Friday, May 06, 2016

HOME TO CHAPEL SPRINGS - Ane Mulligan - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I think you will like today’s post with author Ane Mulligan. We have connected at national conferences, and I instantly fell in love with her bubbly personality. There are many things we have in common. We have red hair, we write novels, we laugh a lot, and we have a drama background and write plays. 

Have you every wondered about “the story behind the story” of a novel you’re reading. Where did the author come up with this story? Today, Ane is sharing her “story behind the story” with you instead of running an interview. Share your thoughts about the story when you leave a comment.

Welcome back, Ane. Your story really touched my heart.

When I had turned in Chapel Springs Survival to my publisher, I asked God, “What now?”

His response was, “Write your story.”

But mine wasn’t fraught with conflict. Well, there was some, but not the kind that carries a work of fiction. Still, the idea would leave me alone.

My story happened like this:
On a hot July morning while sipping a cup of coffee, I opened my email. Nothing breathtaking about that, except on that particular day, I was asked a question that irrevocably changed my life: “Are you the Ane Mulligan looking for your birthmother, Elsie Vauna Mullvain?”

It yanked the breath right out me. I’d always known I was adopted. From the day Mom and Dad brought me home at three months old, they told me I was a chosen baby. 

My childhood was idyllic … well, maybe not for my parents, given the fact I was a barely-contained firecracker. But for me, it was great. Born in January 1947 in Southern California, I truly was a child of the fifties, when Cokes were a nickel and roller skates had keys. 

I can’t say I was never curious about my birth parents; I was. For one thing, I didn’t look like anyone I knew. I became a people watcher, always wondering.

In 1998, I received a letter from my dad. It was the kind of stock paper used for official court documents. Premonition made my heart pound. I took a deep breath, and with trembling hands, I slowly slid it from the envelope. A sticky-note was adhered to the outside of the folder. “I don't know if you want this or not. Love, Dad.”

That was all. I peeled off the yellow sticky and caught my breath as I read:

The adoption of Roberta Ann Mullvain

Though I'd never seen nor heard that name before, I knew it was mine. And suddenly I wasn’t me anymore. 

But who was I?

I opened the blue folder and quickly scanned its pages, until I saw it - my mother’s name; Elsie V. Mullvain. Countless emotions whirled. Scenarios played out and were cast aside. I truly didn’t know how I felt or should feel. For a word merchant, I was an empty page. I refolded the papers and slid them in the envelope.

Another year passed, and I’d reached an age where changes were taking place that I wasn’t so happy about. After all, who wants wrinkles and triceps that continued to wave goodbye for a full two minutes after you’d left? I needed a place to lay the blame for the havoc gravity was playing on my body. When I brushed my hair, I found myself staring into the mirror, my hand pausing in its work, wondering how did my mother age? Did I look like her? I had a million questions and no one to ask. I decided it was time to search for Elsie. 

In March of 1999, I received a phone call as a result of my search. The woman said she had an Aunt Elsie Vauna Mullvain, and she would forward my letter to her. However, this cousin cautioned, when she’d told Elsie about my letter, her aunt said when she was young, she’d let a friend use her name. 

That sent me to the state of Confusion.

Was that true? Or was she lying to protect herself? In truth, it made no sense. Back in the 1940s, a person’s good name meant everything to them. I was left to wonder if my search had ended in success, or was this only step two? I waited. A month later, I received a letter from Elsie and with it, more of her story. 

While she told me about her situation back then, which remarkably matched my earlier fantasies, she did not want a relationship with me. I understood and honored that. My only other communication was to send her flowers on her birthday that year. The card merely said, “Thank you.” 

I didn't contact her again. Although I was saddened a bit, I never knew her, so the loss wasn’t as hard as it could have been. After all, I had no mental picture of her; she was still faceless to me. I never got a sense of her personality from her letter. Maybe it was strength of will, but I closed that door.

However, through the cousin who had called me I learned I had sisters. While I had a loving relationship with my adopted brother, I’d always wanted a sister and now I had several. I prayed and hoped one day I could find them. However, with no names, I had no way to search for them. I relinquished the dream into God’s hands. It was never out of my mind though.  

On July 18th, 2009, I got an email from a woman named Linda, asking that breathtaking question. Linda connected me with my birth sisters. The moment I met four of them in Seattle, they welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. One sister told me I’d spent a lifetime lost and finally I’d come home.

Debby Jo’s words “come home” resonated in my heart long after I returned to Atlanta, and I knew I would one day write this story. Home to Chapel Springs is that book. 

Thank you, Ane, for sharing this story with us. I know my readers are eager to read it. And when my copy arrives, I will dive right in. 

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Home to Chapel Springs (Chapel Springs) - Paperback
Home to Chapel Springs - Kindle

Leave a comment, sharing your thoughts about the story, for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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kim hansen said...

New author for me. Cool covers on the books. north platte nebraska

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Thank you, Kim! I'm delighted to meet new readers. My husband painted the artwork used for my covers, and I have the originals on my office wall. :-)

Trixi said...

Heard good things about these books :-) Thank you for the author interview and giveaway chance!

Trixi in OR

Melanie Backus said...

HI Ane! Thrilled to see you here! Have a wonderful weekend!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

Mary P


Southern-fried Fiction said...

Trixie, thank you so much! I'm pleased the word is good! :-) Thanks, Melanie. Thanks for stopping by! And Mary, I always love to share!

Sandy Quandt said...

Ane, thanks for being willing to "write your story" and share it with the world. Aren't God's happy endings are the best?

Sandy Q TX

Linda Kish said...

Your mother may not have been ready to open her heart up again but your sisters sure were. It's great that you now have such a large family to share with. I'd love to read your story.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for this giveaway.
Connie from KY

Britney Adams said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Ane!

Britney Adams, TX

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Sandy, indeed they are. It's such a happy story, I couldn't keep it to myself.
Linda, you're right, and I understood my mother. She's from an era that branded women as "bad" if they had a child out of wedlock. I never felt rejected by her. But I was thrilled to get to know my sisters. We've become very close.
Connie, you're so welcome. I pray you enjoy them.
Britney, you're so very welcome!

I know I'm coming back her sporadically, but I head up a community theater and we're in a performance weekend, so it's hectic!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

We did, Sharon! Good luck.

Brenda Arrington said...

Thanks for sharing with us. Would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
Brenda in VA

Southern-fried Fiction said...

You're so very welcome, Brenda. Good luck!

Pam said...

I just finished Chapel Springs Survival and LOVED it!! Ane has a gift for making her readers giggle while making them care about her characters. Since I have her first book on my Kindle, I'm planning to go back and read Chapel Springs Revival. Would love to win this one to complete my set!

Pam in OH

Terrill R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terrill R. said...

I loved some of Ane's real-life that went into Chapel Springs Survival. I'm looking forward to the third outing in Chapel Springs. By the Way, congrats on your inspy nomination.

Terrill - WA