Guest Post: Iola Goulton, Blogger

20 Nov

“I have this friend from New Zealand.” I love saying that! Now, I have never met Iola Goulton in person, but our online interactions and reading her blog make me feel like I really know her. That’s just how the online book community works. Iola is a freelance editor and writes insightful reviews of Christian fiction, making her a go-to resource for the best in the inspirational market. I depend on her reviews and search out those books she recommends. Finding out about authors from Australia and New Zealand is a great added perk!

I would love to travel to New Zealand one day and if I ever do, a side trip to meet Iola is on the bucket list! Here’s hoping that our paths cross one day soon, either in the US or in New Zealand.

Thanks, Iola, for sharing about your reading and blogging life.

Guest Post from Iola Goulton

When Beckie approached me to contribute a guest post as part of her celebration of ten years as a book blogger, I was thrilled to accept. Beckie, and people like her, are what make the Christian book blogging community a great place to be. It’s my online home.

I don’t know about you, but I was always the odd child out. I was the child who loved silent reading time at school, who loved visiting the library, and who could always be found with a book. I was the child who read anything, even the cereal packets. I read and reread my favourite books. And I knew lots of strange facts, because after I’d read all the children’s novels, I moved onto children’s encyclopedias (in my defence, I lived in a tiny town with a tiny library).

But I always felt like I was the odd one out. No one else loved reading the way I did — or if they did, they kept quiet about it. LIke I did.

I discovered the world of online reading in around 2010, and realised I wasn’t the only book nerd around. There were hundreds — thousands — of readers like me. People who loved words, loved stories, loved books. We connected over our shared love of books despite living on opposite sides of the planet.

I discovered the (now defunct) Amazon Discussion Forums, Goodreads, and book blogs. Discussing favourite books and authors through text-based communication suited me. Being in different time zones meant conversations took place over hours and days rather than seconds and minutes, and that gave everyone the opportunity to contribute. It felt fairer and more democratic than real-life conversations where the person with the loudest voice is the one who gets the most attention.

Not long after I discovered book blogs, I won an ebook in book blogger giveaway. This led to me discovering NetGalley and joining the book blogger community myself. Now I follow bloggers from around the world, reading reviews and discussion posts, and adding to my neverending to-read pile. It’s hard to believe there was once a time when I’d read every book I owned and would go back to reread old favourites while I waited for my next visit to the local Christian bookstore to see if there was anything new in stock.

I’ve even been able to meet few other book bloggers in real life. Australian author Dorothy Adamek invited me to stay with her in Melbourne a few years ago. Melbourne is also the home of Rel Mollet of Relz Reviews … so we arranged to meet Rel for coffee and a chat at the local Koorong store. Rel is a kindred spirit. It felt like we were two halves of a whole as we compared notes on books, authors, and blogging.

I’ve also met Elle of Soul Inspirationz here in New Zealand. I was driving to Wellington, and Elle’s hometown of Taihape was the perfect place to stop for lunch. Her boss said to take as long as she wanted … so we did (I don’t think he realised how long two people can talk books). As with Rel, the conversation flowed thick and fast as we shared our stories and talked about our favourite novels and authors. We eventually stopped talking when we realized we’d each missed phone calls from people who were wondering where we were. Oops.

I haven’t had the priviledge of meeting Beckie or any other US book bloggers in person (although I did meet author Candace Calvert when she visited my home town of Tauranga as part of a New Zealand cruise)67. But I can assure you that friendships formed online are real friendships, despite what the technophobes might say. And we’re all Christians, which means we will get to meet one day in that great library in heaven. Because heaven has to have a library, right?

Beckie, congratulations on ten years of book blogging. It’s been a priviledge to get to know you online, and I look forward meeting you for real one day.

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting,  and now works as a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. She has also developed the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge, an email course for authors wanting to establish their online platform.

When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, teenage son and cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

8 Responses to “Guest Post: Iola Goulton, Blogger”

  1. susiesellnergmailcom November 20, 2019 at 10:57 am #

    I used to LOVE reading Iola’s reviews when she was emailing them out the way you do, Beckie. Both of you have introduced me to many authors who were new to me and have helped me select excellent books to read and enjoy. Perhaps you could include in a comment the web address of her blog so I can find her again online. Many thanks to both of you!

  2. susiesellnergmailcom November 20, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    Thank you, Beckie. I just signed up to receive her newsletters.

    • rbclibrary November 20, 2019 at 1:35 pm #


  3. Iola November 21, 2019 at 6:12 pm #

    Becky, thank you for having me! I hope you’re able to visit NZ one day, or that I can get to your part of the US.

    • rbclibrary November 23, 2019 at 6:45 am #

      Looking forward to it!

  4. Rel Mollet November 24, 2019 at 6:16 am #

    Oh, this was a lovely surprise 😊 It was such fun to meet you in person, Iola!

    Congratulations, Beckie, on a wonderful ten years of blogging and sharing your love of books with others ❤️

    • rbclibrary November 24, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

      Thanks Rel! And I ever make it to NZ a side trip to Australia will also be on the itinerary! 😉

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