I’ve been blessed to work with Ane Mulligan over at Novel Rocket (great writing site!), and I was glad to have a chance to interview her today about her debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival. Ane has graciously offered a copy of Chapel Springs Revival to a winner: softcover for a US winner and e-copy for anyone outside the USA. Please comment below for a chance to win! Will draw the name October 4th!
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 very large dogs. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Interview with Author Ane Mulligan
HG: Tell me about your fictional town: Chapel Springs, Georgia.
AM: Chapel Springs is in the mountains of North Georgia and sits on the shores of Chapel Lake. It’s a small town where everyone knows everybody’s business, much to my protagonist, Claire Bennett’s, dismay. Claire tendency to move too fast and speak without filters gets her into plenty of trouble. She’s a potter and her BFF is an artist and they share a gallery on the main street of town. These two and some of the other ladies of Chapel Springs meet every morning at the bakery, Dee’s ‘n’ Doughs.
HG: Friends Patsy and Claire sound like a hoot! What are their personalities like?
AM: Claire is like a bulldozer set on full speed ahead. If there’s a problem, she’ll meet it head on, usually without thinking it through first. Patsy is like an ostrich with her head in the sand. She pretends problems don’t exist and hopes they go away. They are fiercely loyal to one another, yet can butt heads, as you will see in one of the chapters. They were so much fun to write!
HG: I love books that are about married main characters, because I can always relate in some way. Sounds like these friends have some issues with their marriages. Can you elaborate a little on those problems?
AM: Claire realizes one morning that her hubby of 26 years left without kissing her goodbye that morning. When her Great Aunt Lola’s husband left without kidding her goodbye, she packed her bags and went to Hollywood and became a big star in silent films. Patsy’s hubby has quit communicating and is working long hours. She’s afraid he’s having an affair, but they can’t figure out with whom. He doesn’t know any women, except the new woman in town, the widow on the hill who owns the spa.
They enter into Operation Marriage Revival, at the same time they begin reviving the town to bring back the tourists.
HG: The cover art on this book is just show-stopping beautiful. Did it take lots of hours and did you have a lot of input on the look?
AM: When I mentioned to my publisher my hubs is an artist, he said he could do the artwork for the cover, so yes, I had LOTS of input. LOL Because Chapel Springs lives only in my mind, he had to pull it out. The problem was what lived there was a layout and the ambiance, but I never pictured the buildings.
So he drew and erased and redrew until we had a basic idea. His studio is in our walkout basement, and each day, I’d go down to see where he was. I’d suggest and he’d tweak, then one morning I peeked in the door and on his easel sat Chapel Springs!
HG: This is your debut novel. Tell us about your journey to publication.
AM: On my word, that’s one long journey. I started my first novel on Jan 1st in 2003. You can do the math, but in between were a lot of ups and downs. I started going to committee as early as 2005, but always got rejected for one reason or another. By 2007, the reasons weren’t the writing but the other ones: it didn’t quite fit this house, etc.
Then I began to get past editorial committee and to pub board. Again, strange things happened. One house had their slate full, so they held me over for the next quarter. Only the editor retired and her hard drive got wiped clean. I was cast off into cyber oblivion.
I saw a pattern and what I realized was God was saying, “Not yet. Not there.”
He said, “Trust me.”
He didn’t give me any other option, so I chose to trust Him. I write and leave the rest to Him and my agent. So when she called with the offer, I knew it was the right place and the right time.
The right time and place was so important to me. You see, I believe people let down their guard when they think they’re being entertained. Then when they least expect it, our words can reach out, touch heart, and change lives. And isn’t that why we write?
HG: Yes indeed! Thanks so much for visiting today and sharing, Ane! All the best with all your novels!
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.
***Please comment below for a chance to win a copy of Chapel Springs Revival–softcover if you are in the USA, e-copy if you are outside US!***