Why did you choose to set your story during Prohibition?
The 13 years of Prohibition (1920-33) are a fascinating time in our nation’s history. The government decided it could “regulate morality” by making it unlawful to drink. Forbidden fruit being the sweetest, everyone suddenly wanted liquor more than ever. Bathtubs were turned into gin distilleries, moonshine was made out in the woods, and the genuine stuff was smuggled in over the borders from Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. The Golden Age of Gangsters was ushered in as bootlegging became a lucrative business. Crime spiked, murder was rampant, and lawmen took bribes to look the other way. Instead of making people “good,” the laws of Prohibition seemed to have the opposite effect. Prohibition just might make a compelling argument for Original Sin.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Back to the past. I’d love to visit the eras and events that create the various backdrops for my stories: World War I, the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, the Great Depression, Prohibition, World War II, the 1948 Polio Epidemic. In other words, I’d like to travel through the first half of the 20th century, right up to 1959 when I was born.
Which authors have influenced you the most and how?
Frederick Buechner and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. They are both deep thinkers, lovers of beauty, connoisseurs of detail and brilliant wordsmiths. They challenge me to do my best.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Persistence is everything. Don’t give up.
How do you react to a bad review?
Here’s my philosophy when it comes to reviews: “Don’t let the good ones go to your head, and don’t let the bad ones go to your heart.” (I’m pretty sure I made that up, but I might be mistaken.)
What is your favorite quote?
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” ~C.S. Lewis
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I have all five seasons of “Get Smart” on DVD. I love that show! I’m old enough to have watched it when it originally aired in the 1960s, and I have fond memories of laughing with my sisters over the antics of Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86.
Three Chihuahuas. They make very good writing companions. In fact, the three of them are snoozing by my desk right now (with Cinnamon curled up in my reading chair).
Lilac in the spring.
Something your readers would never guess about you.
My 15-year-old daughter is adopted from China. Then again, if my readers saw a photo of Laura and me together, they’d probably be able to figure that out. We aren’t likely to win any mother-daughter look-alike contests.
Do you like the spotlight or lurking in the shadows?
I am totally a behind-the-scenes person. I have no desire at all to be in the spotlight. In pure Emily Dickinson style, I once told my agent, “I hope I’m discovered only after I’m dead.”
What’s your favorite word?
Craziest thing you ever ate?
Alligator in Charleston. A dish containing chicken toenails in Guatemala (honest). I was served something with suction cups on it in China (squid?) but I had to draw the line at that.
Is there something specific you need as you write?
What is one book everyone should read?
The Bible. Of course, not everyone will accept it as the Word of God, but I do think folks should make an educated decision before rejecting it.
What is next on your to-read list?
The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (brother of Christopher Hitchens, author of The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever).
If you were not a writer, what would you like to do?
I’d most likely be involved in medical missions, though I have my doubts as to whether I’d actually have made it through nursing school. Math and science are not my strong suit.
Do your characters really talk to you?
Yes, and they are very insistent, with minds of their own. They’ve been known to change the endings of my books. I always listen to them, though, because they know better than I do how the story should play out.
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
For. In fact, I just signed my first movie contract with an independent filmmaker. The producer and I figured out that we went to the same elementary school at the same time near Nashville, Tennessee (where he lives now and where I lived briefly as a child). We would have passed each other in the halls and eaten in the same cafeteria when we were 6-7-8 years old. How’s that for a small world story?
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
Hearing from readers who say they enjoyed one of my books, and that it touched/encouraged/inspired them.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Al Capone has a cameo role in the story and you wouldn’t want to disappoint him by not coming to the party.
Write a Haiku about your book.
I’m no poet, but I’ll give it a try:
Feds say no to drink.
Bathtubs flow with homemade gin.
Let’s toast the dry laws!
And now for a Limerick (at no extra charge):
The government says, “No drinking!”
The crowd says, “What are they thinking!”
The feds may have plotted;
The crowd’s still besotted.
In moonshine the whole country’s sinking!
1 winner will receive a copy of 3 of Ann’s Books
Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep
Open to US & Canada Only