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Interview with Ann Shorey

Ann Shorey credits her mother with instilling in her a lifelong love of books. However, it wasn't until the 1990's, when her mother passed away and Ann inherited the memoirs of her ancestors, that she began writing. Her first project was compiling those memoirs into a book for her family; that process and the realization that all of those memoirs were written by men, ignited her passion to write stories about historical times from a woman's perspective.

How did you see the Lord’s hand in your writing career?
I believe the Lord was right there with me during my pre-published days! When I would receive rejection letters (back in the day when people actually used the postal service) I’d go to my prayer chair and spread the letter before the Lord, like King Hezekiah did in 2 Kings 19:14. My prayer was that He would either close the door or send me a bit of encouragement. Inevitably, I’d have an article published, or some other bit of good news would occur, so I pressed on. I’m also blessed with praying friends who never stopped believing in me.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I’d have to say it was (and is) perseverance. With the Lord’s help, I just kept writing. After the first novel I wrote was rejected several times, I put it away and started another one. While marketing the second book, I began writing a third one. That third book ended up being the first novel (The Edge of Light) in my initial series for Revell.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
The whole thing is a challenge! The biggest one is fielding interruptions while I’m writing. My office is at home, so incoming phone calls are constant distractions. I have caller ID, so I can let some of them go, but just the ringing will disrupt my thought flow.

Speaking of “other responsibilities” (like housework!), I received a great piece of writing advice several years ago from another author. She said she saves her housework to do when her husband’s home, and uses the time while he’s at work to write. That was a whole new thought for me. I’d always tried to do the Super Wife thing, and have my chores done while he was at work. Now—not so much.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith and spiritual life are my anchor. I look forward to my devotional time each day before I begin my writing. In my novels, my characters’ actions are influenced by scriptural principles.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Signing my first three-book contract with Revell! After several years of rejections, it was a huge blessing to hold that signed contract in my hands. I had my husband take my picture with the contract in one hand and the check in the other. 

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
The voices in my head spur me to write. I love the process of creating stories. The story ideas come from playing “what if?” For instance, What if a woman who was a nurse in the War Between the States tries to go back to her old life following the war and finds herself rejected because of her former occupation? The characters grow from the story situations.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I really don’t know! I’ve had readers tell me they can recognize an “Ann Shorey story,” but they don’t say how. I’m guessing it’s the way I phrase sentences and the tiny telling details I like to use, but who knows? It’s pretty hard for me to analyze my own writing—perhaps some of my readers will see this and give me their opinion. (Smile)

Any parting words?
My membership in ACFW has been one of the biggest helps I’ve had during my writing journey. It’s a huge boost to be able to ask questions on the loop and get helpful answers right away. Then there’s the wonderful annual conference! Between the stellar classes, and the terrific authors I’ve met from all over the country and the world, attending the conference is the best writing investment I make every year.

Thanks for sharing with us, Ann Shorey!

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