If you’re a fan of indie-pubbed authors like Katy Evans, Abbi Glines or Kristen Proby, then you’re probably already familiar with Maryse of Maryse’s Book Blog–one of the major voices on the self-pub scene. Maryse’s voracious reading habits and just as enthusiastic blogging habits have made her a go-to expert on indie novels that people will love to read. Maryse was kind enough to answer a few questions for us–read on to learn more about the power behind the indie throne! And for even more Maryse, join her for a Twitter chat tomorrow, 10/9, at 1pm EST. The hashtag is #atriaindies.
XOXO: You’re the founder of Maryse’s Book Blog, which has quickly become one of the most influential blogs on the indie-publishing scene. How did you get started? And how did you become such a hot spot for indie authors?
Maryse: This all started when after the hundredth time of me ranting and raving to my husband about my latest vampire crush and the crazy twist/cliffhanger ending that was killing me, a light bulb went off in his head. He looked at me and said “Blog about your books. Let it all out in a “book diary” and maybe then, you can find book friends, too!” (and leave him alone in the process). LOL!!! And by golly, he was on to something!!! This did the trick, for me. It was exactly what I needed to complete my book hobby.
I became more “indie-focused” when I found myself struggling with some of the formulaic reads I kept picking up. I needed a genre change, but I also needed stories that had a certain… risky nature to them. I needed a new kind of adrenaline rush. So I ventured out into what appeared to be unknown (to me) books on Amazon at great prices. The few reviews they had were so intense and seemed so honest in their excitement. That, coupled with the a titillating synopsis, had me desperate to read them, and boy was I thrilled! I couldn’t believe the plethora of great, crazy, twisty angsty stories out there that felt so true to life. I was hooked, and shocked to find out these were “indie” books (and not traditionally published). I couldn’t believe what the publishing world was missing out on, but I was thrilled to have found a treasure trove of great reads.
XOXO: Your blog gets over a million page views a month! What’s your secret? (And how do we do it, too? J/K!) But seriously, what is it about your blog that seems to resonate with readers so strongly?
Maryse: My secret? A techie-husband who handles all of the “backend” of my blog. He’s been building website since the nineties. I’m just lucky to have someone who thrives on the programming and tech-savvy stuff that makes it all work.
I think what resonates with readers so strongly is that I am just as much of a book addict as they are. I’m a reader first. We’re fellow book enthusiasts together, and we have found each other through the love of these bad boy heroes, anti-heroes, and these unconventional love stories. It doesn’t matter how many books I (we) have already read (or still need to read), we’re still just as excited as when we first started. We’re always searching for that next 5-star book, and we love to indulge in that find, together.
XOXO: Do you still consider blogging (and reading) a hobby, or is this a full-time job now? Has that changed your experience of reading? Do you find it harder to just enjoy a book when you know you’ll be reviewing it for your site?
Maryse: I still consider it a hobby, although it does take up more of my time than when I first started (but I’m thrilled about that). I could only be so lucky to be able to read full time! 😉 Reading is my passion, my adrenaline rush and writing is my release, so to have a reason to read and write this much can only be a GREAT thing.
I prefer reviewing books that inspire me to talk (or write about them) so for this, my blogging habits have not changed. If I’m not enjoying a book I don’t necessarily review it. If you don’t like a book, don’t force yourself. Reading is supposed to be fun. The enthusiasm and reviews come naturally from reading a book you liked.
XOXO: Of course every story is different, but what elements in romantic fiction do you love most? An alpha hero? An angst-ridden love story? Exotic details? Or just the sex? (We at XOXOAD say there’s nothing wrong with that!)
Maryse: Angst and an alpha hero have my attention, always! Especially those books with realistic attention to detail, and that slow-burning love story. Sex huh? 😉 I must say, sex is certainly a plus, but an intense steamy love scene, or even that kiss that I’ve been pining for will do the trick nicely, if written well. It’s all in the detail, and if done right, the detail doesn’t always have to be explicit. 😉
XOXO: Tell us what to read, Maryse! What are some of your recent/current favorites?
Maryse: Oh fun!! My current favorite is Surviving Rain by Shay Savage (wow – now that is one intense alpha male!), Lick by Kylie Scott (the ultimate rock star crush), Left Drowning by Jessica Park (so angsty, yet heartwarming), Thief by Tarryn Fisher (that whole series is deliciously infuriating) and Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino (sweet and sexy!).
XOXO: And how about a lightning round to finish us off…do you prefer:
a. E-book or print? E-book easily!! I can highlight and make notes, and read one handed. Sometimes no hands!
b. Alpha hero or beta? ALPHA!!
c. Vampire or shifter? Vampire. Distinguished, brooding and mysterious. My kind of anti-hero.
d. Bad boys or good guys? BAD!!! Oh these questions are SO easy and fun!!
e. Kick-ass heroines or damsels in distress? Ohhhh I dunno. I’m stumped. I like ’em both. The “safe” answer would be kick-ass, right? But I’m not always as “kick-ass” as I’d like to be, and can sometimes relate to that distressed damsel.
f. Ryan Gosling or Channing Tatum? Definitely Channing. Yes yes!!! Did you see G.I. Joe? 😉