Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Author Interview - Lori Nawyn, author of My Gift to You

Lovely Lori Nawyn did an interview with me last year after my third Owen Family Saga book came out. Now I have the opportunity to return the favor, as her first novel, My Gift to You, has been released.

Lori is an extremely talented lady, as anyone who has visited her blog, Forethought and Purpose, knows. Lori's award-winning writing has appeared in regional and national publications including Outside Bozeman, Segullah, Deseret News, CraziBeautiful Women, and Latter-Day Woman. She is also a columnist for her local paper and a former member of Utah Press Women. One of her short stories was published in the anthology Stolen Christmas. She works as a freelance artist and is the illustrator of the award-winning children's picture book, What Are You Thinking? which was released in July 2010 by ThoughtsAlive Publishing. 

She and her fireman husband live in northern Utah where they enjoy spending time with their four children and two granddaughters, plus an assortment of dogs, rabbits, and chickens.

Lori, why did you write this book?

My Gift to You is about forgiving ourselves, despite what we perceive as our shortcomings. When we judge ourselves as less than acceptable for any reason, small mistakes can cripple us with discouragement. It becomes easy to lose sight of our potential, as well as precious opportunities for growth.

I was an only child with ample time to ponder the intricacies of human behavior. At a young age, I became fascinated by the fact that while several people in my life were happy, upbeat, and in possession of inner peace in most if not all circumstances, some seemed inherently unhappy no matter what happened—good or bad. Money and possessions didn’t seem to have a bearing, and I wondered what did.

Though I’d been baptized when I was eight, my family didn’t attend church. If I wanted to go, I had to attend on my own. It took me a while to grasp gospel concepts, and I found that most of the time I was among those who were unhappy. About twenty years ago I decided to stop asking Why me? and instead start asking What if?

One by one, I replaced negative emotions with those of a positive nature. Instead of wondering why I couldn't make everyone around me happy—and becoming despondent because nothing I did seemed to change them or their opinions—I started asking things like, "What if happiness really is a choice? What if it can be my choice, no matter what anyone else thinks or feels?"

Instead of commiserating over why my extended family couldn't accept me for who I was and what I believed in, I asked myself, "What if I could choose my own thoughts and emotions based on what I know in my heart is right and true?" In short, "What if I accept myself for who I am?"

And, "What if I forgive—knowing that forgiveness doesn't mean acceptance?"

What a journey that must have been!

When I began writing My Gift to You, I decided I wanted my main character, Trish, to discover something important about herself: I wanted her to discover her own inner strengths and worth—much like I had when I began to unravel my own life.

Is there a theme or message you want your readers to take away from reading your novel?

Yes, I hope the book will lead the reader to consider some of these questions:

Why are women so hard on themselves? What defines true success? What can happen when we base our worth on what the world values? On what should we base our worth? What does charity mean? Why is it important we extend it to ourselves?

Important things to ponder. Thank you, Lori. Let's take a look at the text on the back of your book:

Trish Ingram works hard to maintain the perfect suburban household—or, at least, the appearance of one. By managing her outer world with lavish attention and rigid control, she’s able to ignore and conceal the darkness of her inner world, which is plagued by traumatic childhood memories of loss. Her terminally ill sister-in-law, Jamie, sees through the fa├žade and reaches out in love to Trish, inspiring her to seek a more meaningful life and a more authentic self. But the childhood scars run deep, and despite Trish’s best efforts, she’s unable to be the wife and mother her family needs.

Devastated by the departure of her husband and daughter, Trish faces the challenge and opportunity of a lifetime. She desires to move forward in faith, but this desire alone cannot mend her family's shattered trust. The hollow realm of denial and fear has been her safe haven. To confront pain and transcend the shadows of her past will require a level of courage she’s not sure she possesses. This gripping story of familial love and conflict tenderly reminds us that forgiveness—of self, and others—is both a difficult choice and a precious gift.

What a good reminder not to hide behind "Sunday faces!"

My Gift to You is available at DeseretBook.com.


  1. This sounds like a very poignant book. Thanks, Marsha, for posting this interview.

  2. Enjoyed reading about Mrs. Nawyn's book. Sounds very helpful in getting back into life.

  3. Marsha, you're an angel. Sincere thanks for this post about my book.

    For any of your readers who might interested, I'm currently holding a contest with three ways to enter and seven ways to win almost $200 in prizes. More info can be found by visiting my website: www.lorinawyn.com.

    Again, thank you for the post. Have a wonderful week!




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