Stacey Garrity is a busy mom who loves books. She discovered her passion for reading as a small child and has been a bookworm ever since.
In 2015, after years of posting reviews on public sites, she started her blog Whispering Stories. Under Stacey’s careful and creative administration the blog is flourishing.
Since its inception four years ago, Whispering Stories has become very influential in the book reviewing world, garnering recognition from several organizations.
It has Professional Reader status through Net Galley, won the Top 50 Fiction Blogs Award and was a Nominee for the 2019 Best Book Blog.
WAY TO GO, STACEY!!
Stacey lives in Manchester (UK) with her family.
Now that I’ve introduced you to Stacey, let’s get to know her a little better.
Hello, Stacey, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.
What inspired you to be a blogger?
I can’t say anything inspired me to become a blogger. This might sound crazy but until I became one I’d never actually read a blog page but knew they were massive business.
I’d had a big love for reading for many years and I always understood how much work went into writing a book, for that reason I always left a review for the books I’d read on Amazon and Goodreads.
It hit me one day, why not write these reviews on my own site as well, so I started a blog.
My hubby is a computer programmer. He taught me basic HTML, helped me set up a page, drew the header, and sorted out the domain.
The rest as they say is history.
Can you tell us a little about your blog Whispering Stories?
Whispering Stories is primarily a book blog with a team of reviewers. As of today, there are fourteen of us reviewing books.
The blog began in February 2015 and it was just me. At first, I was going to be the sole reviewer but after a few months in authors, publishers, and tour companies overwhelmed me asking me to review for them so I put a call out for others to join me.
The reviewers are all amazing and I wouldn’t run the blog without them.
We also have a sideline of reviewing places of interest and holidays, called ‘Whispering Wanders’. It started out as a separate blog but running two blogs was hard work so it became a category on this one.
Is blogging your full-time profession?
I wouldn’t say that blogging is my full-time profession (although my hubby says I run it like a business – Lots of paperwork, spreadsheets, diary, etc.). I don’t actually work.
I used to do some freelance, but that has dried up recently. Unfortunately, I had to give up work around twelve years ago due to my youngest son, now aged thirteen.
He was born with a very rare illness called X-Linked Agammaglobulinemia. Which basically means he is immune deficient.
From around nine months old, he spent a long time in a hospital far from home. His health was exceptionally poor and no-one could work out why. He’d get infection after infection and even some antibiotics wouldn’t work.
After numerous tests we eventually got his diagnosis. Twice a week, he has to have immunoglobulins infused into his leg over a period of time to give him a partial immune system.
He gets sick a lot. He’s had numerous hospital stays and has regular checks on his health.
Because of his illness I had to give up my job as a telecoms manager and become a carer.
Who would want to employ someone who had to take every other week off to spend time in the hospital with their child? My middle son is also autistic, so he needs me too.
How long have you been blogging?
Just over four years, I started in February 2015.
How many books have you reviewed?
I had to get my calculator out to work it out as the books are put in different categories on the blog. As of 28th April 2019 we have reviewed 1,396 books.
Which genres do you review?
We cover most genres including non-fiction and children’s books. It would be easier to tell you what we don’t cover – religious, medical, self-help, biography, memoirs.
What do you find most challenging reviewing for these genres?
Good question. Novella’s can sometimes be hard, especially when they are very short as you don’t want to give the plot away but you also have little to go on, so the reviews can be really short.
I would say the most challenging aspect isn’t a genre it’s the five star books. If you find a book is okay, or not great you have lots to work with, what you did like, what you didn’t like. What worked or didn’t, characters you did and didn’t like.
When you absolutely love a book and it is flawless, I sometimes find that I’m lost for words. I just want to say – ‘READ THIS BOOK IT IS AMAZING’ but as a reviewer I have to say far more than that which can be hard sometimes.
What are you reviewing now?
At this moment in time, I have just reviewed Love and Other Things by Louise Leverett and A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher.
I’m about to choose my next book. I’m actually on a strange week where I have nothing booked in so it’s a free choice of what to read.
I’m also re-reading The Mortal Instruments series as there are new spin-off series being released, and it has been years since I last read them. I can’t remember everything that happened so decided to re-read them.
What has been your most rewarding experience since you started blogging?
Ummm, I’m not sure. Possibly a combination of things – My reviews have been mentioned in and on the cover of numerous books.
I have met (physically and online) lots of fabulous authors and bloggers.
I’ve attended lots of author and blogger events.
I have made some wonderful friends in the reviewers that review for the blog.
I have also had the pleasure of helping lots of authors too and had some lovely thank you’s from them.
I also think that just having access to lots and lots of superb books is also rewarding.
What advice would you give to bloggers just starting out?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Don’t expect to get hundreds of views on your blog straight away, it takes time to build an audience.
Make sure you check spellings and grammar on your posts.
You can become a blogger at any age – Don’t think it’s only for younger people.
Remember it is your blog, your platform and you can write what you want on it. You will never please everyone, so just be yourself.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
My dad once gave me a piece of advice when I was growing up, no-one is ever above you and no-one is ever below you.
In other words, don’t look down your nose at someone and don’t let someone look down their nose at you.
Because of this I’m as genuine as they come. Some people don’t like that about me, others appreciate it. I don’t hide who I am. If you don’t like me, then that’s fine, I’m not expecting everyone to.
My family (hubby and kids) come first and everyone else comes second.
I’m not that great at chit-chatting with people I don‘t know as the left side of my brain works slightly slower than it should (I have epilepsy), and sometimes I find it hard to work out what to say or I say the wrong thing and people look at me like I’m not right in the head.
On a lighter note, I live in Manchester, UK and have three children, all boys, (well one is an adult in his twenties now). I home educate my younger two, (mainly because of their health issues). I also have two pet rats called Chilli and Lime.
I always put 100% effort into everything I do, including reviewing and working on the blog.
What message are you sharing in your blog?
Just that reading is good for you. It opens doors in your imagination and takes you to places you most likely never even knew you could visit. Books are good for the body and soul.
What do you think makes a good story?
It would depend on what genre I was thinking about.
Thrillers have to have great characters, both good and bad. The pace has to move at a faster speed than most other books.
I prefer short snappy chapters and lots of red herrings thrown in. Also don’t expose the big reveal too late or let it slip too early.
Romance has to have likeable characters. I’m not much of a will-they-won’t-they kind of person, nor a love triangle.
I also don’t particularly like books that are like movies, a misunderstanding causes a couple to fall a part then ten chapters later they realise it was all a mistake and get back together again.
I find these scenes unrealistic and have been written in one way or another hundreds of times. I like lots of humour in my romance novels.
Novellas have to be fast paced the whole way through, not linger on character development too much and have a plot that can wrap up quickly.
What is your rating scale and what does each score mean?
5 – Masterpiece – We loved it. Would happily read over and over again.
4 – Outstanding – Thoroughly enjoyed the book, didn’t want to put it down
3 – Good – We enjoyed the book, even with a few minor flaws or sections we didn’t like.
2 – OK – Generally these are the books that we found ok but nothing special.
1 – Not for Me – These were the books we didn’t enjoy.
What criteria do you follow for a review?
The review has to be spoiler free. You rate the book not the author. So the review is about the plot, setting, characters, etc.
What are your favorite books/authors?
Oh Gosh this is a hard one for me as I love so many authors. Specifically on books and authors who I have read repeatedly.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – I’ve read this book three time.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I think I’ve read this book at least six times
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – Read this one three times and seen the stage play.
I’ve also read Marie Lu’s, Cassandra Clare’s, Veronica Roth’s, Carole Matthews, J K Rowling’s, Roald Dahl’s and Enid Blyton’s books many times too.
A few modern day authors who books I love are – Ali McNamara, Terry Tyler, Kierney Scott, M J Lee, C J Tudor and Janet Evanovich. This is only a few of a vast list. I could go on for a long time.
What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
This is where I will show my age.
It’s a Wonderful Life, Back to the Future, ET, Goonies, Gremlins, Terminator, Top Gun, Die Hard, Dirty Dancing. Scrooged, Pretty Woman, Shaun of the Dead, Harry Potter Movies, all of the Avengers Movies (we watched the last one, Endgame, on Friday).
Two and a Half Men, ER, The BlackList, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Derry Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Little Sheldon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House, Agents of Shield.
When you’re not blogging where can we find you?
Probably still pottering around the house, reading a book or educating my sons. That or food shopping. On the weekends you can find me zoning out from the world in Costa Coffee – I lead an exciting life.
How can an author have their book reviewed by you?
By following this link https://whisperingstories.com/review-policy/ and reading our review policy. At the bottom of the page it will tell you who to contact and how to request a review.
How can they request an interview?
We run a weekly interview slot called ‘The Writing Life of:’. This is posted every Thursday on the blog. It fills up really quickly for the year though. In fact I have one space left available this year, and that is in December.
I’m honoured that so many authors want to be interviewed on the blog.
I’m also just starting a new interview segment for those who have already been interviewed on The Writing Life of: to see where they are now and what is new in their lives and with their writing.
This is for authors who interviewed over a year ago on our original interview slots.
Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
You can find us in numerous places
Blog – https://whisperingstories.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/storywhispers (come and give us a follow, we follow all authors back)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/whisperingstoriesblog
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/storywhispers/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whisperingstoriesblog/