Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ane Mulligan's "Home to Chapel Springs"

We're happy to have Ane Mulligan with us today talking about the story behind the story relating to her new book, Home to Chapel Springs. To learn more about Ane and the story behind the story, read on!

An adoptee herself, Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She's a multi-published novelist, playwright, and humor columnist, who believes chocolate and coffee are two of the four major food groups. You can find her on her website or on her Amazon Author Page  Twitter Goodreads Facebook  Pinterest  LinkedIn  Pinterest.

Home To My Sisters

On a hot July morning while sipping a cup of coffee, I opened my email. Nothing breath-taking about that, except on this particular day, I was asked a question that irrevocably changed my life: "Are you the Ane Mulligan looking for your birthmother, Elsie Vauna Mullvain?"

It yanked the breath right out me. I'd always known I was adopted. From the day mom and dad brought me home at three months old, they told me I was a chosen baby. 

My childhood was idyllic…well, maybe not for my parents, given the fact I was a barely-contained firecracker. But for me, it was great. Born in January 1947 in Southern California, I truly was a child of the fifties, when Cokes were a nickel and roller skates had keys. 

I can't say I was never curious about my birth parents; I was. For one thing, I didn't look like anyone. I became a people watcher, always wondering.

In 1998, I received a letter from my dad. It was the kind of stock paper used for official court documents. Premonition made my heart pound. I took a deep breath, and with trembling hands, I slowly slid it from the envelope. A sticky-note was adhered to the outside of the folder. "I don't know if you want this or not. Love, Dad."

That was all. I peeled off the yellow sticky and caught my breath as I read:

The adoption of Roberta Ann Mullvain

Though I'd never seen nor heard that name before, I knew it was mine. And suddenly I wasn't me any more. But who was I?

I opened the blue folder and quickly scanned its pages, until I saw it - my mother's name; Elsie V. Mullvain. Countless emotions whirled. Scenarios played out and were cast aside. I didn't know how I truly felt or should feel. For a word merchant, I was an empty page. I refolded the papers, and slid them in the envelope.

Another year passed, and I'd reached an age where changes were taking place that I wasn't so happy about. After all, who wants wrinkles and triceps that waved goodbye for a full five minutes after you'd gone? I needed a place to lay the blame for the havoc gravity was playing on my body. When I brushed my hair, I found myself staring into the mirror, my hand pausing it in its work, wondering how did my mother age? Did I look like her? I had a million questions and no one to ask. I decided it was time to search for Elsie. 

In March of 1999, I received a phone call. The woman said she had an Aunt Elsie Vauna Mullvain, and she would forward my letter to her. However, this cousin cautioned, when she'd told Elsie about my letter, her aunt said when she was young, she'd let a friend use her name. 

That sent me to the state of Confusion. Was that true? Or was she lying to protect herself? In truth, it made no sense. Back in the 1940s, a person's good name meant everything to them. I was left to wonder if my search had ended in success, or was this only step two? I waited. A month later, I received a letter from Elsie, and with it, more of her story. 

While she told me about her situation back then, which remarkably matched my earlier fantasies, she did not want a relationship with me. I understood and honored that. My only other communication was to send her flowers on her birthday that year. The card merely said, "Thank you." 

I didn't contact her again. Although I was saddened a bit, I never knew her, so the loss wasn't as hard as it could have been. After all, I had no mental picture of her; she was still faceless to me. I never got a sense of her personality from her letter. Maybe it was strength of will, but I closed that door.

However, through the cousin who had called me I learned I had sisters. While I had a loving relationship with my adopted brother, I'd always wanted a sister and now had several. I prayed and hoped one day I could find them. However, with no names, I had no way to search for them. I relinquished the dream into God's hands. It was never out of my mind, though.  

On July 18th, 2009, I got an email from a woman named Linda, asking that breath-taking question. Linda connected me with my birth sisters. The moment I met four of them in Seattle, they welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. One sister told me I'd spent a lifetime lost and finally I’d come home.

Debby Jo’s words “come home” resonated in my heart long after I returned to Atlanta, and I knew I would one day write this story. Home to Chapel Springs is that book.

Home to Chapel Springs
A homeless author, a heartbroken daughter, and a theatre ghost. There’s trouble in Chapel

There’s always someone new in Chapel Spring, either coming home or stirring up trouble.

Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. While the reviewers are happily skewering her, her racecar-driver-husband walks out on her and she’s evicted, because he hasn’t paid the lease on their condo for the last three months. Then she discovers he also he drained their bank accounts. 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.

After the residents thwarted Howie Newlander’s plans for a Miami-style resort on Chapel Lake, he’s running for mayor and spreading rumors about diverted water and misused taxes. The Lakeside Players want to remodel the town’s old theater, but it’s rumored to be haunted. When Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head, Claire gets caught in the middle.

Claire’s youngest daughter is in love with a young man whose daddy is none other than Mayor Felix Riley…the man who man who blames Claire for every wrong in Chapel Springs. Having him part of her family isn’t in Claire’s plan. The years of her heartache should warn her daughter off this boy. So far, her daughter’s heart isn’t hearing the warnings.

With hearts pulled in all directions, will they find a home in Chapel Springs?

Click on the cover below to be directed to Amazon:


  1. Thanks for letting me share with your readers, Dawn.

  2. Enjoyed the interview with Ane. I have read and loved Home to Chapel Springs, and I would really enjoy having a print copy for my library.

    1. Glad you entered then, Ann! And thank you. :)

  3. I've only read Ane's first book and am eager to read the others. Have the blessing of living in the same town, Sugar Hill, Georgia, and getting to see her - not as often as I'd like, but every visit is golden.

  4. Fascinating stories, both the life story and the fiction story. This book sounds like it is fast paced and full of ingredients to make for a delicious read. Thank you for entering me! Janice
    jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot) com

  5. I grew ip in AZ and I too remember when rollar skates had keys. Skating was one of my favorite things to do.I would
    Ike a chance to read your book.

    1. Ah yes, I remember them well, Jackie!

    2. The random number selector has chosen you, Jackie. Please email me at anemulligan[at]me[dot]com

    3. Jackie, I need your your snail mail address for your book. Email me at anemulligan[at]me[dot]com. If I don't hear from you by Wed at 5:00 PM eastern time, I'll pick another winner.

  6. What a remarkable tale. I can see how your story would inspire your writing.


  7. Claire is a hoot! I would love to have a copy!
    dkstevensne AToutlook DOTc oM

  8. Your story of "coming home" brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine how God must feel when we see Him face to face and he says, "Welcome Home, my child".
    Janet E.

  9. Jackie never got to me, so I had the random number selector choose another, and Rosie wins!