While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, my friend, award-winning author Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), CEO of a Community Theatre, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups.
Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband. You can find her on her website, Amazon Author page, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Today we’ll talk about her new book, Life in Chapel Springs.
First, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Ane: I’ve always been a reader … and a drama enthusiast. I came out of the womb reading. My mother loved to read, so she instilled that in me at an early age. I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hands.
When I was four or five, my parents took me to see Peter Pan, live on stage with Mary Martin. I was hooked! When Peter asks, “Do you believe?”, I was ready to jump off the balcony. My daddy’s swift grab for my skirt is all that saved me. Peter even mentioned it, saying, “That kid will be on stage one day.” Prophetic, to say the least.
While I once had hoped I would be on Broadway, an MRS degree sidetracked my dreams. However, I stayed involved in my two passions all my life. I served as my church’s Creative Arts director for 11 years, I’m now a multi published novelist, and I’m the founder and Managing Director of a local Community Theatre. I’m living my dream, albeit in Sugar Hill and not on Broadway. lol
What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?
Ane: My books are women’s fiction, although one slides closer to the edge of romantic suspense, it still lives in WF. I’ve always loved my girlfriends. I can’t imagine doing life without them. So I’ve always enjoyed books about those friendships. When I began writing novels, it was a natural fit.
My Chapel Springs series deals with an entire town, but my main character, Claire, is like me in that she loves her friends. She relies on them, especially Patsy, to keep her out of trouble, while she tries to help keep them out of trouble, which seems to get everyone into trouble.
Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?
Ane: Both. I’m a Planster. I need plan … an outline to get me going. Without one, I stare at a blank screen or write in circles. After I know my characters, I write down the main plot points I need to move the story forward and in the direction I think it needs to go.
However, once I have that and know my characters well, I let them take over … which usually sends the story off in a different direction. At least, that’s my desire, because when the characters take over and I am, as Dan Walsh puts it, “an unseen scribe,” the story becomes theirs and not mine. At that point, I return to the outline, rewriting it to fit where the story is headed. That repeats itself until we hit the end.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Ane: The first draft. Right now I’m working on a story I started a few years back and laid aside. When I picked it back up, I had to renew my acquaintance with the main character. It took time to get to know her and her friends again. And then, when I did know her again, she kept changing the story!
I’ve never stopped learning my craft, which made it a bit difficult to pick up an old work in progress and revive it. I’m pleased to say my critique partners say it’s my strongest work. That’s very gratifying when you put your heart and soul into your work. Be watching for In High Cotton.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ane: Doubling the number of books I have out now, turning one of those into a play, and being in the new performing arts theatre our town is building. That last one will happen in late spring or early summer of 2018.
I thank God I get to spend my life in the two passions He built into me. When we can take those gifts of God-given talent, put in the required assembly, and use them to reach hearts, life doesn’t get any better!
I’m glad. I love your books. Thanks for dropping by, Ane!
Life in Chapel Springs
Is it a midlife pregnancy or … cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer canceling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire’s life is upside down.
Shy Lacey Dawson was happily writing murder mysteries for the community theater with her eye on Broadway. Then, a freak accident causes her traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction. When the bandages come off, Lacey s world is turned inside out. Will Chapel Springs rally behind its own … or will life unravel?
When the mayor announces he has found quartz on his land, the local TV station reports: Where there’s quartz, there’s gold. Then Mayor Riley discovers Howie Newlander has bought the mineral rights to his land. Howie and his nefarious investors are struck with gold fever and set out to buy all the homes in Chapel Springs and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs become the tailings of a gold mine?