Meet the Reviewers: Casey Herringshaw

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?

• • •

Connect with Casey on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Visit her personal blog, Writing for Christ, and her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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48 Responses to Meet the Reviewers: Casey Herringshaw

  1. wendypainemiller says:

    How did I miss that dancing on the chair story? Casey is truly a sweetheart–thoughtful and kind to the core.
    ~ Wendy

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      LOL, Wendy…it happened during the My Book Therapy pizza party. Karaoke to a song I didn’t know and I couldn’t see the words. But the beat was rocking, so what’s a girl to do? 😉

  2. You’re right, Keli! Casey is a gem. 🙂 I can’t wait to meet her in person. Please bring me one of those cupcakes. They sound fabulous.

    Great question, Casey. I’m thinking no. I like learning the lessons from reading about them. I don’t want to endure those hardships that led the characters I love to where they are now. 🙂

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Oh they pretty much are, Jessica! And I am sooo looking forward to the day I get to meet YOU! Oh one who makes me laugh. 🙂

      Very good point and a valid one. But wouldn’t you love to be Anne, just for a day? I think I’d want to be Anne’s best friend. Maybe THAT should have been the question.

  3. Melissa Tagg says:

    Yay, I love Casey!

    Fun interview. And um, those cupcakes sound amazing.

    And yes, I would absolutely walk in a character’s shoes for a day. Particularly, Kat from Susan May Warren’s Taming Rafe…solely so I could hang out with Rafe. 🙂

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Oh you naughty girl. Not that I can blame you though. Rafe was pretty much…yum-my.

      Oops, did I just say that outloud? 😉

      I need to watch my mouth like Chonda Pierce….

      😉

  4. I LOVE Casey!! So fun to see her here today!

  5. Fun interview! Great to get to know you better, Casey. And Keli, I love your questions. Always so fun and insightful!

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Thank you for stopping by Lindsay! Keli does ask some of the best questions around, knows right how to get to the heart of the person she’s interviewing. It’s always a joy to visit more with her. 🙂

  6. Casey Herringshaw says:

    Thank you SO much, Keli for spreading the word about my blog and letting me spend the day with your readers. A true pleasure!

    I am so very excited for the day I get YOUR book in the mail and have every excuse in the world to mention the author in my review. ;-D

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Casey, I’m delighted to have you as my guest. It’s fun to learn new things about you. Who knew you were a Grand Champion knitter? Wow! And a fashion model? Woohoo! You are multi-talented, and I’m greatly impressed. 🙂

      I look forward to sending you my book. You write such awesome reviews!

  7. Brianna Soloski says:

    It’s a pleasure to meet you, Casey. My favorite book is The Great Gatsby and no, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in any of their shoes, even for an hour. I do, however, love the 20s and would love to go back in time and live in that era for a while, as myself.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Nice to meet you too Brianna, I don’t believe I have “run” into around the web yet. A pleasure! I know what you mean. If time travel were a real invention, I’d be it’s most frequent user. 😉

  8. Erica Vetsch says:

    Casey!!! How wonderful to see you here on Keli’s blog. Two of my favorite writer peeps in the same place. Sa-weet!

    I think if I had to choose only one novel…urrrghhhh…it’s so hard! Today I’ll choose Sweet Are The Ways by Essie Summers.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      I don’t believe I’ve heard of that author or that book, Erica. Now you have me interested to know what it’s all about. 🙂

  9. Loree Huebner says:

    Great to get to know you, Casey! Cheesecake is a major weakness for me too.

    Your question really got me thinking. I don’t think I would want to walk around in the shoes of the character in my favorite novel – well…maybe when I was younger.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Oh another cheesecake addict! I don’t get it near enough…which is actually probably a good thing. 😉 When my grandfather was still alive, every time we visited, he would always have a cheesecake waiting to be brought out of the freezer. Ah the sweet memories!

  10. Nice to meet you, Casey. It’s always good to meet a fellow chocolate lover. I haven’t tried Brown Bottom Cupcakes. Sounds yummy!

    I don’t know which character I’d choose. I read many historicals, and the modern woman in me is hesitant to step completely into the olden days when we didn’t have showers or indoor plumbing, lol! If I had to make a choice, though, it would be a character from the Victorian era or the Middle Ages, just so I can be girly and where a corset and long flowing dress.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      I just might have to share the recipe! Or rather, get my mom and sister to share it. They love to make them so much, I mostly just get the pleasure of eating them and not making them. 😉

      The chance to wear a long flowing dress is definitely on my bucket list!

  11. Anne Payne says:

    I always love reading Casey’s reviews! She my number one go-to reviewer for an honest and thoughtful look at the books I want to read. She could teach a class on How to Write a Review!

    Those cupcakes sound yummy! I love just about anything with cream cheese 🙂

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      LOL! Thanks Anne, it’s been a journey, that is for sure, but I’m so glad my reviews are now at the point where they are helpful. I get to write one for Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Dress today. Can’t wait to share that one with you guys!

  12. Gina Holmes says:

    Love Casey’s reviews. She’s got great insight. Thanks for featuring her. And no, I would not want to walk a mile in Jane Eyre’s shoes. The moment she found out Mr Rochester had an insane wife in the attic… pass. ha.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Hello Gina! I’m honored you stopped by to read the post. Writing great reviews is easy when I have the chance to read great books from author such as yourself. 🙂

      LOL, no, I don’t think anyone would probably want to walk in those shoes…

  13. cynthiaherron says:

    Keli…Hope this works! Still having to use my old WP sign in process. Ugh! But I am determined! LOL

    Casey: Loved meeting you at conference! (Remember, I “mentioned” my very single son to you at dinner. You made me laugh with some of the “fix-ups” friends and acquaintances had suggested. 🙂 )

    And yes, “the dance” is legendary!

    Keli, this was so much fun!

    Now, to Casey’s question… I like to live vicariously through many different characters in books I’ve read, but rarely would I want to encounter their share of problems/conflict. Unless, of course, there were kisses involved. That would be Hershey’s Kisses, of course! 😉

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Yay! I see you Cynthia! You were such a joy to meet at the conference! *And* the first mother I’ve talked to who wanted to set me up. 😉

      Well, being of the single variety, I wouldn’t mind stepping into a character’s shoes for a kiss of the *other* kind. Though I love a good Hershey too. Ha! 😀

  14. jeanniecampbell says:

    i too enjoyed meeting casey at the last ACFW conference. hope to see you again this year!

    i always daydream myself in the place of the heroine in most all the novels i read. i do this with tv, too. like right now, i’ve discovered Bones, and i truly believe that i could be her. and have my own version of a partner booth. sigh.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Waving to Jeannie! She has a great site to take advantage of. 😉

      See, there ya go. What better reason to read a good novel than to spend a few moments in the place of the MC? Ah, bliss.

  15. Katie and Casey on Friday???? Together!!! That is going to be rich. I love your humor and love of life. Friday is my all day volunteer each week at our community library.
    My favorite book! “The Mill House” by Paul McCusker, c2004. First, because I love Historical Fiction; it is truer than life itself! Well I may embellish there. One day, this time will be read as Historical Fiction. Others will want to find out how we lived “then.” “The Mill House” spans two generations and is a story of [well here, let me get you checking it out by writing out snippets from the back cover for you]: “They found her by the dilapidated country chapel clutching shards of colored glass from the old stained glass windows, desperately clinging to the fragments of a shattered past. ~*~ From the pain of the past emerges a tender story of lost love, betrayal, reconciliation, and renewed hope that spans a half-century and thousands of miles.” There is more in between but I do not want to become a “reviewer” here! Good, good, good. A story that stayed with me long after I turned the pages. [I love turning pages; leaving a paperback will be a challenge!] Plus, I love to see all those colored spines lined up. Hmm. “The Mill House” has a purple spine with a small photo of an English cottage on a shoreline with a nearby waterwheel; a replica of the front cover.
    My favorite character? All of them! Adam Powell, the grandfather; Nicholas, his grandson; Elaine Arthur, and Lainey, her granddaughter. A simple question like this and I can’t do it. I want to get you munching on the story line!

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Oh be sure and stop by on Friday, Kathleen! It will be fantastic with Katie on my blog. 😀

      I LOVE that story premise. Sounds like one to look up…

  16. laura frantz says:

    So, so good to see Casey here!!! I think Keli and Casey are kindred spirits:) You both seem to share the gift of encouragement which is a wonderful thing:) Love learning more about Casey here, including the chair dancing! Her dad is a sweetheart, too, and looks like a hero from a western flick! I had the joy of meeting them in St. Lou. Blessings on you both – and I can’t wait till I hold both your books in my hand!!!

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      LOL, Laura! I will have to tell him that. 😉 I was sooo excited to show him off and introduce him to some of the writing friends I have made who have been such a support to ME! God is awesome in His perfect timing!!

  17. And then I didn’t answer your question, specifically. It is “Yes.”
    Guess I’ll pick Lainey. The others have more struggles; she has compassion and adventure! Yay!

  18. Rel Mollet says:

    Casey! You are a treasure ~ so glad Keli featured you here. I’m looking forward to the day I review your book on my blog 🙂

    Not sure I can decide on a character in a book! Too many to choose from though I could bear to spend some time with any of Ronie Kendig’s heroes just not sure I’d manage the inherent danger they seem to attract ;-D

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      I thought you might mention Ronie’s novels. I think I’d do pretty much anything for a day with Cowboy, danger notwithstanding.

      ‘Course I can say that standing on *this* side of the novel. Ha!

      I’m excited for the day I can send such a review request your way! Will be a red-banner day!

  19. Susan Mason says:

    Hi Keli & Casey,

    Great interview! It was fun to meet you both in St. Louis!

    I was so impressed by Casey. For someone so young, you’re so competent, together – so kind and talented! I imagine you will have a very BRIGHT future, my dear.

    And I love your reviews, too!

    Cheers,
    Sue

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      Thank you for your sweet encouragement, Sue. You are a blessing to me in so many ways! I hope you have a fantastic day, with whatever you do!

  20. bethkvogt says:

    Casey is one of the most delightful people I’ve met along the writing road — and I am thankful I can call her a friend.
    And I love her question about walking in a character’s shoes for the day … wow. Imagine being Anne of Anne of Green Gables.
    Or PJ of the PJ Sugar series by Susie May Warren.
    Or one of the women in Jody Hedlund’s historical novels?

    I. Can’t. Choose.
    🙂

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      P.J. Sugar, why didn’t I think of her? I LOVE that heroine. I need to reread that series…

      So thrilled to call you friend as well! May is almost here!! 😀

  21. jillrkemerer says:

    Keli, I just love your interviews! You ask the best questions!

    Casey, dancing on chairs?? You’re my kind of gal! I love dancing–and cream cheese! So nice to see you here today!

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      I did. I am USUALLY not that outgoing and much more conservative. But little by little I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Baby steps. Baby. Steps. Ha! 😉

  22. steelergirl83 says:

    Sorry I’m a bit late here I’ve been so busy this past week I haven’t even had time for my own blog! Anywho I wanted to stop by and say hi! Casey is one of my all-time favorite bloggers, we’ve never met in person but hopefully someday because she definitely seems like a fun person and any person who likes to dance is okay in my book LOL!

    As for the question Casey asked, well, I’m kind of on a dystopian kick, having seen The Hunger Games and finishing Divergent by Veronica Roth last week but I have to say I don’t EVER want to be Katniss or Tris’s shoes! Although they are great strong characters who would want to live in a world where everyday you had to worry whether you and your family were safe or whether you would live, die or had enough to eat? Yikes!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      ALWAYS welcome, Renee! YOU got me started in all this, so to hear I’m one of your favorites makes my heart smile. Sure appreciate you…*and* I would love that day of meeting you in person. We’d have so much to chat about, I just know. 😀

  23. What a fun interview! Thanks for featuring Casey. I have enjoyed getting to know her, and look forward to meeting her soon at a convention.

    • Casey Herringshaw says:

      I covet that chance, Rosslyn. Knowing you online has been pure joy. I know the same would be true in person. 🙂

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