I love stories about women and their sisters and friends. As an adoptee, I grew up with only an adopted brother. I love him, but I’d always wanted sisters. In 2009, my birth sisters found me! You can read that story on my website, under Adoption Share.
Some women don’t like other women. I’m not one of them. I love my sisters and girlfriends. To me, there is nothing more fun than a girls’ road trip. I have a husband who doesn’t mind if I take a few days away with girlfriends. It allows me to do the things I love that he doesn’t, like exploring flea markets or shoe shopping—or book research.
One day, I got a “nudge” and a “what-if” about two friends and a village of quirky people. From those, Claire Bennett, Patsy Kowalski, and the small village of Chapel Springs were born. It turned into a romp through miscommunication in marriage.
Claire is tired of being nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper. She resolves to emulate her Great Aunt Lola, who refused to be slighted by any man. Why, the first morning Aunt Lola’s husband forgot to kiss her goodbye, she packed her bags, went off to Hollywood, and became a big star in silent films. I had to find out if Claire would really do what Great Aunt Lola did.
When Patsy’s nest became empty, she thought her husband would retire and they could finally do some travelling, but he hasn’t mentioned slowing down. In fact, he’s not talking much at all. When he starts coming home well after she’s in bed, she becomes convinced he’s having an affair. With Claire’s help, Patsy’s determined to catch him with the trollop who’s trying to break up their once happy home.
While Claire and Patsy embark on Operation Marriage Revival, Chapel Springs could do with some reviving. The town has grown shabby and the tourist trade has slipped. Complicating matters are a pair of curmudgeons, the mayor and his cohort, who would prefer to see the town stuck in the fifties and closed to outsiders.
Claire has a tendency to blurt out exactly what she thinks. The woman has no filters. She also moves before she thinks, which leads to a number of catastrophes. I’ve been asked how much if any of these traits were from my own life. Claire’s klutziness is definitely mine.
Her personality, however, is a blend of three delightful friends, who gave me permission to use them. Patsy is an amalgamation of several people. What happens in Patsy’s marriage and to her husband is from my research into Type II diabetes, which has become an epidemic in America.
A lot of people want to know where Chapel Springs is. It’s a fictional town in the north Georgia mountains and lies within Hidden Valley, so says my artist husband. It was a thrill when my publisher agreed to let him paint the cover for Chapel Springs Revival. The poor man had a tough time extracting it from my head. While I had drawn a map of Chapel Springs, I never really pictured the buildings. It was always a feeling more than brick and mortar.
Hubs would draw some ideas and ask if they captured that feeling. I’d critique, suggest, and he’d go back to his studio. Then one afternoon, I went down to see how it was coming along, and there on his easel, sat Chapel Springs. Then, Deborah Raney’s husband, Ken, designed the cover from the painting.
I had loads of fun writing this book, and such fun with these characters, that I wrote a sequel called Chapel Springs Survival. Can Claire, Patsy, and the town survive their revival? That story grew out of something our son did. While it turned out to be wonderful in his life, the manner in which he revealed it called for Mama’s retaliation. It went into a book (insert evil laughter here).
Sounds like a fun place, Ann!
Do you have someone you love to do things with because they’re just quirky enough to be a total enjoyment?
Chapel Springs Revival
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.
With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.