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
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
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
and I knew I would one day write this story. Home to Chapel Springs is
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
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