Interview with Annie and Carrie: Co-Founders of Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat
Hi ladies! So excited to have you both on Writerly Wednesday.
1)For my readers, could you both take a moment and introduce yourselves?
Hi! I'm Annie of Just Commonly blog. I'm a designer by profession, but reading and books are my loves. In the world of books, I'm a blogger and reviewer, sharing my thoughts on almost every book / story I read, along with anything remotely related to books. I'm a novice in bookstagramming, but hope to have more fun with it in the future.
Hello! I'm Carrie (aka MeezCarrie) from ReadingIsMySuperPower. I'm an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. I love Jesus and THE Story a whole lot.
2) You amazing ladies have founded, along with Bonnie Roof, the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. Can you share where the idea for it came?
(Annie): Well, it was really divine planning there. I remember chatting with everyone at the Seekerville annual New Year's Eve party and the authors were talking about author retreats or conferences. I then jokingly said, "what about readers' retreats? Why haven't I heard of those?" The wonderful Bonnie Roof chimed in and said something along the lines of that it's always been her dream to have one of those. And being the crazy booknerd I am, I said, "Lets do it!" Bonnie and I conversed a bit, and she found out that Carrie of Reading is My SuperPower also was planning something of the sort. And then, a beautiful and blessed friendship began. God's timing is always perfect, don't you think?
3) Can you tell folks a little about how it’s gone the past two years, and maybe give us a sneak peek at what you have planned for next year?
(Annie) Personally, it's been such a blessing. It exceeded ALL of my expectations from the get go. My initial thoughts were like a 20 person type retreat at a cute bed and breakfast. God had other ideas. We hit about 115 last year, when our initial cut off was half of that! The feedback have been encouraging and supportive, as well as enthusiastic for the first one as well as this year's.
For this year, author registration sold out within 36 hours of opening. I was the one that posted the info and officially started the registration process. So once it's posted, I left to go back to work. Within hours I get FB messages (that I missed at first) and text messages from Carrie saying that we've hit more than half the author capacity we set. Needless to say, it was both exciting and a little scary!
This year, CFRR was a blast. We're still testing the waters in terms of activities and scheduling, hoping to find the right balance of everything CFRR stands for and hope to achieve. We're still in the "debriefing" stage, where we take the next 2 months to pray about next year's CFRR. So we have NO idea what's happening. Though, we've lined up some amazing authors as our speakers, Liz Curtis Higgs, Tamera Alexander, Rachel Hauck & Jen Turano. All still tentative, since it will depend on location and dates.
(Carrie) One thing that has been a highlight for me of the planning process has been all the times God has answered prayers almost before we started praying them. Time after time, when Annie or Bonnie or I were worried about how something would work out, He provided the answer nearly immediately. Seeing those reminders that it isn’t our event but HIS has grown my faith so many times the past two years.
4) What was your favorite moment of this year’s retreat?
(Annie) Would it be cheating to say all of it? OK, if I had to choose one, I've always loved our praise and worship time, as well as the prayer times at the end of the day. It reminds me that CFRR is about honoring God, and fellowship to connect with each other as a community. In the midst of all the excitement of books and fangirling our favorite authors, remembering how God's with us each step of the way, that calms and assures me.
(Carrie) Praise & Worship & Prayer (and the stories we’ve heard of how God worked in each) is definitely my fave, but since Annie took that one (lol) I’m going to cheat and give two answers.
The first fave moment from this year was the speaker sessions. Yes, I know that’s kind-of cheating again, but oh well. LOL. Cynthia Ruchti and Shelley Shepard Gray both had me in smiling-tears, and Dani – your and Becky’s video diary of the stages of publication was so well-done and heartfelt. I laughed a lot but I also came away with the conviction to PRAY more for my author friends as they write their books. And the activity y’all came up with was so creative! We hated that you had to miss, but we loved that you were connected to us via the wonders of technology.
The second fave moment is the squealing and the fangirling. And not just readers over authors. But readers over other reader friends, and authors over other author friends, and AUTHORS OVER READERS. People bursting to hug friends they haven’t seen since last year’s CFRR and friends they are just meeting in person for the first time.
5) You both run wonderful blogs. Could you each share a little about your blogs?
(Annie) My blog is Just Commonly and I tend to post mostly reviews or anything related to books, but I also will randomly post things that are not even remotely related. Just Commonly started as more of a little outlet of what I thought of things and it just transformed itself to more of a book blog.
(Carrie) My blog is Reading Is My SuperPower, and I review mostly Christian and ‘clean’ reads. On Tuesdays, I do a top ten list on some bookish topic and I head up a First Line Friday blog linkup on Fridays, plus some other fun stuff. It started about 2 years ago when I needed someone to talk to about all these great books I was reading!
6) What’s your favorite part about blogging?
(Annie) Favorite part about blogging is how blogging connected me to like-minded booklovers, like Carrie. This book loving community is so supportive, and it doesn't even necessarily have to be about books. I'm one of those introvert-introverts. My perfect "me time" is lounging around, reading a book and drinking tea or coffee. I don't actually have a lot of friends that enjoy reading as much as I do. So having met so many through blogging have become such a blessing.
(Carrie) The relationships. I love interacting with readers and authors and other bloggers. Some of my most treasured friendships have come out of these interactions. I also just love getting to push books at people, let’s be honest 😉
7) How do authors who’d like to participate in either CFRR or be featured on your blogs contact you?
(Annie) Authors interested in participating in CFRR can sign up for our author newsletter on our website under, "2018 Interested Authors Newsletter" midway down on the right sidebar.
To contact me to be featured on my blog, you can use the "Contact Me" tab on my website.
(Carrie) To be featured on Reading Is My SuperPower, you can find all the info on my ‘Contact Me’ tab as well!
8) Who are the authors you are most excited about?
(Annie) Dani, I think this is a very tricky question, since you might not want my answer to be too long!! *wink wink* OK, off the top of my head, I love Jen Turano, Kristi Ann Hunter, Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Becky Wade, Tamera Alexander, Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Pepper Basham, Katie Ganshert, Rachel Hauck, Roseanna White, Lynette Eason, Cynthia Ruchti, Melanie Dickerson... OK, you see what you started (and there are more too)?! But there's always, always Ms. Dani Pettrey, that took my breath away with Still Life!
(Carrie) This is an impossible question, Dani!! I even tried to answer it … and my list lapped Annie’s by a couple dozen. And there were STILL MORE I unintentionally omitted. So… yeah. I’m excited about a lot of authors lol.
9) What’s your favorite genre?
(Annie) It's a toss up between Contemporary and Historical fiction, but I've come to really enjoy suspense since I started last year.
(Carrie) In broad terms, romantic suspense. Because that can span contemporary and historical. It doesn’t have to be technically categorized as ‘romantic suspense’ though – if it’s got romance, some level of suspense, and it’s not smutty? I’m there.
10) Lightening round: Coffee or tea?
(Annie) Can't choose. It depends on my mood and the book.
(Carrie) Will you still love me if I say neither? Hot chocolate or hot cider, please 😊
Chocolate or is there anything else?
(Annie) Dark Chocolate!!
(Carrie) Milk chocolate BUT under the ‘anything else’ category I would submit strawberry Starburst
Paperback or e-book?
(Annie) Paperback /
(Carrie) Either … but some books just need to be read in print.
(Annie) New York
Beach or mountains?
(Annie) Small Town with a Bookstore. =P
(Carrie) Mountains, especially if there’s a cabin filled with books! And a small town in the valley with a bookstore =P
(Annie) Dove Promises in Dark Chocolate with Almonds
(Carrie) An apple with peanut butter… or strawberry starburst lol.
(Annie) Thank you, Dani for having us on your Writerly Wednesday segment! It's been such a pleasure and blessing to have met you!
(Carrie) Amen times 1000. Such an honor!
Thank you, ladies both so much for being here. It was such a pleasure!
Annie and Carried have graciously offered to give away CFRR branded luggage grip and page flags.
I’m also giving away an autographed copy of Blind Spot as soon as I have my author copies along with some swag goodies.
To be entered just answer the following question in the comment’s section below.
Have you ever attended a reader’s retreat? If so, which one? If not, would you love to?