We’re very happy to have Debbie Dillon with us today. Debbie is a Christian writer with a beautiful blog and a brand new book. Thank you, Debbie for being here. <applause>
CAROL: Debbie, I’ve enjoyed your blog, at Writin' 4 Him Cafe. How long have you been blogging?
DEBBIE: Thank you for taking the time to read it, Carol. I started it in January of 2010.
CAROL: What led you to start blogging?
DEBBIE: It began as a journal of my writing endeavors, mainly to keep me focused on my goals, and because it was what so many other writers and authors were doing. I'd just attended a book fair where agents and authors spoke about the necessity of building a platform. They listed all the do's and don'ts of querying, formatting book proposals, what NOT to say in a cover letter, etc., and maintaining a writer's blog was one of the little boxes I was told needed to be check off if I ever hoped to be published.
So, I did. However, I quickly realized that even though I had a few publishing credits to my name, I hadn't learned nearly enough yet about the publishing process, nor had I acquired enough success stories to keep a reader's attention based on that. Ultimately, a blog about writing wasn't what I was about. Writing is such a personal thing, and narrowing myself to what I thought I was supposed to be doing only stifled the voice of my heart.
I remember being frustrated for a time about what to actually share with the world through my desire to write. I knew I wanted to blog, but was really struggling with what direction I should take with it. So, I woke up one morning, and the phrase "float on the breath of God" wasn't whispering sweet and soft in my head - it was pounding...over and over! The phrase didn't stop all morning.
I believe that was the day I decided to turn Writin'4 Him Cafe into a ministry to encourage others...and to write from my heart instead. I knew my focus had definitely changed, so I prayed about it asking God to give me the words to carry out His messages. The "writing endeavors" would come, I figured, and I would share my praises to God for each one. But in that one phrase, I'd been given a passion and a task to share with all who would listen; the blog wasn't supposed to be about me and my quest for publication. It was about taking the ordinary situations of everyday life and sharing the many ways in which our awesome Savior invites us to float on the breath of God - in essence, lean not on our own understanding...(Proverbs 3:5-6).
CAROL: Very cool story, Debbie. Could you restate the theme of your blog for us then?
DEBBIE: I've always been one to seek out the quiet corners, looking for those stolen moments between the rush and the busy stuff of life, and I want my blog to be just that for others; the quiet place to sneak off to for just a little while. The idea of sitting at a quaint table for 2, or on an overstuffed couch sharing wonderful conversation over delicious coffee appeals to most women, and I want that feeling to come through with each post. I want women to know what to expect when they visit my little piece of cyber space. Hopefully, they feel a warm invitation to join me over a cup of their favorite blend, listen to soothing music, and rejoice in the fact that we're not alone in our roles as moms, wives, daughters, sisters and friends. We are human. We make mistakes, but we are forgiven. We are loved. Many of us are writers, bloggers. But we're all daughters of a merciful, loving God.
CAROL: In what way do you hope to touch your readers?
DEBBIE: Through my blog, I hope to touch the hearts of women; to share tiny doses of hope and encouragement. I find that many women seem to feel very alone in their daily challenges. They may be surrounded with people who need them or depend on them for one reason or another, but who is really there for a struggling sister in Christ when she needs to vent or share what's on her heart? I think women need to know that others identify with them and their struggles, and that they are definitely not alone.
And, for some, reading the words written on the screen is sometimes the tool that causes them to reach inside themselves deep beyond the smiles, beneath the "I-can-do-it-all" surface and admit how desperately they need to rely on God. When I've exposed myself, my weakness and vulnerability in a blog post, many others can relate and that's how the bonds of friendship are formed.
CAROL: I’m sure you encourage many women who read your blog. In what ways have you been blessed or encouraged in return?
DEBBIE: I absolutely LOVE when I'm struggling to find ideas for a blog post and just can't seem to string the words together. But somehow, some way God will close the gap and bring it all together. Then, once it's up and posted, I'll receive that one precious comment from someone telling me that the post I barely squeaked out was meant for them...right there...in that moment. I am blessed beyond words when I can be the fingers pounding on the keyboard to relay something I believe is from the Lord to that one person who needs to hear it.
CAROL: Your style of writing is wonderful. You have a fine synergy of lyrical writing and humor that women can relate to. Do you write primarily for women? What genres do you enjoy writing?
DEBBIE: Oh my gosh - what a compliment. Yes, I do write primarily for women, although I do have several "followers" on my blog who are men.
I never really thought I'd write non-fiction. From my very first dreams of being an author (somewhere in my teens), I'd always imagined myself surrounded by shelves filled with titles from my fiction series; sort of like the Mandie series or Nancy Drew Mysteries or even Trixie Belden.
Unfortunately, I've struggled for years over the same fiction projects, mainly because I like historical fiction which takes quite a bit of research. Non-fiction just seems to flow much easier for me.
CAROL: I see your first book, Walking in Son-Light is out. Congratulations! Please tell us what inspired you to write the book?
DEBBIE: Thank you! Walking in Son-Light is a compilation of about 40 or so selected blog posts. I wrote it after several requests to provide the messages in hard copy form to share with mothers, grandmothers, friends and sisters who might not otherwise have access to it. I'm excited to learn that this book has been shared with both believers and "pre-Christians." I also purposely published it in large print to accommodate readers in all seasons of life.
I have to share that I've been blessed with some very strong Christian woman in my life who have greatly impacted me and my way of thinking. Writing this book was in part a tribute to them; how they've loved me, supported me and encouraged me through the years.
CAROL: How long did it take you from inception to publication of Walking in Son-Light?
DEBBIE: Actually, after several months of "gentle persistence" from my husband, I self published it through Lulu Press. I was curious about the self-publishing process and didn't want to compromise my vision for the book by trying to conform it to a traditional publisher. My intent was to simply get it out and make it available, and I was thrilled with the opportunity to put my daughter's wonderful photography skills to use for the book cover. In general, the process was simple and painless, and I've received wonderful feedback from it.
CAROL: How did writing Walking in Son-Light affect your walk with Jesus?
DEBBIE: I tried to choose the messages that followed a similar theme. Reading through and fine-tuning them made me realize the underlying thread running throughout: it all points to Jesus.....my life, my family, my issues, challenges and dreams. Writing the book has only brought me closer to Him and strengthened my faith.
CAROL: Do you have any projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with us?
DEBBIE: I'm looking forward to my very first book signing in July at a local bookstore (event information is posted on my blog). I'll be signing copies of Walking in Son-Light and also hope to have my young adult Christian fiction book completed and available by then, as well. It's called "Scattered Hearts," and is a story set in 1912, during the orphan train era, about a young women determined to live out her faith regardless of her circumstances.
I'm also excited about my upcoming article in a future issue of Victoria Magazine. I've written an essay that has been accepted for their "Chimes" section.
CAROL: Congratulations! What one thing would you like us to know about you or your writing that I haven’t asked?
DEBBIE: I want to encourage women to follow their dreams. God plants dreams and goals (even ministries) within the hearts of each one of us, but many times a lack of confidence prevents the blessings! This world is full of beautiful, talented, gifted women who sometimes hold back because they either don't believe in themselves or second guess themselves right out of opportunities. We need to be the hands and feet of God if we're to carry out the dreams he created for each of us.
CAROL: Here’s a link to your blog. How can people purchase your book?
DEBBIE: The book is available in the left sidebar of my blog, or you can go directly to the Lulu site by clicking here.
$1 per every paperback sold will be donated to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.
CAROL: Thank you so much for your time, Debbie. We wish you tremendous luck with Walking in Son-Light and all your other projects.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of writing you have given to many people in this world and thank you for Debbie Dillon and her heart of encouragement for others. Please bless her in her endeavors and use her example to inspire and encourage us for your glory. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you visited Debbie’s Writin’ 4 Him Café yet? Go here. Enjoy.