Everyone’s Story welcomes with a huge smile, my special guest, Carrie Schmidt, aka MeezCarrie, aka Carrie from ReadingIsMySuperpower book blog. Carrie is one of the strongest supporters of Christian fiction ever (although through her, I’ve happily met several more). To be fair, a true friend to both author and reader, Carrie is a supporter of anything to do with books, whether it’s writing or reading. I was first introduced to Carrie through another author (interestingly enough, one who doesn’t write for the CBA market) and I queried Carrie to see if she was interested in reviewing my then debut novel, Always With You. She certainly did read my story–and got it!! Got the characters and plot and message. Then, she also was interested in interviewing me. Oh, how happy and blessed I was! Several months later I had the pleasure of meeting her at the inaugural CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in Nashville). It’s now my pleasure to host her this week. Please check out what Carrie speaks up about during her interview. Carrie and I look forward to chatting with you.
Questions for Carrie Schmidt, aka MeezCarrie
I’ve followed your amazing blog for a while now, but after all this time I still don’t know how you got started blogging. What was your impetus?
Awwww, thank you for thinking it’s amazing! I had been trying my hand at reviewing books on Goodreads for a while, and I noticed that my friends (both online and in person) were asking me for recommendations of books they should read next. So I was toying with the idea of starting a blog, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. And then I had the opportunity to join Varina Denman’s launch team for her debut novel, Jaded, and while having a blog wasn’t a requirement I wanted the most exposure possible for such a great novel. Which… really… when I started blogging, “most exposure possible” just meant my parents, my husband, and one or two friends LOL.
In meeting people who claim they’re not readers do you A) want to recommend them to a psychotherapist B) want to see a counselor yourself because you can’t stop crying for the lost soul c) desire to introduce him or her to all your fave authors or D) pick up another novel and get lost in a different world for a few hours?
Hahaha! Can I say E) all of the above? But most particularly A because… hello? Something is clearly wrong with them.
As a child, who influenced you the most to treasure a book? Can you share any special memories of being read to or visiting a library or bookstore?
My parents read to me a lot – as soon as I could be developmentally aware of being read to. In fact, my first word was “book”, so they certainly made an impression lol!
Going to the library was always a special treat, and our system had a really great summer reading program that I looked forward to every year as a child. Instead of just number of pages or number of books, you had to read a certain number of books in particular categories. Like, 5 Newbery Award winners, 5 Caldecotts, 5 biographies, 5 plays, etc. So I was exposed to many different genres that way, and fell in love with many books and authors I might not have otherwise.
But as far as ‘treasuring a book’, that distinction really belongs to my paternal grandfather. He loved literature. He quoted literature. He even had one of those bookcases that opened up like a door. He bought me literature that I hadn’t known to ask for, usually in a genre that was outside my comfort zone but one that was important for my well-rounded literary development. If blogging had been a thing in his heyday, he would have enjoyed blogging about books too, I think.
Please define your view of a great heroine and an extraordinary hero?
I feel like a great heroine is someone who I would want to hang out with as friends, someone I see myself in but also someone who challenges me to grow and stretch as a woman. An extraordinary hero? Oh goodness… how much space do I have to talk about this?? I swoon often over a wide range of heroes – from the flirty to the broody. But the one thing they have in common is “fierce love” which more often than not causes me to see in them a reflection of Jesus.
You review both CBA and ABA market books. Regardless of whether an author writes for the Christian or General market, what are the few subjects, if any, that you will not read?
Oh that’s a tough question. If you’d asked me that before I started reviewing books/blogging, I would have given you a long list haha! But now as my tastes have finetuned themselves a bit and at the same time I’ve taken some chances on books I wouldn’t have picked up before, that list has shrunk considerably.
And even still, I don’t think there’s any subject per se that I won’t read. It depends on how the subject is presented. I won’t read books with prolific or explicit sex scenes or books with extreme profanity. I say on my contact page that I won’t read horror but one snuck by last year and I enjoyed it LOL. (I think it was misclassified, honestly) And I typically stay away from the paranormal. I may make exceptions for angels or even ghosts but please don’t send me your vampire or werewolf book 😉
Where do you see fiction heading as far as telling a good story goes? And how do you feel about this direction? Any concerns?
In Christian fiction, I think we get better at telling a good story with every batch of new releases and new authors! I have been a fan of the genre since I read my first Janette Oke book in middle school, and my goodness there are some fantastic storytellers in this market!! Not only do they tell a good story, but they craft it with such beautiful prose. My list of favorites has increased exponentially in the last few years.
I think we’re going to see an even greater move toward more subtle nudges of faith, less overt evangelism, and I think this is a great thing! There are so many readers who will never enter a Christian bookstore, or a church, and we’ve got to write for them too. Because life is messy and everyone else is certainly writing about the mess. But as Christians, we have a Savior who sat down in the mess with us, loved us in spite of our mess, and extended a nail-scarred hand to help us out of the pit. We, more than anyone, need to be writing and promoting literature that exposes the messes of life but extends grace and hope to those stuck in the pit.
My concern is that readers who like it the way it’s always been done will hunker down and kick their feet and end up being louder than those of us longing for this kind of fiction. My prayer is that enough authors and publishers and editors will be willing to take the risk anyway.
You’re one of three heart-caring “stewards” who began the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, which I had the pleasure of attending last year in Nashville. You, Annie, and Bonnie did a beyond superb job launching CFRR that this year, overnight, you booked all your authors!! Tell us about CFRR: your goals, hopes, and an insight to the planning and hours you must put into this awesome project.
Elaine, we loved having you at CFRR in Nashville last year, and we are thrilled that you will be back this year in Cincinnati!!
Above all, we want CFRR to honor God. Through Christian fiction, of course, but ultimately in our planning, our worship, and our hearts. The three of us don’t make any money from the event; all income goes directly back into CFRR so that we are conscious to keep this as a ministry in our hearts and minds as we prepare for it.
We started talking about CFRR2017 around the first part of October 2016. (We took a little break to recover from CFRR2016 lol). We finally had most of the key decisions made by January, which was cutting it a little close for our comfort, to be honest LOL. Now, we get to do the fun stuff – like hunt for great swag for the CFRR swag bags!
An essential on a book cover that always captures your eye: Hot guy … is that too shallow? 😉
A book too long you had to put down: The Valley by Helen Bryan… I actually fell asleep reading it. Woke up with my face in it.
Ever—gasp—hide books from your parents: ummm… Noooooo…. Never.
A superpower you’re still aiming for: Cooking
Third person POV or First person preference: Third, but I have several First person faves too
Cringe or forgive a few editorial errors: In an ARC? Forgive. In a final copy? Cringe.
A dream vacation destination, with or without books: Scotland
3 authors from years ago you’d love to meet: Janette Oke, Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock (I know they are all three still current, but I’ve been reading them for years!)
Carrie’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:
@MeezCarrie of ReadngIsMySuperpower Speaks Up: Hopes, Concerns, and fun with #fiction. (Tweet This)
Heard the buzz on #CFRR2017? @MeezCarrie shares on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)
Meet @MeezCarrie, a champion of #ChristianFiction. (Tweet This)
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat.
Places to connect with Carrie:
Carrie and I look forward to your comments.
I’m honored that my novel Always With You
is up for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
Please consider voting at this link.