Friday, April 29, 2011


Rel Mollet lives in Australia, 15 time zones away from me, which sometimes makes our cyber-communication a bit awkward. Nevertheless, she and I have become friends through her blog, Relz Reviewz. Rel is one of the premier reviewers of Christian fiction, and I thought it would be fun for my readers to get to know her better. I think you’ll agree.

RLM: First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live in Australia? What do you do when you’re not reading books and writing reviews? Please tell us about your family.

RM:  Hey Richard!  I now appreciate the torture I put writers through when I interview them :) Talking about myself is not high on my list of fun things to do!  But for you.....I live in Melbourne, Australia (pronounced Melbun by us!) which is at the bottom of Australia on the east coast (see map).  I live in a suburb of Melbourne, about 30 minutes from the city centre.  Melbournians love the beach, exceptional coffee and are mad about sport! 

I have been married for 18 years to the funniest man I know and have 3 gorgeous girls who are 13, 10 and 7 years old.  With God’s help we are trying not to mess them up too much!  No pets although the girls are pushing hard for a dog as they know they don’t stand a chance with me and a cat.

When I’m not reading books or writing reviews, I am sleeping - ha!  Actually, I work part time as a lawyer in Elder Law area after 12 years in Personal Injury litigation ~ please don’t hold it against me ;-)  We are involved in our local Baptist church where I am part of the Women’s Ministry team and lead a Book Club (surprise, surprise!).

RLM: What prompted you to devote yourself to reviewing Christian fiction?

I have read voraciously since I was a child, under the doona with a torch (Richard here--that's under an eiderdown quilt with a flashlight), in the car until it made me sick, while in the shower (it is possible!) and any other chance available.  My Grandma introduced me to Christian fiction and would buy my sister and me books every birthday and Christmas.  In late 2005, one of our Christian book stores, Koorong, released a fiction enewsletter which contained only American material.  Totally out of character, I emailed the editor and asked if they were planning to include Australian contributions.  She asked if I would like to write a review for the newsletter.  She sent me a book to review and in my naivety I asked if she wanted me to return it after I read it - LOL!  In late 2006, I started my blog, Relz Reviewz, merely as a place to store my reviews, never imagining it would grow in the way it has.  Subsequently, CJ Darlington invited me to contribute to and I am now the Historical and Romance correspondent for the new FamilyFiction digital magazine.  I love promoting great faith fiction and the authors who put so much of themselves into creating stories that give us so much enjoyment and encouragement.

RLM: Of course, composing reviews definitely comes under the head of “writing,” but what other writing have you done? Are there any books hidden away on your hard drive or in a desk drawer somewhere? And, if so, what would it take to bring them to the light of day?

RM:  Ah...nope!  I loved creative writing as a child and in my high school years and still have my school assignments floating around in a cupboard somewhere, but I haven’t felt the urge to write a novel.  I have seen the effort, angst and emotional drain of writing great books from a number of the amazing authors I have “met” through my reviewing.  I’m content to leave the hard work (and the joys) to the experts and just relish the fruit of their labour ;-)

RLM: What are three things you like about living in Australia?

RM:  Like? I LOVE my country!  Only three things.....

1.  This place is amazing.  Brilliant beaches, glorious rainforests, red deserts, mountain ranges, snowfields, modern cities, country towns, unique wildlife and that great big rock in the middle!

2.  The people.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we love a laugh and are very friendly from what our international visitors tell us and we pull together when in crisis.

3.  Four weeks annual leave and twelve months maternity leave!

RLM: Have you visited the US? If so, what are your impressions? And if not, where might you like to go?

RM:  I have.  My husband and I dropped in on LA and Hawaii in 1996 after visiting my sister who was living in the UK at the time.

I’m sorry to say LA was not the most impressive place, at least the area we visited.  We did the tourist things, Disneyland and Universal Studios, which were a lot of fun.  I appreciate there is so much more to the US than Hollywood!  Hawaii was lovely but it rained the three days we were there and the beaches were closed :(  We did do some shopping and I bought 3 pairs of Levi jeans which were dirt cheap compared to the price of them in Australia at the time - LOL!

I would love to return and see some of your beautiful scenery and have a cheeseburger from a diner.  I’m really hoping they are better than Maccas, or as you say, Mickey Ds! And, of course Texas would be high on my list of places, Doc, to visit you and the lovely Ronie Kendig and Kelli Standish :)  Two other Texan residents I adore!  As much as I’d love to see the Rockies, the Grand Canyon and Oregon Redwoods, it is the wonderful people I have connected with in the States that I come to visit in a flash!

RLM: Present company excepted, who are the novelists whose works you most enjoy?

RM:   I read widely and enjoy most genres so this could be a very long list but I will keep it short!
When I want to live and breathe thrills and emotion:  Ronie Kendig
When I want to laugh: Jenny B Jones
When I want to immerse myself in history: Laura Frantz
When I want to think outside the box: Jim Rubart
When I want to fall in love: Denise Hunter
When I want a legal thriller: Randy Singer

I could go on but will contain myself!

RLM: From your neutral observation post, what advice would you give to writers?

RM:  Write books with heart, soul and authenticity.  Connect with and respect your readers.  Have an up to date and appealing website, write a blog, use Twitter and/or Facebook (although FB scares me!).  Be genuine.

RLM: And any last words (besides “G’day, mate?”)

RM:  Thanks, mate!  You are a bonza bloke ~ how’s that for being dinky di?!!!

Thanks, Rel. I hope you folks will drop by Rel's blog regularly. You won't regret it. (Oh, and look in the archives for the interviews she did with me. This is my version of payback).


Susan Meissner said...

Great interview. Come back to California, Rel, but this time come to San Diego!!

carla stewart said...

What a delight to happen on this today! I'm on it, Rel, when you're in Texas - be there in four hours!

Such a swell idea, Richard, for you to put Rel in the hot seat!

Ronie Kendig said...

Fabulous interview! Rel is such a delight and an amazing lady!!!

Rel said...

Thanks Doc! Your payback was pretty easy :)

Susan - would love to visit you and chat. What a delight that would be xo

Carla - you're on. Texas must be known for it's wonderful people if they are like you xo

Ronie - you know I'll be booking a room at your house :) xo

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Relz Reviewz was one of the first blogs I started following when I got into this crazy business, and I'm glad I could finally introduce her to my readers.
And Rel, thanks for taking time away from your retreat this weekend to respond to the comments so far. You're a gracious lady.