Friday, November 20, 2009

Lori Nawyn Interview

I met Lori Nawyn last year at the LDStorymakers Writing Conference, and we became instant friends. She's an awesome artist and a great writer. It's only a matter of time before she becomes a big name and I wanted you to have the benefit of knowing more about my friend and fellow writer.

Lori, I know you have some tremendous artwork to your credit. Tell us about your art.
My LDS themed art (Young Women values, family history, etc.) is available in the form of scrapbooking papers and embellishments. Two of my most popular pieces, Armor of God and Fishers of Men, appear on postcards, posters, tote bags, mugs, and t-shirts. I recently finished the illustrations for a children’s picture book What Are You Thinking? by Valerie Ackley. The book will be printed under the ThoughtsAlive Books label, owned by New York Times bestselling author Leslie Householder, and will be released in time for Christmas. I just received word that the book placed as a award-winning finalist in the 2009 National Best Book Awards in the Children's Mind/Body/Spirit category.

I know that you love to write as well. Tell us a little bit about your recipe book, Peach 101: Recipes Your Mother Never Told You About and also about Three Angels for Christmas.
Peach 101 was released in 2006 but continues to enjoy great success as a peaches only recipe book. I am working on a second cookbook, Recipes from the Heart.

After the deaths of my grandparents and friend, Stacey, I needed an emotional outlet so I created three angels—Faith, Hope, and Charity—in honor of values I felt my loved ones exemplified. The angels were printed and distributed on Christmas cards. Last year I wrote the story of how they came to be and that became the text for the inspirational gift booklet Three Angels for Christmas.

Have you always wanted to be an artist and a writer?
At a very early age I knew I wanted to draw, I just didn’t know what and I never dreamed I could be successful at it. In fourth or fifth grade I entered a poster contest with a drawing of Bugs Bunny and some other characters by a roadster. The judges—a couple of sixth grade girls—disqualified me because they said the work was too good for a kid and must have been traced. I didn’t have the courage to point out that the drawing was done on heavy cardstock and thus could not have been traced. I cried for awhile then hid the poster at the back of my closet. Over thirty years later I entered a national completion and won an honorable mention for a book cover. That led to some first place ribbons in other contests, a bit of confidence, and various people discovering my work. Things have blossomed from there. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade. My journey to get to where I’d like to be with my writing is a continuing adventure.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I came out of my adolescence determined to understand myself and others; I learned that how we perceive ourselves and those around us impacts our life experience. I am inspired to write about what motivates ordinary people through thick and thin and how they make the best of what they have.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder, I still love to read her books to my daughter. I enjoy some of the writings of Pearl S. Buck and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I like Louis L’Amour, Ivan Doig, and especially Anne Tyler. Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River is one of my favorite books.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up in northern Utah in a too adult world where my mother battled depression. I learned early that when a door is shut a window is opened and for me that was being sent to live summers with my grandparents in rural Idaho. I love to write about my grandparents. They taught me about gratitude, and not taking things for granted, about unconditional love, hard work and independence, and self-worth. Though they had their weaknesses my grandparents overcame the odds and become extraordinary in their chosen paths. Now I live in the suburbs of northern Utah with my family, which includes dogs, chickens, and rabbits. I think I might like to live in Ireland.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing or painting. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting? I have an office in our home that doubles as a home school room for our youngest child. My desk wraps part of two walls, one with my printers and one with a couple of monitors. I have too much stuff on my desk: photos of my family, cards I can’t part with, endearing flotsam from the Oregon Coast and my life. My art table is in the corner. Next to that is my treadmill and a cabinet where I keep my camera and lenses. My great-grandmother’s desk takes up space under a window that looks out into the hallway. Light comes from three windows that overlook our front yard, two goose-necked lamps for close-up stuff, and a desk lamp. Music can be anything from Enya, Josh Grobin, and Nora Jones, to the Bar-J Wranglers or myriad church stuff. I recently abandoned my wooden chair for an upholstered, almost regal, desk chair which I love.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I watch very little TV, I’d rather read or hike. I love old movies, Kathryn Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and I have most all the old episodes of Lucy, Andy Griffith, and the Honeymooners.

How has having your art work and books changed your life?
I’ve had the honor of meeting people from all over the world who have goals similar to mine and I’ve learned much from them. The greatest blessing of being an author/artist is hearing from people whose lives I’ve touched for the better.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I don’t have specific dates yet, but I will post up-to-date info on my blogs: and and on my website About my blogs and website? Well the most frequently asked question I get is if I designed them myself and the answer is yes. The photos on the sidebars and header of Hearts and Hands I took myself (except for the typewriter).

Sincere thanks, Kathi, for interviewing me!

Thanks, Lori!


  1. Kathi, words can't express how wonderful I think you are. Sincere thanks for believing in me, for your friendship, and for your desire to interview me. You're the best!

  2. Lori, it was my pleasure. You're an awesome talent and I was more than happy to let everyone know.

  3. Nice interview. I really enjoyed reading about Lori, especially about the drawing contest when she was in elementary school.

    By the way, I'm a little slow, but thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on Mormon Mishaps coming out!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Cindy! I'm glad you enjoyed Lori's interview.



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