Saturday, 4 June 2016

Blogger Interview: Margot Kinberg

‘Because I’m a writer, blogging
doesn’t really feel like work to me’


© Margot Kinberg
Indefatigable is the word I’d use to describe Margot Kinberg—academician, writer, and blogger. Not a day goes by when Margot does not write about crime and mystery fiction on her blog Confessions of a Mystery Novelist..., visit other people’s blogs, and leave thoughtful comments. The mystery novelist and Associate Professor at National University, La Jolla, CA, has written three Joel Williams novels and is currently revising the fourth. Margot has been blogging since 2009, introducing her readers to the pleasures and treasures of crime and mystery fiction.

In the first of a new series of interviews with book bloggers, Margot Kinberg gives us a ringside view of what blogging means to her and how it has influenced her reading and writing.


Margot, when and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in August 2009. At the time, my first novel, Publish or Perish, had recently been released, and I wanted to introduce myself and my work to readers. I thought blogging might be a way to do that without being obnoxious or intrusive about it.

What was the motivation, the single impulse, that prompted you to become a blogger?
I think the most important motivation for me to start blogging was the desire to be a part of the crime fiction community. I wanted to join the group of crime fiction readers and writers, and blogging is one of the best ways to do that.

Why did you choose to focus on crime and mystery fiction and pick ‘Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...’ as your blog title?
I’ve been a fan of crime and mystery fiction for nearly my entire reading life. I’ve read more crime fiction than I have other genres, and that’s also the genre I write. So I was hoping that I might be able to share something of interest to other crime fiction fans. And I wanted to learn about other books and authors that are out there. There is far too much fine crime fiction for any one person to know about it all.

As far as my blog’s title goes, I wasn’t sure exactly what to call it at first. I wanted to make it clear that I’m a crime writer. In these days, authors really do have to do their own promotion. At the same time, I wanted to show that the main theme of my blog is not me, but crime fiction. Since I started the blog, I’ve thought a few times about changing the name. But so far, it’s working.


“...blogging has given me very helpful discipline of writing every day. Every time you write, you get better at it. Keeping a blog is, in my opinion, an effective way to plan, focus, write, revise, edit and publish. All of those are things authors need to learn to do well.”

How do you manage to blog every single day and also visit so many other blogs without fail?
That’s not an easy question to answer, actually. It’s a bit like asking a cook how he or she decides how to season a certain dish. The answer you sometimes get is, ‘I don’t know. A little of this, a little of that…’ There is so much depth, breadth and variety in crime fiction that there’s always something to say about it. And since I’m a writer, I’m also an observer. So as I think about the genre, and what I see, hear and read, and what happens to me, I get plenty of inspiration.

As far as visiting other blogs, I learn far too much from other bloggers not to visit them. I get great ideas for books to read, interesting perspectives, and more. So it’s worth it to me to make the time to visit other blogs. I learn with each visit. 



Are there days when you feel, “God, I'm so tired of blogging. I want to give it up and just sit and read books like I used to.”
Not really, to be honest. Of course, there are times when I’m not feeling well, or when work or other commitments crowd me. And I get exhausted, like anyone else does. But because I’m a writer, blogging doesn’t really feel like work to me. It helps me to focus, and it allows me to go on about a topic that’s of real interest to me. What more could you want?

First we had work-life balance. Now we have work-life-blog. How do you balance blogging with your personal and professional commitments? 

Aye, there’s the rub! And, since I’m only human, I’ll admit that I don’t always balance everything perfectly. I don’t see how anyone can. But I do try to plan carefully–I think that’s vital–so that everything gets done. Some days I’m more successful at that than I am on other days… I also try to streamline my life, so that I don’t end up driving myself too hard. There’s nothing wrong with meetings of reasonable length, easy-care clothes, simple recipes and automatic posting of blogs to all of one’s social media outlets. And coffee.

What has blogging done for you, and especially for your own reading and writing? 

Now you’re touching on the real reasons I keep blogging. For one thing, blogging has introduced me to some truly fine people, such as yourself, who have taught me much about books and reading. Whether I’ve met them in person or not, the other members of the book blogging community have enriched my life. I’ve learned so much from everyone. Of course, there is that little matter of the TBR, but I am very grateful for the friendships I’ve formed and the things I’ve learned.

And that leads me to your question about reading. I’ve become much more informed about crime fiction as a result of my blogging. I’ve gotten to know many new-to-me authors, and read all sorts of books that I wouldn’t otherwise have done.

Reading more, and more varied, crime fiction has also made me, I hope, a better writer. In fact, that’s advice I’d give to any writer: read. Read a lot. It does improve one’s writing. I also think that blogging has given me very helpful discipline of writing every day. Every time you write, you get better at it. Keeping a blog is, in my opinion, an effective way to plan, focus, write, revise, edit and publish. All of those are things authors need to learn to do well.

I’ve also learned a lot from the writing-related blogs I follow. Other writers face the same challenges that I do, and have found interesting ways to meet them. And I’ve gotten a wealth of information about the entire writing process; that’s helped me, too. Blogging has given me access to invaluable writing resources. With all of that benefit, how could I not keep blogging? 


Thank you very much, Margot.

58 comments:

  1. Thank you, Prshant, for hosting me. It's an honour and a privilege!

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    1. Margot, you're most welcome. It was an "honour and a privilege" to host you at the 3Cs. Thank you for agreeing to the interview and coming back with your responses within two hours. I enjoyed it. I'm excited about this new series addition to my blog. By the way, Margot, I too started blogging in August 2009.

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  2. One of my favourite bloggers - and so supportive of others! I really don't know how she does it all or when she sleeps, but I do agree with Margot's sentiment that you learn so much from others and that it never feels like a chore.

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    1. Thank you, Marina Sofia. The feeling is quite mutual!! I love being part of the blogging community. It really doesn't feel like a chore at all.

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    2. Marina, I couldn't agree with you more. Margot has an amazing knowledge of, and insight into, crime and mystery fiction. I'm usually at a loss for words in her comments section!

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  3. A wonderful post about one of my favourite bloggers and one of the excellent community of bloggers that made me feel like mine wasn't a lone voice in the wilderness. Margot's comment about every time you write you get better at it is so obvious and yet so true. Reading her blog is always a revelation - and her knowledge about crime fiction simply amazing. I also agree with those little tricks to keep all the commitments in life moving along whilst still being able to do the things you love - I'm all for cheating!!

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Cleo. And you're absolutely right. There's nothing wrong with a little cheating to get it all done. No sense wearing yourself out! I don't think anyone could possibly meet all the demands on our time if we didn't streamline.

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    2. Thank you, Cleo. Over the years Margot has introduced me to some terrific crime and mystery fiction and inspired me to look at the various themes and elements in books within this genre. It's the equivalent of reading the fine print.

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    1. Thanks, Michael. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

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  5. Prashant, thank you for featuring Margot on your excellent blog today. I see this is a new series so I am looking forward to reading more. What a great idea to interview bloggers and I've seen some iteration of this before but forget who did it.

    I'm not surprised that Margot is a favorite for so many bloggers (me included). She is so supportive and very knowledgable about the genre. I've learned a lot from her and I am in awe of how she continues to write quality content on a daily basis. I can't keep up with her ;-) but I try. She has great taste in books (having read a couple of them and will read more. Great interview both you and thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much, Keishon, for the kind words. I agree with you that it's a great idea to have a feature in which different bloggers are spotlighted. I look forward to reading other interviews, too. And I hope you'll be one of them.

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    2. Keishon, thanks for the appreciation. I'm looking forward to featuring lots of bloggers, both known and unknown to me. So be prepared! I'm sure blogger-interviews have been done before though I got the idea from blog tours. The first goal is to sustain the series for as long as possible.

      I'm amazed by Margot's dedication to blogging, the fact that she writes every single day and then finds the time to visit other blogs that can't be a small number.

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  6. Terrific interview. Thanks, Margot and Prashant. I still don't know how she does it, but I guess that'll remain one of life's great mysteries.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Sue. Very glad you enjoyed the interview.

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    2. Sue, thank you! I don't know how she does it either. Maybe, Sue, we should all get together and solve the mystery! And we can always count on Margot to help us out.

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  7. Great interview! I have a theory that Margot isn't actually a person... I think she's a multinational conglomerate with 10,000 employees, all clones of herself. That's the only possible way she could get so much done...

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    1. Don't give away spoilers, FictionFan! ;-)

      Seriously, thanks for the kind words. Very glad you enjoyed the post!

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    2. Thank you, FictionFan. Well said! I'm thinking of multiplicity. I don't remember what I read last week.

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  8. Prashant and Margot: Thanks for the Q & A. I like learning about other bloggers. I had gathered some of the information from Margot's posts but it was nice to see it gathered. I do hope we will not have a quiz to try to remember the information.

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    1. Bill, thank you. I have learnt a great deal about crime and mystery fiction from Margot, especially the importance of reading in the genre with a fine-toothed comb. Now, I notice things I never used to before.

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, Bill. I really enjoy learning about other bloggers, too. And thank you for the great idea for a future quiz! ;-) (Just joking!)

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  9. Great interview, Prashant and Margot. I actually think that there are two or three Margots and they each take on different roles. That or she never sleeps. (And I like Fiction Fan's theory also.)

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    1. Thank you, Tracy. I'm happy with this first of several blogger-interviews. All credit goes to Margot. She was very supportive.

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    2. Thanks, Tracy, for the kind words. And trust me; I sleep. As to FictionFan's theory, well, I do wish she hadn't spilled the beans... ;-)

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  10. Thanks for hosting the amazing Margot - and asking such good questions

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    1. Lindy, thank you. Margot was amazing with her answers.

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    2. Thanks, Lindy, for the kind words!

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  11. As I have told Margot many times, her abilities to find examples for whatever her theme is that day is astounding. And to come up with so many great topics. Yay, Margot.

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    1. That's really kind of you, Patti - thanks. What can I say? Not much else rattling around in my brain, so there's plenty of room for crime fiction.

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    2. Patti, I don't know how Margot does it. I have been the richer for it.

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  12. Margot, I admire your ability to get so much done so well, especially your blogging and visiting other blogs schedule. My thanks to Prashant for the fine interview.

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    1. Thank you, Pat, very much. And I couldn't agree more: Prashant is an excellent interviewer.

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    2. Thank you, Patricia. It was a pleasure hosting Margot and sharing her insights on blogging.

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  13. Two of my favourite bloggers together, what could be nicer! I always think we should have a Challenge Margot meme, where we try to find a topic she CAN'T write a crime-book-related blogpost on. We'd lose though.

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    1. Thank you so much, Moira :-). And Prashant is one of my absolute top bloggers as well, so it's been a real pleasure to visit.

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    2. Moira and Margot, thank you very much! That is high praise from two writers and bloggers I admire a lot.

      Moira, the Challenge Margot meme is a splendid idea but you're right — I don't think we'd stand a chance, even if we resorted to trickery!

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  14. Fine interview of one of the many bloggers I hadn't heard of in the mystery genre. I should get around more and broaden my horizons some from the Western genre.

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    1. Thank you, Oscar. You're welcome to visit my blog any time.

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    2. Thank you, Oscar. Margot is an authority on crime and mystery fiction, and a wonderful friend and blogger. Should you visit her blog, I promise, you won't be disappointed.

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  15. Thanks to both - an enjoyable post. I'm still no wiser how she manages to do it all though!

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    1. Thanks, Col. We're all trying to figure it out. How does Margot do it? So far we haven't got very far!

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, Co :-). And the answer to your question? Coffee. ;-)

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  16. Prshant, thanks for hosting Margot. She is truly an amazing writer, blogger and friend. I've learned so much from her.

    Margot, enjoyed your interview. It's always fun finding out how bloggers/writers handle so many tasks at once. You're an inspiration in so many ways.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mason. I really appreciate it. That means a lot to me. I agree, too, that it's fun to learn how other bloggers do what they do.

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    2. Mason, I couldn't agree more. Margot has been very supportive about my blog and my writing.

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  17. Prashant – Good interview. It dispelled my suspicion that the prolific Margot Kinberg was really a house name used by 6 or 8 writers. Seriously, it was good to read about her thoughts on blogging.

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    1. Thanks very much for your kind words, Elgin. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

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    2. Thank you, Elgin. Yes, the Margot Kinberg writing syndicate is a possibility we shouldn't overlook.

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    3. Prashant – Margot is a great motivator. Every time I read her blog, a part of my brain is telling me, Man, you are not writing enough. – Also, on another note, like everyone here in the comments, I too am looking forward to your next interview. Good work!

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    4. Absolutely, Elgin. Every time I read her blog, my brain tells me I'm not reading enough, which is true. I have drawn up a long list of bloggers that will keep me busy for the next couple of years. I'm looking forward to what is going to be a wonderful experience.

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  18. I know when I first started blogging it acted like morning pages. it helped get me into the writing mode. Somehow I've let that slip away over time and hardly keep up anymore. Great interview.

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    1. Thanks, Charles. I like the way you put that: blogging getting one into the writing mode. I've found it to be a really effective way to discipline myself to write every day. And that helps me.

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    2. Thanks, Charles. I know what you mean. Blogging has made the process of writing easier for me. I write more effortlessly now than I used to.

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  19. Great stuff Prashant thanks for this - Margot's output is amazing and I think you are so right to talk about it in terms one's work-life-blog balance

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    1. Thanks, Sergio. Blogging used to take up a lot of my time which was the reason I cut back on my own posts. A balance is not always possible, though hats off to Margot for managing it as well as she does.

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    2. Thank you for the kind words, Sergio. Very glad you enjoyed this interview. Prashant is certainly a fantastic interview host.

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