Since fall has arrived and winter not far behind, readers will be gearing up for READING! Reading awesome new books, visiting blogs and websites, listening to music, and getting ready for the holiday season too. So I thought I would start a new fun feature on “Spotlighting” bloggers, authors, musicians and more as “the real writers they are.”
A more in-depth profile of their writing as a writer and learn what makes them tick. We all write for many reasons like just writing from the heart in a journal, write to author a book, or even write lyrics for music, or even write as a profession.
So let’s have some fun learning more about the person and their “craft as a writer.” My First Guest? I WELCOME Tony Roberts! An author, blogger, writer, and mental health advocate…
About Tony Roberts:
Tony was born and raised in the Hoosier heartland just south of Indianapolis.
“I grew up worshiping high school basketball and once had the honor of playing in a televised “game of the week.”
I went to Hanover College (alma mater of both Mike Pence and Woody Harrelson – go figure). After many detours into sex, drugs, and more folk rock than roll, I wound up at a seminary and became a pastor. It was then that symptoms of depression and mania culminated in a psychotic episode that became pivotal in my life, for better and for worse. After graduating from Hanover, I obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While there, I did ministry assignments at a state hospital for persons with developmental disabilities, as well as at a women’s prison, and an inner-city hospital.
I served two decades as a solo pastor. I then shifted to writing, speaking, and leading small groups. In March of 2014, I published my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. Having served in pastoral ministry and gone mad, it’s now my mission to bridge the gap between faith communities and the mental health world.
I now live to write and write to live in Rochester, New York. I also have a “delightful domain” on Lake Caroga, the gateway to the Adirondacks. My greatest earthly delights are my four children and two grandchildren.
Tony is also an author of his book; “Delight In Disorder” available now on Amazon and Amazon Kindle store online.
“What makes Tony’s devotional so compelling is that bipolar disorder continues to periodically beat the crap out of him, and he still believes.”
– David Zucker, Mental Health Advocate, University Presbyterian in Seattle.
“A Writer Interview With Tony Roberts”
Hello and welcome to Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den, New Writer Interviews.
My name Catherine Lyon, Author… Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?
Tell us your name and a little of what you do?
Tony Roberts. I am the author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission and the co-founder of Delight in Disorder Missions. I write, speak, and facilitate small groups with the aim to build hope and foster compassion for those with mental illness, like me.
Where are you from?
I was born and bred in Indiana, where I now live. I spent much of my pastoral career in Upstate New York.
Tell us more about you? Like your education, family life. Etc.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and theology from Hanover College and a Masters of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.
I am blessed to have four children (ages 25, 23, 16, 13) and two grandchildren who are the delight of my life. My birth family means a great deal to me. We live close and care for each other.
Do you have any latest news?
My blog, delightindisorder.org is growing. I will be featured in an upcoming issue of bp magazine. Plans are underway to develop a podcast with commentary as well as interviews with persons in the faith community and mental health fields.
Are you a writer?
Yes. Writing is my vocation.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written in various forms since I was 7. My first piece, “Ode to My Pet Rock,” was a hit in my family. I wrote satirical stories in high school, college, and seminary. I wrote over 100 articles for school newspapers. I studied Creative Writing and penned a novella called, Life (in obvious places).
Why? For the same reason as Isaac Asimov. “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”
What inspired you to write your first book?
It started out primarily as therapy. I had lost much of my memory and I had lapsed in my practice of reflecting on Scripture. This was a way of reclaiming both. I’ve been told that if we first write for ourselves, others will need to read what we write.
How did you come up with the title?
“Delight in Disorder” is a 17th-century poem by Robert Herrick about a dress that is beautiful in its imperfection. The subtitle (Ministry, Madness, Mission) was given to me by a friend when I described the stages of my pastoral life.
Do you have a specific writing style?
No. Sometimes I jot down notes. Sometimes I sketch outlines. Sometimes I start with a Scripture quote, sometimes I weave it in. Sometimes I move right to the word processor and edit as I go. If there is one “style” is have is a commitment to editing.
~Paul Velery once wrote, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” I believe this about any writing. When I read my published work I cringe, knowing I could have spent more time on it.
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my writing is based on my own life.
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
My memoir only required introspection. I could sit in my basement and stare at brick walls, which I often did.
My current writing is more collaborative. I have traveled various places to meet faith and mental health care advocates and learn more what is going on and how we can improve.
Who designed the covers?
Nicole Miller of Miller Media Solutions.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want people to read my memoir and find hope in Christ for those with troubled minds.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer?
Tim Keller is currently on my memoir. Favorite all-time would be Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?
Leanne Sype, my editor.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m always thinking of changing I would have liked to make. But I now see I’ve given birth to it, it has a life of its own.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned many things — some brought me joy; others, sorrow. The biggest thing, I learned, though, is I can delight in the One who delights in me.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
How about Russell Crowe? He makes a pretty good tortured soul.
Any advice for other writers?
Read. Write. Walk. Repeat.
Share one thing about you that will surprise readers?
In college, I was given my first tour by Mike Pence and later partied with Woody Harrelson.
Will you write another book?
Probably. Right now I am focused on electronic media, but I will likely get back to my first love eventually.
What are you reading now?
Nobody Cares About Crazy People by Ron Powers.
Do you remember the first book you read?
Bible story books from my grandmother’s house.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Singer/songwriter John Prine because he is the best storyteller I know.
Do you have any hobbies? Cooking.
Americana: John Prine, Iris Dement, Jason Isbell, Zoe Muth, …
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Listen to music. Cook. Share stories with friends and family.
What do you want to be written on your headstone as part of your Legacy?
“He delighted in the One who delights in us.”
Do you have a blog or website where readers can visit for updates, events or updates? Tony Roberts, Author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness
I thank you for sharing with me and my readers Tony!