Author, Author! — Nan Corbitt Allen

19 Jul

NAN CORBITT ALLEN is a three-time Dove Award winner. Her lyrics and dramas have been performed all over the U.S. and the world. She is the author of the Christian novel, Asylum, which was the feature fiction selection for Crossings Book Club that year. A native of Geneva, Alabama, and a graduate of the University of Alabama, Nan has lead seminars and conferences on her writing. She also teaches at worship arts workshops on the topic, Illustrating the Truth. Nan and her husband, Dennis, have two grown sons and live in Tennessee.

Nan Corbitt Allen sat down with me at the International Christian Retail Show last week.  Here are some highlights of our talk.

BTB:  Tell me about your novel, Watercolor Summer.

Nan:  I had the finished product a long time before a publisher picked it up.   Like Kat, I grew up in Alabama and spent summers on the Florida Gulf Coast. The places I describe in the book, like the teen dance hut, were there when I was a teenager in 1969. Unlike Kat, my family was not dysfunctional, though I knew families like that growing up.  My parents had different personalities, but not the type of relationship that Kat’s parents had.  My mother was not an artist, but my father was a banker.  The book looks at the things we do to others and the things we do to ourselves.

BTB:  What was your inspiration for the characters of Malcolm and Jeantte?

Nan:  I knew a boy like Malcolm growing up.  Robert was a sweet boy with Down’s Syndrome.  I used him for the basis of Malcolm.  My editor also has a child with Down’s and she kept me true to character, helping me get the things Malcolm would say just right.  I also have known people like Jeanette — unsung heroes of the faith — living there lives and doing what they are called to do.

BTB:  What are you working on now?

Nan:  I am working on an historical fiction account of the life of William Carey (working title – Brothers of Fire).  I have a book of his journals that are providing me with great information.  Carey’s life is fascinating and is a story that really needs to be told. (Note from BTB:  Nan is very passionate about this project.  I think this will be a great book when she gets finished!)

BTB:  What is your ministry in your local church?

Nan:  I work in the Arts program of our church.  It is a creative arts program that serves children ages 3 to the 12th grade. (Nan and her husband, Dennis, have worked together in music ministry for 25 years)

Nan Corbitt Allen’s Books:

Allen’s Asylum tells the story of 10-year-old Ian Lane, an Alabama boy whose parents die in a house fire while he is at a baby-sitter’s. Seemingly, Ian’s parents are such staggering slobs that they burned themselves up while on a drunk. Anyhow, Ian goes to live with kindly Aunt Jo, and Ian is happy with her until the day a grim-faced man comes to talk about the fire. The man scares Ian, and he runs away to Florida, where he finds refuge in a cavernous downtown church. Eventually, the mystery sorts itself out, but the charm of the book lies entirely with naive Ian’s scramble to survive and his methodical piecing out of how the adult world works.

Though there are various genres of music country, rap, rock, and pop, to name a few the Christian music genre is the only genre defined by its lyric. But, how understanding are we as we write, sing, and lead others in worship with these words?

The Words We Sing is an exploration of 49 words and phrases found in both modern worship songs and hymns written years even centuries ago. With insight and inspiration, author Nan Corbitt Allen identifies the definition, biblical context, and historical background that make each term come to life with power and meaning. Through Allen s refreshing take on these lyrics, readers will find themselves immersed in the struggles and stories behind the words we sing.
Abba, Days of Elijah, Jehovah / Yahweh, Omnipotent, Adonai / Lord, Diadem, Jerusalem / New Jerusalem, Peace, Alleluia / Hallelujah, Divine, Jordan, Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega, Ebenezer, Kingdom, Ransom, Amen, El Shaddai / Almighty, Lamb of God, and many others.

If Kathleen could relive any moment, it would be the one in 1969. Not because of its sweet memories, but because it changed her life forever.

Just thirteen, Kathleen felt isolated and alienated by her family. A victim of her parents’ lack of connection to each other and to her, she was dragged by her mother to another artist colony for the summer. There she met the annoying Malcolm, a sixteen-year-old, mentally-challenged boy living with his caregiver.

In Watercolor Summer, Nan Allen tells the story of the difficult summer when Kathleen learned how Malcolm and his colorful guardian were the examples of true and selfless love. She paints a story on the canvas of Kathleen’s life which was transformed by the Master Artist–a life once stained by pain and trial, that became a thing of beauty.

A big thank you to Nan for meeting with me.  She is a very warm lady and I can’t wait to read the novel she is working on about William Carey.

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