An Interview with Lucy Powrie a.k.a. Lucy The Reader
Check out our exclusive interview with Lucy Powrie, a 19 year old vlogger and already an influential young author too! Lucy's book-focused YouTube channel lucythereader is a great place to get book-related inspiration. She's a young ambassador for the Bronte Society, and is the founder of weekly Twitter book event, #UKYA chat that connects readers from across the world. Not only that, but she has created an absolutely brilliant new book series, which kicks off with The Paper & Hearts Society!
We caught up with Lucy to find out a little more about her, her new book and a few of her favourite Joanie pieces right now!
Hey Lucy – it’s lovely to catch up with you and we can’t wait to hear about your new book ‘The Paper and Hearts Society’.
Thank you so much for having me!
First of all, for those who might not know already, could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
For the past 7 years, I’ve been a book blogger and have made videos about books on YouTube as lucythereader. I started when I was 12, talking mainly about the teen and YA books I’d been loving, but now I’ve branched out and also discuss classics, such as books by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. My life is books, books, books!
Your new book, The Paper and Hearts Society, comes out in June – what’s the book about?
The Paper & Hearts Society is about Tabby, who has just moved to a new town and is encouraged to join a book club run by a group of local teenagers. It’s the ultimate bookish book – there’s a Jane Austen dance party and a literary road trip around the UK, as well as lots and lots of book recommendations (which are always the best bits to write because they involve raiding my bookshelves!). It’s also about friendship, mental health, and how social media means we can never really let go of our pasts anymore.
What inspired you to write this book?
Growing up, I never felt like I fitted in. I always felt different to other people my own age and would much rather be reading than socialising. So, in a way, writing The Paper & Hearts Society was a form of socialising – I wrote about a group of friends I would love to be friends with – but I also wanted to share with readers that it’s okay not to fit in, and eventually you’ll find people who accept you for who you truly are.
As well as being an author, you also have a blog and YouTube channel - what got you into blogging/vlogging at such a young age?
I started my blog just after my grandfather passed away and books were my way of coping. I was overcome with grief and felt completely alone in how I was feeling, so I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. After a while I discovered that it was far more fun to read and then discuss what I’d read, outside of a school environment, and blogging was the perfect way to do this. At the heart of my social media is my passion for books, and I always try to let this shine through.
You started the #UKYAChat hashtag on twitter – could you tell us about it and what prompted you to start it?
#UKYAChat is a weekly Twitter chat where lots of us gather together to discuss YA books. Usually there’s a topic, like thrillers in YA or the perfect summer holiday books, and we spend an hour every Friday night recommending as many books as we can and getting to chat to other, like-minded bookworms.
When I started the chat, nobody else was really doing anything like it – there were lots of bloggers and authors, but nothing dedicated to regularly bringing people together from all over the country (or, as it turned out, the world). It’s been lovely watching friendships grow because of it!
You are a Brontë Society Young Ambassador – what does this role entail?
During 2018 and 2019, I’m working with the Brontë Society during their bicentennial celebrations to spread the word about how cool the Brontë sisters were to other young people. Last year, I hosted a Brontë Book Club on my YouTube channel, where people from all over the world joined in with reading 6 different Brontë books. It’s probably the highlight of my career so far and such an honour to work with everyone from the Brontë Society, who are so passionate about what they do.
Who is your favourite author of all time and why?
For many this might be a difficult question to answer, but for me it’s easy: Emily Brontë! She’s most famous for writing Wuthering Heights, of course, but it’s her poetry that I really love. She wrote so openly and honestly about death and grief, as well as the power of nature, and I turn to her poems whenever I’m feeling happy or sad, angry or upset. I can find a poem for every occasion!
Out of all the books you’ve ever read – can you say you have an ultimate favourite?
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. It’s set during the industrial revolution in the early 1800s but is also about the friendship between two women – Caroline Helstone and Shirley Keeldar – as they fight against the pressures of being women in the 19th century. I’m almost constantly re-reading it, and it was also published exactly 150 years to the day before my birth, so I feel like we have some sort of weird connection going on. Can you tell I’m obsessed with the Brontës?!
At 19 and a successful blogger, YouTuber and author - we think you’re smashing it! What else can we expect from you in the next coming years?
I have two more books in The Paper & Hearts Society series coming out, which I’m VERY excited about. Each book in the series follows a different main character from the book club, and it’s great to be able to discover more about them as I write. I’m also in the early stages of developing a bookish podcast, and I want to keep doing as I’m doing, sharing my passion for books with as many people as possible.
What would be the best advice you could give to aspiring authors?
All writing counts as writing! The years I spent writing blog posts and reading as many books as I could all counted as writing experience, and taught me the discipline needed to sit down, write, and actually finish a book. Lots of people say they want to one day write a book, but there aren’t nearly as many who actually commit to doing it! Write, write, write, and then write some more.
What are your top 5 Joanie pieces right now?
I basically have an entire wardrobe of Joanie dresses – and I’M LOVING the Gemma Yellow Lace Sun Dress at the moment. I think it’s going to be a staple part of my summer wardrobe!
I visited Italy for the first time earlier this year and have been living in my Luigi Ciao Slogan Tee, which was a lovely present as a memento of my trip. It feels casual but also looks great dressed up with a pair of smart trousers.
As a plant lover, the Monty Watercolour Plant Design Tee is my dream t-shirt design. I love the delicate watercolours and am planning to team it up with a light pinafore for summer or some striped trousers.
All winter long, I’ve been inseparable from my Heathcliff Wuthering Heights Sweatshirt. Wearing it out is my favourite thing because I feel it’s a great statement of my Brontë love!
Joanie skirts are my ultimate favourite, and one of my next investments is going to be in a Mim Floral Wisteria Print Skirt. I love anything floral!