Story Spark: Out of the Darkness by Ann Allen (and Book Giveaway)

book cover imageStory Spark usually features novelists, but today’s post is an exception. Ann Allen shares the story behind her nonfiction book, Out of the Darkness. See below for details on winning a copy of Ann’s new book

What sparked the idea for your book? I’ve struggled with bipolar since I was a child but was diagnosed in 1997. In 1974, when I was about eight years old, I was baptized in the Baptist church. While attending a class, I was informed that we would all walk down the aisle and ask to be baptized.

For years I struggled with my faith and felt like a fraud because it was assumed, since I was baptized, that I was a born-again “Christian.” This added guilt to an already over-filled plate of guilt that comes with mental illness.

In 1996 I broke down and started communicating with my pastor by mail. I didn’t trust myself to actually speak to him . From the first letter I sent, which, incidentally, was a goof on my part, I began my journey to finally accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior officially.

What surprised you most in telling your story?

I am painfully shy in person and the idea of putting something this personal out for the world to see was absolutely terrifying. Yet I felt I needed to do this. I hoped it would help others who struggle with depression of the mind and/or soul or help their friends and loved ones understand what it feels like to have a mental illness – the ups and downs we experience without any control over the matter.

headshotMeet Ann

Ann Allen loves to write, is an avid reader (thanks Mom!), and is a musician. She grew up in East Point, Georgia which is just southwest of Atlanta. This has been her home except for the six months of temporary insanity following the death of her mother, when she lived on the North Carolina island of Topsail Beach, and the two years she lived in the notorious Clayton County (think Honey Boo). After the passing of her father in 2013, Ann moved into her childhood home where she resides now with her four cats and two dogs.

She earned her Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts degree from Mercer University. Her degree is specifically Music Performance, more specifically on the harmonica focusing on classical music. You can stop laughing now. Her favorite genre of music to play is classical and gospel.

Ann’s debut fiction book is a one-of-a-kind color-as-you-read book for children entitled The Adventures of Junior Chipmunk. She loves writing children’s stories and uses them to teach Christian ideology without preaching. In Junior Chipmunk the children learn about sharing, working together, and standing up to bullies.

Connect with Ann

Ann loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted at aallen@annallen.net.

She invites readers to visit her website.

Borrow or Purchase Out of Darkness

from Amazon’s lending library.

Purchase from Amazon.

Book Giveaway

Ann will give a signed copy of her book (paperback format). To enter the drawing, please leave a comment before Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (Central time). After a random drawing, the winner’s name will be announced on Monday, June 29th.

Ann invites you to share your experiences and struggles with clinical and/or spiritual depression. However, every commenter will be included in the drawing.

Thank you for reading Ann’s post and participating in the giveaway.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete offensive or off-topic comments.

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12 thoughts on “Story Spark: Out of the Darkness by Ann Allen (and Book Giveaway)

  1. I can relate to the bi-polar, it is awful! Thank you for allowing me to enter this contest. Good luck to all that enters!

  2. Hi, Ann! So glad you are finally sharing your story. You are an excellent writer. As you know, I already have a copy of Out of the Darkness and am in the midst of reading it. So, don’t put me in the drawing.
    Love,
    Bonnie

  3. Such an inspiring story! I have been blessed to never have to struggle with these situations but I am sure your book will be a wonderful aid to those who do.
    Thank you AND blessings!
    Connie

  4. Hi Ann,

    I wasn’t laughing about the harmonica/classical music – I can almost hear that, and would love to hear you play! And your memoir sounds so intriguing. I want to say BRAVO for sharing your struggles–you have no idea how many people you’ll encourage along a difficult way, girl. Just reading this brief story about you inspired me.

    • LOL thank you Gail. It’s okay to laugh about the harmonica – few people in the States expect to hear classical music played on it. Most people, I’ve found through the years, immediately think campfires and beanie-weenies when I tell them what instrument I play. In fact, that’s exactly what the chairman of the music department at college first thought. My favorite composer, however, is JS Bach so that usually shocks them into acceptance.

      Thank you for your kind words and I truly hope my book will inspire others to either seek help or gain better insight into the struggle and acknowledge the inner strength involved in maintaining a balanced emotional state.

      Ann 🙂