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, multi-published 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. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival releases Sept 8th.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I’m married to a remarkable Brit, whom I met on a blind date … with the other boy. We switched during the evening and we’ve been together ever since.
Although I was raised in Southern California, I got to Atlanta as quick as I could. I’m a Southern girl at heart. I always did relate to Scarlet O’Hara.
I’ve been writing seriously since 1996. As Creative Arts Director for my church, I wrote plays and sketches, and published my first in 1998. I turned to novels in 2003.
The story in Chapel Springs Revival was born from comments I heard women make in church. I originally thought I’d write a Bible study about marriage, but God had a different idea. You see I believe people let down their guard when they think they’re being entertained. Then, when they least expect it, the story can touch their hearts and change lives.
Once we take that vow in marriage, it’s God’s will for us. For my main character, Claire, learning that takes some time … and some mishaps.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’ve completed the sequel, Chapel Springs Survival, where the characters try to survive the revival. That was also born out of a real life event. But that’s another story for another interview. But I love to write stories about women’s relationships, whether best friends or sisters, which my current work in progress is about.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
Oh, my, that’s a hard question. I read 2-3 books a week. But one I read recently, I believe will turn into a classic and that’s Francine Rivers’ Bridge to Haven. It’s a prodigal story that is as powerful as Redeeming Love.
Francine Rivers, Sandra D Bricker, the late Diann Hunt, Deborah Raney, Sarah Addison Allen, Gina Holmes, Jessica Dotta, the list goes on…
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Not really any daily ones. But for each novel, I spend a lot of time working on character motivation. The “why” of her personality. What lie does she believe about herself? I firmly believe motivation in the mortar that holds great plots together. In that belief, I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters before I ever write one word.
Oh, and I draw a map of the town. Here’s Chapel Springs.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
What most writers do … read!
I’d love to garden if I didn’t have 10 black thumbs. The only flowers I don’t kill are silk. When I wanted to make my front porch look nicer, and hide the things Hubs leaves there, I bought a few pots and filled them with—you guessed it … silk flowers.
I like to crochet, but after a few years, I had all the hats, scarves, and afghans my family could use. Now, I make hats for the children in a village in Romania, where my friends are missionaries. That’s very rewarding. With the help of some other authors, last year, my friends took close to 100 hats to the children.
What is one of the things you’re most thankful for as a writer?
My critique partners. I believe it takes a village to write a novel. My CPs and I have been together since 2003. We’re tough on each other and have earned nicknames: Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen. Me? Oh. I’m Ane of Mean Gables. But we’ve grown from raw newbies to all being published.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
For the Christian author, if we can change even one life, then we’re a success in God’s eyes. Most of all, it’s being obedient to the call.
Where can we learn more about you?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. Never ever give up. You may have noticed I started writing novels in 2003, and this is my debut book. I learned the craft early, and began going to committee years ago, but God always shut the door. Oh, believe me, I whined and asked why. But He told me to trust and wait. Since He didn’t give me another option, I chose to trust and wait. I’m so glad I did.
Be sure to add Him into the publishing equation. He has a time and a place for each of us. Trust and be content to keep writing. But if you give up, it will never happen.
Chapel Springs Revival
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 personal.
With their marriages 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.