Saturday, October 29, 2016


By Ane Mulligan

I've been asked how did the Chapel Springs series come about. The first book, Chapel Springs Revival, developed from an overheard conversation. Yes, I eavesdrop. You can hear some great stuff that way. Of course, my friends are wary now.

While I was writing Chapel Springs Revival, our eldest son married a 21st Century mail-order bride. Okay, she wasn't actually mail-order. She was cyber-order. He met her in a chat room for women in Columbia, South America, to meet men in the U.S. He knew her online for a year, then flew to Columbia and married her. He then came back home and worked for a year to get her and her two young sons into the U.S. legally.

All the while, his dad and I knew nothing.

Remember that old margarine commercial with the motto "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"? Well, it's not nice to keep Mama in the dark, either. I told them for that, it was going in a novel. And it did: Chapel Springs Survival. In real life, Zully (our daughter-in-law) is the best thing that ever happened to our son, but that wouldn't do in a novel. So with their knowledge and consent, I made it novel-worthy. Well, after all, I am a professional liar.

When Chapel Springs Revival came out, I got a small fan base. I love saying that and giggle every time I do. Fans! Me? Anyway, I started a Facebook group for them and named it after the bakery in Chapel Springs, Dee's 'n' Doughs. Then they started to interact as the characters in Chapel Springs. When Mayor Felix Riley said the town needed its own cookbook, they sent in recipes. I told my publisher about it. He loved it and published The Chapel Springs Cookbook. Claire wrote the back cover copy and the Mayor wrote the Introduction. It's becoming a collector's cookbook, being the only one I know of by imaginary cooks.

The third book, Home to Chapel Springs, also came from my own life. In 2009, I found my birth sisters. You can read that story here. As with Chapel Springs Survival, I used my own reunion story as the "what if?" basis for Home to Chapel Springs, where a homeless author has to retreat to the house she inherited from her grandmother … a house that's been gutted. Then a stranger knocks on her door—one that will change the course of her life.

By the final book in the series, Life in Chapel Springs, I'd run out of personal life events to inspire the book. However, I had begun to explore what would happen if a person's looks were so altered, it changed her whole life. What would that look like for shy, quiet Lacey Dawson? Lacey is a character who is in all the Chapel Springs books. She's part of Claire's inner circle. It was a difficult book to write. Lacey is so quiet, she wasn't even talking to me. Eventually, I won her trust, and she opened up. I turned it in at the end of August, so I imagine it will be out next August or September.

So there you have it. That's the story behind the stories.

Home to Chapel Springs Summary

A homeless author, a theatre ghost, and a heartbroken daughter ~ there’s trouble in Chapel Springs

There’s always someone new in Chapel Springs, either coming home or stirring up trouble. Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. Homeless and broke, she and her little boy have no choice but to retreat to the house she inherited from her nana in Chapel Springs—the house that’s been gutted. Then, a stranger knocks on her door. One that will change the course of her life. With one of her daughters in love with the wrong boy, a theatre rumored to be haunted, and Howie Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head in a hot election, Claire gets caught in the middle.


While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many including pro-family lobbyist, drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane writes her Southern-fried fiction in Sugar Hill, GA, where she resides with her artist husband, chef son, and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, her Amazon author page, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.