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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 six other books.

I originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, write the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register and blogged for Mentoring Moments. My first novel, Stars in the Grass came out February 2017 and won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel and was nominated for Best Debut Novel 2017 in the Inspys. Out of the Water won Bronze IP, and was finalist for National Indie and Chanticleer Awards.

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 teaching voice or working out in my voice/fitness studio. In my free time I hang out with my husband, thrift store shop with my two adult daughters, watch UVA Basketball, or tend the flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia—where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.

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