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.