Page Turners: Finding out more about the Reviewing Community
The tables have turned – this time the author’s asking the questions.
Blogs and websites have been hosting author interviews for decades, giving readers a chance to get to know their favorite writers on a more personal level. But today we’re going to flip the mold, having an author interview a book reviewer. So buckle up, grab your favorite caffeinated beverage, and prepare to dive into what makes a book reviewer tick!
Behrg: Today we’ll be interviewing Kate Moloney of Bibliophile Book Club. Kate is an amazing supporter of authors with an incredible insight and just an all-around wonderful person. So first off, Kate, tell us a little about your platform. Where do you post reviews and how long have you been reviewing?
Kate: Thanks so much for having me, Brandon! I’ve been reviewing books for six years, as I was reliably informed by WordPress this past week. It really doesn’t feel like it has been that long. But I remember I started while I was on maternity leave with our daughter, as a way to keep my brain occupied!
I blog at Bibliophile Book Club (www.bibliophilebookclub.com), not to be confused with an actual book club. Although, that happens quite regularly. I guess that is one of the perils of not thinking the name through completely at the time. I also have a brilliant guest reviewer, Ellen, who takes part in lots of blog tours and writes great reviews for the blog too. I couldn’t keep it going without her!
Behrg: Outside of reading, what are some of your favorite things to do? What’s something no one in the horror/book blogging community would suspect about you?
Kate: Outside of reading?! I mean, what does that even mean?! ☺
Anyone that knows me will tell you I’m not one for hobbies, so reading really is my most favorite thing to do.
I’m married with two kids, so we spend a lot of our time trying to keep the kids busy and active! I love going for coffee, going for walks, things like that. Watching movies, cooking and home renovation shows, the usual stuff really!
Trying to think of something no one would suspect of me is really difficult! I guess maybe that I love the goth aesthetic (I usually only wear black, dark and creepy candles, etc.) but I am an absolute sucker for a good rom-com movie. I LOVE THEM! And I cannot watch horror movies/ tv shows. At all. I can’t handle the scare-factor. I’m the worst, I know.
Behrg: Ha! While I know you’re a goth enthusiast I had no idea you were a sucker for a good rom-com! I hope you keep those creepy candles burning while watching them. 🙂
Any favorite sub-genres under the horror umbrella? Any you don’t particularly care for? Same questions but for common tropes in the genre?
Kate: In terms of reading horror, I haven’t actually read that many. And any I have read, have come back to haunt me in my dreams, which does my anxiety no good at all! That being said, I’ve read quite a few psychological horrors, and when they are done well they are phenomenal. I think because I scare easily, and have been having issues with anxiety, I’ve read less than I am able to, but I have some great books on my TBR shelves ready to go when I am able for them.
Behrg: You bring up a really good point here, and I remember a few years back when you posted about not being in a state of mind for horror back then. Often I think people turn to the horror genre to escape the terrors of our everyday lives. Finding fictional scares that work within a contextual framework can provide a release from some of the horrors that don’t always make sense in our real world. But if fictional worlds are causing more anxiety than they’re releasing, it certainly makes sense to tread those waters with care.
Any thoughts on how authors can help readers who may be wary of certain topics?
Kate: That’s a really good question. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s even up to authors to help because if a reader wants to read a book they’re probably going to read it. Almost like a petulant child going against what they know is the right thing to do.
In my own experience, I read so many crime and psychological thrillers leading up to my anxiety attacks, that it was most definitely detrimental to my mental health but I didn’t realize it until it happened to me.
I know that people use trigger warnings now as a way to let readers know what to expect, and I guess that’s really all you can do. Ultimately, it’s up to the reader to choose whether or not to pick up the book.
Behrg: Physical books or digital?
Kate: Both. I don’t discriminate. Reading is reading, no matter what the format is. I read much faster on my Kindle, but I can also read a book quite quickly. If I’m left alone. Which doesn’t happen often. I like the ease of a Kindle, and the fact that I can have literally thousands of books with me. But I also love the smell and feel of a book. Hence my shelves are packed with them!
Behrg: With two young kids at home I can all but guarantee you’re rarely left alone! 🙂 Writing well-thought reviews takes time. What are some of the things that keep you going?
Kate: I find it really hard to write reviews, if I am to be honest. I am not the best with words, and finding ways to say how much I enjoyed a book can be really hard sometimes. The only thing I can do is try to convey just how much I loved the book, what I liked about it and so on. I read a lot of reviews, and it’s only natural that I end up comparing mine with others, which is not necessarily a good thing. Similar to being an author, I’m sure! But for me, it has always been about sharing the book love. So that’s what I aim to do with my reviews.
Behrg: Beautifully said! I think sometimes people fear they don’t have something unique to say about a book they love so instead they don’t say anything. Even if you feel it’s already been said, sharing even a sentence or two of what you enjoyed can make such a difference and help another reader discover something they wouldn’t have without your thoughts!
If you had only one author you could read for the rest of your life, who would you choose and why? What if you had only three?
Kate: Ohhhhh, that is a tough question. I used to only read crime and thrillers up until about 2 years ago, so that is the genre I am probably the most widely read in.
So, I guess I would have to say Michael Connelly. His Harry Bosch series is one of my all-time favorites. I see something different in them every time I read them, and they are just so well written. So, he would be the one or one of three for sure.
J. K. Rowling would have to be in there. I could happily re-read the Harry Potter series for the rest of my life. There is a comforting feeling between those pages for me. There is no other way to describe it.
I wasn’t going to go for a second crime author, but needs must. It has to be Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series. It’s a bit like the Potter books, there is something comforting in a series. And with Reacher, you always know what you’re going to get. He ends up somewhere, with just a toothbrush, goes to find coffee and ends up brawling. Yes, it is simple, but for me, it works every time and I will never not buy the latest Reacher novel.
Behrg: I’m a huge Connelly fan, myself. As you mentioned, his books are always unique despite having a long-running series, plus his characters are just pure fun. The same could be said of any of these, really!
What’s some advice you could give to those just starting to build a platform to review books? What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered and how have you navigated them?
Kate: I think the main thing anyone who wants to review books is aiming for, is to spread the word about books they’re reading and loving. I hope. That is really all you need. A love of books and a need to share it. The rest will follow. My only advice is to not say yes to everything. You could end up overwhelmed and it could start to feel like a chore.
For me, the biggest challenges are the ones I created for myself. I put too much pressure on myself to feel like I had to say yes and do everything for fear of missing out. It’s not worth it if it makes you feel like you have to do something, as opposed to wanting to do it.
I took a step back from the blog and reviewing and just did things I enjoyed for a while, which definitely helped. I say yes a lot less now, and I’m much more relaxed about it all.
Behrg: This is such important advice! There’s a balance that needs to be found in everything, even things like breathing, sleeping, or reading! 🙂
Favorite read of 2020 so far? Favorite read of 2019? Of all time?
Kate: Favourite read of 202 so far would have to be We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (crime). Favorite read of 2019 may have been Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I’m a big fan of his stuff and Godsgrave had been high on my list of anticipated reads as I loved Nevernight. I read a lot more fantasy and sci-fi books now than I ever used to, so it’s been fun getting to read all this new stuff!
Behrg: Godsgrave hasn’t been on my radar, but it is now! I’ll have to check it out.
Do you write fiction yourself and, if so, have you published anything? If not, how has reviewing books allowed you to grow as a writer?
Kate: I don’t write fiction at all. Although that’s not for the want of other people trying to get me to do something. I have ideas for crime and fantasy books, but neither has gone past the “I have this idea” stage, and I don’t even know whether or not I would like to write them. I’ve read so many books in these genres, so I have a fairly good idea as to what’s already out there, but I just don’t think I could match them.
Writing reviews is definitely a good way to hone writing skills in terms of language and structure, but I tend to just get very shouty about enjoying the book and coherent sentences take a back seat sometimes ☺
Behrg: Shout away!! 🙂 There’s no right answer here, but how do you personally handle reviews for books you don’t care for? Do you finish every book you read or do you move on if a book isn’t grabbing you?
Kate: I always find this one hard. If the author has approached me to read their book, and I end up not enjoying it, then I tend to email them and let them know it wasn’t for me. Honesty is always the best policy I think. In terms of review copies, if I don’t enjoy them, I don’t review them.
I used to finish every book I read, no matter how much I wasn’t enjoying them. Not anymore. If I’m not hooked in the first 100 pages or so, I don’t end up reading it. I know what I like and don’t like in books now, so I don’t feel I have to put myself under pressure to read a book I will end up not reviewing anyway.
Behrg: I wish this was something more people committed to! If a book isn’t right for you, it’s perfectly okay to hand it back and let the author or publisher know!
What advice would you give authors looking to have their books reviewed? What are some of the best ways authors have asked you to review their book? Some of the worst? Anything you’d like to let authors know regarding the etiquette of requesting a review?
Kate: I think the only thing I can say is, be nice. Most reviewers are doing this as a hobby. We don’t get paid. We make the time to read and review books. Being courteous is honestly the best way to go about asking for a review.
I don’t think I’ve been unlucky with review requests. I guess the only ones I will not even consider are the ones that take it as writ that you will just read the book they’ve attached and post a review on the date they mention in their email. No. Just no!
If you use our name and make it more personal than “hello reviewer” I’m more likely to read the rest of the email. Most reviewers have a review policy on their blog, read that before emailing because they tend to have what you need to know written there. Preferred genres, open to requests, preferred methods of receiving review copies and so on. Reading that policy, or asking what their policy is will make it clearer what suits both parties I think.
Behrg: Excellent advice!
As part of the horror author community, let me say a huge thank you from all of us for all that you do to support indie, hybrid, and traditionally published authors. Honest reviews not only help others discover our work, but can sometimes be the encouragement an author needs to keep doing what we do. Any last words you’d like to share with authors, fellow reviewers or casual readers?
Kate: Thanks again for having me, Brandon. It’s been lovely to chat about books and reviewing! ☺ The only think I will say is keep reading, there are so many worlds to discover. Read what you love, no matter what genre. Reading is reading regardless of what you choose. Read to your family, your kids, your grandkids, just keep reading. And add some reviews to online sites because authors need them!
Behrg: Spoken from a true bibliophile! 🙂 To check out the sites Kate haunts or to connect with her, follow the links below. Stay kind to each other!
Bibliophile Book Club
My name is Kate and I am addicted to books! 😉
I love books. No, really, I LOVE BOOKS!!! My day does not feel complete if I haven’t read a few pages ( ahem, chapters!!!) of a book.
I find solace and comfort in reading, it is my escape.
My favourite books to read are crime, thriller, mystery, psychological and police procedurals so there will be a lot of those on here! AND I’m expanding my horizons a little to include sci-fi, fantasy and YA novels too as crime can only go in so many directions!
I finally decided to start blogging about books and reading because as much as I enjoy everyone else’s blogs, pages and sites, I wanted to create my own.
Welcome to Bibliophile Book Club. My home away from home…
A former child actor turned wanna-be rockstar, The Behrg is the author of the Internationally best-selling novel Housebroken and the thrilling Creation Series. His short work can be found in anthologies from Bloodshot Books, Comet Press, Omnium Gatherum, and Cemetery Dance. A mental health advocate, Behrg often explores the themes of mental illness within his work, albeit within a horror backdrop.
Behrg lives in Southern California with his wife and four kids where he still plays in a band, plays in fictional worlds of his own creating, and plays—quite poorly, he might add—at being an adult.
When coloring, he does not stay within the lines.
Stalk him at www.thebehrg.com
Check out The Behrg’s GoodReads page HERE
The Behrg’s Amazon author page can be found HERE
Follow The Behrg on Twitter @TheBehrg
Facebook: Do people still use that thing?
The Behrg Free Fiction: HERE