Welcome back to the Interview with a blogger series, after a break.
Today I’m featuring Tina Sequeira, Indian author, blogger and a book critic. I’m glad to meet her through the #MyFriendAlexa campaign and become a fan of her blog.
So without taking much of time let’s hear it from Tina.
1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello! I’m Tina Sequeira. I’m a thirty something with an obsession for words. Ironically, Introductions throw me off the bowlines. Past the starting hiccup, I am all yours – words bizarre and conversations unlimited!
I´m an Indian author, blogger and book critic. Professionally, I am a management professional having worked in elite multi-national companies and also worked as an academic professor for a brief stint.
I manage the award winning blog ´The Tina Edit´ which has recently won the Orange Flower Award 2017 in the ‘Writing for Work’ category and was among the Top 5 finalists amongst 1369 entries in the category of ´Parenting´, ´Humour´ and ´Poetry´ in 2017. The blog was amongst the top 5 finalists in the category of ´Personal Blogging´ for the Orange Flower Awards 2016.
It was one of the biggest highs of the year for me to receive the award from India´s leading author, columnist, TED speaker and writing coach, Sudha Menon in Mumbai recently.
I am officially listed as a Goodreads Author since June 2017. My debut EBook ´Soul Sojourn´ is the proud outcome of my first ever participation in the A to Z Challenge – 2017 in association with Blogchatter. It currently tops the ‘Best Ebooks 2017 ever’ on Goodreads.
I am proud to be part of the exclusive ‘Influencer Club’ on Mycity4kids.com.
I was one of the featured authors of the month April 17´ by Women´s Web. You can pore over my author interview here – ´Writing is a Literary Striptease´
I do harbour grand plans of publishing many fun books in the future. For now, you can catch some of my writings here and my regular feature publications at Women´s Web, mycity4kids.com, YouthKiAwaaz, Siya Woman, Readomania and more.
As much as I love to write, I love mingling with people. All kinds of them! I believe people are living books by themselves. I dig family and friends´ get-togethers and parties – cook, eat, drink, sing, dance and all that fun ´n´ frolic merriment!
2. What was your inspiration to start your blog thetinaedit.com?
A compulsive readoholic and writoholic, the only cure it seems is Books and Blogs. The more I have, the more I seem to crave for it. And, what do you know? I do not want to get cured. Ever!
So, The Tina Edit is the result of this passionate addiction. It reflects my pure love and joy of living through words. Because words are all I have, darling! And, they are priceless and timeless!
Blogging happened to me, thanks to my brother who egged me onto it in 2006. Since then, there has been no looking back. It started off as three blogs which went by the names Tina´s Tales, Tina´s Teasers and Tina Tells in blogger/blogspot.
My blog has now migrated to WordPress and morphed into The Tina Edit.
3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?
The Tina Edit is a refined, mature, funny and hopefully wiser account of my personal ramblings. As a reader, you will get to choose from an interesting and diverse range of topics. There is a little something for everyone, I promise!
It is a personal blog which showcases my life happenings, fictional stories, poetry and hard hitting articles on various topics ranging from gender equality, parenting, work, books, movies and more.
It´s your nook for a good read.
4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?
The best aspects about being a blogger is the network of readers that you build over time. I´ve been blessed to have enjoyed so much readership in such less time. 2017 marked my comeback to blogging for many reasons. One being building a loyal readership base. I am quite happy that I have achieved that goal this year.
It´s motivating to see your blog actively read by people around the world. It helps you gauge your worth as a writer and also learn from other´s writing styles as well. There´s simply no point in having an ornamental blog that simply showcases your work and achievements. I like to keep my blog organic, alive and kicking all the time.
The most challenging aspect would be to keep up with social media/online networking. This seemingly frivolous task is pretty time-consuming. I find the networking aspect exhausting at times. I wish I could outsource it honestly. I personally think it´s a double edged sword. It´s a boon and a bane at the same time.
5. How would you describe your blogging style?
Experimental, Versatile, Unpredictable, Spontaneous!
I don´t like to be caged into one particular box, style or category. I don´t like following a particular narrative. I like to keep my readers guessing. I get bored reading stuff that´s unexciting and so, I try to consciously veer away from the herd.
6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?
The future is great for innovative, creative and crisp content. I think Vlogging, podcasts, audiobooks and real time content will kick into action in the mainstream in a big way in the coming years.
7. Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?
The entire experience of blogging excites me – conceptualising the idea, ruminating on it and finally getting down to business. I love to see the feedback of my readers as well and the views that they have to share.
8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?
There have been many surprises. One amongst them is the vast reach of the medium. One of my posts went right up to the notice of Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor who shared my post on his Twitter handle with some kind words of appreciation: ´Well written and incisive.´
I have to share this amusing incident. One reader mistook me for a man because my writing was untypical for a woman. Whatever that meant! He actually sent me a friend request only to check my gender… if I was masquerading as a woman being a man. Later he apologised for his gender stereotypical thinking that only men can write certain genres and in certain styles. That incident came as a surprise as to how female writers are generally perceived on the whole. I´ve been lucky to have a healthy mix of both male and female readers. It also gave me the confidence that my writing connects to the male psyche as well and not just to the female psyche.
9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?
I have faced some serious backlash on articles where I took a definite stance. Comments that were derogatory but I am proud that I handled those comments with a lot of objectivity and grace. If I may say so myself!
Twitter is a place where one gets to witness the harshest words. Be it abuses or name calling, I´ve seen it all. On rare occasions, I have taken on the Twitter trolls as they are popularly called and beaten them at their own game. The really hopeless cases get reported and their accounts have been suspended. But, mostly, I choose to ignore and move on with my life.
Honestly, the criticism doesn’t bother or affect me at all. I take them with a pinch of salt. Similarly, I don´t get praise get to my head as well.
Surely, I have received some wonderful compliments from fellow writers, editors and bloggers. Most of them like the way I write and look forward to reading my articles. The compliments have ranged from being creative, interesting, engaging, bold, wise and honest/realistic. Compliments are always motivating.
I am genuinely thankful for every brick and bouquet that gets hurled my way.
10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?
Find the purpose for your blog – Why do you want to blog? Initially my reasons to blog were to simply maintain an online journal. But over the years, along with age, my purpose for blogging has also drastically changed.
Everyone is motivated by different things in life. Some get into blogging seeking brand endorsements or the money. Some get into blogging for fame. Some get into blogging as a form of self-expression.
First understand why you want to blog and then create a strategy accordingly. Set goals for each year as to where you´d like to take it and stick to it.
Thank you so much Tina for your time and sharing your thoughts. This has been a great pleasure knowing about you. Am sure our readers too have enjoyed reading this post.
Thank you for joining in and please drop a comment if you would like to do an interview on my blog. I would be glad to feature you!!