I once heard a young wife at church grumbling about her husband. She said, "I never prayed for a husband, and I've often wondered if maybe God had a different one picked out for me."
That stuck with me, and for years, I thought I'd write a Bible study on that topic. But God had another idea. He knows me best, and I have to agree. The idea of me writing a Bible study set my church pastoral staff to loud chortling.
Gathering what was left of my shredded dignity, I set myself to writing it into a novel. Chapel Springs Revival is the result.
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Claire. She's such a mess. She moves and speaks before she thinks, which gets her into all kinds of trouble, but her heart is huge and she's fiercely loyal.
I think I like her already. What distracts you from writing the easiest?
We have two English mastiffs, Shadrach and Oliver Twist. They know I'm behind that closed door. What they don't understand is that I'm working. If they want something, they talk to me through it. The funny thing is the hubs can ignore them if he's say playing chess on the internet. They know that, so they come to my door. The mumble-growl-talking of a mastiff is persistent. When you don't pay attention, it turns to barking. A 225 pound bark is not an indoor voice.
I've included an English mastiff in Chapel Springs Revival, and Shiloh is a combination of Shad and Ollie.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Women's fiction is my favorite genre. I have a Top Ten list each year that I publish on my website. Soon, they will go onto Novel Rocket as the President's Picks. Bridge to Haven, by Francine Rivers is wonderful, and Driftwood Tides, by Gina Holmes is so good. Jessica Dotta's sophomore novel, Mark of Distinction, is even better than her first book,
What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
Pretty much everything. I've got a whacked sense of humor and filter the world through it. I find life immensely funny. Why even the Bible tells us laughter is good medicine. And I know for a fact, God has a wonderful sense of humor. Just look at me!
What do you like most about the area where you live?
I didn't grow up in the South ... well I did, but it was Southern California. I got to Atlanta as quick as I could, though. There is something about the South that gets into your soul. Southerners are stubborn, loyal, and gracious. Why, we even insult graciously, bless your heart.
That's a sneaky way of avoiding snow. Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Housework, definitely. I do what I have to so the neighbors won't call the authorities, but be duly warned: don't look under any rug or inside any closet.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
This is easy. Philippians 1:6 because I'm such a mess. "Of this I am confident that He Who began a good work in you will continue it until the day Christ Jesus return."
That's an Ane Mulligan paraphrase from three different versions of the Bible. It's my life verse and always keeps me remembering God's grace. He will change me as long as I yield to Him.
And that's Claire's problem—yielding. As a potter, she makes the clay yield to her shaping. I chose her profession purposely. Her potter's wheel is where she thinks and where God speaks to her—and often with humor.
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
Every other summer, we had a family reunion on Daddy's side of the family. He was the youngest of nine children, so I had plenty of aunts and uncles and a herd of cousins.
The summer I was seven, our reunion was at Lake Tahoe. We were in our car waiting in a long line to enter the national park. Up ahead, we could see an old gypsy woman with long stringy hair hanging from a colorful scarf tied around her head. She pestered each car, tapping on their windows with her tin cup full of pencils. She slowly made her way down the line of cars, until she reached ours. That's when—to my daddy's mortification, we discovered it was Auntie Flo in disguise. I was thrilled beyond words and determined to make it my life's work to imitate her. Poor Daddy.
(Laughing out loud!) Let's have some more fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Definitely ragtime or jitterbug.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don't know about quirky, but one of the funniest things—it wasn't sunny at the time—that happened to me was on a camping trip with three other couples out in the desert. Back then, camping didn't include any motorhomes ... or portapotties. If you had to go, you went behind a cactus. I had to. I did, but didn't see the shorter cactus behind me. You really find out who your friends are when they're willing to pluck cactus thorns out of your behind with tweezers by the light of the moon.
What is your strangest habit?
I'm normally barefoot. When I wear shoes, I'm forever kicking them off and leaving them somewhere...like under the pew at church and going home without them. Fortunately, we've gone to the same church for eighteen years and they're well acquainted with me. Any stray shoes found, they know must be mine.
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
The mountains. While I love the ocean, I'm not a beach person.
Is there a sequel to Chapel Springs Revival?
There is, Chapel Springs Survival. Here's a teaser:
When sacrifice steals her pride, it's Claire who needs the guardian angel
With the success of her Operation Marriage Revival, life is good for Claire Bennett. That is until the mayor's brother blabs a secret: Claire's nineteen-year-old son, Wes, has married a Brazilian mail order bride—one who is eight years older than him. When Claire tries to welcome her new daughter-in-law, she's ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus. Will Claire and her family survive her son's marriage?
Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Along with her new marriage, she has a dream to expand her business by adding guest rooms. Things are going according to plan. That is, until her groom's adult son moves in—on everything. Will her dream survive her stepson?
From the first sighting of a country music star in Claire's gallery, The Painted Loon, to the visit of a Hollywood diva, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, forcing lifelong residents to flee the area. When her best friends put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got. With her son's future at stake and the town looking to her to solve their problems, Claire's not sure she can survive this merry-go-round of trouble.
Thanks for sharing and making us all smile!
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Ane Mulligan is giving away a copy of Chapel Springs Revival. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.