Interviewer: We’re here today for an interview with the Crew as in Mystery Review Crew, Anita Dickason, and Kimberly Werntz.
Anita is an award-winning author of crime thrillers and cozy mysteries. As a veteran police officer, she writes about what she knows, cops and crimes. In addition, Anita is a graphics designer. She loves to create images for most anything bookish, book covers, bookplates, bookmarks, social media advertising content, book trailers and other videos for her two YouTube channels.
Kimberly is not an award-winning author but loves to read them. She enjoys reading and that joy has translated into a new way to share her passion for reading with others through writing intriguing articles and designing everything from full websites to character illustrations. Plus, she’s a bit of a nomad and loves to go on hikes in the backwoods of Arkansas to the heights of Angels Landing in Utah.
An Interview With The Crew
Interviewer: An interesting combination. So, how did the two of you connect up?
Kimmie: While on a book tour, I read Anita’s book Deadly Business and we formed a friendship. Her support and encouragement of the bloggers on the tour was a wonderful, different experience. When the concept of The Mystery Review Crew came about, I was overjoyed to take on the unique challenge of crafting a special site for sharing the love of books with others in such a unique way.
Anita: When Kimberly contacted me about the possibility of a new project, the Mystery Review Crew, one dealing with mystery, suspense, and thrillers, she had my attention. Oh, my gosh! Who could resist such a tempting offer. What an exciting opportunity to partner with her. I said YES! And look where we are now?
Interviewer: Fascinating! The Mystery Review Crew. Just the name is intriguing. What was the inspiration?
Anita: I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life. I love books and talking about them. It doesn’t matter if they are mine or another author’s book. I saw the creation of the Mystery Review Crew as a unique challenge. A new way to connect with readers and authors.
Kimmie: Like Anita, I’m a lifelong reader. I love books and they’re unique ways of showcasing the different themes and thought processes. So, when I was asked to create a site dedicated to showcasing the wonderfulness of books, how could I say no?
Interviewer: How has the crew evolved since its inception?
Anita: It’s like writing a book, new chapters keep coming. In 2023, Mystery Review Crew took on a new structure and direction. We broadened the scope of “Mystery” to encompass novels that don’t fall in the traditional genres. We put in place a solid foundation on which we could build. Mystery Review Crew became Mystery Review Crew, LLC. While the structure of the Crew has changed, what hasn’t is our hopes and dreams. Our love of books goes beyond the pages.
Kimmie: I believe the Mystery Review Crew has been able to continually strive to be better focused and know what to write about as we’ve gotten our legs under us. It’s become a different type of fun and creativity for Anita and me. We’re in uncharted waters, with many fun possibilities on the horizon.
Interviewer: What is different about the Mystery Review Crew?
Anita: Mystery Review Crew has resonated with readers and authors far beyond my initial expectations. MRC’s website isn’t static, but rather an ongoing renewal with articles and books. I would mention here, Kimberly is the genius behind the website. Whether you are a reader or author looking for opportunities to promote your books, there is a lot to like about what is happening with the Crew.
Kimmie: The Mystery Review Crew is different because we don’t rely on just book reviews. Our author interviews are a fun extension of the authors themselves. Take for instance, Anita’s book AU79. Most interviews would ask Anita how she came up with the idea or how she writes her stories. In our interviews, we ask book-specific questions, i.e., what made you use an ATF agent instead of a police officer or another FBI agent? What did you learn that helped shape your characters? What legacy do you want to leave with your books?
Secondly, our growth at the Mystery Review Crew literally took us aback. Totally unexpected. What we discovered were the topics we enjoyed writing about were truly what others found interesting too! In the last sixish months, we’ve gone to over 35K views on our website alone per month; not to mention the social media following and newsletter subscribers we’re gaining. We like to think of it as some great new friends to share our love of reading with.
Interviewer: That’s impressive growth! Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of The Mystery Review Crew, and what exciting projects or new directions are you planning to explore?
Anita: OMG—this is where we get to the fun part. We’re incredibly excited about the future. The opportunities are limitless. Approximately 11,000 new books are published every day. It can be daunting to a reader. And how does an author get his or her book noticed? That’s where The Crew can help.
Kimmie: We’re passionate about books – it’s practically in our DNA. Our crew is made up of some die-hard readers, who are always ready to dive into the pages of both the latest releases and timeless classics. That’s precisely why we introduced the MRC Recommended Seal of Excellence. It’s our way of saying, ‘This book is unputdownable!’ And don’t even get us started on our Throwback Book of the Month. As Anita said, in a world where over 11,000 new books hit the shelves every day, we believe some gems deserve a second spotlight. So we’re bringing back the stories that have lingered in our minds over the years and making them the stars of the show once again.
Anita: What Kimmie described is just one exciting side of the picture. Our goal for a vibrant community where readers and authors can share their passion for storytelling extends far beyond our website. All across our social media sites, we are getting the word out about Mystery Review Crew. We plan to build on our success with Facebook summer and Christmas book events. With twenty-plus authors participating, we showcase them and their books, along with fun activities, puzzles, and giveaways. It’s a fun way for readers to connect, and discover a great new book or another author to add to their list of favorites. We not only host the events but also promote them through paid Facebook advertising.
We started the Mystery Review Crew Book Talk Group on Facebook, where we love to talk about anything bookish. Our bi-monthly newsletter is chock-full of intriguing articles and new and timeless classic books. Our YouTube channel lets Kimmie and I indulge in another passion, designing videos. About what? Anything bookish, of course. Whether you are an author wanting to connect with readers, or a reader looking for that next great book, we’ve got you covered.
Interviewer: Wow! It’s easy to see why The Crew is so excited. With the talent and creativity each of you bring to the table, it makes for an exciting future for Mystery Review Crew. Any final thoughts?
Anita: Come visit us or follow us on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Or subscribe to our newsletter or YouTube channel. Lots of ways for an author or reader to go along with The Crew as we discover new adventures at the Mystery Review Crew.
Kimmie: Thanks for coming along on this journey with us! If you have any books you think we should read, let us know!