Friday, August 01, 2014

Writing: Interview With Reviewer Rel Mollet

I honestly can't recall when I "met" the woman responsible for Relz Reviewz. I've come to know and respect Rel Mollet, who calls Australia her home. I regret having to miss last year's conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers, because I also missed an opportunity to meet this lady in person. However, I'm happy to introduce her to you via this interview.

Rel, thanks for being with us today. You’re a wife and mother. You’re an attorney. You’re an active member of a book club. You review books and post character sketches on your site, but also write for several other blogs. How do you keep all those balls in the air?
By juggling really, really quickly! Actually, you can ditch one of those “you’re” labels. After a fairly long and painful story, which I won’t bore people with, but it includes soul-searching, wrestling, and much prayer, I’ve left the law behind and am looking to focus on work within the CBA context. I think the trick is when you are truly passionate about something – in my case, supporting Christian storytellers and connecting them with readers – your juggling skills improve immeasurably! That said, I do need to be careful I’m not neglecting one area in favour of another.

What problems do you encounter because you blog about books written by people half a world and eight or nine time zones away from you?
Not as many as you may think! Face to face content is somewhat problematic but Skype is a wonderful thing J The internet and email has shrunk those borders and hurdles a lot. I’m in touch with authors, publicists, and publishers everyday even if it means getting out of bed a little earlier or staying up a bit late to catch people during their office hours.

How do you get your books?
            I receive books from publicists and publishers for the most part who are looking for a review or other kind of promotion of their authors’ books, sometimes from the author directly (which to this day remains a thrill for me!), and yes, I even purchase some myself.

Your reviews are straightforward, and you emphasize that reviewing a book doesn’t guarantee you’ll endorse it. Have you had some less-than-positive feedback when you reviewed a book for which you didn’t care?
Honestly, not really. I will usually let the publisher or author know that I’m posting a less than stellar review, as a courtesy. My experience has been that as long as a review isn’t personally scathing, most authors are accepting of a review that contains feedback of a negative nature. I’ve recently posted a review for a very popular author which, while overall was positive, did contain a particular concern I had with one part of the story. That writer still posted the review on their social media. That’s a writer comfortable with their craft and who realise not everything is for everyone. I admire that and it makes me want to read their stories even more.

What do you do with review copies after you’ve finished reading them?
Keep them! What else do you do? Surely, you’re not suggesting I discard a book?!? Seriously, I find it extremely difficult to part with any of my books but around 12 years ago, long before I was reviewing, I began lending my books out to my family, friends, church members, friends of friends, and more ;-) Christian Fiction is pretty much inaccessible at public libraries in Australia, aside from the odd Kingsbury or Dekker novel, so it is a privilege for me to share the books I love so much with others. Reviewing books has been a Godsend in so many ways as it keeps me in books with which I can share the love! With nearly 3000 CF books, you can imagine what my house looks like, so the more I can lend the better for my family – LOL!

Have you ever considered joining the ranks of writers, instead of being a reviewer?
Nope! Having had the privilege to see firsthand the agony and ecstasy of the writing life, having walked along the publishing road with a number of dear author friends, I’m happier being the recipient of all that blood, sweat, and tears rather than have the personal experience of it!

Any final comments for my blog readers?
Never underestimate the power of a story, nor the effort, energy, and heartache a writer experiences creating that story. May a great book be just around the corner for you all!
Thanks Richard – what a treat to visit your blog. Thanks for having me, mate ;-)

Thank you, Rel. Readers, if you have any questions for this talented lady, please leave a comment.

And thanks for stopping by.


Jamie Lapeyrolerie said...

How fun is this?! So glad you featured the wonderful and fabulous Rel! Love it! Thank you both for sharing :) :)

Richard Mabry said...

Jamie, thanks for dropping by. If you or any of the readers of this blog have a question for Rel, leave it in the comments. Even though she's half a world away, she's promised to answer them.

Rel said...

Thanks so much for having me, Richard :) Appreciate your kind words, my friend!

Rel said...

Jamie - you're a sweetie! Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment :)

Brooke @ i blog 4 books said...

Oh yay! I've read Rel's blog for a while now but it's always fun to get to hear a little more about the blogger. :) (And great questions, by the way!)

Sylvia said...

Great interview, Richard and Rel! Rel, I'm happy to hear that you have kept those 3,000 books and enjoy them. It makes me sad when I hear people say that they never keep their books. They read them and then immediately pass them on to a person or second-hand store. Now, I will admit that I have purchased many books second-hand and have been very thankful that someone has gotten rid of theirs. Are most of your review books print or digital? It sounds like they are print.

Richard Mabry said...

Brooke, appreciate your coming by and commenting. I can't believe I hadn't interviewed Rel before this.

Sylvia, I wonder if Rel had to add another room to her house to keep all those books--which is, I guess, another advantage of e-books, although I much prefer the printed ones.

Since it's now the middle of the night in Australia, Rel's getting some well-deserved rest (I hope), but I know she'll comment herself when Saturday arrives there.

Rel said...

Hey Brooke - thanks for stopping by! So appreciate your kind words. Richard's questions were good, weren't they?

Rel said...

Hi Sylvia - appreciate your comments. Most of my books are print, although my Kindle is slowly catching up. As I mentioned, I do what I do to have the ability to share my books with others. With e-books that's a little harder to do!

Richard - I think my family would like to add another room for my books! They are everywhere - shelves, floor, on top of furniture, in shoe racks, and draws! I'm saving up to get some built in shelving all along one of the walls in my lounge room to relieve some of the pressure!

Rel said...

Oops - that should read "drawers" not "draws"!! A little too uncomfortable, I would think - haha!

Patricia Bradley said...

Really, really enjoyed learning more about Rel...had no idea she was a lawyer! Love her blog...Great job Richard!

Rel said...

Hello, lovely Pat! Was delightful meeting you at ACFW last year, even if I didn't get to meet Richard ;-)

Thanks for your lovely encouragement!

Richard Mabry said...

Pat, I'll be at ACFW in September (team-teaching a course on medicine in fiction)--be sure to say "Hi." And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Pam Hillman said...

Enjoyed reading this. Thanks Doc and Rel!

And thanks for all you do to spread the word about Christian Fiction, Rel. Relz Reviewz is legend in CF circles! :)

Richard Mabry said...

Pam, thanks for your nice words and for dropping by to leave a comment. See you next month in St. Louis.

DeAnna Julie Dodson said...

Oh, how wonderful to know a little more about the fabulous Rel!

I'm so glad you chose the CBA over the law. We need people like you to get the word out.

Bless you and all you do!

DeAnna Dodson (Julianna Deering)

Rel said...

Thanks Pam - your words are very encouraging!

Rel said...

Hi DeAnna - so appreciate you dropping by, and your lovely words :)

Dorothy Adamek said...

Fabulous interview. Thank you, Richard and Rel. :)

The Law's loss, is ALL our gain. We are all blessed to have this wonderful soul champion our books.
I'm also a member of Rel's book club and can say with experience, she chooses the best recent releases for us. She has wonderful reading taste.

Richard Mabry said...

Dorothy, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I'm not surprised that Rel picks great books for book club discussion. She has a real talent for getting to the heart of a book, and those of us who write Christian fiction are fortunate to have her on our side.

Rel said...

Oh, my ! Dorothy and Richard, you are making me blush...and also making my day :)

Dotti - so adore having you at Book Club!