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Interview: Anneke Campbell, Author of Slouching Towards Bellingham

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Anneke Campbell has had a lot of career experiences in her life, including: masseuse, prenatal yoga teacher, College English teacher, midwife and nurse.  Ms. Campbell has also written in a wide range of genres; winning awards for her poetry, journalism, and a television script.  Anneke Campbell’s other writing endeavors include co-wroting a manual for activists titled Be The Change: How To Get What You Want in Your Community and editing an anthology on women’s leadership titled Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart.

Anneke Campbell is busy promoting her novel, Slouching Towards Bellingham, which is a re-release of the 2004 print copy titled Mary of Bellingham.  

Ms. Campbell is currently a doctoral student at the California Institute for Integral Studies.  Readers can learn more about her and her work by visiting her Twitter and Facebook pages.

Thank you for this interview, Anneke. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I started writing when I was working as a nurse and midwife. I wanted to share the inspiring and moving experiences I was having being with women when they were giving birth, being with families during this intense and intimate time. I come from a family of writers and in my thirties I decided to go back to school and get an MFA in Creative Writing. It was a joy to spend time learning some skills and having writing colleagues because the hardest thing about writing for me is being alone a lot. I have written two novels, seven or so scripts, one of which was made into a TV film, and I have won awards for poetry and journalism.

Do you write full-time?

I would say over the years more like half time.

You’ve met an old friend from high school and you want to pitch your book to him/her in five minutes or less. What would you say?

It’s about a pregnant homeless girl named Mary who waddles into Bellingham, Indiana. Joe the postman is the first to spot her, struggling bedraggled and dirty down the road into town. He introduces her to Violet, the waitress at his favorite diner, who has her own reasons to be kind. Next thing you know their friend Dr. Bob’s examines her and proclaims her a virgin. And then the whole world wants a piece of her. News stories are written; websites built; roving gangs of paparazzi set in motion. Throughout it all, Mary maintains sacred silence. A town full of characters, each with his or her own agenda, not a single one selfless or blameless, come alive as each is transformed by the apparent miracle.

Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?

Women and anyone interested in how people learn to get along and give of themselves in spite of themselves, especially if they’re a mom.

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I like working in just about every genre. think my biggest challenge career wise is that it’s hard to really gain traction when you flit about like that.

Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?

Of course.

Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?

My favorite place to write is in bed, propped up on pillows. My second favorite place is on planes and trains or in coffee shops.

What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?

Not much, because it’s based in a community I lived in for years, and deals with pregnancy and birth, which was my profession for a while.

Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?

Julie Smith of BooksbNimnle is my publisher and she is also a wonderful writer of mysteries. I know her from having lived in New Orleans for a while and at a certain point I gave her this book to read and she loved it and asked if she might publish it. So it was contacts, not agents or professional means.

How are you promoting your book thus far?

Blog tours, but this is not what I’m good at.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

If I could, I would be doing it.

What’s next for you?

I’m a doctoral student, and will eventually write a non-fiction book and possibly a play based in my research.

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