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2017 Christy Award Winner: Debut Novel

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I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories, putting on plays, or belting songs. Ever since grade school when my dad substituted me in for his turn at the Toastmaster podium and I held a captive audience with my speech, I’ve loved making people laugh and cry. Whether public speaking, singing, acting on stage, or creating a novel, I want to be a part of the story.

While in my teens, my dad challenged me to write a memoir about my mom’s family. My grandparents escaped from Russia and had to leave behind their three-year-old son in order to save the rest of their family. Delving into the history of that choice and the emotions, and learning about their lives, fascinated me. My dad believed in me and I wanted to complete this. In the meantime, my own life happened and I taught junior high, senior high, went to grad school, married, and had two daughters and a sheep farm, and wrote five other books.

I originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, write the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register and blog for Mentoring Moments. My first novel, Stars in the Grass came out February 2017 and just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 and was nominated for Best Debut Novel 2017 in the Inspys. I am completing Out of the Water.

Next book? After almost forty years, I hope to come full circle by completing the memoir. I don’t like unfinished business. And from heaven, my dad will smile.

When I’m not writing, I’m waving my arms directing musicals, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In my free time I hang out with my husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.

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