Explore the Beautiful Ways of Horror With Killer Bookstagrammer @BOOKISHMARIE

Is horror your favorite genre or are you looking to get into gothic classics? Learn more about Bookstagrammer @bookishmarie!

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A photo of Bookstagrammer Marie McWilliams is against a dark red background with lighter red spiderwebs. Two candle graphics separate the portrait and two photos of her book collection. Graphics of moths frame the photos.

If you’re the type to count the days until Halloween, we’ve found the Bookstagrammer for you! While spending your days wishing for the cooler autumn weather, curl up with a stunning gothic book recommendation from Bookstagrammer Marie McWilliams! Lover of all things horror and author herself, Marie’s remarkable content will surely give you delightfully frightful bookish inspiration!

Photo portrait of Bookstagrammer Marie McWilliams. She poses in front of a gray background, in a black leather jacket and blouse, with her hand in the pocket of her light gray trousers.

Marie McWilliams of @bookishmarie

Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads

Thank you for joining us! Let’s begin the interview!

Where are you from?

I am from Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Why did you start your Bookstagram?

I got into Bookstagram for the same reason I began writing. After I had my daughter, I suffered badly from post-natal depression. I saw a counselor during that time who suggested I find a hobby, something I could do that was not for my family but just for me, something I did for the sheer joy and pleasure I got from it. I had always loved to read and had enjoyed writing exercises during my English classes at school, so I started writing. I went on a writing course at a local tech, and I started a Bookstagram account and Booktube, so I could share my love of books with others. I found a wonderful community there, full of positivity and support, and I have never looked back since.

The book Woman in Black by Susan Hill is positioned on a black wooden table. Beneath is beige cloth and a yellowing newspaper page. Surrounding them are white and black pumpkins, a set of vintage keys, two tall, lit candles on gold plates, autumn leaves, and a white skeleton hand with a gold ring on one of its fingers.

What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

I want to share my love of books, reading, writing, and horror with a community of like-minded people. I want to encourage others to read and share their own passions, and I want to promote other indie author’s works, as well as my own, so our books find readers and book nerds all over the world. I want people to read and enjoy the things I write, and I want to make friends and be an active part of what is a wonderful community.

Who are your favorite Bookstagrammers?

Honestly, there are just too many to name; the list would be huge! Go look at the people I follow, and that is my list, lol.

The book Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is held by an ornate gold stand. A stack of old books behind it holds a skull decoration and a white and black pumpkin. Two tall, white candles burn on gold plates with white flowers at the base. Vintage photos of a woman and a letter sit in front of the book with a key and hand-shaped charm on top. Behind the book are a couple of dried roses.

What are your favorite books, and who are your favorite authors?

This is such a hard question to answer because I have so many. I love horror, but more specifically, traditional gothic horror, particularly authors like Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Angela Carte. I also love the Bronte sisters. In terms of modern authors, I would have to choose Stephen King. In terms of books, there are so many, but The Haunting of Hill House, The Bloody Chamber, Frankenstein, Carmilla, Jane Eyre, and Needful Things, just to name a few.

Who’s your fictional crush?

I know of all the hunks in gothic literature, people always choose Heathcliffe, but I honestly cannot think of anyone worse, he was such a terrible, selfish person (him and Catherine, for that matter). I was always more partial to Mr. Rochester myself.

What’s on your TBR List?

Endless, gigantic, never-ending, impossible!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is positioned on top of a piece of beige cloth and a yellowing newspaper. To the right are three brown leather books of the same size and orange and black pumpkins.  To the left are two tall white candles, lit and dripping on gold plates. A mirror frame and dried autumnal flowers and leaves decorate the available space.

What’s your special approach to content?

I try to inject myself and my personality into it beyond my love of books and reading/writing. The aesthetic, for example, is not just a series of props for me; it is my personal style and the style of my home. I try to include my fashion, my other hobbies, and interests such as beachcombing, horror movies, and thrifting, and I try to show my home of Northern Ireland as well. In some ways, my Bookstagram is a reflection of me or an extension of me.

What’s your aesthetic / Instagram page theme?

Gothic, dark academia, vintage, romantic.

How often do you post?


What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

See the answer to question eight — in some ways, it is a part of me. I love the book community, and I have made genuine friendships there. I love being able to share something I love with others and to have them share their passions in return. I love being able to share my writing, and I have made so many incredible connections through Bookstagram, including other incredible authors. I feel honoured to be a part of it!

Bookstagrammer Marie McWilliams poses in front of her full bookshelf, holding a stack of twelve books of varying sizes.

What’s your favorite Bookstore?

I love any second-hand bookstore. I love thrifting and recycling, and I try to shop sustainably and buying second-hand is a great way to do that. I also love the idea of a book being read and loved by multiple people over many years, passed from one to the next. That’s why I have a particular soft spot for vintage books, and I always love seeing a scrawled love note or inscription inside a well-worn book cover.

Who would you have supply you with a lifetime of books?

Stephen King — the man is prolific in writing, so it would be great for getting his books, but he is incredibly well-read and has great taste, so I would trust he would furnish me with many great reads.

Which author would you love to take a selfie with?

Has to be Stephen King again — if I met him, I would fangirl so hard, I would suck at being cool about it.

A tattered copy of The Shining by Stephen King sits on top of a black typewriter. Little figurines of the book's characters lay on the keys of the typewriter along with a hotel keychain with a vintage key. On the black wooden table are also ripped and yellowing newspaper pages, one with the word "redrum" spelled out in red, as in the book.

What’s your favorite book cover?

There are too many beautiful covers out there to list them all here, but I love embossing, metallics, vintage aesthetics, and gilded or painted edges,

What’s a book you have claimed to have read that you didn’t?

I’m sure there were some in school I claimed to have read but haven’t but I am very honest about how far behind I am and how large my TBR is so I can’t think of any right now.

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

When I hit 10k followers.

A photo of Bookstagrammer Marie McWilliams. She poses with her left hand to her hair, leaning forward. She is in a black dress with silver starts and matching star earrings.

What are some of your favorite fandoms?

Everything and anything horror-related.

Any advice for aspiring Bookstagrammers?

Don’t let the algorithm get you down…yes it sucks; everyone is struggling with it, but don’t let it deter you from doing something you enjoy.

Any additional bookishness?

I am also a published author. I have had short stories featured in multiple magazines and anthologies, a novel out already called Broken Mirrors, and another book coming out in April, which is part of an immersive tarot deck and collaboration with the incredible artist Matt Hughes of Ethereal Visions Publishing. That project is called Mother Mort’s Carnival of Souls and is being released by US Games. Excitingly, I was recently signed as an author with Quill and Crow Publishing, who specialize in Gothic Horror. My book, The Secrets of Blackthorn House, will be released next year.

A display of the Mother Mort's Carnival of Souls tarot deck and books.

Huge thank you to Marie! We appreciate her for allowing us to get into the heart of her Bookstagram and sharing the magic behind her exquisite content! Make sure to follow her on Instagram @bookishmarie, TikTok, and Goodreads!

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Click here to browse some of Marie’s recommendations!