An Interview with Kay’s Hidden Shelf (Creator Spotlight) - The Fantasy Review

An Interview with Kay’s Hidden Shelf (Creator Spotlight)

I’m so excited to introduce my interview with Kay’s Hidden Shelf! She’s a fantasy and science fiction BookTuber with the most chill videos you will ever watch!

Find her online:

Interview with Kay’s Hidden Shelf

The Interview

I discovered your channel very recently but I have been really enjoying binging all your videos! How did you get into reviewing books online, and why?

Wow, thank you so much, I’m honoured! Back in 2019 I discovered the online book community via BookTube. In time, I made friends within the community, joined lots of discord groups, buddy reads and learned the value reviews have for not just readers but also authors. Through writing reviews, I also found this allowed me to sit with the stories longer, reflect on them and overall enhance my reading experience. 

How have you found being a part of the book community, talking with authors/reviewers etc?

Overall, it’s been a great experience. The online book community has so many incredible people in it. They’re supportive, friendly and welcoming. I’ve learned alot from other reviewers and even authors as they’re always happy to chat or give advice. I’ve made many friends through the community and of course found some fantastic reads through their recommendations. It’s the best community I’ve found!

What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover art, the author, premise…?

I think it’s a combination of things including; recommendations, premise and cover. Like many others, my “to be read” pile is ever growing and I find checking the premise of a book helps me to determine if it would be a good fit for my reading tastes. However, I’m also guilty of buying a book simply because the cover caught my eye or even off of a friend’s recommendation. I’ve also found authors I love and will read whatever they put out. 

When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?

While I did start reading as a child, I struggled with it. I was behind in my reading skills and used Hooked on Phonics to help this. I did read short books on and off and eventually read books like The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel, and The GIver by Lois Lowry. As I got older, I read more and it wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I became an avid reader. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is the one book I continue to go back to for rereads. 

What are your favourite books/authors?

This might be a long list, but I’ve just had so many great reads.

Some of my recent favourite reads include: Declaimer’s Discovery by D.T. Kane, Thrice by Andrew D. Meredith, Wrath from the Mountains by D.A. Smith, and Seekers: The Winds of Change by Troy Knowlton.

My all-time favourite reads are: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham, Nomads of the Sea by Coby Zucker, Wistful Ascending, The Bloodsworn Saga by John Gwynne, The Alchemy of Sorrow by M.L.Wang and a variety of other authors (a short story anthology) and Bonds of Chaos by Zack Argyle.

You have read and reviewed quite a few Indie books. How have you found the quality of those books and how important do you think it is to highlight these writers?

The quality of the indie books I’ve read have been comparable to traditionally published books or better. Nomads of the Sea by Coby Zucker is a great example of this. The author spent nearly a year preparing the book for publishing and that doesn’t include writing time. This was time spent with the editor, early readers, and working out every detail with the story, world and characters. It paid off as his book is one of the most polished reads I’ve found and it was his first novel. You also have indie authors who go the extra mile and include full page illustrations throughout their books. 

These are hard working individuals who are passionate about their writing, same as any traditionally published author. Not only are they writing the stories but they’re also co-ordinating their marketing, cover art or illustrations, directly working companies to get their books published in proper formatting, working with their Beta Readers and ARC Readers directly, preparing audiobooks and more. That’s a lot to do on your own! 

I do think there’s a stigma about indie books, which is why highlighting them is important. I’ve personally found many of my favourite reads by indie authors and there are so many more I’m excited to read. 

What do you like to do outside of reading and creating content online?

In terms of hobbies, I play violin, ukulele, crochet, knit and I love baking bread. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom, so my days are focused on caring for and entertaining my child. 

Who are your go-to content creators?

There are many! I don’t think I can fit them all here but here are the top creators on my list.

For BookTubers: The Nerdy Narrative, Andrew’s Wizardly Reads, She Was Only Evie, Tori Talks, Bookish Chas, The Library of Allenxandria, Petrik Leo, Book Born, Rekindled Reader, Dominish Books, A.R. Witham, Fazila Reads, and Steve Talks Books.

Book Blogs: JamReads, P.L. Stuart, Escapist Book Co, FanFiAddict

For Violin: Two Set Violin and Hilary Hahn

What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a BookTube/Bookstagram/Book Review website?

Keep a balance and don’t let it overwhelm you. The moment it becomes stressful or is negatively impacting you, slow down or take a break. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and imposter syndrome are also big factors that play into this. Learning to manage these will also help. Ultimately, your life, well being and happiness come first.

If you could be any fantasy character, who would you be and why?

That’s such a hard choice! Many of the fantasy characters that come to mind go through some terrible stuff and I don’t want that. I guess I would have to go with Yuu from Pawn’s Gambit by Rob J. Hayes. A renowned strategist who uses cunning plans to achieve her goals. That just sounds like a great skill to have. 

Similar to our Interview with Kay’s Hidden Shelf

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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