Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ane Mulligan & Linda Yezak together today!

Ane Mulligan
President of the award­-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, and three-­time Genesis finalist, Ane Mulligan is in everyone's corner. New to the biz? You'll find her rooting for you. Been there a while? Still rooting. Need prayer, advice, a positive word? Go to Ane. She's there for you, ready with a smile and words of encouragement.

Linda Yezak
She lives in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two Mastiffs­­---huge by Biblical proportions. She's one of my critique partners, a special friend, and a fellow redhead, and I'm honored to get to present her to our readers here on Stitches Thru Time.

First thing I asked her about was those dogs. How she fell in love with those seriously large dogs. Here’s her response:

ANE: Who said I fell in love with them? They slobber and sling it nine feet up my walls! Do you know how much work it is to clean that? I was coerced into ownership. Twice. The problem is, they’re so ding­dong cute. And sweet. And goofy.

My favorite story involves Shadrach, our first mastiff. He scared the fire out of Frank, a friend of ours, when he leaped up and woofed in his face. However, later that day, we were sitting around the table, eating chips and salsa. Shadrach had chosen to sit next to Frank and watched every chip go from the bowl to his mouth. Finally after enough coaxing, Frank held a chip between his trembling lips, and Shad took it without even touching Frank. They’ve been best buddies ever since.

LINDA: How did you meet the hubs? How long have you two been together? Has he always been supportive of your writing dreams?

ANE: I met Hubs on a blind date—with the other fellow. The gal and I switched dates during the evening, and we’ve been together ever since. We married eight months after that date and have been married for almost 43 years, which boggles my mind since I’m only 35. Hubs has always been supportive of my dreams. I didn’t start writing, though, until our nest was empty.

LINDA: Some spouses are amazingly supportive, others aren’t. What is your advice to authors who struggle with non­-supportive spouses?

ANE: Don’t try to involve your spouse in brainstorming or plot twisting if they aren’t supportive. Keep that for your writing buddies. Even my hubs who is supportive and an artist, doesn’t get all
excited about my characters. He’ll offer thoughts and suggestions sometimes, but he’s more left-brained—an oddity being an artist—and so he doesn’t think at all like me. My favorite writer joke is how many writers does it take to change a light bulb? Forget the light bulb; let me tell you about my book. Hubs is all about getting the light bulb changed.

LINDA: You're one of the most beloved members of ACFW. When did you join? Express what the organization means to you and how it has helped you. What is your role in the organization?

ANE: Loudest, yes. Goofiest, probably. But most beloved? Now you've made me cry. I joined in April 2005. ACFW opened more doors for me than anything else. First, I learned so much through mentors who taught classes, shared ideas, and encouraged me. Meeting agents and editors at conferences taught me how to hone my pitch. I became friends with my agent about three years before she became my agent.

Because I love my own local chapter of ACFW (waving to ACFW North Georgia), I want to see every member belong to one. So, I volunteer as the Zone Coordinator, overseeing the U.S. and helping build chapters through the zone directors and area coordinators.

LINDA: How and when did NovelRocket start?

ANE: It began in 2005 as Novel Journey to chronicle founder Gina Holmes's first novel journey. She quickly realized she only had three readers of which she and I were two. She began to interview authors, a new one each day, and after a few months realized it was more than one person could handle. She brought Jessica Dotta and me on board, and the rest is history. The name was changed to Novel Rocket a few years ago when we became a dot com. Someone else owned Novel Journey dot com and wouldn't sell it.

LINDA: Your other blog is Southern-­fried Fiction, which, I believe, is also your brand. How did you come up with the name?

ANE: Rose McCauley branded me with that. We'd been ACFW friends, and one day, talking about brands online, Rose said, "You mean your Southern fried fiction?" She went on to say it's what my voice sounded like through emails. My agent said it was spot on, and we ran with it.

LINDA: Remind me of the story: Your novel was inspired by your hubby's painting, or his painting was created to illustrate your story?

ANE: I was talking to Eddie Jones, CEO of my publishing house, about the cover design. I mentioned my husband was an artist, and he asked if he would like to paint something to be used for the cover. Delighted, I said yes!

Poor Hubs. He had to extract from my brain a fictional town that was a feeling inside me. Yes, I'd drawn a map of Chapel Springs, but I hadn't pictured the buildings. So he drew and changed and tweaked until it sort of looked right. Then he went into his studio to paint. Over a few weeks, what began as "sort of" suddenly turned into Chapel Springs. We had a professional photographer, who specializes in making giclée reproductions (print on canvas) take the photo, which we sent to my publisher. Ken Raney, Deb Raney's husband, designed my cover from the painting.

LINDA: You have some pretty heavy hitters as critique partners, but you're also very well connected. Newbies don't always have that advantage. What would you advise for them?

ANE: My CPs (critique partners) weren't heavy hitters when we met. None of us knew much about writing at all. We were raw newbies when we met and grew together. I try to explain that to new writers.

Go to writers' conferences. Deb Raney taught my first writing class, but she never critiqued me. Eva Marie Everson was another first teacher. She never critiqued me. (Interesting point ­ Eva Marie was my editor for Chapel Springs Revival).

If you're serious about publishing, you'll read every book on the craft, don rhino skin, and take every critique seriously. Hiring a freelance editor is super if you don't have critique partners. But don't expect a published writer to be your CP. On very rare occasions it may happen, but that will be God­directed.

I learned from my CPs when we were all newbies. We taught each other. We'd read the craft books and apply what we learned. You don't need to have a multi­published author as your CP. You only need to be teachable.

LINDA: So, let's hit the question lots of folks want to know: which side of the battle do you land on-­plotter or pantser?

ANE: Smack dab in the middle. Rachel Hauck coined a name and it's exactly what I am ­a Planster. I have to have a plan, some idea of where I'm going. Then, I let the characters take over. One caveat: I spend a lot of time on the characterization. I do a backstory for each character until I know them as well as I know myself. Once I know them that well, I instinctively know how they will react to anything that comes out in the story. Karen Ball says, "God whispers His truths into hearts, and it whispers back in stories." And it's true.

LINDA: Who do you credit with being the biggest influence in your writing career?

ANE: Ron Benrey, Debra Dixon, Amy Wallace, and Laurie Schnebly Campbell. From each of those people, I learned what I call "golden nuggets" or game changing techniques.

LINDA: What is your goal for your career?

ANE: Write as many stories as God allows me time. If I don't write them, I'll start talking back to all those characters in my head. Then they'd cart me off to the funny farm.

LINDA: What are your hopes for your debut release? What is the take­away value?

ANE: I hope people will love my characters as much as I do, and I pray that through Claire, they'll see how God works, even when we don't see it. God is faithful to guard His children.

Here's the lowdown about the book:

Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, it released Sept 8th. In a nutshell, Chapel Springs Revival is a romp through miscommunication in marriage.

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.

Over twenty years ago, after a decade of life as a "single­again," author Linda Yezak rediscovered God's love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God's gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda's novels are heart­-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.


  1. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for dropping by!

    2. Thank you. Mary. Sorry I'm late to the party, I've been under the weather with bronchitis.

  2. Excellent interview, Linda. I've met Ane at ACFW conferences and I could hear her voice speaking.
    Ane, your book sounds wonderful. Congratulations on its publication. Your back cover description puts me in mind of a modern day Lucy and Ethel in Georgia! I can't wait to read it!

    1. Thanks, Michele. Ane is a plum, isn't she? Plum funny! :D

    2. Hey, Michele! Waving wildly! And thank you. You've got the idea of Claire and her best friend, Patsy. They're a hoot!

  3. I do enjoy interviews with Ane, learn something new about her every time.. Hello Ane :)
    Enjoy visiting Stitches Thru Time, always a fun stop ! !

    1. I always hope to bring out things about those I interview that aren't already published. Ane has a wealth of good anecdotes.

    2. Hi, Deanna! One of these days, we're going to get together for real, but just cyber. :)

  4. Excellent advice! And Chapel Springs Revival is on my TBR table!

  5. My copy of Chapel Springs Revival just arrived so I'll be digging in to it as soon as I finish the book I'm reading now. I hadn't realized that this is your debut novel, Ane. Congratulations!

    I loved the interview. My friend has a Mastiff that is super sweet and the pics posted made me think of her. She's also brindle.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Cindi. I love Mastiffs, too. Such huge, sweet, goofy dogs!

    2. Thanks, Cindi. A lot of people didn't realize that, but that's what happens when you've been around for donkey's years. Yes, mastiffs are sweet and goofy. And wet. ;o)

  6. What's was so fun about this interview is Linda and I have become friends over the years. We share a whacked sense of humor. ;-) Methinks a collaboration might be in our future, Linda. As Southern authors. Texas counts, y'know.

    1. Yer on, kiddo! That would be way too much fun!