We have quite an international bunch this year for Page Turner winners – an American, a Kiwi(New Zealander), and a Canadian each placed in this year’s contest. The FaithWriters/Breath of Fresh Air Press 2014 Nonfiction Page Turner champion is the lovely Lori Dixon of Canada. Read her interview below to learn more about her, her winning manuscript Walk a Mile in her Shoes, and her other passions.

Joanne Sher: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

Lori Dixon: It was rather disappointing and anti-climactic as I had been soooo excited and hopeful, since I didn’t want anyone to help me on my book but Deb. Seriously. So I decided to open up the webpage on my phone before bed so that in the morning I could check it. The thing is, though, it was after midnight on the West Coast and and the results were already up. I couldn’t even wake up my family and tell them. (Okay, so I did wake up my hubby: but come on! I was so excited!)

Joanne: I’m sure you had quite the celebration in the morning! When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

Lori: During my typing 9 class. I did not appreciate “The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy fox,” so I would write “Muppet News Flashes” instead. When it was time to pass our typing papers for our peers to mark, my best friend who sat behind me was very amused. My friend was a straight A student right through to her college degree – except for typing 9 where she got a B because of me.

Lori Dixon headshot promo sizeJoanne: Too funny! I’m sure you are forgiven by now for ruining her perfect GPA. Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else?

Lori: It’s a ministry. I would love to be financially free to write more but alas, I need to make tents. (I don’t actually make tents – I work as a finance specialist for the Canadian federal government.  I just make sure that the tents they buy are fiscally responsible) If He wills it, and our circumstances change, I’d write and speak full time in a heartbeat!

Joanne: Personally, I hope it does happen.  Share a bit about Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Where did you get the idea for it? What’s it about? How far along in it are you?

Lori: In the summer of 2013, I took five weeks off to pursue working on a novel that I had been pondering for two years. During that time, I discovered a non-fiction contest with the Fedd literary Agency (Rewrite conference). I told my husband, “I would never write a non-fiction, but if I did, I would address the problem of women who have left the church.”

Meanwhile I had also been working on a ‘shoe talk’ that I give to raise funds and awareness for sexually exploited women. Our house was FULL of shoes (I kid you not). So the night after seeing the contest and making my bold ‘I would never’ statement, I found myself typing at 2 am and the ideas flowed. (That’s about all I will share with regards to the content of the book – you’ll have to read and review to find out more!)

I placed in the top ten and flew to Austin to meet with Esther (literary agent). I met many representatives from ‘big’ Christian publishing houses, but knew before I got back on the plane that this was not the route for me – even though I had a few interested parties. If anyone wants more information as to why, feel free to contact me privately.

I have only written one sample chapter, but the outline is solid. In my head, the rest lives so I hope to be plunking it out ASAP.

Joanne: Sounds like a much-needed book, and a fascinating journey! So, how did you find FaithWriters and what made you stick around?

Lori: I wrote a weekly family humor column from 2000 to 2004 for our local paper, but with the death of my father, my marriage and my mother’s terminal illness, I stopped writing in 2004. In 2010 (or so) my family was urging me to ‘pick up my pen’ again. I wrestled A LOT with stepping back into ministry as a divorcee (long story, but the book will be telling).

I prayed, opened my laptop and said, “Lord, I am going to Google ‘Christian Writing Contest’ and if I get ANY positive feedback from my writing, I will believe that you still want to use me.” I found the Writing Challenge, submitted an article and placed first! Talk about a confirmation.

Why do I stick around? I love Bea and Mike and the whole ministry/outreach of FaithWriters! I have had other writers question why I allow my stuff to be reprinted for ‘free’ but I have to tell you, being with FW opens doors and expands your boundaries! I wish I could be as active with critiques and the weekly challenges, but life has gotten so busy. Also, Shann (Hall-Lochmann VanBennekom) was a HUGE encourager and friend, especially the first year or so. We critiqued each other and shared burdens and prayer requests.

Joanne: The people really ARE what makes this place special. What kinds of books or genres do you prefer to read and/or write?

Lori: I like to read biographies and autobiographies! As for writing, whatever is on my heart. I’ve been writing devotionals, finished one novel of a trilogy but then pulled it (long story), am halfway through a new novel, and now there’s Walk a Mile — and that is where my heart truly is right now.

Joanne: Tell us about your family.

Lori: I am married to a wonderful man, Don, who loves the Lord and keeps me stretching spiritually – so blessed! I have four grown stepchildren, Kyle, Suzanne, Paul, Nicole (and her hubby Hyrum), a seventeen-year-old daughter, Mia, who leaves in a few weeks for a YWAM program and my twenty-one-year old daughter, Tia, who graduated Bible college last year and is working on becoming certified at reflexology. We also have a three-year-old grandson who is anxiously awaiting the birth of a sibling this coming March . . . so excited!

Joanne: Wow – that’s quite a brood! What are your other passions besides writing?

Lori: When the Lord drew me back into writing, He also placed a burden on my heart for sexually exploited women. Presently, I donate 100% of my speaker fees to a refuge/restoration home, Engedi Refuge, and we also do fundraising with bracelets that the women make as part of their art therapy.

Joanne: That is such an important issue that God has put on your heart. Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? If so, what do you hope to accomplish in 2015?

Lori: Not typically, but this year yes! Finish the book. (are you smiling, Deb?)

Joanne: If I know Deb, she is DEFINITELY smiling! Where can people find you online?

Lori: I can be found on iDisciple.com or at www.LovingKindnessMinistries.ca. (My blog/website is dreadfully out of date . . . perhaps I should amend my answer to the last question?)

Joanne:  Perhaps 😉  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

God is good. He is faithful to see you through your calling. Don’t get caught up in earthly things like running after literary agents or big-time publishers. If He’s given you a story or a message, He is THE BEST agent in town! Write for one. Never focus on how many ‘shares’, ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ you have. If you’re writing to get famous or rich . . . you’re missing out on a huge blessing.

Joanne: Excellent and important advice, Lori. It has been great getting to know you, Lori. I’m sure you will change many lives with your ministry!

Watch for interviews with the runners-up (Debbie Roome and Rebecca Real) in the next several weeks. The 2015 Page Turner will open the first week of January- this year the focus is fiction. Get busy!

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