Rebecca Duffett spoke with Annie Porthouse

Annie Porthouse
Annie Porthouse

Annie Porthouse is an author with two best selling young adult novels under her belt. Hailing from the South West she's also regularly seen on the festival circuit speaking at Greenbelt festival and in the distant past even a Cross Rhythms festival. Rebecca Duffett spent time discovering her inspiration for the stories.

Rebecca: Your books, Dear Bob and the sequel to that Love Jude are diary style books about a young girl at university. I don't want to give too much away; can you tell us a bit more about the books?

Annie: Right at the very start of the first one, Dear Bob, Jude has literally just started at uni; she's in her fresher's week. She's been brought up in a Christian family and been a very keen Christian all her life. However she has a dream, something quite minor that suddenly rocks her faith completely and she suddenly finds herself asking, is God real and am I a Christian, what's it all about?

As the novel progresses she's still getting involved with the Christian Union at university and surrounds herself with Christian friends; but she's feeling like an outsider, a bit of a fake. She's hanging in there to see if it's real; so it's really her journey of faith to discover if God is there and if everything she thought was real is still the case or not.

Obviously she's a girl, so she's desperate for a bloke. She's got the life of a single female at uni and all the coming of age type things that uni comes with; being away from home for the first time and new experiences and all that type of thing.

Rebecca: What made you want to write about this?

A Girl's Journey Through University

Annie: I have found from feedback from the novel that lots of people say they immediately relate to certain aspects of it. I think I partly wrote it because I had grown up in a Christian family and was a keen Christian and was a tough member of my youth group at church. I then saw Christian friends leaving and going off to uni and some of them drifted away from God altogether. I couldn't quite get my head around that. I couldn't understand how that would happen and why. In the end that's what spurred me on to actually write about that.

Rebecca: Obviously the journey isn't all good. There are ups and downs and she does make quite a few mistakes. What would your key piece of advice be to anyone looking to live out their faith at university?

Annie: Nice easy question! I think there are all sorts of do's and don'ts that would spring to mind for this one. If I was to pick one thing I think it would be quite simply, for any Christian student going to uni remember how absolutely crazy God is about them; he's nuts and bonkers about them and loves them. They need to make sure they're surrounded by people or they know people there at uni who will remind them of this constantly; whether it's just a text message or Facebook message or whether that's the Christian Union, church or house group; or even a group of Christians in a pub or Christian housemates, or anything. They need some Christians there that remind them that God loves them a lot. I think as a starting point that's going to help, rather than think, oh what should I be doing or what should I not be doing; like a list of rules. I think it's remembering how much God loves us and I suppose that could go for all of us really; but yes that would be my top thing.

Rebecca: The two books are based in the first year and then the second year at uni. Did you ever think of doing a sequel into the third year of uni?

Annie: Yes I have thought of that and yes I've had quite a lot of feedback from people reading the books and saying alright when's the next one? I suppose I will have to ask my publisher about that - Scripture Union - and see what they think. I've been doing other writings since these two novels, so I haven't done another one; but I suppose there would be room for that, so it would be a possibility.

You can buy Annie Porthouse's books Dear Bob and Love Jude from Cross Rhythms Direct for only 6.64. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.