Read, Write, Give

Each week I’ll be donating $50 to the charity of a blogger’s choice as part of the “Read, Write, Give” drive.

This week, Mandee from Compelled by Words is supporting the ASPCA. You can read more about them after her interview.

I’ve often said that book bloggers are the “Fairy Godmothers and Godfathers” of the literary world – and I really believe it. Therefore, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to interview some of these wonderful bloggers and shed a little light on why they undertake this epic labors of love!

This week’s interview is with Mandee from Compelled by Words. Mandee is a Mom of two, living in New York, and is also an enthusiastic YA book blogger with a love of all things spooky!

Interview with Mandee: Compelled by Words

Could you please tell us about yourself?

Well, I’m a young adult book blogger and mother of two amazing children. I lived most of my life in Florida but have just recently moved to New York. I’m not looking forward to the harsh Winter but I’m a big fan of change so I’m looking forward to what the future has in store for our family.

Have you always been a big fan of ghosts and spooky tales?

I have actually. I remember watching horror movies at a very young age. Instead of having birthday parties I had all of my friends over to watch scary movies and to me that was a great present. I love being terrified for some reason.

You review books and movies on your blog. What is the scariest book you have ever read and the most terrifying movie you have ever seen?

I haven’t come across a book that’s scared me yet although I would love to (I’m up for suggestions if you know of one). If a book was able to creep me out it would go to the top of my list! Most terrifying movie is definitely Reincarnation. I love foreign horror films and it was featured in the very first Horror Fest event (here’s the website if you want to check it out, which I HIGHLY recommend if you’re into horror films). I always find foreign horror films scarier than American ones and this one scared the living daylights out of me. I couldn’t sleep that night and I was convinced there was “something” in my house for a few weeks. That was four years ago and I still haven’t watched it again.

The theme for your blog looks to be inspired by the work of Tim Burton. What made you choose this?

If I were to tell you every reason, we’d be here all day, so I’ll try to keep it simple. I am Tim Burton’s biggest fan. He’s my Elvis. If there were any celebrity dead or alive that I could sit down with in person, it would be him. I adore his work and I feel like he understands a part of me that no one else does. It’s like we’re the same person. And Corpse Bride is one of my favorites of his movies and will also be my wedding theme when the day comes, so I chose that as my design. It fits.

Could you please tell us why you started the site and how you’ve built your following? What other projects are you working on?

I’d been following blogs for a while and wanted a place to call my own. I actually made a few different ones before I found my calling in the young adult book blogging world. I had always been a book lover but never really had an outlet to talk about them. Once I created the blog I started following other bloggers and talking to them about tips and tricks, and it’s gone from there. Giveaways definitely help build a following and I try to have a few each month, at least. Right now I’ve got a HUGE project in the works. It’ll be my very first time hosting a blog tour with a pretty big author but it literally came into play yesterday so I can’t talk about it until the kinks are worked out. You’ll have to follow and stay tuned for the details. :)

What do you enjoy most about reviewing books?

Being able to talk to other people about the books. When I was growing up, none of my friends were big readers. So they would always want me to go do other things which took my precious book time. Now that I have an outlet, I have met so many amazing book lovers just like me and it gives me a sense of purpose. I feel complete now, like I’ve found my calling.

You must get hundreds, if not thousands, of review requests every month. How do you handle all the requests?

Actually I don’t get that many requests. I haven’t been blogging that long so I’m not “in” with the big publishers yet. I get a few requests a month and I’ve accepted almost all of them. If it’s obvious that an author hasn’t read my review policy than I won’t even answer them. I love authors, and I will try my hardest to accept any request that comes by me, but only if it’s in the realm of my policy. If someone can’t take the two minutes of time to read my policy, why should I take the time to read their book? That’s just the way I feel about it.

What, for you, is the most important quality in a book?

A unique story line. I don’t want to read a vampire book that mentions Twilight or has the same elements. I want to read something new and different so that I have something new and different to talk about. If it’s the same old thing, people aren’t going to want to hear about it.

Do you find a difference in the quality of traditionally and self-published books? If so, what are the major differences?

The only difference I see are some of the covers and the writing itself. If a self-published author can’t afford a good cover designer or an editor then the quality of the book isn’t going to be as good. However, it’s still possible to publish a book on a budget and make it. It all depends on the author’s choices and the reader’s preferences.

For indie authors in particular, getting reviewed is one of the biggest challenges. Do you have any advice?

Talk to bloggers. Most of us are here to help. If they start following bloggers in their genre and reading their review policies, they will get reviewers. A lot of us are Indie friendly and we say that in our policies. It all comes down to that policy. If you don’t read it, you won’t get far.

You nominated the ASPCA to receive the Read, Write, Give donation. Could you please tell us why?

I’m going to choose ASPCA because I’m a huge animal advocate and they do such amazing things for the animals of the world.

About Mandee

“Mandee is a ghost loving bibliophile who reviews dark young adult novels. When she’s not reading she can be found haunting the local book store and chasing her children through cemeteries.”

Find her on Goodreads.

Mandee’s post is in support of the ASPCA

ASPCAFounded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is ‘to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.’ The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.

Donate to the ASPCA