Welcome to our first ever Reviewer spotlight. I was thinking about it, and we Reviewers are always firing questions at Authors etc, but you never really see the questions going the other way, and then I thought, that might actually be interesting so why not?
Today I’ll be spotlighting Kendall Reviews, this is a spectacular blog with a great online presence, the blog is dedicated to promoting horror throughout the year and I very much enjoy their posts. With a team of Reviewers, you’re never at a loss for something new to read on their website.
Meet the Team here; https://kendallreviews.com/meet-the-team-together-lets-promotehorror/
Today we are speaking with Gavin Kendall, who founded the site in January 2017 as a place to share reviews and it quickly grew into what we see today. Gavin lives in the South-East of England with his Wife Laura and their Daughters Emily & Freya.
So Gavin, what was it that made you want to start Reviewing?
Hi Rebbie, Thank you very much for inviting me to your blog.
In all honesty it was boredom, I was looking for a hobby. I always used to recommend things I enjoyed to my friends and family. It got to a point where I was regularly being asked for a good book or movie so I started the blog as a way of cataloguing these reviews and items within my collection.
What’s your favourite part of Reviewing?
When someone contacts you out of the blue and states they bought a book purely based on a Kendall Review is wonderful.
There’s something about opening a book for the first time., especially if it’s a book you’ve been eagerly anticipating. What’s even better is snapping a book shut that has just blown your mind or discovering a brand new author you enjoy.
What’s your LEAST favourite part of Reviewing?
When I first started Kendall Reviews I had no idea how tribal the community is. I’ve seen incredible toxicity and many heated discussions in the 3 years I’ve been reviewing.
If you go out of your way to tell anyone their reviews are wrong, or you agree with this comment publicly you can expect to find yourself muted/blocked by Kendall Reviews. In pointing out you disagree with another’s review is so destructive. Reviews are opinions, there’s no right or wrong.
Saying that, I’ve only personally encountered a few people that are like this and the community as a whole is thriving and an absolute joy to be a part of.
Authors hassling for a review is very irritating. I make it clear that unless we have agreed a review date then the review will go live when I have time in my schedule. Badgering me will not get your book read any faster.
What’s the first book you remember loving?
The first title that springs to mind would be The Amazing Mr Blunden. I read it multiple times as a kid. I vividly recall a rainy Sunday reading it in the kitchen whilst my Mum dashed about sorting the dinner.
What was your first Review?
The first review I posted on Kendall Reviews was Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff (http://kendallreviews.com/kendall-reviews-grimm-woods-by-d-melhoff/ ) a book that I was really excited to read that sadly ended up disappointing.
Kendall Reviews is dedicated to Promoting Horror, what was it that made you choose Horror specifically?
When I was a kid, I would borrow books from my Dads bookshelf without his knowledge. Titles like The Rats by James Herbert and The Pan Book Of Horror Stories were game changers for me as a 10 year old. The excitement of horror hasn’t changed for me in fact it’s stronger now 37 years later.
You’ve worked with many Authors for Reviews and Interviews for the Site, did anyone in particular leave a last impression on you?
I first started Kendall Reviews for personal use. Once I thought I’d like to spread my wings and push out into the big wide world I found it somewhat daunting. It was Johnny Mains (@ohsinnerman) that kept reaching out and replying to my posts, offering advice and tips. I’m so grateful to Johnny for helping me find my feet and some of my first contacts.
If there was one post I’m particularly proud of to feature on the blog it would be an interview I held with Erik T Johnson (http://kendallreviews.com/speculative-fiction-author-erik-t-johnson-discusses-everything-from-a-haunted-childhood-to-how-rock-n-roll-saved-his-life-in-a-stunning-in-depth-interview/). A mind blowing journey inside Erik’s head, very personal, incredibly in-depth, including artwork and exclusive fiction.
Erik went above and beyond with this piece and for that I’m incredibly grateful.
If you’ve not read Yes Trespassing by Erik then I would thoroughly recommend it. You’ll be a different person once you’ve finished it.
It’s an honour to feature all the authors and publishers I do.
Your favourite novel is Books of Blood by Clive Barker, this being a collection, is there a particular story within it that you favour?
Game changer! Up until I discovered the Books of Blood, bar the Pan Horror Stories, I was only reading the goriest, nastiest, pulpiest stuff I could find. Clive introduced an eloquence that I’d not read before, world building and prose that challenged me like no other author at the time. Clive Barker is without doubt my favourite author.
As for my favourite Book Of Blood? It has to be ‘In The Hills, The Cities’. It takes incredible talent to make this story even remotely believable. Rival towns form giants from their community members to enact a mock battle with devastating consequences. Please, just read it. Social commentary and horror blended as only Barker can with interesting lead protagonists.
Do you attend Horror Conventions? If so which has been the best/worst experiences?
I’ve not as yet sadly. It’s certainly something I’d like to do in the near future. There are many supporters of the blog that I’d like to meet.
Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects you’re involved with?
I’m very excited with the collaboration with Demain Publishing. This will give the readers/fiends of Kendall Reviews exclusive Demain content. With the very latest news first, interviews, guest posts, extracts, exclusive fiction, sub calls, competitions and giveaways and more. This will be officially kicking off early 2020.
Do you have anything to say to Authors about the Reviewing Experience?
Reviews are first and foremost for the reader. Beyond that, Kendall Reviews will always try and offer positivity even in a review for a title we didn’t particularly enjoy.
What would you say to new Reviewers starting up their own sites?
Integrity is key. Review for yourself and have fun. There’s wonderful stories out there and some incredibly talented people writing them. Go find them.
Can you tell us about the highs and lows of your experiences as a Reviewer?
The highs are forming TeamKR. What an incredibly talented bunch they are! I’m proud to know them, their monthly posts have really given Kendall Reviews a sheen and moved the blog in new directions. Thank you guys.
When I started the blog nearly 3 years ago it was a hobby. Now it’s a passion project dedicated to promoting horror and the darker genres. Traffic through the site is growing organically week on week and feedback is mostly positive. I’ll keep pushing the blog forward with integrity as that give me no greater pleasure. Kendall Reviews will continue to try to do things the right way.
Together let’s promote horror.
Thank you very much Rebbie.