Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Ann Allen

Is there a story behind your book Out of the Darkness?
Yes. When I began my journey it felt as though I was wrapped in a cloak of darkness and despair, both emotionally and spiritually. As I progressed in my journey through the spiritual darkness I began to see a light way off at the end, not so much as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel but more of a light at the mouth of a cave. I felt as though I had journeyed into the bowels of Hell to get to where I could finally understand who God is and why He loves me and why He died for me. I was reminded of the line from the 23rd Psalm – "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow." The day I felt the Lord's presence in my life I can only liken it to passing through the birth canal (I don't remember that experience but that's what it felt like.)  A traumatic event or so I'm told. What resulted was a real sense of being reborn. I felt like a new creation – lost, confused, and unsure but I knew to whom to turn and have followed Him since.

What started you on your writing journey?
When I was growing up the only children in my neighborhood were my older brother and other kids his age. I had no playmates save for my imagination and the playmates within my mind. I began to put the adventures we had down on paper. I'm not sure how other children play together as I was older before other children began to move in to the neighborhood, but I would play in silence. All the dialog was internal. At night when it was too late to be outside I would continue my play on paper. I've not stopped since.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
My biggest distraction are my critters. It's rather difficult to write when your cat decides to sit on your laptop or notebook, in my case. I prefer writing out by longhand before transferring to the computer. I enjoy the feel of the words at the tip of my pencil. If it isn't the cat getting in my way it's one of the dogs, usually the Chihuahua, Peanut, who distracts me either by attacking my Chow/Malamute Mix, Cessna, or wanting her "snuggles."

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Oh, this is a difficult question to answer. I enjoy historical fiction, history, cozy mysteries, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. I also thoroughly enjoy reading children's fiction – those written for the middle school years.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I would have to say I am more of the classical style of music than anything. All other music is based on that foundation so you will find rock, jazz, and blues in there as well.

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
If I could draw like Walt Disney I'd be ecstatic. If I could draw stick people without them looking like victims from Chernobyl I'd be happy. Everything I draw comes out a little warped – like my thinking, I guess.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmm. The quirkiest thing I've ever done is majoring in music on the chromatic harmonica. At the time I thought I was the second person in the nation to have done this. Later I found out the person I thought was first actually changed to piano before he graduated. While the school did list me as a flute major, my brother is the flutist not me. I can't get a sound out of a flute.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
I enjoy a good clean joke. My favorite comedian is Jeff Foxworthy. He absolutely cracks me up. Before him I thoroughly enjoyed the writings of Lewis Grizzard.

What is your favorite season of the year? 
My favorite season is also my most hated. I love spring in Georgia. I also hate it. Folks up North have to shovel snow in winter. Down here we shovel pollen in the springtime. The world looks a hazy greenish yellow during pollen season but fortunately it doesn't last all spring.

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
My neighborhood is quiet and peaceful with plenty of trees. I grew up playing in the woods behind my house and down at the creek catching crawdads. Now that I'm living in my childhood home once more I can look out my den and see those same woods and remember all my childhood adventures.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
We usually went camping for family vacations. When I was around 3 years old we camped on Jekyll Island - one of many years we spent there. This particular time we camped near a Boy Scout camp when the scouts were there. In the mornings we'd hear Reveille and at night we'd hear Retreat. I enjoyed the nights more. One particular night or early morning it rained. The camper we were in had a canvas top that snapped to the metal frame. There was a leak just over where I was sleeping and it began to drip on me. I tried to roll away from the water in my sleep and fell between the snaps of the tent onto the ground outside. Now, being only three years old I wasn't that tall. So I walked around to the front of the camper and could only scratch on the side of the camper. Fortunately it woke my mother up who, upon discovering a cold puddle where I had been sleeping, opened the tent and pulled me back in.

 Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
There are always things I put off because I dread doing them. Cleaning the bathroom is one.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
My favorite place to vacation now is in the mountains of North Georgia. Unfortunately I've not had a vacation in years so I've almost forgotten what it feels like.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Don't laugh now but my favorite all time meal (besides spaghetti) is macaroni and cheese and hot dog weenies on the side. My favorite snack is marshmallow cheese toast (don't knock it until you try it.) This one is easy – toast the cheese toast until the cheese is soft, add mini marshmallows, broil until they turn golden brown (about 15 seconds). No real cleanup and delicious.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  

My favorite verse is Romans 10:13 – "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." That says it all. Call on Him and you will be saved. It's what got me through my journey.

Back Cover Blurb
"Is there a God?"
This question, posed in a letter to a pastor with whom she had barely spoken a dozen words, began the journey of a lifetime for author Ann Allen. Fighting clinical and spiritual depression Ann began the painful and difficult quest to come out of the darkness and find the answer to her question.

This book is the first-hand account of that journey one many of us have taken but were afraid to admit to others. Some of you may still be on that journey while others are afraid to take that first step. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not be afraid to take that first step.
Let OUT OF THE DARKNESS be your guide into the Light that is God's love.

To purchase Ann's book:

About Ann:
Ann Allen was born and raised and currently reside in East Point, Georgia. I earned my B.A. in Music Performance at Mercer University, Macon, with my principle instrument the chromatic harmonica. At the time I was the only person in the country earning a degree using the harmonica. After university I worked in several jobs – retail, retail management, finance analyst, and as an administrative assistant. I credit my liberal arts degree with my being able to adapt and improvise as needed during my life.

I am living once more in my childhood home with my four cats and two dogs. I am presently working on my second children's book, a color-as-you-read work. I hope this book will help encourage children to read by having them take part in the creation of the book as they color the illustrations and make it their own. The first book, The Adventures of Junior Chipmunk, followed a young chipmunk who was upset because he was "too little" to go to school only to discover school is all around him. This second book is a continuation of his adventures as he and his friends learn more about life and building relationships.

To connect with Ann:

Ann is giving away a copy of Out of the Darkness. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Caryl Kane said...

Hello Ann! I enjoy books that bring hope. I would love to read OUT OF THE DARKNESS!

psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

Kim Amundsen said...

Welcome Ann. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

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