Today I have a special non-review post that I’m very excited to share! If you’ve seen my bookish subscription box unboxing post, you’ll know I love the Magic of Diversity bookish box, and I’ve decided to hold a virtual interview with the box’s creator, Montgomery! The Magic of Diversity box is all about diverse reads, with each month having all the included items related to the diverse book that is sent in the box. I personally believe that we need more diverse books, in all genres, even beyond YA fiction, and that is one reason I love this bookish box so much.
In addition to loving the box, Montgomery is super sweet and awesome to talk with about books. She’s also let me create a coupon code to give you guys 20% off! Just enter AprilReads when you check out for the discount! 🙂 You can order the Magic of Diversity bookish subscription box here. Coupon code is now live!
Q: Thank you for the opportunity to feature an interview with you on my blog! To start this interview off, could you describe the vision you had for your subscription box before you started making solid plans to create it?
A: Thank you so much for featuring Magic of Diversity!
I was volunteering in Morocco last August and I was exposed to a whole new world. I always credited reading as my escape to faraway lands, both mythical and real but in almost every case, the protagonist (aka the person I am viewing this world through) is a white, thin woman, who is incredibly strong and beautiful. Often times she’s unaware of her beauty and “the affect she has on people” and while that’s a fun trope, it has run its course in my opinion. I’ve read thousands of YA stories with about this young woman, and I realized it would be nice to not only read about people like me (a plus sized woman of color with a disability) but other people. Go outside of myself, my race, my religion, my culture. Reading has taken me to some magical places but at the end of the day, I am in a target audience that is marketed to very strongly, and we seem to be force fed novels about one person far too often.
Featuring independent and lesser known authors is the second part of my master plan. I’m hoping to build more of a following before that happens but I would love to give them a platform, we have to help each other out!
Q: What is your process to plan and carry out the building of each month’s box?
A: I have categories of people that I think are underrepresented. It in no way covers all of the people who are underrepresented which I am always open to suggestions! I look to other people to suggest novels to me, I need more voices than just my own. This isn’t just my box. I’ll research the books, you just tell me what or who you’re interested in.
So people of color (so complex and so many different races and cultures within races and people who are of mixed races like myself), people who are differently abled (some don’t like this phrasing but basically people who need assistance walking, reading, people with memory problems, people with any kind of disability that makes their life more difficult), LGBTQIA (especially people of color in the LBTQIA community), people with non-traditional families, people who aren’t Christian (Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, atheist, etc.), people from other countries, people with anxiety and depression, people who are intellectually impaired, and none of these things are mutually exclusive! That’s the beauty of human beings, we are complex. The first novel we featured was about a gay Persian girl. Last month’s novel was about a young Japanese boy with ALS. I think the best novels manage to make you feel some kind of connection and understanding no matter how similar or different you are from the protagonist, you know?
Q: Where do you get the ideas for each month’s theme?
A: I have hundreds of books in my Amazon and Barnes and Noble carts. I go through those and read reviews and see what they suggest for me to read next. I also look at Goodreads and Twitter! Authors run in packs, so they’ll interact with one another or do panels together. I love it, some are very approachable and that’s always nice. I then reach out to them and ask them if they mind being interviewed! Most are ecstatic and honored, but it is I who is honored!
Q: What is your favorite part of running this bookish box?
A: Getting to speak to the authors. They’re rock stars to me. I get so close to the characters, I just want to pick their brains but I try to keep it somewhat professional. Most of my interviews look like that have a lot of butt kissing but that’s only because I chose books that I think are positively wonderful. I am swept away with the words and I want the authors to know that. Not all books are like that as I’m sure you know.
Q: How do you discover the diverse reads that you feature in the box?
A: Various ways. Recommendations, Twitter, Amazon, blogs, Instagram (although it’s hard to find lots of diverse books on Instagram in all honesty), and sometimes I just Google a subject I’m interested in. It’s not just that these books aren’t being written because they are, it’s also that they aren’t being published or they aren’t being marketed in the same way and that’s really very disappointing. Although things are getting better!
Q: I have definitely noticed (especially on Instagram) how far and few between I see diverse reads featured. Why do you personally believe it’s so important that people read more diverse books?
A: I love books. I love reading. I love the endless possibilities they provide. A few years ago I was very ill, I missed almost all of high school and all I had were my books, they saved me. I know the power of novels and I know how special and intimate your connection with a particular book can be. I also know that I have learned to be far more empathetic and understanding because of the novels I have read, than anything else. It saddens me that so many of my favorite books aren’t as known or as celebrated as their counterparts, I want to even the playing field so to speak, expose the subscribers to a whole new world (I thought of the Aladdin song too). I want them to walk away and not only gain understanding but have some knowledge about a subject that they otherwise would have known not much of. That’s the power of reading, and we owe it to ourselves to push our boundaries and leave our comfort zone.
I want to thank Montgomery of Magic of Diversity again for participating in this interview, and especially for starting such a unique and necessary bookish box! If you’re interested in subscribing, you can do so at this link, and don’t forget to use my coupon code AprilReads for 20% off! Coupon code is now live!
Disclaimer: I am not a paid or unpaid affiliate of Magic of Diversity box, and just wanted to share a subscription box that I feel strongly about to help spread the word and support a great box. I don’t gain anything from anyone using the coupon code; it’s purely to help you guys save some money 🙂