Today we have a chat with Mary from the Chick Lit Shop blog. Hi Mary, welcome to the RNA blog!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am terribly shy. On the one hand, I love meeting new authors & helping them produce their very best book, whether by my new proofreading service or a help on a blurb or cover tweaking decision. But on social media posts, I really have to push to overcome my innate perfectionism & performance anxiety. The warm and welcoming romance community has really helped me overcome my natural shyness & I am learning so much from all these talented authors. Consider me permanently “star-struck”!
You used to have a different blog (Ms B’s Book blog). Tell us about your journey from there to the new the site.
As I outlined in my original blog, Ms. B’s Book Blog, in October 2014, I experienced a tragic smartphone failure. Unable to access a library due to debilitating health reasons, I began seeking free books on Kindle. To my surprise, I discovered that chick lit, or rom com, was having a resurgence in the Indie community. I had missed reading chick lit, and read voraciously for a year. After a very bad breakup of a long-term relationship, I reached out to several authors to compliment them on the exceptional quality of their writing & how much their books meant to me during my trying times. They all thanked me for being a fan & one suggested that I should start a blog. After questioning whether one ordinary person could make a difference, now three years later, I can definitely say, “Yes, they can.”
On the three year anniversary, in November 2018, I started the new book blog, Chick Lit Shop. The name change is to reflect that my blog now has an online bookstore component through the Amazon Influencer program. I am very excited about this new vital feature of Chick Lit Shop. I want my readers to have a one-stop shop for some really excellent rom com & cozy books.
What do you look for in good read?
I am always on the hunt for the unique story. A witty title, a colorful & unique cover, a quirky blurb or premise will always catch my eye. I also love to read debut novels. I can (& will) overlook the odd bit of newbie clunkiness, but my main concern is, can you tell me an engaging story? Do you make me sympathetic with your characters and keep me turning pages because I genuinely have no idea what will happen next? Or, if it’s familiar, do you tell it so well that I want to read the thrilling, if stereotypical end? After all, we know that most times, the boy will get the girl, but it’s the journey that’s the most fun!
As I restart this new book blog, I want to focus on rom coms & cozies that tell unique & well-written tales. I also want to make sure that at least 25% of the books I focus on are diverse in someway, whether WOC, AOC, STEM, international and/or disability. My main focus is on finding book characters in their 30’s-40’s, because most of my contemporaries are in that age bracket and we are hungry for representation in our beloved genres. Also, there are additional readers who would love to read both older or younger protagonists, so I will look for those age brackets as well.
What‘s the best way to get in touch with you to request a review?
The best way to get in touch with me is by DM on Facebook or Twitter. I can also be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were able to host a fantasy dinner party for your favourite authors (alive or dead), who would you choose as your guests and what would you prepare for them?
I love hosting and love getting a diverse crowd together. In my dream fantasy dinner party, I would have three tables, one for each of my favorite genres: chick-lit / romcom, mild sci-fi romance (SFR), and mild paranormal romance (PNR). At each table, I’d invite my favorite authors for each genre and ask THEM to invite their favorite or most inspirational author, so that I could discover even more fantastic authors! At the top chick-lit table, I would invite Tracie Banister, Meredith Schorr, Stacey Weidower, Hilary Grossman, and Becky Monson. I have a feeling that some of their invites might be Sophie Kinsella, Jane Austen, and Meg Cabot! For the sci-fi romance table, I would invite my absolute favorite Lea Kirk! I’d also like to invite Diane Valere and Diane Burton. At that table, I know we’d be talking about Star Trek & other fantastic new-to-me SFR authors. Finally, at the PNR table, I’d invite Laura Kenyon. I’d hope she’d introduce me to more PNR authors like her, because her series just completely absorbed me in its complexity and intricate subplots! Hmm, I’m feeling a re-read coming on! 😉
We often ask industry professionals what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what do you hope to see more of in 2019?
As I just mentioned in my first radio interview (thanks, author Patricia W. Fischer!), I really do think with the recent success of debut author Helen Huong’s The Kiss Quotient & the recent up-tick in the number of rom com movies aired on streaming services (here in the USA), that diverse rom com, in both books & movies, is on the rise. I hope that the publishing houses continue to support diverse authors & stories with diverse characters & I hope that hybrid & independent authors who are providing quality unique stories of all kinds, continue to be noticed and read by greater & greater number of fans. I hope by focusing my blog on finding up to 25% of diverse books, I can contribute to helping these authors & stories find the readers that love them! All authors, regardless of traditional, hybrid, or independent, if they have a wonderful, good quality product, I wish them the greatest success. This, is what I consider my role as a rom com book blogger, to be a quality author’s biggest cheerleader! I’m rooting for you!!! You can do it!!! 🙂
Thank you for participating on the blog, Mary!
You can find out about Mary and read her book reviews on her website:
Rhoda Baxter writes feel good stories about strong women and nice guy heroes. She especially likes it when they make her laugh. She also writes multi-cultural romances as Jeevani Charika. You can find out more about her award nominated books and mentoring services on www.rhodabaxter.com