I’m honored to have Casey Herringshaw as my guest. A talented writer of women’s fiction with romantic elements, Casey also reads and reads and reads… She posts thorough but thoughtful reviews on her blog, Writing for Christ–The Audience of One. Not only that, but she’s got a BIG heart and the gift of encouragement, blessing authors at every turn.
I first bumped into Casey online and was impressed with her caring personality. I learned more about her when she was my guest at Romance Writers on the Journey (my former blog) last year. And then I met her in person at the 2011 ACFW conference in St. Louis and was captivated by her charm, enthusiasm, and effervescence. Casey is a gem!
Casey lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people. Taking the words and stories God has placed on her heart and putting them on paper is one of her highest passions in life. She’s a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She began devouring books as soon as she could make out her first words.
I asked Casey three questions about her reading and review process. After that, you’re in for a treat, because you get to learn three fun things about the woman behind the reviews.
Reading and Reviewing
What led you to start reviewing books on your blog? When did you post your first review? How has the site changed over time, and what can readers expect in the future?
In the beginning… Oh, maybe I should keep this to the short version, hmm? I started reviewing books shortly after I started my blog. It just seemed to make the most sense: have a blog; will review books. I started reviewing my own copies or borrowed library books, and then I learned—GASP—publishers will actually give you a book if you promise to review it. What a novel idea (pun intended)! My first review was of Sandra D. Bricker’s Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida on November 25, 2009.
I hope I’ve grown as a reviewer and can be trusted to give an honest opinion to my readers about the books I’m reviewing, but do so in a godly, Christ-like spirit. I’ve gotten pickier about the books I choose to review, which is a big change for me. I don’t accept every book coming my direction and try to be understanding of both my and my readers’ time.
The future? I don’t know! I love what I’m doing now, but I want to bring in more author interaction on my blog. I covet conversations and love to start them between authors and readers on my site.
As I said above, your reviews are thoughtful and thorough, but you’re truthful at the same time. How do you balance a reader’s desire for an honest review with your heart for the author of the work?
Ah, that’s a tough issue and one that took me a long time to figure out. My readership expects a solid, honest review. They might not agree with me, but hopefully they will look at other reviews before deciding to read a book and not take my word alone for the quality of a novel.
My biggest decision in my reviews is not to mention the author’s name. Good or bad, I won’t mention the author’s name (except on rare occasion), because I believe that once the book has left the author’s hands, it is no longer their “baby.” It is no longer attached to them as a person. It’s gone; it’s separate. I won’t defame the name of the author or make the comment that “this author can’t write,” etc. I want to give my readers an honest review, and I don’t want to make an author feel bad just because I didn’t happen to like their book.
When and where do you do most of your reading?
Everywhere! On the exercise bike. In bed. In the house. And today: in my car on my lunch break. I’m not ashamed to read anywhere. I have a reputation at my orthodontist (who I rarely see, but once every two years or so now) that I always bring a book with me. I like that reputation. 🙂
Three Fun Facts About Casey
You’re the epitome of a wholesome gal, one who thrives on faith, family, and the freedom that comes from life on your rural farm. I’m guessing, though, that hidden in there somewhere is a love affair with something that might not be entirely good for you. What is your guilty pleasure? Copious amounts of chocolate? Heaping bowls of ice cream? Or perhaps piping hot slices of pie fresh from the oven call your name on a regular basis? Am I close?
My guilty pleasure? Oh Keli, I’m too pure for a guilty pleasure… *grinning behind hand* …Brown Bottom Cupcakes.
GASP! I said that out loud? I wasn’t supposed to.
Basically it’s chocolate with cream cheese in the middle and cream cheese frosting on top. Oh. My. Goodness. Don’t even tempt me. I will not survive. Anything cream cheese is a lip-smacking delight for me.
Cheesecake will pretty much buy you anything from me.
I’ve heard about you dancing on your chair during the My Book Therapy Pizza Party at the ACFW conference. That story is now legendary. What I want to know is what stories your relatives like to tell about you at family gatherings. You know what I mean. The kind of stories that make you cringe—or laugh overly loud to conceal your true feelings.
I’d rather that story not be infamous or legendary or anything in between. Ha!
Which one? The story where I screamed my fool head off when I was being potty trained? Or turning the knob on the music up loud so I could dance? (I sense a theme here…:-)) Or putting the biggest bucket on my head and the smallest one on my fist?
Or how about the perfectionist in training? If I saw anything out of place—anything that didn’t seem right to me or wasn’t where I thought it should be—I would stand in front of said object, point and grunt. Until such time as one of my parents fixed the misplaced object, then I would be happy.
Hmm. I might have lost a bit of that over the years… 😉
OK, since I was kinda tough on you with that last question, I’ll end with an easier one. You read and write, but you also knit and bead. When did you take up these hobbies, and what are some of your most memorable creations?
I’ve been knitting for about eight years now…but my favorite project was probably my first pari of socks for my mom (which ended up being too small and knitted backward—all in the way you hold the needle. ;-)) that won Grand Champion at my local fair one year. I’ve had a couple sweaters go to the State Fair and in my senior year of high school had the chance to model my sweater at the 4H State Fashion Review. That was a great memory!
My jewelry, which you can see at Bugs Beads, I took over from a local gal when her daughter left for college. I get the most excited when I hear how my customers love my jewelry. I had one lady show me the bracelet she never took off. The wire was wrinkled under the beads, the silver was badly tarnished and the clasp had been wrenched more than one time during manual labor. And it never once broke. That mangled bracelet made me smile. And the customer did, too, when I returned it to her shiny and fixed. 🙂
Casey’s Question for You
Think of your favorite of favorites novel…Christian or otherwise. Would you want to walk a mile in that character’s shoes, even for just one day?
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