Ann Shorey is a collector of stories.

In the process of researching her family history, she discovered that all of the memoirs—memories of the American Revolution, the Mexican and Civil Wars, and the westward migration—had been written by men. That started her to wondering, what had life been like for the women in her family? Soon, she was on the road to research—and writing about “yesterday’s women and today’s issues.”

Ann is also a contributor to several non-fiction anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Adam’s Media Cup of Comfort, and The Garden Gates Cookbook.

She and her husband Richard share their home in Oregon with a loveable Belgian Shepherd named Amber.

Your writing journey began with a trip to the “past.” Please tell us about that.

I inherited written family memoirs, dating back as far as the American Revolution, from my mother. It seems there have been writers in my family for many generations!

After publishing a nonfiction family history, I wondered what the women’s lives were like, since all the memoirs were written by men. That led me to writing historical fiction series, which focus on women’s lives. My tagline is “Yesterday’s Women—Today’s Issues.” Women’s issues haven’t really changed through the years, we just have resources now that weren’t available to women in the mid-1800’s.

How does your faith play into your writing?

My books are written from a Christian worldview. As a Christian, I couldn’t write stories that didn’t honor my faith. That said, the novels I write don’t have the salvation message spelled out. Rather, my characters live their faith in ways that show God’s watchful care of his children.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?

In my life, the detour God provided was the death of my husband from cancer some twenty-plus years ago. He died in December, and that year I learned one of the best lessons I’ve ever had:

I did absolutely nothing for Christmas that December—no cards, tree, gifts, etc. As it happened (but there are no coincidences, are there?), Christmas Day fell on a Sunday. When I walked into church, I felt surrounded by God’s love and overwhelmed with gratitude for His perfect gift of His Son. I knew my husband was in heaven, and I’d join him someday. It was the most perfect Christmas I’d ever experienced.

What I learned was this: Christmas comes anyway, whether we run ragged shopping and decorating, or just bask in God’s presence.

This month you’re debuting a new series with Where Wildflowers Bloom (Revell, January 2012). Please tell us about the book.

Here’s the back cover copy:

The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg—as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family’s mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that she and Royal will finally wed. But does he truly love her? Or will another man claim her heart?

Where did you get the idea for the Sisters at Heart Series?

The inspiration for the series came from my long term friendships. I wanted to write a series emphasizing the importance of friendship in women’s lives. We need each other!

The second part of my idea came from my great-grandmother’s life. I set the series in Missouri immediately after the War Between the States, because my great-grandparents settled there in 1867. I wondered what it would be like to try to get back to “normal” life after such a devastating war.

You have another creative talent, one that has won you several awards! Please tell us how you got started entering culinary contests and writing for cookbooks.

My mother was a good cook, and she taught us well! I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking, and thought that some of our family recipes were good enough to share. So I started small, with local events, then submitted a few things to Taste of Home. Not everything was selected, of course, but it was fun to enter just to see how I’d do. Subscribers to my email newsletter normally get a recipe along with my news!

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I’m like most women—chocolate is my favorite comfort snack. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies. Or Dove dark chocolates.

For a comfort meal, I love pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. That was one of my favorite dinners when I was growing up, and I still love it. Oh, yes, chicken and dumplings is another comfort meal that I enjoy. I guess I return to childhood for comfort when I’m stressed, or celebrating.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Unfortunately, no. I can’t carry a tune. : ) I always wanted to play the piano, but lacked the discipline to stick with lessons. Then I discovered writing (after my “detour” above), and never looked back!

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

A waltz. I love the flowing rhythms of waltz music, and try to live my life in a way that flows, rather than frantically jumping around.

Are you a major or a minor chord?

Major. I’m normally upbeat and cheerful.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

What a great question! I’d say I’m the strong female lead. I’m the oldest child in my family, so you know what they say about first-born children. High achievers. (Or we try to be, anyway.)

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

Oh, I love dogs too! I’ve had a dog as a pet almost throughout my entire life, and I’ve loved them all. Our current dog is a Belgian Malinois named Amber. She was rescued from the pound, and is so beautiful, smart, and loving. Best dog we ever had—but I say that every time. : )

I’ve had golden retrievers, a black lab, a Springer spaniel, a toy poodle, and several mutts. With only a couple of exceptions, all have been rescue dogs.

Thanks, Ann! It’s nice to have you at DivineDetour!

Thank you, Kathy! I’ve enjoyed this interview.

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For more information about Ann, visit her website at

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