who are you anyway?
(Note: this interview was carried out in 2003)
Well, I'm Annie, married to Mark, with two sprogs
Tilly (7) and Fraser (5). I've lived on this planet for a grand total
of thirty years and I'm having a pretty good time so far!
I work at our kids' school, as a Learning Support Assistant, and have been a school governor.
and I run a housegroup for 14-18s, that bizarely enough is called 'BoB'! I
have been involved with church youthwork for a good ten years now.
I have a degree in Theology, that I did with the Open Theological College... don't ask how long it took me to finish!
I am commissioning editor for 2 mags: thewalk, and benchmark.
I have developed quite a passion for getting others involved with writing, and ran some writing workshops at Greenbelt last year.
Without making this sound too much like a 'lonely hearts' column...
I love cooking and eating... and do both as often as possible!
For more up-to-date info about Annie and her work, see: www.annieporthouse.com
Why did you write these novels?
it kind of came to me, out of the blue, whilst in the shower, about 5
years ago! I've always enjoyed writing, and had often thought about writing
a book someday (like when I was really old, qualified and had loads of
experience in life, etc etc!). I love a 'good read', and had often thought
that there just wasn't enough Christian fiction on the market.
So, back to the shower... I got to thinking that it would great to write
a story about someone who'd just started at Uni. I also thought I'd like
to so something to do with the character losing her faith, and the struggles
she'd go through in an effort to 'get it back', so to speak. I love theology,
especially when it comes to applying it to our everyday lives. I wanted
to share my thoughts and experiences with others, but create a 'good read'
at the same time.
To what extent, then, is it autobiographical?
Good question! Quite a bit, I suppose. I guess I'm like
Jude (the main character) in many ways. I had a burning desire to get
married pretty pronto, from the age of 14 onwards! (As it happens, I married
my 1st and only boyfriend, Mark, at the age of 19!) Like a lot of females,
I also stress about my weight and looks.
Without giving too much of the plot away (in case you're reading this
and you haven't read the book yet)... like Jude, I've also been to Romania,
with a local Christian charity (but I've been twice, so I'm one up on
Like Jude, I too had a bit of a faith-dampener about 5 yrs ago. It came
out of nowhere one minute I was a happy sure-that-God's-there Christian,
and had been from age 4, and ½ an hr later, after watching some
documentary that knocked the whole idea of Jesus' resurrection... I was
a wreck! It took me quite some time to get myself sorted spiritually,
but I feel I've benefited from the whole thing.
However, I'm also like Abby (although not so perfect... but I do play
the flute sorry!) in that I have a younger sister (who's just finished
at Uni - hi Zo!). I've struggled to cope with the whole 'baby' thing,
and had postnatal depression, on and off, for the 1st yr of Tilly's life.
Admittedly, like Abby, I'm a bit of a 'Monica Geller'!
There are other themes in the books that relate to something I've experienced
in my life, but less directly than the stuff I've already mentioned. For
example, I've never had an abortion, but I've spent a couple of yrs as
a counsellor at a CARE pregnancy crisis centre. Also, I'm not too familiar
with 'Student Alpha', but I've led a 'normal' Alpha course at our church...
and so on.
Who is it aimed at?
People who can read!
No, sorry. Ummmmm.... I think I initially had in mind the kind of 17-30
age group. I think students will be interested in the books, and be able
to relate to a lot of it, but it is by no means just for them! The whole
'student' thing is really just a backdrop or a setting for what the book's
really about someone who's searching for the truth about God.
I guess that 'older' people will also enjoy the books, as a lot of what
Jude works through can apply to any stage of life. With that in mind,
I would expect teenagers to be interested in the book, as they will relate
to a lot of it, but also because they're thinking about how things will
be when they leave home, whether it's for Uni, work, marriage, or whatever.
Fresher Pressure (The Life - the Scripture Union magazine, Aug 03)
So Ya Wanna Write?!... (Writer's Surgery handout, Greenbelt 03)
re:NEXTgeneration (Benchmark Magazine, Sept 03)
Leaving Home (thewalk, Nov 03)
600 Words and Counting (Candle & Keyboard, Feb 04)
Not Being Kate Winslet (Crossring, Mar 04)
PMS?! (thewalk, Apr 04)
re:writing (thewalk, July 04)
Independence Day (benchmark, Aug 04)
Expensive Money (benchmark, Aug 04)
Mission Impossible (thewalk, Jan 05)
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