Our Interview with Rebecca Dinsmore and Allison Althauser!

Image of Rebecca Dinsmore    The God Hater: Discovering Life After DeathImage of Allison Althauser

                                           Bio for Rebecca

Rebecca Dinsmore was born and raised in a rural town just outside of the Atlanta, Georgia city limits. The youngest of six, she grew up with three brothers and two sisters. Rebecca was a preacher’s kid, her dad led a conservative southern congregation while her mom posed as June Cleaver both in and out of the public eye.

Rebecca was always up to something and would constantly be out playing with her siblings, cousins, and extended family throughout her childhood. She loved being outdoors with nature, hiking in the woods, riding horses, and was always involved in organized sports such as softball and tennis. When Rebecca entered her sophomore year of high school, she met and instantly fell in love with her future husband Ben. Soon after she graduated, they married and moved into their first home, and while Rebecca attended junior college, Ben would be constructing houses and ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle in his spare time. Ben and Rebecca had two sons together and enjoyed parenthood with her husband. Their oldest son married and had a daughter, which made Ben and Rebecca proud grandparents.
In 1998, Rebecca was introduced to a ministry that would later on become her passion. After completing the required training and mentorship classes, Rebecca helped co-found Simply Grace, Inc. in North Georgia where she volunteered full-time to counsel, teach, and train their counselees. In 2006, Rebecca and her family’s lives had been changed forever, and she suddenly found herself in a world of darkness and despair. Several years later, she was led to tell the details of her story in a book. Rebecca met Allison as a mentor at Simply Grace and their relationship had quickly blossomed.
In 2011, Rebecca asked Allison to ghostwrite and co-author her book, The God Hater: Discovering Life After Death. Over the past six years, Rebecca challenged the freedom to hate the only One who could handle her pain, and in so doing, God pursued Rebecca through her brokenness and passion. She discovered a deeper and more intimate relationship with him that she hadn’t known before her difficult journey.
Now she is passionate about cultivating that intimacy within others. Rebecca enjoys helping and watching the people in her community discover their true identities and the real God. Most importantly, Rebecca loves traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
                                           Bio provided by author’s site

                                                   Bio for Allison

Allison Althauser was born and raised in Northwest Ohio. The only girl in the family, she was a middle child with three brothers. Both of her parents were self-employed and made sure all of their children had a private, Christian education. Allison’s dad was actively involved in the church and her mom helped lead worship on the piano.

Throughout Allison’s upbringing, she enjoyed annual vacations to the Florida coastline, snowmobile adventures in Northern Michigan, and summer camping trips in neighboring states. She also liked music and learned to play the piano. At the beginning of her freshman year in high school, Allison met the love of her life and future husband, Scott; however, circumstances kept them apart for ten years and during that time, both Allison and Scott struggled with addiction. After graduating high school, Allison continued her education, received her Bachelor’s Degree and began a career in Public Health, all while trying to hide her own addiction to anorexia and bulimia.
In 2007, after completing 20 months in a faith-based, drug and alcohol regeneration center in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, Scott became a staff member of No Longer Bound and was finally able to pursue a real relationship with his love. Allison left her family, friends, career, and life as she knew it, moved down to Georgia, and immediately fell in love with the South. A few months later, Allison had not only found true healing beyond her addiction through a community class offered by NLB, she had also discovered the God she never knew. With 24 years of being raised in religion as a Christian, Allison had only learned about him through the church, written word, and law. For the first time in her life, she had met God in her brokenness and experienced an intimate relationship with him.
After a decade of waiting, Scott and Allison married in the fall of 2007. In that same year, Allison met Rebecca Dinsmore as a student at Simply Grace, and they were friends from the start. Before Allison became the ghostwriter and co-author of The God Hater, she taught the same class for women in the community that had helped her find healing and new life. In the summer of 2011, Allison knew it was time to for another job change, and was led to start writing Rebecca’s story. The God Hater: Discovering Life After Death was published in January 2012.
Writing has given a voice to Allison’s desire for embracing the freedom to be real, vulnerable, and honest. She enjoys helping others by putting words to their pain and not being afraid of those thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, Allison is passionate for her husband Scott and cherishes the life they share together.
                                                   Bio provided by author’s site

It is our pleasure to introduce to you Rebecca and Allison who are author and co-author respectively. Rebecca has been on a journey that few of us would ever have wished upon our worst enemy. Allison joined Rebecca when she was half way through her journey. So get comfortable and please give a warm welcome to Rebecca and Allison!

1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?

         My inspiration comes from personal experiences and beliefs. I am passionate about writing people’s stories from the most authentic and real perspective possible because when that happens, so does community. After writing The God Hater, Rebecca and I have received incredible reviews and feedback expressing the very thing we were hoping for: relating. Even though some people have not gone through what the story is about, they cannot say enough about how the book spoke to them in so many ways; and that brings me great joy.

2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?

        I am somewhat of an organized writer. I like having an idea of where the character and story will go, but I also like giving both the space and freedom to lead me. Because I write non-fiction, I have an extensive interview process of the main character and his/her family, friends and co-workers, but I spend the majority of time with the main character. The other interviews are most helpful for giving outside perspectives of the life and events of the character.

3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?

        I am a morning person and I have found the morning to early afternoon is the best time to write. My typical day is to start writing first thing and keep going until my brain turns to mush. I learned my limitations and when to call it quits because if I try to push on, the writing feels forced (and reads forced). Of course there are special times where the inspiration kicks in and I take advantage, but I have learned to listen to my gut.

4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?

         Anne Lamott is my favorite author at present. She mentored me through her writing and I have gleaned many practical and personal insights from Anne. I am already passionate about honest and vulnerable writing and she encouraged me all the more to stick with what I know to be true. I had days when I would stare at the screen for what seemed like hours and couldn’t come up with the next sentence or paragraph, and Anne said to stop and step away for however long it took to get back in the groove; so I did (and without beating myself up for not producing that day or week). She also said to write as if your parents are dead and I couldn’t agree more. I write boldly and shut down the self-talk (or inner monologue) of wondering what anyone else will think of the book or me as a person/author, which is not always easy, but extremely necessary for the subject matter of writing.

5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?

       The editing process. Having someone else critique my work is challenging at times and I have to remind myself that his/her corrections are for the book and not about me. The invaluable lesson I have learned is that no matter how many mistakes and red marks show up on the page, it doesn’t say anything about me as a person or writer and that I am not a mistake. Basically, I don’t have to take critiques personally and that correction can help me learn and grow.

6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?

         I think it’s very important to read as I write because it keeps me fresh. Reading another’s work gives me perspective and opens doors to new ideas and avenues I might have missed or ignored. Because I am currently focusing on biographies, I read the true stories of others whether the subject is about writing, personal insight/self-help, spiritual, or anything in between.

7. How did you come to write your biography Rebecca and Allison how did you come to helping her write it?

         When Rebecca knew she needed to tell her story, I immediately volunteered my husband because to me, he was the creative one and I didn’t believe I could write. He led the interviews while I sat by, listened and observed. However, when the time came to start writing, his job demands had increased and he knew he couldn’t continue with her project.  I had a growing suspicion that maybe I was the one who was supposed to tell her story, but fear kept me from volunteering for the task until I became miserable at my 9:00-5:00 desk job. I knew I had to take the risk and jump in with both feet, and in hindsight, I am so grateful. By facing my fears, I discovered my passion. I wrote Rebecca’s story because she is a speaker. She comes alive when she speaks to an audience of one or in public and is extremely gifted in processing verbally. My part comes in when she and others need to put those words, thoughts, and feelings together on the page.

8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?

       I think the e-book industry is growing and maybe someday that’s all publishing will be, but I hope not. I still have a sense of awe whenever I walk into a bookstore or library and feel the mutual respect of other patrons and readers quietly perusing the aisles. Maybe I’m an old-school romantic when it comes to the literary world and books, but I like being able to hold a real, physical book in my hands. I am open to giving the e-book a chance and it could even win me over someday.

9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
As of right now, we only have The God Hater website: http://thegodhaterbook.com

10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?

        Yes, I have other projects in the works and they are more biographies. I have also started an autobiography.

11. If your book were to become a true life story movie, who would be your choice to play yourselves for your book “The God Hater”?

        Rebecca would be honored to have Susan Sarandon play her role in The God Hater. I have a small part in the book and met Rebecca about halfway through her story, so I would probably be comfortable playing myself, but if I had to choose, I would be honored to have Reese Witherspoon play my role.

12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?

        Rebecca would like to meet Corrie Ten Boom. The question she would ask her is: Were you aware, as you were suffering in the concentration camp, that you would survive, live to write, and tell your story?

I would like to meet Oprah. The question I would ask her is: Can I interview you and are you willing to be completely transparent and real?

13. Did you find this to be theraputic when you wrote this and finally published it? Allison, had you had similar experiences to help Rebecca flesh out the story and did it help you too to write it and publish it?

        Rebecca found this process extremely difficult but equally liberating. She had to feel the experiences several times over and would sometimes get sick of talking through them. Although, she knew telling her story was healing, and more freedom was waiting for her on the other side. Now that the book is published, she is encouraged by the incredible feedback of others and doesn’t let the fears get to her of everyone reading, knowing, and talking about some of her darkest hours.

I enjoyed fleshing out Rebecca’s story and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Writing about someone else’s deep pain was challenging and exciting at the same time. Throughout this interview, I haven’t mentioned him, but he is part of me and the other main character in the book. I had to get in the heart and soul of a woman twice my age who had a specific experience I have not and I chose to write my first book about her story. God was involved behind the scenes every step of the way. I had to go to the depths and darkness with Rebecca, ask the uncomfortable questions, and relay her thought life and feelings, but I was made for this and I will do it again in a heartbeat. I learned that pain is pain, no matter how traumatic the event, we all experience pain on many levels and because I embraced my own pain and gave it weight, I was then able to go there with Rebecca and put her story into words.