Thursday, 28 November 2019

CWD Member Interview – Anne Hamilton



Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today’s interview: Anne Hamilton


Question 1: Tell us three things about yourself.


I’m from Brisbane in Queensland, I used to teach mathematics and a fair chunk of my time is taken up in prayer ministry. 

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?


I’ve been incredibly blessed to be able to develop a unique niche both in terms of content, as well as style. Back in 2010, I wanted to get a book about names off my chest and it was fortunate that Rochelle Manners of Rhiza Publishing was interested in names. I didn’t know that the book, GOD’S POETRY, was going to open up a floodgate of inspiration about name covenants and threshold covenants. I’ve now written eleven books of devotional theology I have plans for at least eight more. (“Devotional theology” means “theology with a devotional purpose, not an academic one.”) I also write YA speculative fiction—but it’s been pushed to the backburner in recent years. 
In terms of style, all my writing has built-in mathematics. Mostly because I love mathematics. But also because that’s the way it was done back in the first century and because it forces me to think when I’m editing. 

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?


Hundreds of people have read my books. I’d like to be able to say thousands, but I’ve only got half a handful of titles in that category. I’m not a big name writer and I haven’t pastored a church, so I don’t have the street cred to make a big splash in either devotionals or theology (let alone a combination.) 
It’s been extremely hard to build a platform from scratch without the benefit of a church network—but it’s a testament to God’s grace that I’ve been able to get so far. Because I write on the kind of topic that very few authors address—the constriction and wasting that just about everyone experiences as they try to come into their calling—people in desperate trouble tend to be my readers.  And then they contact me and ask me to pray for them. 
I am (finally!) confident that my work has longevity. Most books in the publishing world get 90% of their sales in the first three months and then fade to nothing. The books I’m publishing (I’m now my own publisher as ARMOUR BOOKS) start very slow and grow steadily. As each book pays for itself, I publish a new one. I’d like millions of readers, of course, because then I’d be able to publish many other authors as well! 

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?


The process varies, depending on whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction. Non-fiction is a snack compared to fiction (though having said that, most of the awards I’ve won have been for my fiction). For non-fiction, I write a blog-length piece and then another and then another (all carefully mathematically crafted) and then string them together. For fiction, structure is a challenge—as well as the fact that you can’t hide your heresy in fiction behind standard Christian clichés. I like tackling deep issues in fiction—and making it seem simple. DAYSTAR, for example, is the children’s fantasy version of GOD’S PANOPLY. I tried very hard not to let the theology get in the way of the story and wasn’t entirely sure I’d succeeded until it was nominated as a Notable Book in the CBCA Awards. To say I was stunned was an understatement: I thought it was too Christian for the secular market but not Christian enough for the faith market.

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 


Tough question. Truthfully, and I hope this doesn’t sound too pious, it’s John’s gospel. Not just because of the mathematical structure built into it (which I’ve copied a lot) but because it’s got a mirror-pattern in its scenes. But that aside, I think it’s THE SEVEN BASIC PLOTS by Christopher Booker.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?


The Quirky Quills group of Toowoomba!  Amazing supportive writers who run a Writer’s Retreat each year and who truly understand how much you have to be committed to hard work (and faith) to achieve your writing goals.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019/2020? How will you achieve them?


I’m currently working with two different writers on some co-authored books. I really love doing this as I can help others start to build their own platforms. I’ve also got a series in the pipeline on JESUS AND THE HEALING OF HISTORY. I’m expecting that one or perhaps two in that series will be out next year.  

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?


Faith forces me to hold off publication when something’s not right and sometimes it forces me to publish without delay! DAYSTAR sat in my computer for over twenty years because, although I had many great assessments of it, I felt the Holy Spirit say there was something wrong with it and that the ‘wrong’ was a spiritual problem, not a craft problem. It took two decades to work out what that ‘wrong’ was. DEALING WITH ZIZ, on the other hand, was written and published in three months. I simply wrote down different things I felt God was telling me, and very quickly I realised they all belonged together in a book on the spirit of forgetting. 

So faith is never a formula when it comes to writing or publishing. It’s a way of learning more about God.






6 comments:

  1. Loved reading your interview, Annie. You led one of the first Omega writing workshops I ever went to - on the subject of Christians writing fantasy. At one point you mentioned 'destiny encoded in names'. With my own preexisting understanding of the power of speaking names as a blessing (or a curse) and of the impact of God's names as the present and active expression of his nature, I was eager to learn more. Your books on the subject have encouraged and provoked me in so many positive ways, and I've seen God's hand in action as I've applied the principles within them. Thanks for the Quirky Quills shout out. It's a pleasure to walk with you. It was your pragmatic wisdom that helped temper my early, wildly optimistic naivety as a newbie writer with a solid determination to press forward, doing all things well, listening to and learning from those who had walked the hard roads, and survived to tell the story. As I said on the CWD FaceBook group page, you're a pioneer; one of those rare and wonderful people who dare to cut a new path of discovery and hope through hitherto unknown realms; tackle obstacles with fierce, determined grit; persevere with a deep, pragmatic faith in their purpose and calling; make a way in the wilderness where their seems to be no way, and encourage those who dare to follow to believe in the beauty, purpose, and righteousness of both the journey and the destination. I'm delighted to honour you as one worthy of recognition for your pioneering contribution, cutting pathways of encouragement for Australian Christian authors - including me. Thank you. May God continue to bless you and place your books in the hands of many thousands so that they, too, might receive his wisdom and blessing as a result of your faithfulness to his calling.

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  2. There is only one person in the world who influenced my faith-life so extraordinarily, that the brokeness of my past has been mended by her golden kindness. This Anne, upon gently reassembling this broken pot, has, like the Japanese art of golden joinery, (Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi), poured the golden healing ointment to join my broken pieces. Her ministry gift gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and I thank God for His anointing flowing through her humility like fresh rain. Every book is an explosion of discovery and joy and pure undefined revelation of Holy Truth.

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  3. Thanks, Ann. Loved reading about your different projects and process, the deep spiritual wisdom underlying them. Also looking forward for the day you get back to writing fantasy :) You've been a great encourager and initiative. May God bless you richly for your faithfulness and vision.

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  4. Love this interview and love Annie! God has used her speaking, her books and her life to help me catch a glimpse of the wonder and depth of who He is. And catching that glimpse leaves me in awe, thirsting for more. I thank God for Anne Hamilton and I truly believe as more people hear of her books and read them, their hearts will be drawn to God in a powerful, transformative way.

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  5. Loved reading your interview, Annie. I remember you saying, 'I only publish books that have the kiss of God.' Thank you for publishing Books I and II of my memoirs, both of which have been finalists in the 2017 and 2019 CALEB Competitions. May God bless you for all the help and guidance you've given me.

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