Friday, November 4, 2016

Welcome Blogger Extraordinaire Carrie Booth Schmidt

Welcome to your friday edition of TWA. So excited you could be here with us today!!

This week has been filled with some fantastic posts like The Anti-Marketing Plan by Mary Vee and a beautiful guest post with the ever-lovely Beth Vogt.

And today! TODAY, we're welcoming a person who has become such a great friend over the past year. Besides being an avid reader and all-around great gal, she is also the mastermind behind the blog Reading is My Superpower and a reviewer for Romantic Times.

Without further ado, let's get to this fun interview with the amazing Carrie Booth Schmidt!!



1.   ME: You have quickly become a top blogger for Christian authors with having such guests as Julie Lessman, Laura Frantz, Becky Wade, Jen Turano, Jody Hedlund…and the list goes on.  What do you feel is something that’s brought about the wonderful explosion of interest in Reading is My Superpower and the magnificent Carrie Booth Schmidt


CARRIE: Well… first of all … LOL… I’m not all that magnificent. I just love to read and I love to push the books I read at other people J And I love the authors who write the books I love to read.  As far as what has brought about the crazy never-would-have-expected-this-in-a-million-years interest in my little blog – I have no idea LOL. Honestly, I’m so humbled that anyone cares at all what I have to say.

So… I asked my husband and this is what he said, “Well Pepper… I have to say that the real nexus of this interest is Carrie’s poignant and consistent … uh… respect and love of this particular niche. She has overwhelmed the niche by reading all the books.” So. There you have it. J

2.       ME: Eric cracks me up!!! Okay, so you are quite the reader (cough, cough – understatement of the DECADE). What are three top things you find that make a story go from good to GREAT?

CARRIE: First – it hits me in the feels. It doesn’t really matter which emotion, and in fact a range of emotion is even better. If a book can make me laugh AND cry – or swoon from suspense AND romance? It’s going to be a GREAT book in … well… in my book J

Second – the characters. A GREAT book has characters that just march right into my heart and set up camp for the duration of the read and beyond. I’m thinking right now of four books that I’ve read in the past year whose characters I actually do find my mind and heart drifting toward on more than one occasion. They become friends… and more importantly they leave an indelible impression on the reader that’s not easily replaced.

Third – redemption. I read and review mostly Christian fiction, but I love to read (it IS my superpower, after all) and I have a variety of “general market” authors that I consider among my go-to faves as well. What puts them in this category is that – somewhere in their story – they weave a thread of redemption. Something – someone – needs to be redeemed for the book to be GREAT in my eyes. It doesn’t need to be preachy (in fact, please let it not be) and it doesn’t have to be a come-to-Jesus moment. But I want to see a heart changed … or a situation reclaimed … or a rogue turned hero (SWOON).

3.       ME: Well, we all know I HATE swooning, right? (NOT) Your love for writing and reading have led you to some great ideas... in fact, you were one of the brilliant minds behind the Christian Fiction Reader Retreat. What was something that surprised you about this unique opportunity? What is one thing you would change for next time? What is something memorable that will linger with you forever about CFRR?

"stolen" from Annie JC's FB page ;-)
CARRIE: I was probably the least brilliant mind behind the CFRR – my partners in crime, Annie JC and Bonnie Roof, were the brains and the heart that made it such a success – but thank you J

Something that surprised me? How much friendship was in that room. These were people I’d (mostly) never met in person before that day, and yet we acted like we’d lived next door to each other for years. Such a genuine spirit of fellowship and unity, of LOVE. This is what the body of Christ needs to be – and can be. It was such a blessing and a joy to be part of.

Something we would change for next time? We might round up more help LOL. The three of us were pretty much in a stupor for a month or so after this year’s CFRR haha! Honestly, though, we’ll tweak some of the activities – add some, change some, etc. – and we’re praying now about future locations and dates.

Something that will linger with me forever? Well there are so many little things – like hugging you, PEPPER BASHAM, for the very first time in person! And giving KATE BRESLIN a ride in my car. I mean… I still can’t even. And when BECKY WADE walked up the author registration table where I was giving my spiel … and I lost all my words. But I think what will really linger with me forever is the story behind CFRR. How God took one woman’s years-long dream (Bonnie Roof) and within a couple of months, led her to two other women (me and Annie) who had the same vision. And even more so, how He wove this beautiful and precious friendship together between the three of us while we were planning CFRR.

4.       ME: I LOVED meeting you in person too, Carrie - though I feel like I've know you much longer. Okay, so since you got to meet so many people that have led to amazing interviews, are there any moments that really stand out to you in this first year of blogging?

CARRIE: Well… there was one of my very first interviews. With Melanie Dickerson. And I basically goobered all over myself – and her – in a serious case of fangirling. I mean – HELLO? I had devoured every single one of her books and now MELANIEDICKERSON (because you have to say her name like that, all together) is talking to ME! On my blog! It’s a wonder she still talks to me.

But really – EVERY interview I do with an author, I have to pinch myself a little because I’m totally living my dream right now! So grateful.

5.       ME: Yep, I totally understand. That happened to me when I met Julie Lessman, Laura Frantz, and Liz Curtis Higgs for the first time. You either yell it out or say it in a hushed whisper :-) I wasn't so in 'awe' when I met Ruth Logan Herne for the first time as I was like "Do I hug her or wrestle her?" I absolutely LOVE that woman!!

       And you do interviews so well, btw!.

      You are NOT just a reader and reviewer, but also an amazing blogger. As aspiring bloggers, what would you recommend to people who are starting a blog (or…um…seem to get lost in trying to keep one consistently?)?

CARRIE: Love what you do. And blog consistently. Even if “consistent” for you is just once or twice a week. Be consistent about that so people know what to expect.
As far as book blogging – go into it because you love to read and because you want everyone to love the books you love. If you’re only doing it to get free books, you’ll burn out quickly.

6.      ME: Gread advice! Now, last but not least (and probably PRETTY tough), can you give us ten of the top books you’ve read in 2016? (Note that I didn’t say THE top 10, just 10 from your top….you know, 50)? J
CARRIE: Can I choose to not answer this question? LOL
In no particular order (and each one of these represents at least 10 more on my list) –  these 10 are GREAT examples of those traits of GREAT books I was talking about in question #2.
The Lady & The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof, Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti, The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall, The Thorn Healer by *cough cough* Pepper Basham, If I Run by Terri Blackstock, Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar, The Things We Knew by Catherine West, Told You Twice by Kristen Heitzmann, The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep, and Unblemished by Sara Ella.

And I already feel bloggers’ guilt for the ones I didn’t mention… lol.


So....do you guys have questions for Carrie? She's a fantastic brainstormer, by the way ;-)


49 comments:

Carrie said...

Pepper, my Pepper! <3

I am so honored to be here today. Thank you for your friendship and your cheerleading!! Love ya!

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Fun to see the tables turned today. :) Carrie, I'm so intrigued by your blog and this awesome dream you're following. If I wasn't a writer, I'd totally be a reviewer. We do all we do for the love of Christian Fiction and we each play such an important role. I'm so grateful for ladies like you and Bonnie and Annie. I'm also thrilled I was able to be a part of the first CFRR. I have a feeling that event will keep growing beyond your wildest dreams. I personally talked to dozens of authors at ACFW who had wished they could be there. Congrats on all the success and joy. :) I have a question. I know you love all genres, but if you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Carrie said...

Hi Gabe!! You are such an encouragement! Thank you <3

If I could only read one genre for the rest of my life ??? Romantic suspense. :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katelyn S. Bolds said...

How fun! :D Great post idea.

Laura Frantz said...

Great questions & answers! The rapport between you 2 is so heartfelt. I feel I'm sitting in on a wonderful conversation:) When Carrie first appeared on my reading radar, I thought the superpower theme very clever & then when I visited her web home I was truly blown away! This woman lives books & crafts reviews with such uniqueness & insight. I've read more than one book because of her recommendation. Plus she brings to life the most interesting blog posts. Carrie is a book missionary extraordinaire & so much more! And then having her as one of the masterminds of CFRR was an added blessing. *STOP GUSHING, LAURA!

Okay, don't even get me started on Dr. Pepperr, the woman who multitasks so beautifully she could be president❣️ I'm so thankful you both are in my life & it's an honor and privilege to pray for you daily. Thank you.

Laura Frantz said...

Pardon the typos! My internal editor hasn't awakened yet!

Carrie said...

Hi Katelyn! Thanks :D

Laura! Girl, I don't even know what to say. Considering that I gush about you on a regular basis ... I am unbelievably honored and so grateful. Love ya! And YES - Pepper for President!! So so SO thankful that God has given me the privilege of knowing - and praying for - and loving - both of you. He is so sweet <3

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Welcome to The Alley, Carrie! Come back any time! You nail my exact favorite things in reading. Maybe this is why we get along so well?

Carrie said...

Hi Laurie!! Yes - kindred spirits for sure :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

I'm so happy I met you, Carrie!!! I loved you from the moment I read that first review you wrote of one of my books! :D Seriously, you're a great gal, and I appreciate how supportive and loving you are, how much you do to encourage me and other authors. Hugs!!! Love to you and Pepper!

Rachel said...

OH GOSH!!!! I just love you both so much! I wish I could give you a giant hug! So blessed that God has placed me in this wonderful group of people...and that I can call you friend! <3

Pepper said...

Carrie,
I am SOOOOOOOO glad to have you and feature all of the amazing things God has given you to do (and love) :-)

Pepper said...

Laura,
I can't tell you how glad I am to call you a friend :-)

And Carrie is pretty spectacular! Definitely worth the gushing ;-)

Carrie said...

Melanie!! I'm so glad we met each other :) Thankful for you!!

Carrie said...

Rachel! Big giant tackle hugs from my corner of the world to yours! Love you, girl!

Angie Dicken said...

Loved this, Carrie!!! Glad to get to know you better. Thanks for stopping by the Alley today.:)

Carrie said...

Thanks, Angie!

Andrea Stephens said...

As a reader, I have to say Thank you to the wonderful Carrie. She has introduced me to so many new books and authors that I would never have found.
I don't know how her blog showed up on my Facebook newsfeed one day. Only God does. I am so thankful to have her cross my path and become my friend. She has truly changed my life.

Thank you, Pepper, for this interview. I've got a serious case of "the feels now"

Carrie said...

aww Andrea, my friend <3 I do too! :)

Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER AND CARRIE!!! PINCH ME -- TWO OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ON THE SAME BLOG!!

GREAT interview, guys, because it's SO much fun to get inside of Carrie's head -- a dangerous place to be given all the books she reads!! Bonnie told me once the # you read in a week, but I want you to tell your fan-audience so they can be blown away like I was!!

Carrie said: "First – it hits me in the feels." LOL ... LOVE THIS, my friend, and I just may steal it ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Winnie Thomas said...

Awww, two of my favorite people together in one place! Love you two! What a fun interview and a great idea! I loved all the questions, answers and comments. I'm so glad to have "met" both of you and can't wait to meet you both in person and give you big hugs!

Carrie said...

hahahahaha!! do you mean most people don't read 1-2 books a day? ;)

JULIE - i just love you! <3 Steal away!! My words are at your disposal, my friend!

Carrie said...

WINNIE! I'm still looking forward to our hypothetical-that-we-really-need-to-make-reality trip out to see you :D

Winnie Thomas said...

Carrie, you really must make it a reality! That would be a dream come true! And I'd provide chocolate. <3

Carrie said...

I would expect nothing less, dear BFFF ;)

Bonnie Roof said...

Aww, loved this interview - Carrie and Pepper!! Carrie - the best words I've found to describe your reading/reviewing/blogging expertise, and all that you accomplish, are "genius" and "perfection". I'd be tempted to believe you aren't human if it wasn't for your genuine love for people, sense of humor, kindness, down-to-earthiness (is that even a word, LOL??), and godliness. You've blessed me with your blogging and comradeship in making CFRR a reality - but an even greater blessing is your friendship. Thank you, God!! Love you, Carrie!!

And Pepper - you, your beautiful smile, joy, encouragement, faith, and writing are pretty wonderful too, sweet friend!! Your accomplishments are amazing also. So honored to have met you and am blessed by your friendship, as well!!

Carrie said...

BONNIE - now you're making ME cry ;) Love you to pieces! (And I like down-to-earthiness lol)

Rel said...

Love this interview! As someone who has been reviewing/blogging for 10 years, what Carrie has achieved in a little over 12 months is nothing short of amazing. It speaks to her heart for books and their authors, and says a lot about her dedication and commitment to hard work and sacrifice. Blogging consistently is not for the faint of heart, is it, Carrie?!

It was wonderful to get that hug at CFRR, if only briefly. I'm so with you on the feels! I say if my gut gets involved when I read, I know it is a brilliant book :) And we are kindred spirits on the romantic suspense front, too.

Keep up the spectacular work, Carrie xo

Krista Phillips said...

AHH! LOVED this interview, Carrie, and loved getting to meet you at the CFRR even though I didn't get to spend as much time with fabulous you as the fabulous Pepper did! LOL SO GLAD you're on the alley today and <3 your love of books!!!!!!!!

Sherida Stewart said...

Carrie, lovely to read your thoughts here....especially about the CFRR...and especially this beautiful thought..."Such a genuine spirit of fellowship and unity, of LOVE. This is what the body of Christ needs to be – and can be." Thank you for sharing your "super power" by spreading the joy of Christian fiction! Blessings!

Susan Mason said...

Hey Carrie and Pepper! Great interview. Thanks for all that you do to promote us humble authors, Carrie!
Hugs,
Susan

Pepper said...

Rachel,
You are loved RIGHT BACK!!

Pepper said...

Andrea,
Isn't Carrie's blog AMAZING. And Carrie's pretty amazing too :-)

Pepper said...

Julie,
I LOVED LOVED watching Bonnie's dream take wings! WOW! And getting to be a part of CFRR? What a sweet experience!

Pepper said...

Bonnie,
You are amazing!! Thank you for your dream, your kindness, and your amazing encouragement!!!

Pepper said...

Carrie, The spectacular REL stopped by!! If SHE is amazed by your blog, then you HAVE to feel the sweet touch of God's hand on your wonderful ministry!

God gave you and Rel the love of books and the ability to transform that love into words of encouragement and amazing reviews! :-)

Pepper said...

Love you, Krista!!!

Becca Whitham said...

Please, please, PLEASE tell me there's going to be another CFRR before the ACFW conference in Dallas next year, because I'm coming. I so want to meet all of you lovelies and give Meez Carrie a big hug. She was the first reviewer to mention my first story by name--and like it--so she will always hold a very special place in my heart!!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

What a fun interview! Loved it! I've read so many wonderful comments about CFRR. I missed this year's event - would love to attend the next one and meet all you wonderful ladies! Thanks for all you do!

Carrie said...

Rel! My friend! Thank you so much for your encouragement (both in general and specifically here). The next time you are stateside, we need to make time for a longer hug and a nice long chat. <3

And no, blogging consistently is NOT for the faint of heart LOL but it's a blast most days ;)

Carrie said...

Pepper, I KNOW!!! I still get giddy whenever Rel talks to me ;)

Carrie said...

Krista!! I know - that day was a tad crazy for me haha! Next time, tackle me for a chat :) Love ya!

Carrie said...

Hi Sherida!! We so appreciated your prayers for CFRR <3

Carrie said...

Hi Susan!!! Great to see you here! It truly is my absolute pleasure to do all I can for authors. <3

Carrie said...

Becca!! I adore you <3 We are still dreaming and planning and PRAYING about next year's CFRR but we hope to make location/timing decisions SOON. But I have a hug (or ten) with your name on it!

Carrie said...

Hi Laura! We would LOVE for you to be at the next CFRR! Details coming soon as far as when/where it will be :)

Sylvia said...

Hey, Carrie. Your blog is one of my favorites. When Amber Lynn Perry decided to stop doing a review blog she recommended yours as the place to go for a similar review style experience! You say the things I wish I could write.

You read one to two books a day? That sounds like my sister. She inhales books faster than anybody I know. Let's just say that I am a little slower at reading. :)

Carrie said...

Hi Sylvia!! Great to see you over here :D Thanks for the encouragement :)

Don't apologize for your reading speed - as long as you're reading!! That's all that matters :)