Shari Sakurai is a British author of paranormal, horror, science fiction and fantasy novels that almost always feature a LGBTQ protagonist and/or antagonist. She has always loved to write and it is her escape from the sometimes stressful modern life!
Aside from writing, Shari enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to (loud!) music, going to rock
concerts and learning more about other societies and cultures. Japanese culture is of particular interest
to her and she often incorporates Japanese themes and influences into her work.
Shari loves a challenge and has taken part and won the National Novel
Writing Month challenge twelve times!
1. What made you want to review books and how long have you been doing it?
I first started reviewing books in 2014. I wanted to start writing reviews for indie authors due to
my own experience of how difficult it is to get reviews. I appreciate all constructive feedback as
it helps me to improve upon my work and I am sure that fellow authors do too. I decided to start
reviewing as a way of supporting the indie community.
2. Walk us through your review process. What are some key things you look for when reviewing
book? What in your opinion makes a good book a great book?
For me the main things are characters, plot and pacing, and world building. I feel these are key ingredients that all connect to make a book great. When a novel has all of these things, I find that it can stay with me for months after I have read the final page.
3. How do you decide which book to review?
I often say I write what I like to read, and the reverse is true as well. Genre is important for me, although if a summary really catches my attention, I will take the plunge and try something new. I have done this a few times and have read some wonderful novels that I would never have discovered otherwise
4. Query letters let’s talk about them. From a reviewers point of view what makes a good query letter? What advice can you give someone writing a query letter to a book reviewer?
A good query letter should be tailored to the reviewer that you are reaching out too. It should contain the information that they have asked for, as well as being personalized with their name. My main advice for a query letter would be that you should always take the time to read through any submission guidelines that the reviewer has set. These are there for a reason and your book may not be suitable for that particular reviewer.
5. You are also a writer as well. Tells us your current and future works.
I am currently writing two series. My first is a vampire series called Demon’s Blood. The entire planned series is set across Japan in the 1800s and modern-day UK and Japan. The first couple of novels follow Japanese vampire Taku Kokawa and his English partner Thane Bremen as they flee vampire hunters in Tokyo. They choose to relocate to the UK, however the dangers that they left behind in Japan have followed them and when they catch up with Taku there are devastating consequences for them both.
My second series, Perfect World, is a science fiction/superhero series that takes place in London in 2115. Climate change and war have dramatically changed the world as we know it. Eric Rawlins is a genetically engineered superhero who was created to defend England against threats both from abroad and closer to home. Eric’s enemy is Adam Larimore, the genetically engineered son of a wealthy businessman. Adam’s quest for vengeance against the organization that Eric works for puts them at odds, but when they are forced together the truth that Adam reveals causes Eric to question everything. As they become closer, Eric begins to develop feelings for Adam, but he does not know if he can really trust Adam or whether he is just part of Adam’s plan for revenge.
6. Does being a writer help you review your books and at the same time does being a book reviewer help you write your books?
Yes it definitely helps. As a reviewer I am exposed to different styles of writing through reviewing.
7. So you are a book reviewer AND a writer. How do you find time do both? Do you have set days to work on reviews and days to work on your own works?
I don’t have a schedule as such, but I try to read and write at once a day during the week and concentrate on my writing and reviews at weekends.
8. What’s some advice do you want to give fellow book reviewers?
Always be kind in any criticism. Someone’s book may not be to your liking, but a lot of love and work has gone into their creation. I always put some positives into my reviews, even if I did not enjoy the book.
9. Where can people get in contact with you if they are wanting to have you review their work?
There is a form on my website that you can submit for review enquiries:
10. Any final thoughts you want to share with everyone?
If you are a writer considering offering book reviews, I highly recommend it. It is a great way to meet fellow authors and discover some amazing indie titles!