|Annette is half-English, half-Norwegian and lives in the South West of England, with her husband and son. She spent much of her childhood living out of suitcases, as the family travelled from place to place, with her father’s aeronautical career. Most of her childhood was spent in Africa: Ethiopia and South Africa. When she witnessed the endemic poverty in these countries and the brutality of apartheid, she developed a strong sense of justice for these people, who had so little, and yet were often happier than we were, with all our material possessions. Her simple, practical Christian faith grew from such encounters.
After returning to Britain in the early 1970’s, she moved into corporate communications, working for major international companies, including McDonald’s, BT and Diageo. She won awards for some of her work, but as she approached 40, life began to seem increasingly meaningless. Money wasn’t the answer!
Everything changed in 1992, when she stopped work to care for her terminally ill mother. Planning ahead was futile: every day was precious. Annette began to question what life was really all about. In particular, she was puzzled by the three clear dreams she had between 1970 – 1973. Did these foretell her destiny?
Her first book. “An Ethiopian Odyssey”, is about her quest to find nine classmates from her schooldays in Addis Ababa in 1964, prompted by another dream in April 2000: she’d returned there to help provide water. Little did she anticipate that she would cross three continents to track them down, helped by kind strangers around the world, who took her and, her dream totally on trust. The quest finished in February 2005, at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York, the little church of such peace beside Ground Zero.
The book was self-published in 2006 and sold in 21 countries, largely through word of mouth. Radio interviews reached 15 million people around the world. In 2007, she was invited to give a book talk at the United Nations headquarters, hosted by the Ethiopian ambassador to the UN – a great honour and amazing achievement for a first-time author. The book and her searing testimony about compassion and our interconnectedness has inspired hundreds of people and organisations to donate to WaterAid and other NGOs who provide life changing, clean water and sanitation for the very poor. (Half the royalties go to WaterAid in Ethiopia.)
She stopped promoting the book after her younger brother, Eric, took his life in 2009: he’d misused drugs since he was 14. She later realised that she was slipping into the same paranoia which her father and Eric had suffered from, because of her own addiction: alcohol. Quitting drinking in 2015, she met the tribe she’d looked for all her life: people in recovery! By developing new habits, supporting others and having two years of Open Dialogue mental health therapy she has healed , thus lifting the shame. Her next book “A Song for Eric” demonstrates that we are each loved unconditionally as we are, no matter how broken we feel. She hopes this will help substance misusers and their families to build new lives together. Some of the royalties will go to help Phoenix Futures, who helped Eric between 1979 – 1981.
Annette’s gifts are those of a Highly Sensitive Empath.
Today, she helps others quit drinking and stay alcohol free, via a great online community: www.boozemusings.com