Interview with Anneke Campbell, author of 'Slouching Towards Bellingham'

Anneke Campbell has worked as a midwife, nurse, masseuse, prenatal yoga teacher, college teacher of English, and writer in a number of genres. She has won awards for poetry, for one piece of journalism and one television script. She writes and co-produces videos for environmental and social justice organizations, and co-wrote a manual for activists, “Be The Change: How To Get What You Want in Your Community.” In 2010 she edited an anthology on women’s leadership: “Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart.” She is currently a doctoral student at the California Institute for Integral Studies. An earlier version of her novel Slouching Towards Bellingham appeared in print in 2004, under the title Mary of Bellingham.

You can visit her on Twitter at and facebook at

About Slouching Towards Bellingham

When a pregnant girl named Mary waddles into Bellingham, Indiana, she also wanders right into the hearts of its townspeople. Not to mention their imaginations: Because Mary’s a virgin!

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 examined her and proclaimed 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. Juggling a townful of characters, each with his or her own agenda, not a single one selfless or blameless, Campbell makes Bellingham come alive as she shows how each is changed by the apparent miracle.

This good-natured tale about an extraordinary event in an ordinary town pulls off the rare trick of being satirical, funny, and very, very real without ever sinking into the cynical. A great gift for anyone who reads—especially if they’re a mom.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Anneke, Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Slouching Towards Bellingham.

I’ve been writing ever since I worked as a midwife 3 decades ago. As a mother and a midwife I was always inspired by this sense that each birth is its own miracle, each infant holding a promise to make a profound difference in bettering our world. Second, when I was a child, Mary was the friendliest figure in Catholic religion. I loved her for her beauty and being kind and a new mother. She stands for mercy and the feminine part of the divine and I still relate to her in that way.

Q: I love your title! Can you tell us why you chose it?

It refers to the final line in the Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming:” What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” I’ve always loved that poem, and that line evokes for me how humans seem compelled to anticipate the end, and we harbor this huge ambivalence towards change.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

It’s a fun read that will entertain and because at heart it’s about people coming together in spite of themselves to help each other out in their community, and this is something I know we need more of as we face the challenges ahead.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

This blog tour is one thing, a Facebook fan page and I’ve created some funny videos that are on the publication website. Honestly, this is not my forte.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

It’s an imaginary contemporary recreation of the Virgin birth story. I walk a very fine line between being inspirational and funny without ever getting preachy or its opposite—sacrilegious. I wanted to people to be able to laugh at and with my characters and recognize their own fears and aspirations in them.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

We want to know what will happen, to find out who is this girl, how did she get pregnant, was it n experiment, an alien impregnation, a miracle and what are the towns people going to help her?

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?


Q: Thank you for your interview, Anneke. Do you have any final words?

This incredibly inexpensive gift will give you a good seasonal cheer and chuckle without cutting down a tree.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Anneke Campbell’s new release, she will be appearing at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an e-copy of of Slouching Towards Bellingham! Visit the official party page here!

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