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 Jodie from the Witty and Sarcastic Book CLub. One of the things that grabs the attention on Jodie's site is the diversity of her reading categories. There's non-fiction as well as almost every genre you can mention. This is someone who really does enjoy reading! Let's find out more.
1. Tell us about yourself, Jodie.
Thank you for having me! My name is Jodie, and I run the blog, Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub. I
do a little bit of everything on my blog: reviews, cover reveals, book spotlights, and the
occasional themed blog series. I especially like to talk about indie books. I enjoy many different
genres, but fantasy is my go-to. I live in Florida with my wonderful husband and two children,
all of whom are (relatively) patient when I rant about my latest favorite book.
2. What prompted you to start blogging and reviewing?
I am a Florida transplant, having moved here from the other side of the U.S. I’ve made some
great friends, but at the time that my blog originated, I didn’t know too many big SFF readers in
the area. Southern fiction and Christian fiction are the popular genres in the area, neither of
which are my favorites.
My husband, smart man that he is, suggested starting a blog, just to have some place to write
my thoughts about the books I’d read. I didn’t actually expect anyone to read my blog. I am still
flabbergasted by that. The many friendships I’ve made with book bloggers and authors have
been an incredible unexpected gift.
3. In a typical week, how much time do you spend reading and blogging?
Oh goodness, not math! I homeschool my kids and am taking some online classes myself, so
time isn’t a commodity I have a lot of. At least once a week, I find myself thinking of Bilbo
feeling like butter scraped over too much bread. Luckily for me, I can go from zero to nose-in-abook in about thirty seconds flat. I read whenever I get a free moment, probably around fifteen
hours or so a week. I spend around six to eight hours on various blog content during any given
4. Do you have a favourite type of book? Or genre? Can we tempt you to list some
Oh, these are my favorite kinds of questions! Fantasy is my bread and butter, but high fantasy is
my favorite. I love my fantasy to be incredibly immersive, with worlds that are fully developed,
with their own histories, mythologies, and customs. I love getting lost in someone else’s vision,
so to speak. Add in a group of characters with relatable flaws, fears, and strengths, and I’m sold.
As for favorite authors, I have to start that list with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Their
Dragonlance Chronicles jumpstarted my ongoing love of fantasy. I’ve reread those books more
times than I can count. Dorian Hart is an author that I love (seriously, everyone should read The
Heroes of Spira), and I can’t wait to continue The Archives of Evelium by Jeffrey Speight. Erin
Morgenstern and Alix E. Harrow are both auto-buy authors for me. Going completely off-genre,
I also love anything by Alexandre Dumas.
5. Reviewing and blogging requires energy and commitment. What sustains you?
I think it’s all about balance, although a fair amount of coffee helps! Honestly, reading and
blogging are how I relax. I love doing it. The most stress I get from blogging is what I put on
myself. I have a habit of wanting to do more than I am capable of doing, so I’ve had to work on
being okay with declining a book review request, even though I want to say yes to every book. If
it starts to become too much for me, I’ll ease up or take a break. Knowing that someone is
reading a book based on my recommendation, or seeing an author get a bit of a smile from a
rave review makes it more than worth the energy.
6. Conversely, what annoys you about this job?
I hate the stigma against indie and self published books so, so much. The avenue of publishing
doesn’t decide a book’s value and it annoys me to no end when people assume that anything
other than the traditional publication route is low quality. I’m not a confrontational person, but
that really ticks me off.
Other than that, I have an ongoing feud with my Wordpress site. Ha ha!
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.
For me, this depends on the genre. I really love seeing “big” subjects like grief, loss, faith,
regret, and such whatnot being explored in unexpected ways or places. Sometimes people will
claim that only literary fiction is capable of touching on themes like that, which is bunk of
course. Some of the most brilliantly written books about human nature also feature wizards
and goblins. When I’m reading a fantasy book and it has deep and thought-provoking
observations about the human condition, for example, I get really excited. I like quiet moments
in books that cause me to pause and just soak in the brilliant words the author has just written.
Of course, I also love battles and dragons. I’m multi-faceted in that way.
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?!
Well, I’ll give you my answer and then I’ll tell you what my husband said because it made me
laugh. I think I’d be the character that gives that rousing inspirational speech at the crucial
moment- and then dies. I’d get maybe a few paragraphs tops, but darned if I’m not going to use
those paragraphs to help the heroes out. Maybe someone will name their horse after me, or
My husband says he thinks I’d use my wits to survive everything and eventually become the
next Big Bad. So, I guess it would depend on the day?
9. You’re going on holiday and you’re going to have lots of time to relax (so without the
family!) What five books would you take with you?
Ah, here’s where I cheat and count a trilogy as one book. I bet Nick didn’t warn you about me,
did he? I’d have to take the Dragonlance Chronicles, of course. Then, probably The Night Circus
because its beautiful prose would relax me. I’d have to bring my current reads. I’m reading The
Broken Javelin by Perrin D. Hayes and The Death I Gave Him by Em X Liu right now. Lastly, I’d
grab a book that I’m really looking forward to, so that would be The Hexalogists by Josiah
Bancroft. That’s a pretty good mix of books right there!
10. You help authors in lots of ways. Tell us how.
Well, thank you! I try to do a little bit of everything as far as formatting, but my favorite types of
posts are book reviews and the occasional blog series in which I team up with authors for
interviews, guest posts, or roundtable-like discussions. I love talking with authors and hopefully
giving them a chance to showcase their unique voices and books! I actually have a blog event
coming up that, while I originally spearheaded, has now spread over many blogs. This will be
year three of the Self-Published Authors Appreciation Week, which is exactly what it sounds
like. They can be a lot of work, but I love doing blog series. The bloggers and authors that I’ve
been privileged to work with are all wonderful, interesting people.
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?
I prefer to talk about what I like or dislike about a book. What that is depends on the book. I
know that is really vague, but I might love how a character is written in one book while the
setting or plot is what really stood out to me in another. That’s one reason that I avoid star
ratings whenever possible: I can’t always compare one book to another like that. I also think it’s
important to be respectful. If I don’t care for a book, I can usually still find something that I
appreciate. I never want to just tear into an author. Anything that doesn’t work for me could
easily be what someone else looks for in a book. At the end of the day, I kind of see my goal as a
reviewer as being sort of a matchmaker. I want to be able to help someone find their next
favorite book. That’s super cheesy, but it’s awesome to hear someone enjoying a book that I’ve
12. You’ve always been an active supporter of #indieauthors. Why?
It’s a combination of things. I very much dislike the assumptions that some people make about
indie books, usually without having ever read one. That stigma against indie books really
bothers me, and if I can use my little corner of the internet to shout about the great indie books
I’ve read, I’m happy to do so.
On top of that, I respect the heck out of indie authors, self-published authors in particular. They
not only write their books, they have to publicize them. That’s a whole different beast. If I can
help even a little with that, I’m happy.
And, of course, there’s the most important reason. I love great books. Many of them just
happen to be indie. Indie authors take risks, and often write things that might not be the
traditionally published trend at any given time, and I appreciate that. I like different and unique
13. Which superhero would you be? (Marvel or DC!)
My favorite superhero ever is Stupendous Man from Calvin and Hobbes. Between Marvel and
DC, though, I’d have to go with Marvel. I enjoyed the X-Men cartoon when I was younger. I’m
really clumsy, so in any superhero universe, I’d be the superhero that can’t quite figure out how
to control their power.
14. When you read, do you listen to music? If so, what kind?
I can read with or without music. Usually, my kids are running around being their wonderful,
noisy selves, and that’s the background noise.
15. Finally, if our readers want to discover more reviewers/bloggers, who would you
I know I’m going to accidentally leave off a favorite, then wake up feeling awful about it at 3
a.m. Here’s a short list, though.
Beth Tabler and her amazing team at Before We Go Blog - @BethTabler
H.C. at The Irresponsible Reader - @HCNewton
Mark at Fantasy Book Nerd - @FantasyBookNerd
Peat at Peat Long’s Blog - @PeatLong
Sue at Sue’s Musings - @SueBavey
Filip at The Grimoire Reliquary - @TheFilipMagnus
Tabitha at Behind the Pages - @Behindthepages1
Rowena at Beneath a Thousand Skies - @R_M__Andrews
David at Blue Book Balloon - @Bluebookballoon
Misty at Aquavenatus AND Fantasy-Faction! - @AquaVenatus