Kicking off our Small Shop Spotlight Series, it is my absolute pleasure to feature Audrey Bodine from Beloved and Book Shop! *insert loud applause here*
I stumbled across Audrey on Instagram a few months ago. What pulled me in was her 1) sense of humor and fellow appreciation of puns, and 2) her weekend writing advice. After following her, I came across her re-birthed shop, and knew it had to be featured. She graciously agreed!
Hello Audrey! I am so happy to have you join me for an interview. Thank you for the pleasure!
Thank *you* for having me! I’m honored and excited to be kicking off this lovely series.
So, you are a writer AND now a shop owner. Tell me about your writing, why do you do it? What made you start?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling stories in some form. Be it poems, plays, or spending hours on end in a makeshift store I’d have in my basement. I think my early years of using my imagination later transferred into writing novels—something that is now so much a part of me, I can’t imagine what I’d do if I didn’t have stories in my head.
As I’ve grown as a reader and a writer, I feel like I’ve found where I’m supposed to be at present. My goal in my writing is, firstly, to honor and proclaim Christ. My faith is a foundational aspect of who I am and it wouldn’t be possible without God, so I want to bring every story I write to where it’s anchored.
Secondly, I love humor. It’s one of the most important elements for me as a reader and a writer.
All in all, I want my books to be a source of clean, endearing, makes-me-happy reads that have relatable characters who take you on a journey that you tuck away in your heart.
Have you always wanted to have a small business? If not, when did you decide to do it?
I’ve always been artistic but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I decided I wanted to try opening an Etsy shop. At the time, I was focused on greeting cards.
There’s a lot to the story, but I eventually lost momentum and kind of put aside the idea. What made me decide to “open” Beloved and Book Shop is pretty simple, though—I love books, Jesus, and art, and this is a space where I get to bring them all together.
Why the name “Beloved and Book Shop?” Tell me about it! I love the stories behind titles and names. Ask my family. Ha-ha!
Ah, yes, the name. I’ve always had a hard time with titles (which has been real great, being a writer *sarcasm heavily laden in her tone*) so it took a little while until this one popped into my head.
I wanted the name to symbolize what the shop was founded on and going to sell, but I also wanted to leave room for expanding my inventory if I ever chose to do so. ‘Beloved’ comes from how believers are referenced in the Bible. I thought it was a good reminder that, as Christians, we are set apart and beloved by God. I personally love that term, too.
As for the “and Book Shop”, that was incorporating my love of words/books, along with the image of a brick-and-mortar shop where you’d go to sip your favorite beverage and peruse the shelves.
How do you manage your time working on your shop and writing?
This is the struggle of any writer: balancing life and writing. Since a lot of what I do for my shop is art/layout/design, I can do it while watching TV or listening to music. I tend to do those things at night. My writing routine is really more of “write down inspirations whenever they come” and sit down to write when I can (and when I have the brainpower to do it justice).
What are some of your favorite books or authors?
Jenny B. Jones is definitely one of my favorites. She was one of the first Christian Fiction authors I read and she still makes an impact on me as a writer. Her humor and style of writing is where I draw some inspiration.
Karen Witemeyer is also one of my top recommendations. The way she so elegantly weaves humor (particularly impressive because she writes historical fiction), flat-out brilliant character development, and imperfect but inspiring faith always leaves me silently applauding her.
What is your mission with Beloved and Book Shop? What do you hope to be able to provide for people?
I want to be a reminder that, to be entertained/enjoyed, humor doesn’t have to be inappropriate or make some people uncomfortable. I want to be a light of Christ and bring beautiful, fun creations to the world.
Lastly, what is your personal favorite item you currently have for sale?
Hmm…that’s hard because I think I’m hilarious so I enjoy a lot of my products. 😉
I really love my pun shirt, though, because puns are a personal favorite form of humor.
Thank you so much, Audrey! It is a pleasure to feature you and your shop this year for the Spotlight Series!
Thank you for inviting me. It means a lot that you’re featuring small shops and I really appreciate you reaching out. Good luck on the rest of your series!
You can visit Audrey’s sweet little shop here to get started on your Christmas shopping. Several of her items will be listed on the Book Lovers Christmas Wishlist that will be released the last Saturday in November. Thanks for stopping by!