Christine Gentes is the brains and brawn behind the delightful book blog, mapyourmystery.com. Considering what a world explorer Christine is, it’s no wonder her blog’s theme is maps! (This fab photo was taking at a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.)
Christine joins us today to tell us how mapyourmystery.com came about, and share some insights into the book blogging world.
1. Please tell us about your blog. Why did you decide to write it? What are some of the challenges and/or successes you’ve experienced along the way? I have always been a mystery reader from as far back as early Nancy Drew books and graduating to Agatha Christie in my teens. I continued to read mysteries and mostly cozies throughout my adult life (Mary Stewart, Nora Roberts and Elizabeth Peters) until I had my daughter. When she was a baby I read a lot of children’s books, including the Berenstain Bears and Amelia Bedelia because that’s how you “grow” a child reader.
During some of that time, I was a freelance writer for corporations in the marketing area and toyed with the idea of writing a mystery, but decided there were too many others writing mysteries.
One day my husband and I were talking about the number of books I was reading now that our daughter had grown up and was reading her own huge list of books. He said “You should write a blog.” He is a huge blog reader (non mysteries) so I thought, why not? Thus http://www.MapYourMystery.com was born. I started posting three days a week, then decided to post five days a week. I also thought I would use location as my hook. I read and reviewed a mystery from every state and then decided to branch out to the world. I have read mysteries from as far away as Fiji Islands and as exotic as Botswana.
My biggest challenge is writing the reviews right after I finish the book. So far this year (as of November 10), I have read 220 books, so sometimes I forget the plot if I have read too many in between.
For successes, my blog readership has continued to grow and I have had great support from the authors I review. I was at Malice Domestic in April 2016 and 2018 and met many more authors and have great contact with several publishers.
2. Do you also post your reviews elsewhere (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)? Why or why not? I post a shorter version of my reviews on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble because I think it is important to help readers select their next mystery.
3. What are some of the best or most surprising experiences you’ve had related to your blog?
Being mentioned in acknowledgements in books and having a cover blurb on a book is so exciting. Also, having an author mention my review on their Facebook page is terrific, too. I’m also excited when an author or a publisher reaches out to me and offers me their newest book to review.
4. What advice would you give to new bloggers and/or to authors who would like to connect with book bloggers? Be prepared for the blog to take lots of time to create and grow. I read a minimum of six books a week and sometimes I feel as if blogging is a job. Every once in a while I have to read some regular fiction or even non-fiction to clear my head.
As for authors who want to connect with me, I suggest a direct email to email@example.com. Please don’t send me a book unless I say it is okay. I cannot review every book I receive and sometimes some of the books I receive are not that well written, so I don’t feel I should read them and then I don’t to publish a harsh review. I know what it takes to be a writer and I don’t want to dash anyone’s dreams.
5. What question would you like to answer that no one ever asks? Please add it here. How do you find the time to read all those books? I make the time. I carry a book or my I-Pad with me all the time so if I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or anywhere, I can read. My husband goes to bed early, so I read for at least two hours after he goes upstairs (sometimes longer depending on how good the book is). When I take my two-mile walk outside or in the gym, I listen to books on my phone.
Christine’s bio: I spent over 30 years as a freelance writer, most of the time in my own business writing marketing materials. I have written video training scripts for United Airlines, Pepsi, Union Tank Car, Kemper Insurance and many others. For seven years I was the director of the Lake County Municipal League, an association of the mayors in my county. I was involved in marketing, meeting planning and lobbying. I have a Bachelor’s degree in history and English and a Master’s degree in Journalism.