I discovered your channel a few months ago and have watched basically all your videos now! How did you get into reviewing books online, and why?
I had toyed with starting a channel for a while but just didn’t have the confidence to do it, nor the equipment. But when I was given an advance copy of Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to make my first video since it might get some views from people.
Once I did, I realized that I could fill in a fun void that I felt existed in the fantasy BookTube space, because I like to do my reviews with zero prep or edits, and I don’t really see anyone else do that except for Brian Lee Durfee.
How have you found being a part of the book community, talking with authors/reviewers etc?
It’s been extremely fun because the enormous majority of people I interact with are so positive that it’s hard not to enjoy yourself. I’ve also found it personally rewarding because before I was making content, I didn’t have anyone I could really discuss books with – but now I have tons of people to talk about the books I am reading and it’s extremely fun.
What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover art, the author, premise…?
It’s a big mix of recommendations from friends, trying to read all the “popular” adult fantasy series, and finding authors that I like and then trusting that I will also enjoy other books they have written.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
I’ve always read a lot, ever since I learned how to read in the 1st grade. But for fantasy specifically it was in 2011 when I got a copy of A Game of Thrones and my love for fantasy really sparked. I read A Song of Ice and Fire multiple times, and I’m sure I will always go back to it every several years.
What are your favourite books/authors?
My favorite recent reads within the past year have been Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings, all of John Gwynne’s books, and Brian Lee Durfee’s The Five Warrior Angels. They will forever go down as some of my favorite books of all time.
My all time favorite author however is Steven Erikson, specifically his series Malazan: Book of the Fallen. I believe those books are the greatest things ever written, and I doubt that will ever change.
You have read and reviewed a few progressive fantasy series on your channel. What book introduced you to the sub-genre and what do you like so much about it?
I was introduced to it from fan recommendations who told me to read Cradle by Will Wight. I was instantly drawn to it and had never read anything quite like it. It gives that feeling of playing a video game and just getting sucked in and forgetting how long you’ve been reading it. I don’t think the books in this genre are the most well written books that exist, but they most certainly are the most fun.
What do you like to do outside of reading and creating content online?
The main two things I do outside of reading/making content is working as a Chief of Staff for a politician in the California Legislature, and spending time with my wife and two children. I coach their sports teams, and try to spend every waking hour I have outside of work/books with them.
Who are your go-to content creators?
My favorite content creators are Shelf Centered, Books with Benghis Kahn, and The Library of Allenxandria. I watch all of their stuff as soon as it is posted. I really connect with their personalities and book tastes.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a BookTube/Bookstagram/Book Review website?
Don’t worry about making good content, just make whatever you want to make and enjoy yourself. The key is to learn how to make better content over time, not right away – and the only way to get better at it (like with anything) is by practice. Just put out as many videos as you can and learn over time.
If you could be any fantasy character, who would you be and why?
Matrim Cauthon from The Wheel of Time. He’s just such an entertaining figure, and doesn’t have the whole weight of the world sitting on top of him like many other fantasy protagonists. Would be fun to go through life with his more carefree perspective.