Hi and welcome to Meet the Bloggers. Today I am talking to Stacey Garrity, founder and wrangler of the review blog Whispering Stories. Stacey has been reading books since she was a small child and often has two or more on the go at once.
After reviewing books on Amazon, Goodreads and Waterstones for years, she thought it was time to put her reviews out there on her own blog.
After months of working alone, she found that her ‘To be Read’ pile was increasing, so now Whispering Stories has a team of reviewers – hence the wrangling.
Can you tell us about yourself please
Hi, I’m Stacey, forty-years-old and married to Steve. We have three boys aged 21, 15 and 12 and live in Manchester. I run Whispering Stories Book
Blog with my trusted team of reviewers. I am also a patient representative for the Manchester area for a charity called PIDUK (Primary Immunodeficiency UK), as my youngest son has a rare genetic life-threatening incurable illness called X-Linked Agammaglobulinemia, which roughly affects 4 in every 1,000,000 children born. He is alive thanks to the replacement immunoglobulin therapy treatment he has twice a week, made up of the white blood cells from donors. As well as my youngest son’s illness our 15-year-old is also Autistic, so I have my hands full.
How did you become involved in book blogging?
It all came about in 2015. After years of reading and writing my reviews on Amazon I decided to start a blog, with a bit of a push from the hubby. He bought the website domain for me as a valentines gift. The first posts went live in the 15th February 2015.
What is the best thing about blogging? What is the worst thing?
Best – Meeting other bloggers and authors. There is a real community in book blogging. Plus I get to read some fab books that I most likely would of overlooked had I not been asked to read them. The free books are also a bonus.
Worst – Gosh this is a hard one. I think possibly the length of time I spend online somedays. I’ve also met a few not very nice bloggers who have the mentality that blogging should only be for those that are teens/twenties, single and no kids, and that I shouldn’t be blogging at my age.
What is your favourite genre? What genres do you review?
Not sure on favourite, but I like thrillers, psychologicals, crime books, chick lit, humour, dystopian, YA (Yes I know I’m not the right age). It’s probably better for me to tell you what we don’t review:
How do you go about writing a review?
I tend to write my reviews in the morning or late at night. I like quietness. I’m a bit weird in that I can’t construct a review in a noisy environment. So if there are people talking, music playing, TV/Games console blaring I can’t write. The other morning I got part way through writing one and someone started using an Angle Grinder outside at 8am – Well that was it, I had to give up as my brain stopped working!
The way you write your reviews is fantastic, have you considered becoming an author?
Yes and no. I did a creative writing course a few years ago but decided it wasn’t for me. My hubby seems to think I should give it a go, but I’m useless at coming up with plots – plus, I’m not sure how well I would write with how hard I find writing reviews.
What have been some highlights you have had whilst blogging?
I’ve been to some fab events and met lots of wonderful authors, including Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting). I have also had the pleasure of seeing my words on the front cover of some books, or inside the cover. I’ve also been named in a book too as a character.
What type of blogging events do you love and take part in?
I don’t really take part in many blogging events. Even with living in Manchester there aren’t many local book events (except for book signings in shops). I did attend a few new author events earlier in the year and I’ve one scheduled in for October, although that is down south.
Any special places blogging has taken you to?
I partied in a London park a few years ago with the likes of Michele Gorman, Fionnuala Kearney, and Kerry Fisher to name but a few.
Which author would you most like to meet?
This is tough – I would probably say either Cassandra Clare, Jennifer L Armentrout, Veronica Roth, or Janet Evanovich. Mainly because it was through their books that I got back into reading after I stopped for a while a few years ago.
What advice would you give to authors wanting to approach you for a review, what would make you more inclined to accept requests etc
The key is to read the review policy before contacting us. If they follow the instructions that we have set out and call me by my name, then they have a better chance than those that come via Amazon etc and don’t even know my name.
Now to some fun questions about you:
Favourite movie: Top Gun or Scrooged – I could watch both of them over and over again.
Favourite music: I’m quite varied when it comes to music. I like songs rather than music
style. On my iPhone you will find a complete mixture of artists from Marvin Gaye to Jay Z. Linkin Park to Queen. Guns ‘N’ Roses to Muse. I love lots of era’s and styles.
Has to be Chicken Madras – I’ve eaten it every Saturday night since I was a child. That is our Saturday night takeaway.
Favourite book: Another tough question as I adore lots. The books I have read the most times are ‘The Snow Child’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (brilliant on stage if you ever get to watch it)
Favourite holiday destination: I’m toying between somewhere hot, like the Canaries Isles – We tend to go yearly. New York, I could live there, but I wouldn’t want to bring my children up in the city, or, Florida, for the parks – I love Epcot and Universal.
Pets: We have two pet rats called Chilli and Lime – My youngest son’s choice.
Besides books, do you have any other passion/hobbies?
Not really. I watch rubbish TV (So I’m told) Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Big Bang, Agents of Shield, S.W.A.T etc. I also collect things – apparently I have to add what I collect to the fun fact section, says my hubby. I used to do a lot of genealogy, but not so much these days. I’ve got my families history back hundreds of years and all over Europe on my maternal Great Grandmother’s side (I’ve even found royalty). My dad’s side I can’t get back any further than the 1800s and we’re still in Manchester.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive who would that be and why?
I’m not really a big fan of actors, actresses, musicians, as I just see them as doing a job and they get paid very well for it, so I don’t do starstruck or fandom etc. I would probably have to say someone like Queen Victoria or Florence Nightingale. Someone who made history.
What would be your idea of bliss?
I don’t really know. I suppose getting time to myself – but then when I do I miss people being around. Probably something boring like a massage or pedicure. Even just settling down with a good book and not being disturbed.
Any fun facts/stories you would like to share about yourself:
Apparently my hubby finds it funny that I collect Pop Funkos. Above my desk I have six shelves filled with Harry Potter ones. Currently there are 50 in total, plus the books, lego figures, and other knick knacks.
I have two glass cabinets full of ‘collectibles’ so no negatives from me!
The first time my hubby kissed me I fainted. In my defence I did have a bad neck and he touched my neck and that’s what made me faint, although he’ll tell you I went weak at the knees.
I’m the queen of useless information and I’m forever coming out with random facts, much to the annoyance of others!