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Interview with Ane Mulligan

You won’t find another Ane Mulligan on the Internet, and it’s not just because she has a unique name. With a quirky sense of humor and a colorful resume of experiences, Ane’s southern-fried fiction has the kind of ingredients that might give even Colonel Sanders a run for his money.

Many writers may recognize you from your involvement with the literary blog Novel Rocket. Tell us a little bit about how you became involved with that site. And how has it helped you, personally, as a writer?
Gina Holmes is one of my critique partners. She began the blog to chronicle her first novel journey. She soon became aware that there were only three readers, and she and I were two of them. Since we spent time looking for author interviews to find out how they got published, she decided to start interviewing novelists.

Within a few months, she found having new content every day was too much for one person. She asked me and Jessica Dotta (another CP) to take a couple days each week. We did and the rest is history.

God blessed the site as we interviewed every author we could. As the number of readers grew, it opened doors for all of us. But most importantly, it provided a platform to promote good Christian fiction and learn from the authors we interviewed. And believe me, I soaked up every tidbit I could!

I’ve been wondering about your name. I see it in print but haven’t heard it pronounced. How do you say it? Is it like “Ann” or “Annie”? Or something else? I’m also curious about how you got your name.
Ane is a nickname. It’s pronounced like Ann, although a lot of close friends call me Annie. Either is fine. How it came about is a testament to Hubs’ dry British wit. When we were first dating, he asked me how I spelled it: with or without an “e.” I said, “An e.”

That’s what he wrote exactly. After a year or so, he removed the space, and that was it. It’s worked out quite well, because there isn’t another Ane Mulligan on the Internet.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
I’ve received a few what I call Golden Nuggets. One is Ron Benrey’s magic paragraph. The other biggie is motivation. When you learn your character’s core motivation, plotting and characterization will flow from it.

Chapel Springs Revival is your debut novel. How long have you been working on this particular project?
I started writing it in March of 2010. I’ve since completed the sequel, Chapel Spring Survival, and I’m thirty thousand words into the third in the series.

And you've been writing stories for more than a decade now. What kept you going in the years you didn't have a book contract? What encouragement/advice can you give to those writers in "the waiting years"?
Stubbornness? Seriously, God put people in my way who did encourage me. Sue Brower was the first to tell me I’d learned the craft and was ready to publish. That was around 2007 or 08. After that, I had some strange things happen, where I had no other option but to realize God was saying, “Not yet.” He didn’t give me an Option B, so I chose to wait on Him and keep writing.

Every time I got down a little, I whined to God. He’s so faithful to us, He lets us do that. And every time, He answered with someone who helped me or encouraged me. As Christian writers, we have to remember more than writing for the Lord, we’re writing with Him. And He’s the boss.

You call your fiction "Southern-fried." Describe that for us! And what is it about the South that is so endearing, even to us Northerners?
After knowing me for a couple of years, Rose McCauley branded me. My agent loved it and said it fit my voice. The fried part is for the humor in my stories.

There’s a special charm about the South. The people are friendly and welcoming. They take time to love on you. I wasn’t raised in Georgia, but I got here as soon as I could. I was however, raised in the South. Southern California counts, doesn’t it? Well, if not, no matter. I adore boiled peanuts and that makes me pure Southern.

You call yourself a voracious reader, too. How big is your TBR pile (real or electronic)? And what's on the top of it?

My TBR pile overflows the nightstand, two bookcases, and several baskets. I finally found I have to narrow it down to my own genre and a just couple of others. I actually have close to two dozen books I need to read—now.

What's the first book you remember reading and loving?
The Blossoming of Patricia the Less. It was one my mother read as a girl and loved. She gave it to me and I still have it. Next was Little Women. By the time I was in first grade, I was reading at 5th grade level and never stopped.

Humor plays a big role in your life. Finish this statement: Something that is guaranteed to get a laugh from me is _____.
Life. Maybe because I’ve faced death, I look at life through the lens of humor—sometimes to the embarrassment of my family.

If you could be anybody else for a day, who would you be?
Without a doubt, Diann Hunt. She was a shining light for Jesus even through her cancer and her death. She giggled until there was no more breath within her. I saw more of Jesus in Diann than in most pastors.

Any parting words?
Never ever give up and remember to factor God into your publishing equation.

Thanks for sharing with us, Ane!

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