In this series of interviews, I’m talking to a bunch of people who are the lifeblood of the #indieauthor. Their hard work and time, their enthusiasm and commitment, enables the #selfpublishing community to thrive. Simply put, if they didn’t review and promote our books, no one would know about us. Which is why I thought it was time to turn the tables and ask them the questions.
My guest is Beth from Before We Go. Her blog champions #indieauthors (big time!) which is great news because Beth is widely respected by everyone in the writing/publishing business. She and her team are judges for SPFBO as well. Let’s find out more about her.
1. Tell us about yourself, Beth.
It is wild being on the end of the interview! Hello, My name is Beth Tabler, I like long walks on the beach, Pina Coladas…oh wait. This isn’t that kind of interview. Ahem. Hi I am Beth, I am a 43 year old (god, where did the time go?) mother of one. Vivian, who is 8 going on 16. I have a wonderful husband whom I have been married to for 15 years now, but we originally first met in the seventh grade.
I used to live in Portland Oregon, but moved back to Las Vegas last year to help my ailing parents. My dad recently just passed as many know. I received an amazing amount of support that allowed me to put one foot in front of the other and survive the grief thanks to the writing community.
My first love has always been the written word, but my second love is plants. I have a degree in landscape architecture, and am a master gardener. If you have garden questions, I am your gal.
2. What prompted you to start blogging and reviewing?
Funnily enough, Twitter and my book of lists. Originally my website was a place where I could chart some of my bucket list projects, hence the name. But as I went on, more and more of my projects were book related which should not shock anyone. One day while perusing book twitter, there was a challenge to blog everyday for a month and I thought, “I can do that!” The next month, there was a different challenge, and I became a book blogger.
3. In a typical week, how much time do you spend reading and blogging?
20 hours, at least. I actually haven’t been reviewing as much as I used to and switched to more formatting and magazine stuff. Plus, I constantly listen to audio books, so the number of hours might be much higher depending on how you look at it. But definitely not as much as some folks. I am look at you David at Fanfi. Holy moly, he reads a lot.
4. Do you have a favourite type of book? Or genre? Can we tempt you to list some favourite authors?
That is like asking me to name my favourite child. Lol I believe that if Dyrk had a fan club for Paternus, I’d be the president, or at least have pom poms. I am a huge fan of the series, and have been very very, embarrassingly, vocal about it. If I had my way, everyone would get a copy of Paternus. Also a giant fan of Essa Hansen, she has written some of the most original science fiction that I have ever read. Also, The Maleficent Seven, Grave Beginnings, Dresden Files, anything by Grady Hendrix, Richard Kadrey, Justin Call and Matt Dinniman. But, there is so much incredible work being produced, I feel like I am living in a golden age.
Genre wise, grimdark. Give me your dark, give me your depraved, give me your flawed heroes and I will give you my rapt undivided attention.
5. Reviewing and blogging requires energy and commitment. What sustains you?
Learning that stepping back here and there does not mean that everything I have worked hard on goes boom. Also I have developed some incredible friendships, the folks on BWGB and Grimdark Magazine have become lifelong friends. I really am part of two of the coolest crews ever.
6. Conversely, what annoys you about this job?
“Are audiobooks real books?” “You aren’t a real fantasy fan unless you read pretty much any Gatekeeping. It is a big world and there is room for all of us to play in SFF. I’ll be damned if someone comes at me like I am not a SFF fan because I haven’t read Malazan (I haven’t by the way).
7. What “ingredients” does a book need to have to really get you excited. I’m not talking generic things like world building or character either. More specific things.
I love a good urban fantasy with a smart ass. If there is smart-assery involved, I will be there buying the book on day 1. Also, pets as supporting characters. I really want a cat named Donut and an Irish Wolfhound that I can name Oberon now. (Beth is talking about Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles with her Oberon reference. Highly recommended, they're great fun! Phil.)
8. If you were a character in a fantasy story, what kind of role would you play? And would you survive to the final page?!
Plucky best friend who steals the show. i.e. Samwise. I’d like to think I have main character energy, but probably not. But I certainly can walk up Mount Doom carrying my friend.
9. You’re going on holiday and you’re going to have lots of time to relax. What five books would you take with you?
Sleep No More – Seanan McGuire
Master of the Fallen – Justin T. Call
Bookshops and Bonedust – Travis Baldree
The Judas Blossum - Stephen Aryan
Starter Villain – John Scalzi (My review of this brilliant story is here. Phil)
It will have to be a long vacation. Justin’s books have much chonk.
10. You help authors in lots of ways. Tell us how.
I don’t feel like I do enough, so I am always trying to figure out ways to get more connections made between readers and writers. I feature them on BWG, retweet post, cheer, support, buy books… I respect the hell out of authors, and you all put your heart and soul on the page and I do my darndest to honour that.
11. Tell us what qualities matter when you write a book review. Not everyone finds them easy to do so what do you comment on and why?
My formula is if you break a book into three sections, opening, action, resolution I talk about the opening (authors voice, characters, backstory), I hint at the action, and vaguely reference an ending. No spoilers, tell the truth and call out that there is a positive thing to say about every book out there. Even if I dislike your book intensely, I will not lambaste it. I talk about highlights and what might work for another person. It may be another person’s favourite book ever. And they aren’t easy to do. Some are, some books leave you in a swirling haze of feelings, but some books are just fun. “This book was super fun” lacks some gravitas.
12. You’ve always been an active supporter of #indieauthors. Why?
Lots of reasons, but mainly the indie scene feels like the future. Brick and mortar houses are dying off, publishing is fundamentally changing. Indie authors are also not constrained by trends, they write whatever the hell they want and that is exciting.
13. Which superhero would you be? (Marvel or DC!)
Does Spider Jerusalem count?
14. When you read, do you listen to music? If so, what kind?
Nope, not when I am reading. But I love music. I like Triphop a lot, or dubstep lol. Depends on my mood.
15. Finally, if our readers want to discover more reviewers/bloggers, who would you recommend?
Anyone on the Grimdark Magazine Team or Before We Go