I was fortunate to attend the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat yesterday in Nashville! The day was organized by Carrie, Annie, and Bonnie, the fabulous ladies behind the Reading is my Superpower, Just Commonly, and Overcoming with God blogs. Approximately 30 authors and 120 readers were in attendance.
The day kicked off with praise and worship followed by talks from Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman and IBL’s own Tammy Alexander. Each author spoke about the writing journey she’s walked with God. It was tremendously inspiring and moving to hear their testimonies concerning the sovereignty of the Lord’s plan for their careers and their lives.
Then we broke for lunch…
After lunch, we regrouped for author panels, a blogger Q&A time, more worship time, lots of giveaways, and “speed chatting”, during which the readers stayed in small groups and the authors rotated through them. Every reader had a bingo card and each time a new author entered their group, they crossed off that author’s book on their bingo card. As soon as they called out, “Bingo!” they received a free book.
The event wrapped up with a book signing. My absolute favorite part of the day was the time I spent chatting with readers. Writing is solitary! I spend most of my work hours at home alone. The majority of the time, I interact with readers through social media and email. This rare chance to speak to, hug, and get to know readers was priceless and incredibly encouraging. These ladies KNOW Christian fiction! They’re well read and knowledgeable and passionate about our genre. They were quick to express how much they appreciate and value the books we write. God used the women I met to minister to me. Through their words and smiles I could hear God saying, Keep going. Keeping trusting me. I’m at work through your novels.
and if the fearless planners of the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat recover from their exhaustion, I’m very much hoping they’ll be willing to plan a 2nd Annual Christian Fiction Readers Retreat for September of 2017 in Dallas. If they do, I’ll be there. And I hope you will be, too.
Have you attended a reader event in the past? If so, I’d love to hear about it!