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Alexis Acker-Halbur: Survivor, Warrior, Woman - Written & Interviewed by Grace Olson

I was given an opportunity to talk to another amazing author with an inspiring story. Alexis Acker-Halbur is a resilient woman. She experienced trauma at the hands of her alcoholic father. In order to cope with the abuse, she found solace in writing. She adopted poetry writing in her teenage years, which began her journey into the writing world. “The poems were very dark,” Ms. Acker-Halbur stated. She kept the poems to herself for a while, as she was told not to share her experiences. Once she reached college age, she left home and her abusive father and earned a degree in English. While in college, she began venturing into more poetry and short story writing. Eventually, she started writing novels. She wrote a series of three books with a previous publisher, and they went out of business, which led Ms. Acker-Halbur to her publications with Kirk House Publishers.

Post-college, she went to work as a secretary. She also decided to get a master’s degree in creative writing. She then began writing stories about her traumatic experiences in her childhood. Later in life, at the age of fifty, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and was given a six percent chance of survival. She endured many hospital visits, hoping to survive. Finally, the answer came to her quite clearly while in prayer: she needed to write a book about how she survived cancer. She did, by the way, survive her cancer diagnosis.

Thus, Ms. Acker-Halbur’s book Never Give Up was born. She self-published this book. The book won a Living Now Book Award. Ms. Acker-Halbur said about her thoughts post-publication, “I didn’t think I had anything else in me.”

Then, along came a project she could not pass up: helping trauma survivors process and deal with their experiences. The program, titled The TRUTH (The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing) Program, immediately caught Ms. Acker-Halbur’s attention, especially given her past experiences with trauma. As a result, she began writing a workbook to go along with her previous self-publication, Never Give Up. Currently, she’s working on another book to accompany her other publications for the TRUTH Program.

Along comes her venture into fiction publications. Someone said to her after they finished Never Give Up, “You should put this in a fiction novel.” She then came up with the storyline that would eventually become her Kirk House Publishers project, The Bear: In the Middle of Between. The Shack inspired Ms. Acker-Halbur by William P. Young, her favorite book. It is the story of a young woman who can no longer live in a world of abuse and decides on suicide as a course of action. A mystical figure comes to visit her and struggles with her to save her. After plummeting off the cliff, she goes through a period of transformation with the mystical figure who tried to save her.

During the writing process, Ms. Acker-Halbur said that her favorite moment is when she’s in the writing “groove,” as she called it. I have also experienced this in my own writing, where you’re writing, and you just go and go and go, and you can’t stop. You can’t explain it; the words just flow out of you. It doesn’t make any sense, but it just happens. The wording, the sentences, the dialogue, everything just falls into place, so naturally, it’s like magic. She and I had that in common; we both enjoy “the groove.” “The groove” is one of the best things about writing.

When I asked her about her favorite line from her book, she answered with the line from The Bear: In the Middle of Between, “I was born wounded, but I chose to come anyway.” “I love it because it emphasizes that we are not responsible for the pain we go through,” she said in the interview.

When I asked Ms. Acker-Halbur about her leisure reading habits throughout her childhood, I was surprised by her answer. First, she only read what she was required to in school. Then, I laughed because I’m sometimes surprised to see that not all people who publish books are avid childhood readers like myself. Now, in her adulthood, she reads for pleasure, both fiction and nonfiction.

Currently, Ms. Acker-Halbur is a trauma survivor advocate or a trauma expert. She uses the tools she’s created in her books to help people through their trauma and to heal from their experiences. “I created these books to help people,” she said to me. She wants her final message that people take away from her books to be a message of perseverance and that they can heal from their own trauma. In her book Never Give Up, she emphasizes how easy it is to give up instead of persevering through the healing process. She then told me how she’d considered giving up so many times throughout her life. But she never did. She wants others to do the same. She wants them to never give up on themselves and keep trying to heal and find joy.

Ms. Acker-Halbur runs a blog about how to cope with trauma, how to deal with the immediate aftermath of leaving a traumatic or abusive situation, and other tips to help people get their freedom back. I’ve read a few of her blog posts, including the post “How to Safely Move Out of an Abusive Home.” Ms. Acker-Halbur draws on her past traumatic experiences to convey important information to other trauma survivors through this blog and her many other publications.

She has also been fully healed from her cancer. She is strong, healthy, and still writing. She now uses her traumatic experiences to inspire her writing, and she uses her writing as a way to heal from her illness and her trauma. Her resilience inspires me. She’s been through so much, and she’s pulled through everything she’s suffered with resilience, kindness, and strength. It takes a special person, I think, to do that.

When I asked her about her advice to young writers, she said, “Never give up.” We laughed, and she said that “never give up” is her mantra. She then went on to explain that writing is heard, and I would agree with her. Writing, as much as I adore it, is hard. It’s hard to do well, and I still need a lot of practice, so her advice inspires me.

Alexis Acker-Halbur is one of the most resilient women I may have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She inspires me so much. I love how she doesn’t allow her struggles and her pain to define her. Instead, she allows her strength and resilience to define her. It goes to show what a person can gain by healing. I am so glad I had the opportunity to speak with her. I hope this inspires you all to heal from whatever trauma you may have experienced in your lives.

Thank you for reading!

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