Alias In Town
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
A: I have the audacity to say, “I am well” even though I have a chronic illness which causes me to be housebound several days a week. This is because I have learned that my sense of wellness isn’t associated with the physical. I have dipped my toe into the water of authorship with my first book Well.
I live in Central Ohio with my husband of 35 years. I have 6 children and 7 grandchildren.
Q: Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?
A: Well sprang from a very unusual and interesting source. I dealt with my chronic illness with very bad coping mechanisms that led to major depressive disorder, alcoholism, pain pill addiction and a suicide attempt. As a Christian, this was so shameful for me and I didn’t understand how I could let it happen. I asked myself, was my spiritual life that big of a mess?
When I got home from the psychiatric hospital, I began pouring over a decade worth of journals looking for answers. I found relevant entries and collected them in a scrapbook. I also included in the scrapbook original artwork telling my story through the end of a paintbrush. Then I went through my blog and other essays I had written and included those as well. The scrapbook told a story, and I realized it had evolved into a unique type of book.
Though taboo, Christians are just as susceptible to depression and addiction as any other social group. For a depressed Christian or a Christ follower with an addiction, seeking help feels like shining a spotlight into your spiritual life and highlighting a failure as a Christian.
I am very passionate about this topic because I am one of those Christians. I live with depression, and I’m in recovery for addiction and attempted suicide. My sincere hope is that my story will impact and change the lives of people who read it. If I help just one person and sell only one book then I have accomplished my goal for this project.
Q: What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
A. The Bible. This answer sounds so cliche coming from a Christian. But it is the honest truth. The Bible provides me guidance, inspiration, personal growth, and a cathartic change agent in my life. It’s fascinating that no matter how many times I draw water from that well I also get a drop or bucketful of something good.
Q: Book you’re currently reading?
A: The Quest by Beth Moore
Q: What is your best marketing tip?
A: Because I am new at self-marketing, I have no idea if the strategies I am using are going to work. My book just launched and I’m in the middle of figuring out how to self-promote. Perhaps my advice, to myself and others, should be don’t self-promote.
Q: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Also, do you write every day, 5 days a week…?
A: I don’t have a set amount of words or pages per day, but I write every day, 7 days a week. If I am not writing on a project, I am blogging, journaling, writing a speech, or updating a website.
Q: Where can we learn more about you?
A: I am an internet litterbug. You can find crumbs of me scattered all about.
My website is www.aliasintown.com
I have an art website https://anitamariewilson.wixsite.com/atw-art
I have other prayer sites and Bible study sites as well. But what I’ve given you is enough crumbs to follow in order to find the real me. Perhaps my next project should be to compile all my internet litter into one bag at aliasintown.com !
Q: What does your writing process look like?
A: I like to write longhand on paper and doodle or create art throughout the writing. I always start a project as an art journal or scrapbook. I use several art mediums while writing, such as, collage, painting, sketching, and mixed media art forms. When I am done, I have a visceral, textural and authentic work. However, it doesn’t transfer electronically easily. My book Well was my first attempt in making this transfer happen.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: Depending on the subject matter I can create an art journal in as little as a week. Well took me 2 years and the artwork in the final product is only 50% of what was created in the scrapbook
Q: Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
A: My next project’s name is Good. So, I will have Well and Good. Good will be done using the same method as Well. It is an art journal that provides an interactive personal prayer retreat experience. This will be a book that you can’t just sit and read, I will have you physically interacting with the text. In addition to the artwork, and essays I am collaborating with a published poet. Good is expected to be available in time for Lent next year.
I am also creating art journals on “The Science of Well Being”, “Healing Through The Arts” and a food journal.
Q: What is one of the things you’re most thankful for as a writer?
A: Because I have a chronic illness which leaves me housebound several days a week, I am thankful for my particular writing style. Creating art and developing story through art is my primary coping mechanism. When my symptoms flare up, it occupies my mind.
After a bad episode/attack I do two things 1. Pray for others to take my mind off myself and 2. Create
Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: The fact that my writing all starts as an art journal is pretty quirky and unique.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
A: Are you content with your life. I don’t earn a living with my writing, but yet I write. Writers write. We can’t help ourselves. It flows from some innerspace that bubbles to the surface occasionally. So if you find contentment somewhere in the process then you are a successful writer and artist.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I am sincere when I say that I am passionate about the subject matter of Well. I am available for one-on-one appointments or speaking engagements (with proper accommodations for my illness) free of charge. I want hurting people to learn how to be well. I flay myself open in Well. I hold nothing back about my bad decisions and sins. I pray this mortification will bring light into the dark spaces of depressed and addicted people.