Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Valerie Weaver-Zercher in the spotlight is Naomi Martin! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week please welcome Ann Shorey in the spotlight! To win a copy her book When the Heart Heals (Revell, 2013), leave a comment on this post.
Ann ShoreyShare a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married for twenty-two years to the best husband in the world. We’re empty nesters who lavish affection on our dog, Amber, when our grown daughters aren’t available. I’m blessed to be able to write full-time.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I love history and historical fiction, so that translates to my writing. Currently I’m writing in the Historical Romance genre.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

My dream of being an author started way back in high school, but wiser heads told me I needed to find a way to actually make a living. Fast forward a few decades to the days after my late husband died. Our children were already out on their own. I’d always wanted to write, and now had the time to fulfill my dream. So I took classes, devoured Writers Digest, and attended conferences.

I first wrote a nonfiction family history, then took inspiration from family stories and began to write novels in 2001.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

My first novel was accepted by Revell in 2007 and released in 2009.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

The good, strong coffee is #1—there’s a cup sitting on my desk right now. Aside from caffeine, prayer is my first stop before writing. Once I commit my words to the Lord, and seek His help for the day’s output, I sit down and get busy. I write for four or five hours a day in my home office—with my dog keeping me company beside my desk.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

For me, it’s been writer’s conferences. Between the classes and the networking, they’re the best investment of my time and finances. I started with attending conferences in my home state, and then branched out to traveling to conferences out of state. The ACFW Annual Conference is my hands-down favorite.

When the Heart HealsWhat are your biggest distractions?

Email and Facebook are huge distractions. I have to turn off my email to really focus on writing.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

The toughest part is having to say no to participating in family activities that come up when I’m on a tight deadline. The thing I enjoy the most is spending time creating characters and stories. What fun!

What is the role and importance of an agent?

My agent is Tamela Hancock Murray. I love how she’s there for me. One of the most important aspects of being agented, and Tamela does this perfectly, is having someone between me and the publisher who will handle my questions and concerns.

What advice would you give to new writers?

First of all, don’t get discouraged and quit. Find a good critique group of serious writers and pay attention to their suggestions. Be willing to delete even your most golden words if they detract from your story.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

If you enjoy stories about unconventional heroines, you’ll love When the Heart Heals. The main character, Rosemary, is a nurse in a time when nursing was not an acceptable profession for young, unmarried women.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

The next novel in the Sisters at Heart series is coming out in early 2014, and I’m busy with edits, cover design, and all the other fun stuff that goes with a book release. Additionally, I have a novella included in a collection with authors Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot and Laurie Alice Eakes. The release date is mid-2014. This will be Revell’s first venture into the novella field, so it’s exciting to be part of the process.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

My website is www.annshorey.com. Readers can find my contact information there. Additionally, find me on Facebook.
Please check your local bookstore for my books—if they don’t have them in stock, I know they’ll be happy to order a copy for you.
My website has direct links to several online retailers, including Amazon.com and Christianbook.com: http://www.annshorey.com/novels.html

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Thank you for inviting me, Suzanne! It’s been a pleasure.

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