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Surrealistic Planet

Meet the Bloggers: Jodie at Witty & Sarcastic Book Club

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-a￾book 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

week.


4. Do you have a favourite type of book? Or genre? Can we tempt you to list some

favourite authors?

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

something.

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

recommended!


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

things.


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

Recommend?

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

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