I’m delighted to welcome Lori Roeleveld to Made to Create. I’ve admired Lori’s stirring and truthful blogs for many months, and I was honored to meet Lori in person at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference this spring. I knew I wanted to learn more of her writing story and share it with you all.
Sheri Yutzy: So, Lori, when did you first realized you wanted to write?
Lori Roeleveld: Like so many others, I’ve known I was a writer since childhood. I grew up in a small town in the smallest state. When I was choosing a major for college, my guidance counselor saw me choose “Writing,” and he redirected me. “Little girls from Hope Valley don’t grow up to write books.” So, I chose to study Psychology and Biblical Studies in college, but Icontinued to write.
SY: I and many others are glad you kept writing! Who inspires you most to write?
LR: I write for those who refuse to skim across the surface of faith. I write for all of us who have been unsettled from comfortable places and moved to follow Jesus into the adventure of our times. I, like them, seek the courage and confidence to carry on for Christ. When I find it, I write it, so others can access it, too. My agent, Les Stobbe, is also a strong inspiration to me. Through the years of our friendship, he’s taught me to keep my eyes on eternal goals and that God’s economy is the only one that matters when writing for the Kingdom. There’s a trace of Les’s influence in everything I write.
SY: Do you enjoy writing nonfiction or fiction better? Why?
LR: I’m more experienced writing non-fiction so regarding craft, that’s my comfort zone. However, I strive for transparency in my non-fiction, so I’m forever making myself vulnerable to a world of readers and that’s never comfortable. I’m still a novice with the craft of fiction, but I love curling up inside an epic story and escaping to a world I create. Non-fiction is my first love, but I’m working on building my fiction muscles.
SY: I’d love to read some of your fiction someday. What’s your vision for your writing in ten years?
LR: I hope you have the opportunity to read more of my fiction. Right now, you can read my novella, Red Pen Redemption, which is a slipstream novel about Helen Bancroft, a stubborn woman with no need for God until one Christmas Eve, He takes her up on a dare. I pray that in ten years, I’m working on compiling the stories of people whose lives have been affected for Jesus through my next non-fiction book, The Art of Hard Conversations. I’m working on this now for Kregel Publishers. Hard conversations challenge everyone. Whether we avoid them or abuse them, the dialogs everyday Christians delay or detonate could be the very channels God wants to use to deepen relationships and transform lives. What if we could address those challenges and find ways to have more real conversations about hard things? We can.
In this book, I provide motivation, inspiration, and practical, readily-applied skills that will make those hard conversations, if not easy, at least easier, more effective, and simpler to initiate. Through stories, both humorous and transparent, sound biblical teaching, and workshop chapters, I’ll provide tools guaranteed to increase the confidence and competence of Christians in discussing sensitive topics.
SY: That will be a valuable tool for every Christian. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your writing career?
LR: Sticking with it through the long years when I was learning how to write, discovering my voice, and wondering if anyone besides my mother and husband would ever read my work. I’m facing my greatest book challenge right now as I write The Art of Hard Conversations. I’m really pushing my own limits with this work because I so desperately want it to serve the body of Christ and facilitate a greater comfort level with challenging conversations.
SY: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who feels called to write?
LR: Thank God every day that He’s invited you to work with Him in his word workshop. Step into the freedom Christ offers you. Freedom of voice comes from fully inhabiting God’s idea of who you are, then fearlessly and unapologetically exposing that idea to the world. A willingness to do this imperfectly will speed up the process.
SY: In what way has your writing shaped your experience with God?
LR: God has used the adventure of writing to build qualities into me that better reflect Him–like perseverance, patience, love, and brotherly affection. He’s also used it to give me eyes to see Him as a creator – I have a “double” devotional life because I dig into the scriptures once a day to seek Jesus and then I dip in at least a second time to study the creative choices God makes in communicating with others.
SY:Thank you, Lori. You’ve inspired me by your testimony. And thank you, readers, for taking time to read Lori’s creative journey. What do you think about her new book, The Art of Hard Conversations? Would such a tool be helpful for you in working with others?
Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. Biblical, funny, and real, she inspires courage and Christ-centered confidence. She’s authored three non-fiction books including Running from a Crazy Man, Jesus and the Beanstalk, and the upcoming, The Art of Hard Conversations, as well as a Christmas novella, Red Pen Redemption.
Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, she learned the most from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. Blogger. Wife. Mother of adults. Part-time giant-slayer. Not available for children’s parties. Though she tried to escape, she adventures with Jesus in a small town in Rhode Island. To join the adventure, knock on her door at www.loriroeleveld.com.