Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Interview With Bethany (Wraiths and Roses)

CHHR: Please give a brief introduction.

My name is Bethany, and I run the website and Instagram @wraithsandroses. When I’m not busy being a Mom and college student, I occasionally read a book or two. šŸ˜‰

CHHR: When did you start reviewing horror books?

I’ve been officially reviewing for a year-and-a-half. I started reviewing sort of by accident. One day I just started posting book pictures and it evolved into what it is today. Horror is my main reading genre, so naturally I have more horror reviews.

CHHR:  What social media platform(s) do you prefer? Why?

Right now, I frequent Instagram and Twitter. I have more of a following on Instagram due to the book pictures, but I like the one-on-one interaction that Twitter offers. I feel like Instagram is where I meet people, but Twitter offers a chance to get to know them better.
CHHR:  Do you like print or eBooks? Or both?

Both, for sure. I love the feeling of a book in hand, but eReaders are so practical and I love that I can easily carry more than one book at a time. I’m not a “book snob” in any regard: reading is reading.

CHHR: What does your ideal reading space look like?

I don’t think I have a set or ideal space. But being that I have mild ADD it MUST be quiet. I can’t read with a lot of noise or even music in the background. Only if the book is extremely riveting can I read with background noise. I appreciate atmosphere, so I’ll say my ideal space is a quiet room on a rainy evening. šŸ˜‰

CHHR:  What advice would you give your fellow horror book reviewers?

Read what you want to read, and review truthfully. Not every book is for everybody, so it’s important to be honest—even if it’s an unpopular opinion. Reviewers don’t exist just to stroke egos for popularity; people will see through that guise.

CHHR: Do you dog ear or bookmark?

I typically bookmark, though I am not against dog-eared pages or even writing in the margins. Books should be loved. If the book belongs to me and isn’t a rare copy or something of that nature—I will highlight, dog ear, make notes, etc. One of my favorite things to find in thrift stores is books with markings from the previous owner.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book? Why?

I have yet to find a book that has topped Stephen King’s IT. It is one of those books that I finished and immediately felt sad about the fact that I would never again be able to pick up that book and read it for the first time. Which is funny, because I think that speaks so much to the overall theme and feeling of IT. The things we carry in our lifetime, but don’t quite have access to like we did before. I love King for that; the way that his “horror” blends so perfectly with the ordinary. Like looking at pretty wallpaper and peeling it back to find rot underneath.

CHHR: What is your least favorite horror book? Why?

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I can’t read books about extreme child abuse, they are just too gut-wrenching. I do think that victim’s stories deserve to be told, but they’re definitely for a certain kind of reader. I can do most true crime, but that specific novel was just harrowing.

CHHR: What is one thing that bothers you about your site?

I am constantly working on my site. My end goal is to be more lifestyle oriented, but still with books as a major centerpiece. I am in full-time school finishing my BA in Journalism and Anthropology, so I work on it in small spurts. One day it will be where I want it, but for now I’m just enjoying the process.

CHHR: How do you keep up with the books you read?

Like how to I read so much? I read sporadically. One day I might sit down and finish a book in a few hours, and the next I might only get to read for 30 minutes. I read multiple books at any one time, and I’m terrible at keeping true to a preset TBR. I read whatever my mood responds to at the time.

CHHR: Do you use Goodreads?

                Yes, but not well. One of my goals has been to start updating it more!
                CHHR: How do you feel about Amazon cracking down on       

I don’t typically review a lot on Amazon, besides just adding a star-review for the author’s sake. The reason being that I hear a lot of bad experiences like Amazon deleting reviews or censoring etc.

CHHR: What makes a great horror book?

My personal standard to consider any book ‘great’ is whether or not I think about it when I’m not reading. A good horror book stays with the reader. ‘Horror’ is hard to classify, in my opinion, because it means different things to different people. It should be visceral instead of just following a generic “horror formula.” One of the first things I learned in Anthropology was how to read cultures. What do they hold dear? What are they afraid of? How do these values and fears define them? A lot of questions like that can be answered when we look at their art and literature. Horror is no different. A good horror novel should touch on those cultural values and fears in some manner.

CHHR: Who is your favorite horror author?

Well, I already praised Stephen King, so I will say another favorite author is Koji Suzuki. He’s known for “The Ring” series and I have been exploring a lot of Japanese horror recently. It is so different from the horror we find in America. It’s uncomfortable and disturbing. I think the Japanese have always been fearless in their literature and art—which in turn reflects in their horror. Junji Ito is another favorite of mine—his horror manga is among the best.

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