While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Your journey to published author is a picture of stick-to-itiveness. Share the top most valuable things you've learned along the way in the following areas.
The Lord is the Keeper of Dreams. If He has placed that dream in your heart, TRUST Him.
That I could stick with it for so many years without giving up.
Motivation is the key to plotting and characterization. If we have the core motivation, a universal one that readers can relate to, the characterization and plotting will grow from that.
About sticking with it:
The only person who fails is the one who gives up, and then remember to factor in God’s timing. I got my work publishable (according to 4 different acquisitions editors) six or seven years before I got published.
You wear several hats in Christian publishing and writing. You are a mentor to many, a critique partner, editor, columnist....you get it, my fingers are getting overwhelmed typing now. How do you juggle your duties and responsibilities and keep that lovely smile upon your face?
You hit it when you said juggle. I have a priorities list, it’s following it that’s hard. LOL I am ADD and a people person. I’ve learned to turn off my email during my writing hours. It’s too hard to ignore. The rest seems to fall into place fairly easily. I’ve found the busier I am, the more organized I am.
What has investing in Christian publishing done for you?
It’s enriched my life with friendships. I’ve had the privilege of promoting some wonderful, life-changing books. It’s also given me a ton of business networking relationships. That hasn’t hurt my own book promotion.
Where did your inspiration for your series come from?
From an overheard conversation. Yes, I’ll admit it. I eavesdrop. Most writers do! I heard a couple of young women complaining about their husbands. From those small snippets of conversation, a what if was born. What if a 40-something’s marriage had grown too comfortable; that she felt like nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper? Fro there, Claire Bennett and the small village of Chapel Springs found life. Claire needed a BFF with a similar problem, and Patsy Kowalski jumped up and waved her hand.
Is there an Ane Mulligan clone in your series? Or do you find yourself completely woven into your stories. Share your thoughts, too, no a or b answers here.
There are absolutely bits of me woven through my characters. Claire has my move-before-I-think tendency. Patsy has my ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away. But most of Claire came from a blending of three delightful women, who are thrilled with “their” Claire.
What has script/play writing done for your fiction writing skills?
Nothing except knowing how to write dialogue. Oy vey, was that a hard transition! Show don’t tell? How do you tell a story without telling it? POV? What kind of acronym was that? Pop-out vehicle? Well, you get the idea. It took one long novel (which now lives with the dust bunnies beneath my bed) and several crit partners to complete my education.
If you could be a color from a crayon box or paint strip, which one would you be and why? (feel free to describe or come up with a name: (no need to run to Wal-Mart)
Red...it’s loud. I’m loud. I laugh too loud. I talk too loud. What’s left to say about that? LOL
Stripes, lace, polka dots or denim? Why?
Stripes and polka dots on denim. Denim is soft. Lace scratches. Throwing stripes and polka dots together is flat out fun. But I usually do that in my earrings. I love wild earrings.
Strawberry, chocolate or vanilla? Why?
I love them all, but vanilla is so rich and creamy. Oh. You’re not talking about ice cream? Well, in that case, strawberry because they’re colorful and make me smile.
If your book becomes a movie, drop some names, who would you choose to play your characters?
Definitely Diane Keaton for Claire. Her character in Baby Boom was where I got Claire’s first characteristics. Things just happened to her! Okay, now I have to make a confession. I don’t watch movies (or so rarely I don’t know who is in them) and I don’t watch TV. I read. Okay, I watch Downton Abbey and HGTV. Am I pathetic or what?
The mountains with a lake view, or in other words: Chapel Springs. It’s exactly where I’d love to live.
You and I share a fondness for pooches. Please share one of your favorite doggy stories. (You can send a picture of a cutie if you'd like.)
My favorite involves Shadrach (our first English mastiff) and a good friend, musician Frankie Aster (who also became a character in one of my books). When Frankie first met Shadrach, the beast scared Frankie to death by leaping in his face and woofing. That’s all he did, but a 220-pound woof is scary.
For ages, Frankie kept a good distance between him and Shad. But after a while, Shad moved closer. By then, we were sitting at the table, eating chips and salsa. Shad sat beside Frankie, watching every chip go into his mouth.
Finally, after coaxing and teasing Frankie for being a whus, I told him to offer Shadrach a chip from between his lips. Frankie looked at me like I was nuts! But finally, he did. Shad gently took it without even touching Frankie’s lips. From that moment on, they were the best of buddies.
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.
With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.