Author Tuesday, author Tuesday! Friends, have I got a treat for you. I am delighted to introduce to you to author, speaker and writing coach Ann Swindell. I’ve gotten to know her a bit through the Redbud Writers Guild, and am so excited to further get to know her through her words. So, read the story behind her book, Still Waiting, and as per the usual, leave a comment to win one of two copies of it!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? Sure thing! I’m a tenderhearted soul with a deeply pensive streak and a propensity to laugh; or maybe I’m a deeply pensive person with a goofball streak. Either way, I’m highly passionate and contemplative, but I love to laugh and have dance parties with my little family! Speaking of them, I’m a wife of ten years to a wonderful man and a mom to a sweet little girl. And, we have another on the way, coming this winter! Professionally, I write in various publications online and in print, and also teach online Christian writing courses at Writing with Grace.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Ultimately, Still Waiting is a book about learning to trust and love God more—even in long seasons of waiting when our prayers aren’t getting answered the way we want them to be answered. In sharing my own particular story, my hope is that the reader will be able to experience the truth that right here, in the middle of the mess and the hurt—this is where Christ is with us, and this is where we can experience his love and goodness.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? You’re going to have to stick with me here, because this is going to sound strange at first, but this book was born out of two simultaneous things that don’t seem immediately connected—the story of the Bleeding Woman from Scripture and my own journey of living with the medical condition of trichotillomania for over two decades. Trich, as it’s called, is a hair-pulling condition, and I’ve been pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows for years and years. It’s not a well-known condition, but millions of people in the United States have it…we just don’t talk about it much because of the shame that’s often associated with being unable to stop pulling out your own hair. It feels hard to explain and open up about. And there’s currently no “solution” for trichotillomania—there’s no cure in the traditional sense. Most people who have trich will have it for life.
Several years ago, I got really fascinated by this story in the Bible about a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years—doctors only made her worse, and she was an outcast in her culture because she was constantly sick. But when Jesus walked into her town, she still had some hope left for healing. She had enough hope, in fact, that she reached out and touched Jesus—something that was radical and unheard of in her culture since she was not only a woman but a sick woman. I loved her faith, and her audacity to believe that she could be healed in the midst of over a decade of getting worse and worse. It made me think about my own life and my struggle with trich in a new way—if this woman could cling to hope when she had no medical reason to think she would be healed, then maybe I could cling to hope, too. So I wrote her story in a fictionalized version alongside of my real story in every chapter; Still Waiting ended up being my response to her story and my own as I wrestled through these things on the page.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? My hope and prayer for Still Waiting is that it will point readers to the goodness and trustworthiness of Christ as they are in the middle of their own waiting seasons. I want them to read this book and know that they’re not alone, that they’re not forgotten, and that God is with them in their journey. That’s my biggest desire.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? I think that any time we go back and see—and write—our story through a lens of hopefulness, it changes us. It certainly changed me. As I wrote through two decades of living with trichotillomania but filtered it through the arc of telling a story—a Story bigger than my own life and hopefully based in that same hope and faith I saw in the Bleeding Woman—I began to see that God had been at work in places of my story that had previously felt confusing. It wasn’t that, suddenly, everything made sense—far from it. But I was able to look back and my life and see that God was working even when he felt silent, and that has been an immense gift to me.
Is she fascinating or what? I love getting to hear the story behind the story – so, if you’d like to get to know Ann even more, leave a comment to win one of two copies of Still Waiting. Encourage our friend by sharing why you need to read her words (and, add “pick me” to your comment at some point, too). Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, June 4th. Good luck!0