound.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Liz: Heiress. I would make such a good, grateful trust-fund baby.

What profession would you not like to do?

Liz: Cleaning out the sewer.

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

Liz: What I’d hope not to hear: “Sorry, wrong gate. Go south.” What I would like to hear? “Welcome. You’re going to like it here, and your friends and family are just over there.”

12 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #1:
Liz from A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy”

  1. First, Jules and Eisha you so totally hit on the best most brilliant idea! I love the interview questions and am already eager to read the next one.

    Second, nicely done Liz! Very interesting and engaging responses and this would make me want to go read your blog if I didn’t already have you at the top of my daily-reads list.


  2. Great opener! And fascinating facts. Who knew she used to be a lawyer (like me! Now she and I can be best friends!)

    And Jules, I am highly embarrassed I suggested you might be a wuss, ever. Especially on your own blog. So stop quoting that and linking to me. Let my shame die.

  3. aw, but i love you, robin, and always like quoting you. insert irritatingly cheerful smiley emoticon here. no shame, dude, no shame.

  4. Did I not say I’m in? I’m in. I looove talking about myself. Your questions may not be enough.

    Oh, and pop on by today for a Very Special MotherReader Post. I think you guys, particularly, will enjoy it.

  5. Oops. And great interview with Liz. She really runs a great show over there at A Chair or ACAFAATC or CFTC…I’m still working on the shorthand for it.

    And great responses Liz. You do totally rock.

  6. Yay, Liz! To paraphrase Buffy Summers, “You know, people underestimate the value of a good story.” 🙂

  7. I just have to say right here and now that this whole interview idea was all Jules. Props are due, and I am giving them.

  8. oooooh! I love this behind the scenes peek. Thanks for pulling back the curtains for us all!

    Great questions. Great answers. I can’t wait for the next one.


  9. What a great idea, and a great opening interview. I especially liked what Liz said about how her broader interest is in stories. I feel the same way.

    My favorite question from the survey is the one about what writer you’d want to have a glass of rich red wine with. I like the specificity of the question. I look forward to other interviews, too. Thanks!

  10. Great start to what will be a fun year of getting to know the kidlitosphere crew!

  11. Lovely interview! Great idea!


  12. Thank you so much; that was a lot of fun! I cannot wait to see the answers from the other interviewees.

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