I love your YouTube channel! How did you get into reviewing books online, and why?
Thank you so much! I started my channel on January 1st, 2020, and it honestly was just a way for me to talk about books I cared about to a wider audience since I didn’t have that opportunity much in my sphere of “real life”. I’ve always loved talking about books and learning about characters and themes and all the parts of storytelling.
How have you found being a part of the book community, talking with authors/reviewers etc?
I love it. When I returned to Booktube in mid-2022, I found the community I’d been missing up to that point. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many amazing people: authors, reviewers, Booktubers… people who are passionate about good stories and how we tell them. Every day I get to meet someone new and hear the real life stories alongside the fictional ones.
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?
Honestly the indie authors are bringing some serious heat these days and I love it. I think there are more resources and possibilities than ever before for self-published authors and it shows in the quality of the books that are being produced. Like anything, I still am discerning about what I choose to read and I do take reviews from trusted sources seriously, but I would do the same with traditionally published books as well. I think it’s incredibly important to highlight writers who are putting in exceptional amounts of work, not just to write their stories, but to design, format, market, do all the office work… it’s a lot. I really enjoy being part of the journey and helping spotlight them however I can. There’s something really cool about being one of the first people to write a review for a new book, to see other people picking it up because of your recommendation, and knowing that you’re helping someone launch the beginnings of their career. It’s a special collaboration.
What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover art, the author, premise…?
All of the above? Lol! I’m a sucker for a fabulous cover (aren’t we all?), and if I’ve read the author before and enjoyed their work, I’m much more likely to seriously consider future books or even books that they recommend. I do enjoy a fairly wide range of premises in stories, but I won’t lie, if you have a motley crew with some fast paced battle action and great emotional impact in between? I’m all over it.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
When I was very, very young, I remember sitting with my grandfather on the couch and he would read classics like Robinson Crusoe to me and tell me stories. He’s a storyteller and I credit him with much of my early love of listening to people’s life stories. I actually struggled to start reading when I was young and didn’t really get going until I was 9 or 10. But once it clicked, I would bring home paper grocery bags full of books and have them all read in two weeks. I was a horse NUT so I went through all the “girl wants a horse and mucks out the stalls at a stable” series at my library. Anything I could get my hands on with a horse in it. As I grew older, I started really gravitating toward stories with incredible emotional depth, and when it was paired with fantasy, that was home.
What do you like to do outside of reading and creating content online?
I’m a mom of three, and we homeschool our kiddos, so my house is pretty crazy and busy most of the time. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for almost thirteen years now. I’m a serial creative and entrepreneur, I’ve owned 5 fairly successful small businesses since I was a teenager ranging from handspun yarn and fiber arts to selling clothing. In all of those experiences, my favorite part was networking with people and creating a community, so this current venture is sort of a combination of all of my favorite passions.
Who are your go-to content creators?
Oof that’s a hard question to answer concisely. There’s so many incredible creators in this community! I have to admit that I get most of my book content through Youtube these days. If anyone is looking for new channels to follow, please feel free to DM me for a bigger list because there are so many great ones! I’ll just mention a couple channels that I’ve been really loving these last few weeks. My friend Kay over at Kay’s Hidden Shelf gives really beautiful, thoughtful reviews in the most calming voice you’ve ever heard. My friend Varsha over at Reading By The Rainy Mountain is a newer channel with great insight into the themes of fantasy series. And last but not least, my friend Matt over on MattOnBooks is equal parts humor and wisdom and is a big fan of a wide variety of series.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a BookTube/Bookstagram/Book Review website?
Just start! Honestly you’ll learn so much along the way. Finding your voice and how you want to run your channel or website is a learning process, and it takes time to settle in. After three years, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own voice, so everyone is different! And if you’re not sure where to start, talk about your favorites. Pick something you’re passionate about and start there! It doesn’t matter if someone has already said something about it. YOU haven’t, and your perspective adds to the growth and momentum of conversation. Reach out, make friends, and see where it goes!
If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?
Selene from Underworld or Itami Cho from The Mortal Techniques by Rob J Hayes. They’re both fantastic warrior characters and Selene has been one of my favorites since I was a teenager.
What are some of your favorite recent reads, and what are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Shogun by James Clavell and Augustus by John Williams. Some favorite reads recently have been Spirits of Vengeance by Rob J Hayes and Seasons of Albadone by Christopher Warman and Élan Marché.