Introducing a Family of Bloggers: The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot

Recently I have had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Lateiner about his book blog.  What makes Lateiner gangDave’s blog so interesting – is that not only does Dave write book reviews, but so does his wife Mara and their two daughters Lauryn and Sami.  How super fun is that?

So tonight, I am pleased to offer you this interview I have completed with the Lateiner Gang to see how book blogging became a part of their lives.  Please help me welcome them.  While Dave is the one responding to my questions, the whole family has had input in the responses.

Welcome Dave, Mara, Lauryn, and Sami!  I just love the idea of your whole family blogging about books!  Please tell me a little bit about how this came to be.

Dave:  We have been reading books for a very long time.  My wife and I 33, have been reading since we were little kids.  Our daughters Lauryn and Sami, 11 and 9, have been reading or read to since they were infants.  By 1 years old, they were each able to read.  Lauryn’s favorite  to read was “Just like Ernie” from Sesame Street.  Believe it or not, at 1, she was able to read the whole book by memory! Sami’s favorite was book was “Pat the Bunny”, which she could also recite by memory.  We usually read about 2 hours minimum a night each.  I (dad) had started using the website a year or so ago to go to blogs and read reviews, get recommendations, and share how I felt about books I read.  Soon after, the rest of the Lateiner Gang had found themselves doing the same thing.

A few months back, we received an ARC for Suzanne Colllins “Catching Fire”, the sequel to “The Hunger Games”.  As part of the deal of getting it, Lauryn was required to write a review for Scholastic of what she thought of the book.  She LOVED writing the review.  It dawned upon us then that this would not only be a great family project, but a way to give back to the all the authors, bloggers, publishers, and most importantly, fellow readers.  So that is how The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot was born.  The idea was that with a gazillion other blog sites out there, ours would stand out as there are 4 of us, typically who read different genres and kinds of books, therefore able to give 4 sets f opinion rather than the standard 1.

How long have you been blogging?

Dave:  We have been going on blogs for well over a year and reading reviews, adding our comments and getting suggestions from other readers. After doing this for some time, we just decided to open our own site and see where it goes from there.  We have been “live for a few months but posted our first tactual review on July 26th on James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner”.  From there, we started off slowly, but are quickly picking up the pace.  Our idea was to really review books and interview authors that were our favorites.  Posting about every single book is ok for some people, but the one thing our readers know is that if they see a book on our site review or an author interviewed, then we love them. so in about a 6 weeks of “actual” content, we have had appx 1500 hits and just under 30 followers.  Of course, having a semi- background in marketing, myself and my wife have taught the children as well as us doing it ourselves, how and where to market our site.  The other thing we do is try to CONSTANTLY give away books as contacts.  And not usually any book, GREAT books that are usually signed ARC’s and occasionally an already published book that we loved.  We have already formed some relationships with some authors as well as Publishers.

Wow!  You have really put a lot of work into your blogging!  Are you all naturally avid readers?

Dave:   It depends on what your definition if an “Avid” reader is…the kids and wife usually spend about 2 hours a day minimum reading and then more time on the computer doing research or posting our link anywhere an everywhere they can to spread the word.  Me, I usually spend about 3 hours  night reading (more if there is a book i just CAN NOT put down, then I read until it is finished. I also spend plenty of time advertising for our site and coming up with good ideas…That reminds me, I will post about this, but I recently learned how to change the background and add a 3rd column to our site, so real soon (possibly over the weekend) , look for the site to look soooo much better!

Do each of you have certain genres that you like to read?

Dave:  Mara tries to read biographies or books written about people for example, “Candy Land ” buy Candy Spelling and her daughter’s book ,” Mommywood” by Tori Spelling as well as Chelsea Handler’s book.  She will also read something like “The Accidental Millionaires” about the 2 guys who started up facebook.  Occasionally, Mara will stray and pick something up that I have to twist her arm until she reads it and then loves it.

Lauryn is a Twilight buff for sure.  (irrelevant, but one of my clients is a photographer for celebrities and has personalized pics of Robert Patterson that we will post when he passes them on to me.  She probably is the one who reads closest to my style.  She can also be found reading books like, “I’m So Crashing Your Bat-Mitzvah” and “The Hunger Games”.

Sami, our youngest, loves books that are mostly appropriate for her age like “The Artemis Fowl Series” and “The 39 Clues series”.  Sami is not a fan of “Dark” books and for now, those I have mentioned are her comfort zone.

David, Ah, me  :O)   Well, I have to admit that I am mostly a YA/Fantasy/Fiction.  I love almost any book that fits into those categories.  I will read everything from “Catching Fire” to “Septimus Heap”, to “The Tomorrow Code”, “Thornspell”, “Flashforward”, “Alvor”, “The 13th reality series, “Maze Runner” and a bunch more….As long as it fits the Genre, I will probably read it.  I do have an author totally out of my comfort zone who is probably one of my favorite authors of all time, James Rollins.  Totally not my style, but boy, can he write!

Do you write your reviews alone or is there family input?

Dave:  For the most part, we do our own reviews.  The one thing we do is when someone finishes a review or interview, we all sit down, listen to that persons piece, and decide if we think it needs to be changed or if it is good.  What we feel makes us successful, besides having the 4 of us to write is our thought process.  We put ourselves in the mindset of someone who could possibly be reading something we post.  If we read the review or interview, and feel that we are psyched to read that book, or hear about that author, we know (or hope) we have material ready to be posted.  Essentially, we are the one reading the post, what would we NEED to hear to get us excited about it.  Once we get excited, it’s time to post it!

What does a typical evening at your home look like?

Dave:  I would suppose the same as any other household, come home from work, have some dinner, read, watch a bit of Television (only our favorite shows) and then either back to reading or working on our site, either posting, reading emails, or doing research as to how to improve.  We are always looking at ways to improve.  Always.  Oh, and we typically take a walk many nights in the week.  We live close to the center of our town, so we try to walk in there and just hang out for a little while, maybe pick up some Starbucks or hang out with other families we know.  It’s that type of town w live in.  Shhhh, don’t tell my family, but I wait for them all to go to sleep, then I crack open a book for another hour or so until I just can’t read anymore.  I ALWAYS carry a book with me wherever I go.

LOL… your secret is safe with me!   What are you trying to accomplish through your blogging?

Dave:  Our main goal is really to be a part of a community.  We feel like we owe these wonderful authors and all of those who have inspired us to start a blog, as well as readers.  We want to give back to them what they have given to us, happiness, referrals on books, and opinions.  We have read so many books that have been suggested online.  As a matter of fact, many times when we post, we ask that if you are going to write a post, please include a favorite book you recently read or a book you plan to read in the near future.  We get such a rush from writing a review, or interviewing an author.  It’s crazy, we get so excited at every single follow up comment that someone leaves.  It’s a feeling almost when an actor on stage finishes a performance, he gets an ovation.  Well, we get that same feeling when people write how much they enjoyed our review, or now because of our review they are going to pick up a book they didn’t even know about or were on the fence on.  We also get so psyched about giving away books.  We are currently running 2 contests for AMAZING books, James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner” and new author, Laura Bingham’s “Alvor”.  Our goal is to constantly be running contests of the best books we can get our hands on.  Next is “FIre”, the prequel to the best selling book “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore.

As fairly new reviewers, do you have any questions you would like to put out there to the more experienced bloggers?

Dave:  WE would love to know how to form relationships with publishers, authors, etc. to be able to get books to review and give away.  So far, we have just been spending time on the phone and email and it seems to be working, but there has to be an easier way.  Also, since I am a numbers guy, I was curious what sort of numbers were average, or above average…For example, how many followers do you expect over a certain amount of time?  How many hits on your site can you expect over a certain amount of time?  Besides this interview ;O)   where and how are the best ways to advertise our site.  Anything else you want to share with us, please feel free as we always keep our eyes and ears open for good ideas!

Thank you Dave and the rest of the Lateiner Gang for stopping by One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and sharing with us!  Readers, I encourage you to stop by their blog at The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot and give them a warm welcome.

Dave:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this interview.

Best Wishes!
The Lateiener gang
or for short, T.L.G.B.R.S.

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on August 22, 2009, in Book Stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Great interview, Sheila! I absolutely adore the idea of their family blog! I’m already one of their followers and look forward to their reviews.

  2. Sheila,
    We just wanted to thank you so much for doing this for us. We all appreciate it so much. And just so your fans know, and ours too, we plan to reverse the roles down the road and have requested an interview from a “Master Blogger” (yes, Sheila!). This Master has accepted the offer. We look forward to it and we know that our fans will definitely want to hear about how you started out and got to where you are today. Thank you again and we hope you all will take a moment and come see what The Gang is all about.

    Jenny, thank you so much for the kind words. We appreciate you following us, we really do. Stay alert as we have lots of fantabulous (I love that word!) things coming your way.

    Regards all and see you soon,


  3. Wow! That was a great interview! I congratulate both the Lateiner Gang, for getting interviewed here (since it seems to be such an honor) and for getting as high as they did in such a relatively short time, and Sheila, for choosing this family to interview, because now they’re going to get even more publicity. ^,~

    I was among the first to visit and follow their blog when they started putting up reviews and stuff. It’s really lots of fun! I’ve been quietly book-blogging for more than 8 months, but this family has shown me a lot about what a good book blogger really is.

    Can’t wait to see the interview roles get switched. =P I hope lots of people visit the Gang because of this. Also, just in case you’re curious, I thought I’d show people the link to my book blog.

  4. Wow, that was an AMAZiNG interview, I really enjoyed reading it! And I love how harmonious this family seems – no wonder, since books unite them!

  5. Sheila, I love this post! And for me, it’s just so timely- I’ve recently added a section to my blogsite that will contain my youngest daughter’s historical fiction/Royals- reviews. Haven’t posted one yet, but I’ve introduced her. so, this article was so inspiring- I know exactly how they feel. Going to check out the site now. Thanks:)

    • Thats so fun! I cant wait to read her reviews! I would love to do that but my boys (19 and 21) are not the readers they were when they were younger. 😦

  6. What an awesome family. Thats so neat that they all love to read , something that i wish my family would do.
    Great interview, it was really fun to read.
    Going to check out their site!
    Natalie :0)

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