Ann Shorey and I go way back. We met many years ago at an Oregon Christian Writers Conference and some time later we became critique partners. We still work together and I'm thrilled to have my dear friend and writing cohort as a guest here on My Books and Writing blog.
- In the early years, it was frustrating for me to watch you write and wait, write and wait. It was frustrating because you are such a terrific writer. I didn't understand why someone hand't snatched up your work. It took you quite some time before you were picked up by an agent and then got your first book published. How long had you been working at publishing before the big event took place? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I spent about seven years working on fiction before being signed by a publisher. During that time I wrote three novels, one of which I'm thankful will never see the light of day! The third novel I wrote is the one that was accepted as part of a proposed series of three. That series became the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell.
I loved that series. What a great beginning!
- What do you think finally did it? Do you have advice for fledgling authors?
The first novel wasn’t ready for publication. I didn’t know then how much I didn’t know about writing fiction! For fledgling authors, I’d say NEVER GIVE UP. But at the same time, don’t keep writing the same things in the same way. I went to many writers conferences, took classes, subscribed to writers magazines (and had great critique partners J)—in general, never stopped learning and trying to improve. Also for fledgling authors, be prepared to take to heart the helpful critiques you receive. Your first words are seldom as golden as you think they are. Check your ego at the door. J
Spoken like a true writer, Ann. Listen up, writers--wisdom and experience speaking here.
- I've always admired your writing and I know what I think really shines, but what do you see as your writing strengths and weaknesses?
I’ve been complimented on my dialogue, which for me is the most fun to write. Also, as an author of historical fiction, I love using great details to plant my readers in the middle of my stories. One of the nicest compliments I received on Where Wildflowers Bloom was from a reader who said she thought she could be plunked down in Noble Springs (the fictional community where my Sisters at Heart series takes place) and find her way anywhere around town.
During the writing process, my greatest weakness is transitions—getting my characters from one scene to the next. I remember in the first novel I wrote (the one in the drawer!). I had a great opening scene with two characters on a covered porch. At the conclusion of the scene I thought, “Now, how do I get them off the porch?” I still ask myself that question from time to time.
What a wonderful compliment. I agree with your reader. You always transport me inside your stories.
- I know you to be a disciplined writer. Can you give us a glimpse of your daily schedule?
I’m not a morning person. So mornings my dog and I walk for three miles or so, then I do my online correspondence, and once that’s out of the way I get to work on whatever I’m writing at the time. Ideally, I write from around 1:00 in the afternoon until 5:30. When I’m pressing a deadline, I’ll start earlier and go back to work after dinner.
Your schedule looks a lot like mine. However, I'm guessing you're a lot more disciplined than me.
- So, when does your next book release? Can you tell us a little about it? And what do you have waiting in the wings?
My next book, When the Heart Heals, is scheduled to release on February 1, 2013. Normally, that date is a bit flexible, so I expect the book will be available by the last week in January.
When the Heart Heals is the second book in my Sisters at Heart series for Revell. For those who have read Where Wildflowers Bloom, When the Heart Heals is Rosemary Saxon’s story. Here’s a look at the back cover copy:
In a country healing from war, can a young woman find healing for her heart?
Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and even downright vulgar. Although she would like to put that part of her life behind her, she needs to support herself. She takes a nursing position with Dr. Elijah Stewart, but whenever they are together they always seem to do or say the wrong things. When someone threatens Rosemary, will she find the courage to stand or will she leave town—and Elijah—forever?
I can't wait to read it!
My next project is the third book in the series, working title Love’s Sweet Beginning. This novel features Cassie Haddon, who has a small part in Where Wildflowers Bloom, a larger part in When the Heart Heals¸ and gets to have her own story in Love’s Sweet Beginning. The release date on this one is sometime in 2014.
Also in 2014, I’m looking forward to the release of my first novella as part of a collection with Laurie Alice Eakes, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick. The title has yet to be decided. It’s been so much fun working with these three talented authors!
Great questions, Bonnie. Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog!
Thank you for joining us, Ann. What a privilege to have you here.
Ann has offered to give away a copy of her book, Where Wild Flowers Bloom. To win, just leave a comment and make sure to include your email address. We will draw for the winner one week from today.
ANN SHOREY has been a full-time writer for over twenty years. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell, followed by Books Two and Three, The Promise of Morning and The Dawn of a Dream. The Sisters at Heart series, beginning with Where Wildflowers Bloom, is her latest offering.
She may be contacted through her website, www.annshorey.com, which also contains her blog, http://annshorey.blogspot.com/ or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnnShorey.