Friday, April 17, 2009

Author Interview: Ann Shorey

Ann Shorey is my guest today. Besides being an author of Christian historical fiction, Ann is noted for her culinary skills and love for family history research. Her first novel in the "At Home in Beldon Grove" series, The Edge of Light, was published in January by Revell. Ann has an interesting brand: Yesterday's women--Today's issues.

Welcome, Ann. Tell us who you are and what you do.
I'm a grateful author who is seeing her dream come true. My husband and I are empty-nesters who live in a rural area of southwestern Oregon. It's a perfect place for writing, and when I'm not at the keyboard we like to take day trips to the coast or explore back roads all over the state. Usually once a year we camp in the eastern Oregon desert (yes, Oregon has a desert as well as lush greenery). One of my favorite things to do there is explore abandoned homesteads and imagine the stories of the people who once had the dream of settling in that spot.

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I do a general story arc before I begin, and have my main characters pretty well figured out. On the book I'm working on now I've had to do a chapter by chapter outline just to keep myself on track. There are so many things to do besides write a book that the outline is a great reminder of where I am when I come back after an interruption. Having said that, though, I find myself way off the track when a scene happens that I didn't plan. Hopefully, it will all come together in the end!

Do you write best at a certain time of the day?
Yes, afternoons and evenings work best for me. But when necessary I'll plant myself in the chair and write at any time.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Every now and then I take a break for some medicinal chocolate.

What sparks a story?
Mine are based on incidents in the lives of my female ancestors. The men in my family wrote the memoirs, so I write fiction to answer my questions as to what the women's lives were like. Of course, my books are heavily fiction, so some of the sparks are the "what if" questions I ask myself.

What was it about your genre that interested you enough to choose to write in it and not in another genre?
I've always loved historical fiction. I read Gone With The Wind at an impressionable age! For me, historicals are a great way to learn how people lived long before I was born. Often a novel will bring to light little tidbits that we never learned in school.

Character you wish you had created?
Mma Ramotswe in the "#1 Ladies Detective Agency" series. I love those books

What authors do you look to as a role model and inspiration?
Jane Kirkpatrick is one. She manages her writing career along with a full life. Another author I greatly admire is Barbara Kingsolver. She's a magician with words.

Those are good choices. What's the best advice you ever received?
Pray first. If God isn't in what I'm doing, I'm wasting my time.

I believe good writers read a lot. What do you use to mark your page when reading?
Love this question! I thought you were going to ask me what books I'm reading--this is a fun spin on that topic. I am a traditionalist and use bookmarks. Many of my friends are authors, so I have a pretty good supply. Then, too, bookstores tend to throw one in the bag when I check out. If I don't have a bookmark handy, I'll tear off a scrap of newspaper or magazine. My mother would've had my hide if I dog-eared a page!

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
I love creating stories and writing scenes. It is fun! Having to work at the computer when I'd rather be outside in the spring sunshine is something I like least.

Your book is called The Edge of Light, published by Revell. Tell us what the book is about and why you wrote it.
The Edge of Light takes place in 1838 in Missouri and Illinois. Molly McGarvie's life is about to change forever. When her beloved Samuel succumbs to cholera, Molly is heartbroken but resolves to take care of herself and her children. When Samuel's brother takes over the family business and leaves Molly to fend for herself, she knows she must head out on her own. It's a dangerous journey, and along the way she must face the loss of another family member. Somehow she must find a way to make a living, restore her family, and fend off some overeager suitors.
The story was inspired by the life of one of my female ancestors. The events in the first chapter pretty much happened as they are written, but much of the rest of the story is fiction. I wrote it because I always wondered what happened to her following her husband's death.

That sound so intriguing that I'm almost ashamed to ask this next question. Why should anyone part with their hard-earned cash and precious time to read your book? Sell it to us.
One of the remarks I hear over and over from readers is how the story transported them to Molly's time. "I stayed up half the night to finish your book. I couldn't put it down!" is a frequent comment. "I loved this story!" is another one. So, read the book and see what everyone's talking about!

Where can readers buy your book?
It's available at all online booksellers, such as,, Barnes and Noble, etc. Any bookstore should have it in stock. If they don't, they'll be happy to order it for you.

What's your next project?
The second book in the "At Home in Beldon Grove" series is titled The Promise of Morning, and is scheduled to be released in January 2010. The Promise of Morning tells the story of Ellie and Matthew Craig, secondary characters in The Edge of Light. But since it's set in Beldon Grove, the reader will still be able to follow Molly and her family. BTW, the characters of Ellie and Matthew Craig were inspired by my great-great grandparents.

What advice would you pass along at this point in your career?
Don't quit writing just because you've received rejections. Continue to hone your craft by taking classes and attending conferences and workshops. Be flexible enough to learn from critique rather than thinking your words are gold and can't be improved upon.

Thank you, Ann, for a great interview.
Thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog, Marsha. I invite your readers to visit my website:, sign up for my newsletter, and visit my book review blog.


  1. Thanks for the interview. She's an author I haven't read before. I'll have to read one of her books.

  2. Great interview...I loved it. Gonna have to add her book to my list...and I loved her advice!

  3. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Another great interview, Marsha! I love the part about outlining because i can really relate and we just talked about it in our writing group.

  4. Thank you for doing such a lovely job on my interview, Marsha. Great blog site, too.
    Now I'd better check my outline and get started on today's chapter!

    Ann Shorey


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