Author Interviews

4 (Or More) Questions with Todd Lawton | Founder of Out of Print Clothing

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

You know what is almost as awesome as books? Really awesome things about books – like Out of Print Clothing. They have such fun shirts, jewelry, journals and other things all book nerds NEED. I’ve been known to purchase quite a few items. Plus they donate a book with every purchase made. A.K.A. They are awesome! I thought it would be fun to connect with the founder and feature him on the blog and he was nice enough to join in,  so please welcome Todd Lawton!

Out of Print Clothing: Literary apparel and accessory company that loves celebrating great stories! Every product sold donates one book to a community in need.

Oh wait, first, here’s some of my favorite things (I love my P&P shirt!)

1. I love what you offer – so creative! So where did the idea for Out of Print come from?
The long story is it started when my partner and I met in the second grade in Portland, Oregon. The abridged version, is we felt that readers weren’t given the same level of expression through fashion as other interests. Just because you’re reading alone doesn’t mean you can’t show the world what books you like. We wanted to be the band shirt for the book lover. Simply put our mission is to get people talking about reading through making things that people feel good about wearing or carrying. So far, it seems to be working. We have hundreds of thousands of customers making bookish statements about themselves in over 80 countries.

2. I think it’s awesome to have a business model that gives back. Can you tell us a little more where this stemmed from and how y’all got connected to the non-profit?
It was a natural extension. The world would be a terrible place, and we’d be out of work if there weren’t people reading books. My business partner and I feel very fortunate to have grown up with plenty of access to books, so we felt strongly that OoP should help where books are scarce. Through our research we found Books For Africa and fell in love with their mission and methodology. In just over four years we have helped to donate approximately 950,000 books!

Since partnering with BFA, we have developed relationships and supported projects closer to home through other reading and writing non-profits like 826 National, First Book, Girls Write Now, Uprise Books, etc. Recently, we developed a fundraising program that helps schools, libraries and other groups raise money through our website. Seeing the impact our “small” idea for a business has made is incredible.

3. Another thing I love is the annual Book Madness (Long live Atticus!)! How did this one start?
It’s hard to remember exactly how it came to be, but I’m sure there was beer involved. We’re lucky to have a very passionate following that is always up for having fun with books. When Book Madness started it we decided which books would be entered. Now all the books/characters are nominated by our fans. We’re always looking for different ways to connect with readers. Often it comes up as a random thing that makes us laugh…like “Put a Poe On It.”

4. What are you currently reading?
“The Sunday of Life” by Raymond Queneau

5. Most of the Out of Print products are classics, so do you have a favorite Classic?
Obviously I’m quite into everything we do, but lately I’ve been wearing “Brave New World” in green, “Clockwork Orange” in black and Walden in blue a lot.

4 Questions

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
That I’d be lucky enough to be doing this and to be business partners with my best friend.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I wish I would have learned to play a musical instrument. Sorry Mrs. Strauss for terrorizing your music class.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Hearing my daughter have her first hard laugh.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Food seems to taste better while camping.

Thank you so much Todd for stopping by – I’ve loved featuring you and Out of Print Clothing! Readers, be sure to check them out! I’m sure you’ll find more than enough fun finds 🙂

What are some of your favorite bookish goodies?

Where to connect with Out of Print
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Google + | Instagram

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Author Interviews

4 Questions With New York Times Bestseller Fawn Weaver

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Friends from the internet!! I’m so excited to share this 4 Questions! If you remember a few weeks ago, I had the chance to read Happy Wives Club and loved it (saying a lot that a single gal can really enjoy a book about marriage). Plus I absolutely love the heart of author Fawn Weaver. She’s fun, she’s honest and she’s making an incredible difference for so many women (and their husbands) out there! Trust me, after you read this interview, you’ll know what I mean!

Fawn Weaver, a New York Times® and USA Today bestselling author, is a businesswoman, marriage advocate and the founder of the Happy Wives Club, a community of over 600,000 women in more than 100 countries.

The Club’s website, HappyWivesClub.com, is an upbeat blog dedicated to positively changing the tone about marriage. Twice named the Best Marriage Site on the web by About.com (2012 & 2013), HappyWivesClub.com is the go-to place for women wanting to read about the “sunny side” of marriage and get tips on taking a marriage from good to great and from great to extraordinary.

Happy Wives Club, Weaver’s debut book -now a New York Times® and USA Today best seller- is a journey to 12 countries and 6 continents in search of the universal secret to a happy marriage.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
Not being able to have children. I’ll be 38 years old this year so that’s definitely not something I would have predicted when we first began trying. We’ve gone through a failed adoption and two failed fertility treatments but through it all, the joy in our marriage has never wavered. He’s my rock and I am his. No doubt about it.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
That’s an interesting question. Around 2008 and 2009, we had to be incredibly frugal (well, maybe a little more than frugal) in order to pull ourselves out of debt. We were too comfortable living on credit and the crisis of 2008 was our wakeup call. We read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and remained focused with “gazelle intensity” until our debt was paid off. It didn’t adversely impact our marriage as we teamed up to defeat debt rather than turning on one another. We grew through it together so in that regard, it was a huge blessing. But if I could go back and do it again, I would have put our spending in check from the early years of our marriage.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Easily, the day we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary. We eloped in 2003 so having the chance to put on a beautiful wedding dress and to see my husband at the end of the aisle in a tux, was absolutely amazing.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Happily ever after isn’t a fairy tale; it’s a choice. Happiness in marriage is a moment-by-moment decision to love, forgive and grow together…happily.

Thank you so much Fawn for joining the 4 Questions project! I’m so glad my readers got to meet you :). Hopefully y’all will grab a copy of Happy Wives Club and check out the forum too!

Author Interviews

4 Questions With Grammy & CMA Nominated Dave Barnes

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Internet, this has been such a fantastic week of blogging. I mean, the discussions and interviews I’ve had with y’all have made my little heart of nerdy smile! So what could possibly seal the deal for an awesome week? Oh, how about one of my favorite artists on the blog????? I’m pretty sure my friends want to delete my phone from all the blog related really excited texts I’ve sent them this week. But do you blame me?! I’m not embarrassed by this.

Yes friends, Dave Barnes has yet again shown his awesomeness by joining the 4 Questions blog. His music is absolutely fantastic and his songwriting is just as awesome (people like Blake Shelton sing his songs, so I’m not riding solo in this opinion). Oh and he is hilarious. Like you’ll actually laugh out loud, not just LOL. Take a glimmer at his Instagram feed and you’ll find proof. Or this inspiring workout video.

Plus he likes to save the world. He’s one of the artists who promotes Mocha Club (they work in Africa doing all sorts of awesome things and you should join my team) and shares about them at each of his concerts.

While his choice in English futbol might be a little sketch ;), he does have the twitter bio ever: Rocker. Roller. Laugher. Writer. Intramural Softball Champion. Ex TCBY Employee.

Enjoy 4 Questions with Dave Barnes!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
That I would have a written a song that was three weeks at number one and nominated for a Grammy and a CMA award. That, definitely.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
There aren’t many things I would change. Honestly.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
When my son Ben was born. A moment of pure joy. Amazing.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Enjoy it all. So cheesy, but be present as it all happens. Even the bad. It’s hard to do,  but so beneficial!

Thank you so much for joining in Dave! Be sure to connect with Dave around the world wide web!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | iTunes

Family Life, Travel Adventures

A Japanese Legacy

One of the favorite parts of my trip to Japan this past summer, was when we went to hang out with Mariko’s grandparents.

We hopped on the train and headed over to their house (which they’ve lived in forever) and spent such a relaxing and wonderful afternoon. Do I speak Japanese? Nope. (Unless you count “I eat rice in my house,” then yes, I’m fluent). Do Mariko’s wonderful Grandparents speak English? Nope. But were we able to have an amazing time? Why, yes we were! With Mariko translating, it worked out perfect.

There was one time during lunch when the chopsticks weren’t being my friend, so I attempted to be stealth and just grab the cucumber with my fingers. I figured that was better than trying to stab it with the chopstick. Totally thought no one was paying attention to me, but nope…totally busted. How’s that for immersing myself in the Japanese culture? But they simply laughed.

But more than that, I’m so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from them, be encouraged by them and simply get to know more of their story. A legacy is the only thing you’ll leave behind and I promise you, the one they have started has already made an incredible impact on the world!

My hope and prayer is that this glimpse into the lives of Shizuko and Saichi Ohashi inspires and encourages you as much as it did me.

As a teenager during World War II, Shizuko still can recall the constant bombings on her city and watching the B-29 Superfortresses fly over their city. It’s hard for me to even imagine what that would have been like. To have a never ending fear of a bomb falling from the sky. To not know when it would end. What if my country, instead of unleashing the power of the A-bomb, was victim to it? How would my heart have handled losing such a war? I believe she said it best: That while losing was a blow to Japan, simple put, war is never a good thing.

Yet, even while having lived through that history, joy abounds from each of them.

But our time there wasn’t all sadness and dark times from decades past. Most of the time we spent chatting about family, our adventures and faith. Both came from Buddhist backgrounds, but after their two daughters became Christians, they started going when they were in their fifties. At first they started going because Christianity wasn’t about money (as their experience with Buddhism had been). That led to discussions with several pastors and finally one led them both to Jesus.

Two quotes that stuck with me? “Believing in Jesus and being a Christian is joy” and “We have Jesus to protect us.” Said with such conviction and decades of life experiences behind them, it was such a great reminder of Truth.

What a joy and privilege it is for me to be able to share some of their wisdom, story and to spend time with them, even if only for one summer afternoon.

To end, I’ll close with a very special 4 Questions with Shizuko (some the same, some a bit different!)

1. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
When I was growing up, I didn’t have the option or choice to get an education. If I could go back, I would like to study all kinds of topics. I especially want to learn to speak English so I can communicate my grandchildren, great grandchildren and more American friends.

2. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
As you know it is very important to have a son to carry on the family name in Japan. We didn’t have boys, but God blessed us with wonderful and God-loving son-in-laws.

3. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
I want the next generation to know this most important thing: If they could, meet Jesus when they are young and memorize as much of God’s Word as you can.

And you know me, being the romantic that I am, tossed in a couple of extras for the interview!

4. How did you and your husband meet?
I was sewing clothes for family and friends with my free time back then. There was a country rail road employee apartment near our house and Saichi asked the apartment manager if he knew a good seamstress to sew his clothes. She recommended me to him, so he started to come over and that’s how we met!

5. What’s your advice for a lasting marriage?
Trust each other. Don’t talk back to each other, but share your opinions. Care for each other, especially when it comes to healthy living.

(Interviewed with the help of Kumiko Barnes)

We’re best friends now.

Thanks so much for reading! I never get tired of hearing people’s stories! So who has inspired you? What about your grandparents?

Author Interviews

4 Questions with Author Bryan Allain

I like funny people. They make the world a better place. Without them, the world would be, well boring and lame. Thanks to the blogging world, I came across Bryan Allain who blogs and writes. Not only is he a huge fan of Lost (I can’t say that show’s name without my heart breaking a little…six years, six years and that’s how you end it?), but he’s funny. Win. Win.

He’s also full of wisdom when it comes to creating a thriving online tribe, with tons of resources and thoughts to help (check out his online Killer Tribes). I recently had the chance to review his recent e-book (Community Wins) and I also read his book 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo, so I promise he knows a thing or two. Both of his e-books are on amazon right now, so be sure to grab your copy. Also his next release is his first paperback, Actually, Clams Are Miserable! I look forward to reading that one!

I’m sooo excited to have him on the blog with a 4 Questions interview! Thank you so much Bryan!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
I’m working from home, writing and working on my business full time! Five years ago was right around the time I was realizing how much I loved to write. Though I had been blogging since 2001, it wasn’t until around 2007 that I realized how much I loved writing. I began blogging more seriously, started working on a memoir, and launched a second blog. Five years later the memoir is half-written and on the shelf, the second blog has been closed for years, and yet I’m doing what I love. The route to get here has been way different than I imagined, and there is much work yet to do, but it’s still hard for me to believe I’m no longer putting my engineering degree to use. It’s what I’ve wanted for years and I’m going to do everything I can to make it work.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
It’s hard to say because I am so happy with where I am right now. I wouldn’t want to change any one thing in fear that it might alter where I currently am. There are always mistakes you make in dealing with other people. Maybe you trusted someone a little too much, or you were a little selfish in how you dealt with someone else. I’m sure I could go back and handle some relationships a little better, but I’m pretty happy with where things are at right now. (Hope that didn’t sound like a cop-out!)

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
My wedding day and the birth of my two kids are the cliche answers, but those were some pretty amazing days. In terms of the last few years I would have to say my last day at my old day job: August 31, 2012. I finished packing up my desk, said my goodbyes, and walked out of there for the last time just after lunch. I thought I would come home to a normal Friday afternoon but my wife Erica had planned a little party for the four of us. There were banners, balloons, and my favorite foods spread out on the table. We toasted to the future and as I looked in their eyes it got a little emotional for me. Realizing a dream was amazing, BUT celebrating that moment with three people I love was a moment I will never forget. It was so special; I still tear up thinking about it.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
I think “What do I want to do with my life?” is a great question, but I think it can be dangerous without also asking, “What are my priorities?” I worked in the Pharmaceutical industry for 14 years, not because it was what I wanted to do, but because my #1 priority was to provide for my family. Once my true passions became evident to me I devised a plan to get from where I was to where I wanted to be, but that plan had to line up with my priorities. For me, that meant staying in a job I had no passion for for a couple of years while I made the leap to a new career something that wouldn’t destroy my family. So my advice to the next generation would be to ask yourself the hard questions. Figure out what is truly important to you first, and then ask yourself where you want to be so you can make a plan to get there.