Rel, thanks for being with us today. You’re a wife and mother. You’re an attorney. You’re an active member of a book club. You review books and post character sketches on your site, but also write for several other blogs. How do you keep all those balls in the air?
By juggling really, really quickly! Actually, you can ditch one of those “you’re” labels. After a fairly long and painful story, which I won’t bore people with, but it includes soul-searching, wrestling, and much prayer, I’ve left the law behind and am looking to focus on work within the CBA context. I think the trick is when you are truly passionate about something – in my case, supporting Christian storytellers and connecting them with readers – your juggling skills improve immeasurably! That said, I do need to be careful I’m not neglecting one area in favour of another.
What problems do you encounter because you blog about books written by people half a world and eight or nine time zones away from you?
Not as many as you may think! Face to face content is somewhat problematic but Skype is a wonderful thing J The internet and email has shrunk those borders and hurdles a lot. I’m in touch with authors, publicists, and publishers everyday even if it means getting out of bed a little earlier or staying up a bit late to catch people during their office hours.
How do you get your books?
I receive books from publicists and publishers for the most part who are looking for a review or other kind of promotion of their authors’ books, sometimes from the author directly (which to this day remains a thrill for me!), and yes, I even purchase some myself.
Your reviews are straightforward, and you emphasize that reviewing a book doesn’t guarantee you’ll endorse it. Have you had some less-than-positive feedback when you reviewed a book for which you didn’t care?
Honestly, not really. I will usually let the publisher or author know that I’m posting a less than stellar review, as a courtesy. My experience has been that as long as a review isn’t personally scathing, most authors are accepting of a review that contains feedback of a negative nature. I’ve recently posted a review for a very popular author which, while overall was positive, did contain a particular concern I had with one part of the story. That writer still posted the review on their social media. That’s a writer comfortable with their craft and who realise not everything is for everyone. I admire that and it makes me want to read their stories even more.
What do you do with review copies after you’ve finished reading them?
Keep them! What else do you do? Surely, you’re not suggesting I discard a book?!? Seriously, I find it extremely difficult to part with any of my books but around 12 years ago, long before I was reviewing, I began lending my books out to my family, friends, church members, friends of friends, and more ;-) Christian Fiction is pretty much inaccessible at public libraries in Australia, aside from the odd Kingsbury or Dekker novel, so it is a privilege for me to share the books I love so much with others. Reviewing books has been a Godsend in so many ways as it keeps me in books with which I can share the love! With nearly 3000 CF books, you can imagine what my house looks like, so the more I can lend the better for my family – LOL!
Have you ever considered joining the ranks of writers, instead of being a reviewer?
Nope! Having had the privilege to see firsthand the agony and ecstasy of the writing life, having walked along the publishing road with a number of dear author friends, I’m happier being the recipient of all that blood, sweat, and tears rather than have the personal experience of it!
Any final comments for my blog readers?
Never underestimate the power of a story, nor the effort, energy, and heartache a writer experiences creating that story. May a great book be just around the corner for you all!
Thanks Richard – what a treat to visit your blog. Thanks for having me, mate ;-)
Thank you, Rel. Readers, if you have any questions for this talented lady, please leave a comment.
And thanks for stopping by.
And thanks for stopping by.