Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Running Through Raindrops

 I have a special guest today. Please welcome author Lori Elliot. I was able to ask Lori a few questions about her family and her writing life.









Tell us about your book

Running Through the Raindrops … Finding Joy in the Chaos of Raising Kids is a collection of stories about my four children, Drew, Caleb, Ethan and Emma. They are stories that tell the challenges and struggles my husband, Dwight, and I have faced while parenting twins, a special needs child and a teenager. The stories are entertaining and relatable to not only moms, but to dads, grandparents and even those without children. They are stories that look at life through the eyes of a child and show you how to appreciate the humor, joy and excitement that can be found in the daily chaos.

What made you decide to write it?

I had several friends and family that encouraged me to publish a book but I think the thing that made me seriously consider publishing was when my blog, www.playdoughintheparsonage.com was recognized as "freshly pressed" on Wordpress.com. This recognition really generated a lot of traffic to my blog (almost 2,000 visitors in one day) and helped me to realize that even those who didn't know our family really enjoyed reading the stories I posted on my blog. Running Through the Raindrops is a compilation of "best of" stories from both of my blogs.

Did you learn anything from writing it?
I never realized all the work it takes to make your writing into “a real live book” (as my kids call it). But anything in life that’s worth doing takes time, energy and patience. When you are done, and you see the final product, it is an awesome feeling and it makes it all worthwhile. I also learned that it is important to have a good editor to help you proofread, organize and format your book.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’d have to say the most obvious book would be the Bible. It is a book that I have been reading all my life. Other books that have influenced my writing have been books written by mothers like Choosing to SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman, humorous books by Christian writers like Anita Renfroe and Patsy Clairmont and I really enjoyed The Desperate Pastors’ Wives series by Ginger Kolbaba.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think I would consider Anita Renfroe a mentor and someone who inspired me to start writing and speaking in public. She was also a pastor’s wife and the first time I saw her at a Women of Faith conference I laughed so hard and related to so much of what she said about motherhood. I read all her books and I just loved her honesty and humor. It inspired me to start writing and that’s around the time I started my first blog, www.playdoughintheparsonage.com

What are your current projects?

I am working on my next book due out in 2014. It focuses on our middle son, Caleb, who has autism and is non-verbal. The book details our journey over the past ten years since Caleb was diagnosed with autism and the battles we have had to fight with the insurance companies, school systems and other obstacles facing parents of special needs children.

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I never really thought I was a good writer. I am a horrible speller and I had never really written much until four or five years ago. I joined Facebook to catch up with some old friends from high school and I started posting funny things my kids would say or do. It enjoyed hearing responses from others on Facebook and I had lots of encouragement to write more. I started my first blog, Playdough in the Parsonage (www.playdoughintheparsonage.com) in 2010 as a therapeutic outlet and to connect with other moms. I would write about motherhood with honesty and humor and try to point out ways to find joy in the chaos of raising kids. I was surprised to find out that I not only had moms reading my blog, but also dads and grandparents too. In 2011, I started my second blog, Caleb's Voice (www.calebsvoice.com). It focuses on raising a child with special needs and celebrating the progress in communication that Caleb has made over the past few years. I have been able to connect with other parents of special needs children through calebsvoice.com and it has been a great support system in our journey in raising Caleb. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be publishing a book and doing public speaking engagements to raise awareness of autism, I would have told you that you were crazy. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined I’d be where I am today. By following God’s leading and plan for my life I have discovered new talents and gifts I never knew I had.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I have trouble just writing freestyle and putting all my thoughts down on paper. I tend to want to re-read and edit each paragraph as I go along instead of writing everything out and then going back over what I have written and editing. The result of this is that I am a very slow writer. It can take me hours to write one blog post. I really enjoy writing though so I don’t mind spending the time – I just need more hours in a day!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

One of the most challenging aspects for me was picking a title and picking the cover art. There were a lot of good options and it was hard to decide on which one would be best. I had an awesome editor to work with and she helped tremendously. I could have never done it without her!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Parenting is hard and sometimes you feel like you are “doing it wrong” because you look around at other mother’s and they seem to have it all together while you feel like you are up to your eyeballs in dirty dishes and unfolded laundry. I wrote this book to help mothers find the humor in the chaos of motherhood and to realize they are not alone. I hope the "takeaway" from Running Through the Raindrops is that although life doesn't always go the way we've planned it, that is not necessarily a bad thing. God knows was is best for us and if we follow his path and listen for his guidance, we will be surprised at how he will bless us in ways we could never have imagined.

Lori's Blogs: www.playdoughintheparsonage.com
                      www.calebsvoice.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/playdoughintheparsonage

Paperback books can be purchased on Amazon. Ebooks available for Nook, Kobo or Kindle (soon to be available as iBook)

Author bio -
Lori Elliott and her husband, Dwight, were high school sweethearts. They just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last month and both share the same sense of humor and love of chocolate. Although she and Dwight planned on having three children, God had a different plan, and were blessed with four children, three boys and one girl. There is a 12-year-old son, Caleb, who has autism and is non-verbal. Then there are the twins, Emma and Ethan, who are 10. They act like an old married couple, and are often referred to as "Fred and Ethel". The oldest son, Drew, just turned 16 last month and is driving now, which has been a very "interesting" experience in parenting! "As you can see, my life has not gone the way I planned it - God had a different plan for our family. It’s been an overwhelming and chaotic few years, but the joy we have found makes all the craziness seem worthwhile. My new motto is 'Laugh more, worry less, and remember that God has everything under control.'"



















































































































































































































































Author bio





Lori Elliott and her husband, Dwight, were high school sweethearts. They just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last month and share the same sense of humor and love of chocolate. Although she and Dwight planned on having three children, God had a different plan, and were blessed with four children, three boys and one girl. There is 12-year-old son, Caleb, who has autism and is non-verbal. Then there are twins, Emma and Ethan, who are 10. They act like an old married couple and are lovingly referred to as "Fred& Ethel". The oldest son, Drew, just turned 16 last month and is driving now, which has been a very "interesting" experience in parenting! Her life has not gone the way she planned it - God had a different plan for her family. "It’s been an overwhelming and chaotic few years, but the joy we have found makes all the craziness seem worthwhile. My new motto is 'Laugh more, worry less, and remember that God has everything under control.'"
















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