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Saturday, October 04, 2014

How Chapel Springs Revival was Born

(posted by Michelle Griep / 
Guest blogger is Ane Mulligan)
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. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

NR: Leave a comment for Ane and be entered in a drawing for a copy of Chapel Springs Revival. U.S. residents only, please.

Years ago, I heard a young women complaining about her husband. Let's face it; we all joke about men coming from Mars and women from Venus, but that's not what she was doing. She was stirring the water in a bitter well.

Another time in church, I overheard another conversation (yes, I'm a writer and I tend to eavesdrop). It went something like this:

"I just learned that God has the perfect mate all picked out for each of us, and we're supposed to pray to find that person."

"Yeah, so?"

"I didn't do that! I didn't know. So, that must mean George* isn't the one God wants me married to."

Uh-oh. The conversation went on to include all the things her husband did wrong and the word "divorce." I later pulled her aside for a "Titus 2:4" moment.

Men, being from Mars, have a difficult time expressing emotions. With women, those emotions need discussion. They need dissecting. Husbands, while wonderful, necessary creatures, can't help in the biology of emotion. 

I now had a seed of an idea. I brainstormed with a friend about a woman who, when she became a Christian, thought life and her marriage would be included in the new creation part. But her thighs are just as big, her husband as ornery as ever, and he still won't go to church with her. Toss in a BFF whose husband had grown non-communicative and was never home, and I had the foundation for a story.

From that first "what-if," Claire Bennett, Patsy Kowalski, and the small village of Chapel Springs were born.

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. As I worked on the plotting and backstory for Claire and Patsy, I saw the same things I'd heard the young women say at church: Patsy focusing on what her husband did wrong, and Claire trying to find Mr. God-Ordained-Right.

I had so much fun writing this book, especially scenes filled with miscommunication. My favorite is when the gals catch Patsy's husband in what they think is an incriminating situation. The dialogue is laced with double entendre, or in other words miscommunication. I hope my readers laugh as hard as I did writing it.

I have to tell you I wrote myself into a corner at one point. I was about 56,000 words in when I screeched to a halt. I had to do some fast research, involving Linda Kozar's Geo-geek husband to geologically extract me from the hole I'd dug myself into. Thank you Mike Kozar! Whew.

It's my hope that through humor, readers will see God's hand in their choice of a husband. God is a faithful keeper of little girls' dreams for a knight in shining armor.

*Name changed to protect an innocent man.

Ane Mulligan's Debut Novel ~ A MUST Read!

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 personal.

With their marriages 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.


The winner of the grand prize, the limited edition giclee reproduction of an original artwork by Terence Mulligan is ..... Deanna Stevens!

Congratulatiuons, Deanna!

Other winners of prizes are:

Robin Roze: Wedgewood ring box

Linda Yezak: teacup, chocolate kisses and a half pound of gourmet coffee

Ellen Jervis: wins the pearl choker and bracelet

Thank you all for helping make my blog tour and book launch a success!


  1. O> O> O :) Happy Dance going on here ! !
    Thanks for the gift Ane & I so enjoyed following you around & getting to know you... I have the perfect wall for it.... :)

    1. You worked hard for it, Deanna, and you swept the points. I'm so delighted you won! But most of all, I'm thankful for the new friendship. Be sure to send me a photo when you get it hung.

  2. So proud of you, Ane. And exciting about the success of Chapel Springs Revival. You deserve it!

    1. Thank you, Gina. I'm excited and humbled and thrilled! :o)

  3. Congratulations to the winners and Ane, congratulations on the success. Praying for many more blessings and successes to come. :)

  4. This is such a great book. I wanted to buy one at conference but the store didn't have a copy, so I'm commenting here to see if I can win one :-). You know I love this story Ane. :-)

  5. Your book sounds great. I love the line, 'with a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.' I'd love to win it but if that doesn't happen I definitely have to by it! Oh, I just noticed that Pamela shares my last name - probably not related :)

    1. Thank you, Tami. I'm glad you lilke the tag line.

  6. Kelly Blackwell is our winner. Congratulations, Kelly!


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