If you missed them, be sure to stop by and read the interviews with winner Dee Yoder and other runner up Sydney Avey.

Ann Grover is a wonderful writer (one of my personal favorites at FaithWriters!). A Writing Challenge regular, she has received many ECs, and was 2010’s Best of the Best, as well as placing second and third in earlier years in that contest. And NOW, her novel, “Prairie” is highly commended in the 2011 Page Turner contest.

Read on, and get to know Ann a bit better.

JOANNE: When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

ANN: When I was in Grade 3, my teacher had a little list of prompts on the blackboard for those students who’d finished their work early. Every day, I raced through my assigned work so I could “write a story.” (I still have a few of those stories, as well as the first “story” I ever wrote in Grade 1.) My Grade 3 teacher “promised” I’d be a writer one day.

JOANNE: Is writing a hobby or potential career for you?

ANN: I think, at this point, it’s a hobby, in that it’s relaxing and satisfying, exactly what a hobby should be, filling in spare time and leisurely hours. But like every other writer, I do dream of a day when my creations would develop into a lucrative career, and hopefully without losing its relaxing and satisfying aspects.

JOANNE: Congratulations on placing as a runner-up in the Page Turner contest. Tell us about your reaction when you found out.

ANN: I went online, with my morning coffee, to check my emails, and perhaps mosey over to FW for a look-see. Before I could get to FW, my inbox exploded with a barrage of messages, the first from Dee Yoder. I have to admit I was momentarily confused–I won what? Where?–even though I’d gone online purposely to check. Then I was “gobsmacked.” I love that word.

JOANNE: Share a bit about Prairie. Where did you get the idea for it? What’s it about? How far along in it are you?

ANN: Last summer, on our road trip through Alberta, we were having breakfast in a small prairie town restaurant. Nearby, several elderly ladies were enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning coffee together. I could hear bits and pieces of their conversation as they reminisced. One of the ladies said, “In 1946, there were four baby girls born in Campsie.”

Like a video on fast forward, the story took shape in my mind. I saw four girls, their births, their childhoods, the life-changing events they’d encounter living on the prairie in the early part of the century. To be honest, I can’t remember if the lady said four or five girls or 1946 or 1931 or something else, but, Linnett, Emmy, Claire, and Julie, born in 1921, became real people to me in that split second.

The story takes place about forty-five minutes east of that restaurant, in a fictional town called Emerald. The environs are real, however, as well as some of the people. I’ve written three chapters, but I’ve done extensive research, and have a multitude of living resources, including Dan’s mother (age 83) AND Dan’s grandmother (aged 105), who is still agile in mind and body. It would not be impossible for Dan’s grandmother to be the mother of any of the girls in Prairie.

The homesteading era was an important time in the development of western Canada, and I believe it is a story that needs to be told with its distinctly Canadian culture and history.

Unless you are a writer, it may sound strange that when I visit our acreage (near the epicentre of the novel), the land speaks and the girls come alive, and oddly, like nowhere else and no other time, I am inspired.

JOANNE: How did you find FaithWriters and what made you stick around?

ANN: In early 2005, I was part of a homeschooling forum. One day, one of the other moms posted that she’d joined FaithWriters, submitted a story, and had received her first “yellow box.” I followed her link to FaithWriters and thought, “I could never do that!” But, I bookmarked FaithWriters, and eight or nine months later, in the midst of great personal and physical stress, decided to seriously check it out. The rest is history, as they say.

Why do I stick around? The people at FaithWriters have no idea how they became my family and support, always there, always praying, and some caring for me in tangible ways. The years after joining FaithWriters were among the most difficult in my life. I am forever thankful for my FW family.

JOANNE: What kinds of books or genres to you prefer to read and/or write?

ANN: I prefer to read or write historical fiction or historical mysteries. Especially accurate historical fiction that “shows, doesn’t tell,” wrapped up with convincing atmosphere and authenticity.

My favourite historical fiction authors are Edward Rutherfurd and Ken Follett, and for historical mysteries, Maureen Jennings and Jacqueline Winspear.

JOANNE: Tell us about your family.

ANN: I have three brilliant grown children. Seth is 30, Kenan is 27, and Amaris is 22. Kenan has an almost four-year-old named Tanisha, who is beautiful and clever, and Amaris has three-year-old Malaya, who is equally beautiful and clever. I don’t see any of them near often enough.

And there is Dan, the love of my life and forever best friend. He is a cowboy of the “old school” and a gentleman, wise, funny, generous, and kind.

We live on a 30 000 acre ranch and are currently running about 4500 head of cattle. That number will jump in the spring, when the 2500 cows and first-time heifers begin calving.

JOANNE: What are your other passions besides writing?

ANN: I enjoy quilting. I belong to a little local quilting group, and we meet once a week to make items for fund-raising or quilts for chemo patients. I have several projects I’m working on at home, including two queen size quilts. In addition, I enjoy ranch living, travelling, and being with my children and granddaughters.

JOANNE: Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what do you hope to accomplish in 2012?

ANN: I don’t make resolutions, but I do occasionally have goals, and my goal for this year (as it was for 2011) is to “be back in the saddle again.” I had an accident on a horse in 2010, resulting in a mild concussion, bruises, a torn muscle in my leg, and a huge fear of riding. Actually, it’s not the riding or even a bucking horse that scares me. It’s the “hitting the ground” part. Last summer, I managed a half-hearted, trembling excursion halfway around the round pen on Joe, Dan’s horse, but then he swished his tail or breathed, so I jumped off.

JOANNE: Where can folks connect with you?

ANN: At FaithWriters, through Facebook, and my blog: a-thousandhills.blogspot.com
Or if you’re taking the long drive up the Alaska Highway in northeastern British Columbia, come to the ranch. Coffee’s always on.

Ann, I sure hope I can take you up on that last offer, and I’m confident you will have MUCH success in your future. God bless, and thanks for sharing!

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