Martin Roth on Books and Blogs

Continuing our Aulstralian theme, Aussie Martin Roth has agreed to do a “Books and Blogs” interview exclusivly for this humble web site. Martin is a full-time freelance writer concentrating on business and finance. He is the author of a dozen or so business books in his native land. His blog, however, reflects his Christian thinking rather than his “day job.”

He has written one Christian book, “Living Water to Light the Journey”, published in 1999. It’s an analysis of culture and society from a Christian perspective, as well as an account of his own journey – via Zen Buddhism – to Christianity. It’s out of print now, but readers can get it online at Martin’s web page.

Here are Martin’s answers to the usual ten questions:

1. How did you get interested in blogging and when did you start?

At some point last year I became an avid fan of AndrewSullivan.com, and thought I’d like to try something like that, commenting on the news from a Christian perspective. I didn’t know then that there were other bloggers doing that already, such as JunkYardBlog. I started in April this year.

2. Do you see yourself as a “linker” or a “thinker” or both?

When I started I aimed to be both. But I soon found I just didn’t have the time needed to keep finding interesting stuff to link to, so now I like to think of myself as a thinker, providing a regular commentary.

3. Were/are you interested in blogging as a way to promote your book/other writing?

I’m not trying to promote my book, because it’s no longer on sale (and in any case, was only on sale here in Australia, and I find most readers of my website are in America). But I love writing and commenting on the news, and I feel the Christian perspective on world affairs is often not adequately promoted, so I’m keen to push my writing and my regular commentaries.

4. How has blogging affected/impacted your writing (style, content, skill, etc.)?

I’ve worked as a reporter on daily newspapers, so I’m used to writing fast and to the point, and that’s what you need for blogging. I don’t feel that regular blogging has had any influence on my style. But for someone without my journalism background I would recommend regular blogging as a way to develop discipline and writing skills.

5. Has your blog helped promote your work as an author? (book sales, freelance work, etc.)

I wish it had, but no sign of that.

6. Do you have another book planned? If so describe . . .

I’m concerned that we are moving away from our reliance on the stories of the Bible as the bedrock of our culture. The story of the Good Samaritan is an example. It used to be that you always tried to help a stranger in trouble. Not any more. I’ve prepared quite a detailed outline for a book on this topic, and entered it last year for a literary scholarship being offered here in Australia by a Christian group. From hundreds of entries I came second. The winner got a $10,000 book-writing award. The second-place getter (me) got a laminated certificate. So the book remains in the outline stage.

7. Who are your favorite blog writers?

There are lots, and as with tasty desserts you have to limit yourself. So right now the only two I read every day are Andrew Sullivan and Tim Blair.

8. Who are some of your favorite non-bloggers?

Try crikey.com a local combination of the British “Private Eye” magazine (gossip, scandal and whistle-blowing) and the American “Drudge Report”.

9. Name one person who doesn’t have a blog but should get one.

Anne Lamott

10. Where do you see blogs going? Is it a fad or a trend?

It’s hard work to do well. If the best bloggers don’t somehow start making
money from their efforts I wonder how long they’ll keep at it.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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