Dyanne Davis
Interview with Eleanor Shields - Black Butterfly Review Group

Eleanor ShieldsEleanor, it is my pleasure to interview you. Thank you very much for being agreeable to this.  How does it feel to be on the other end of this game? LOL

Eleanor:  If feels a little different.  Usually I ask all of the questions and am a little leary of answering. LOL

Dyanne:  Eleanor, I always like to start interviews by asking everyone to tell the readers about themselves.  I have found that people have so many layers to them and most people only know a few layers.  So I’m asking you to peel away the layers and tell us all about you, yourself, your family, your dreams and aspirations and whatever else you might want to talk about.  I’m nosey and so are my readers so go ahead and tell us. We won’t tell anyone else.

Eleanor:  Well, I am a happily married mother of 2.  My life is just at the best stage that it can be I have wonderful children and an awesome husband of 20 years (in 3 months).  I live in Maryland but grew up in New York ergo my sometimes in your face attitude (smiling).  I first started writing poetry at a young age and love to write.  Believe it or not, I hated reading; thank God, I learned the errors of my ways and now everywhere you see me there is a book attached.  I lost both of my parents in 2005 but they are with me everyday.  I feel that God blessed me with them and added a bonus when he gave me a very special mother in law.  I am 10 of 12 children with me being the youngest girl; although I am the bossiest of the bunch.  I am born in May and am a true Taureen.  I aspire one day to write something.  What, has yet to be determined, but it’s coming.

Dyanne:   I have to ask who designed the site for Black Butterfly.  I love it.

Eleanor: Well Dyanne, I actually designed it.  I was just playing around and that’s what I ended up with.  Of course, I impressed myself J but I am really glad that I have impressed you as well.  Keep watch; because it’s about to change…

Dyanne:  I know this question probably has an obvious answer but I’m going to ask it anyway.  What made you become a reviewer?

Eleanor:   I actually wanted to be a reviewer for some time and didn’t have a clue as to how to become one. Until, one day I attended a Sormag on-line conference and in talking with the owner; she told me to submit a sample review.  I did so, she liked it and that is how I got my start as a reviewer.

Dyanne:  Are there any genres that you absolutely hate but have to review?  If so how do you reconcile your hating the subject matter with the reviewing of the book?

Eleanor:  I wouldn’t say a specific genre but I absolutely refuse to review books involving molestation.  Once I identify that is the topic, I assign it to someone else or return the book.

Dyanne:  This is a question that everyone will more than likely be wondering about so I’m going to ask it.  (Smile)  Do your personal friendships with authors influence your reviews?  If you find that you can’t separate the two do you give the book to another reviewer?

Eleanor:  That’s a really good question.  I have established several close friendships with authors and some even review for me; but no.  I review books on their merits.  I strive to give honest reviews and I think I would do a disservice to my friends if I didn’t tell them the truth. (as I see it)  I am the first to tell everyone that a book review is just one persons opinion; however, I try to provide feedback to support why I feel a certain way about a book.  To date, I have not had to re-assign a book.

Dyanne:   Eleanor, how many reviewers are on the BBR and on an average how many books does each of you read per month?

Eleanor:  There are currently 6 of us and it’s hard to give an average because we each read at different paces.  Also, I review for several review teams so that average number would be skewed.

Dyanne:  Can you tell us a little bit about how the whole review process works.  Who contacts you and so forth?

Eleanor:  Sure, Authors, Publishers and Publicists generally contact me via email or snail mail.  The books arrive at my post office box and I then assign them to reviewers.  Once the reviewer receives the book and have read it, they will send me a draft version of the review.  I make any necessary edits if any and provide them feedback.  At that point changes are made and a final is produced.  It is then put on Black Butterfly Review’s letterhead and sent to the author/publisher/publicist.  A copy is then placed on various online outlets like Amazon, B&N, etc. and possibly in Black Butterfly Review’s monthly newsletter.

Dyanne:   I have been reading that some authors pay for reviews. I’ve never done that and since I’m extremely frugal I don’t imagine that I ever will. Do writers pay for reviews with BB?

Eleanor:  No, BBR does not receive payment for reviews.  However there are times when I would like to bill people for giving me a hard time. LOL 

Dyanne:  Now this sounds a little like an earlier question but I’m going to word it differently.  If there is an author that you absolutely love will you automatically give that author a good review?  How about an author you absolutely hate?

Eleanor: Nope, a book is a book and stand on its own merits.  I can love the author to death but I WILL rate every book accordingly.  Nothing personal.  Same for authors whose writing style that I don’t care for. 

Dyanne:   Eleanor, I’m asking all of these questions because I know a lot of people question reviews and wonder if it wasn’t just the authors asking for favors. I know what a hard job it is for reviews to give each work the attention it deserves regardless if it’s something you wouldn’t normally read and I believe each reviewer calls it as they see it. Someone else may agree or disagree and that’s the way it is.  Reading is extremely subjective.  Do you have any thoughts on this?

Eleanor:  I think that you have to take the reviewers word for what they felt about a book.  When I look on outlets, I see reviews by individuals.  Sometimes I question them because some authors have their friends submit reviews in promotion of their works, but if you ever get a review from Black Butterfly Review, you can know this:  The book has been definitely read, and it is the reviewer’s only opinion.  I have read the same books in some cases and disagree with the reviewer, however I was not assigned that book and their review stands, regardless of if I agree or disagree.

Dyanne:  Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you’d like to talk about?  Is there any advice you’d like to give to the authors?  Is there any advice you’d like to give to the readers about how to view reviews?

Eleanor:  ok, I would like to tell readers that a review is just one person’s opinion.  As a reviewer, our job is to attempt to give you a glimpse of what you will see when you open up that book. As a consumer, I read reviews but only to determine if I am interested in the storyline, I have to form my own opinion and sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t.

Dyanne:  Again, Eleanor I want to thank you for being so gracious to do this interview.  Where can the readers read more about you and about your review?

They can visit us at www.blackbutterflyreview.com or stop by www.myspace.com/blackbutterflyreview.