I'm happy to welcome Ann Shorey with her debut novel. Ann, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A little bit of myself works its way into many of my female characters. In The Edge of Light, the little girl, Luellen, is me as a child.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My husband and I danced on a tabletop at a military ball when we were dating, just like in the old Fred Astaire films. Crazy, but fun. Neither one of us drinks alcohol—we were just in love and goofy. Fortunately, the table held our weight or it wouldn’t have been so funny.
How romantic. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was in high school. In my junior year we were given an assignment to write a story. When my English teacher handed the papers back, she encouraged me to continue writing. Before that, I’d made up stories and scenarios with my sister all through our childhood—just didn’t write them down.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Almost everything but sci-fi/fantasy, and even some of those if the story captures my imagination. I’m never without a book or two on my nightstand. I love historical novels, literary fiction, and read mysteries for fun. I also enjoy nonfiction, such as Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. One of the best things about reading is being entertained while learning new things. A recent novel, The Hearts of Horses, by Molly Gloss, is a good example. Her captivating story is set in eastern Oregon during World War I. It fascinated me to learn how that conflict affected families in rural areas. And of course, as a writer of historical fiction, I read many nonfiction books for research.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I wrote a nonfiction family history, which was privately published in 1998. The title is A Great Cloud of Witnesses. That’s the project that inspired my fiction series. I’ve also written a couple of “practice” novels, which I’m now grateful were never published.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
With quiet times of Bible reading and prayer; walks with my dog; and escaping into a good book.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I look for names that reflect my characters in some way. For instance, in The Edge of Light, there is a blacksmith named Jered Pitt. To me “Pitt” sounds kind of dark and harsh, which fits my image of this character.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’d have to say it’s the friendship between my grown daughter and myself. Throughout her childhood, I prayed we’d have a lasting, loving relationship, and the Lord has graciously granted my request. On the professional level, I am thrilled to have my three-book series, At Home in Beldon Grove, contracted by Revell.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A wild and free lioness. I love the desert, and the images of lions in Africa conjure up warmth and freedom. On the practical side, being a beloved dog would be comfortable, but there’s something about the idea of running across the open veldt just for the joy of it . . .
My friend, Lisa Harris, who with her family is a missionary in Africa, often has videos of lions they've seen on her blog. I love watching them. Now what is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Discouragement. So often I’d be on my knees asking the Lord if He really wanted me to write, or should I quit? I never sensed Him telling me to quit, so I persevered.
I spent many years like that, too. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Consider your first book or two as practice runs. There’s no better way to learn to write fiction than to write and re-write. If a book is rejected several times, learn from it and start another. Take your writing seriously and don’t let people diminish your dream. Go to every good conference you can afford and take the classes offered that pertain to your work.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The Edge of Light is set in 1838 in Missouri and Illinois. Molly McGarvie has three small children and is pregnant with her fourth when her husband dies of cholera. She believes life can’t get any worse—but it does. The story offers a look at women’s lives in a time when their options were severely limited. According to advance readers, how Molly carries on in the face of disaster is page-turning fiction.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Ann for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can order The Edge of Light by using this link:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.