Firstly, a little about Ann for those who do not know her, yet:
Ann's memoir, In the Mirror has received some wonderful advance praise. She already has her Amazon site. You can go there and order Ann's book soon. The release date is April 25, 2011.
Let me share some reviews with you. Read some/all, to get a feel for the quality book Ann has written:
This moving, inspiring, and candid memoir, In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, is a simply told yet eloquent story of a woman whose mortal journey takes her through a series of life-shattering crises, each of which could break any one of us. An idealist and a dreamer, shaken by something amiss in her marriage, she turns to a brief flirtation with another man but quickly retreats, remaining faithful to her gay husband who is already acting out his choices with others. Then, the marriage ends and the silent heartbreak and ordeals continue as this mother of four struggles to provide for her children; a mother endowed with a "stiff upper lip" and a strong faith in herself and God that give her the ability to endure and prevail. Her mirror of well-intended choices becomes a cautionary tale about how bad choices shatter, crack and distort. . . mirrors and lives. It may not have been the story Ann Best had hoped to write, but it is the actual story of how she coped--and triumphed--on this fallen world we call Earth.
~Richard H. Cracroft, Nan Osmond Grass Professor in English and Emeritus at Brigham Young University; Author/editor of 13 books and over 250 articles on American literature; Chair of BYU's English Department and Dean of the College of Humanities.
How privileged I feel to have been invited along on Ann Best’s trip through her life. She portrays herself, and those who shared her journey, with unflinching honesty. That’s no easy task for the memoirist. Her paucity of description and her generous use of dialogue kept the story moving. Ultimately, I was left awed by the resiliency of this author’s spirit. In the Mirror is a must-read for anyone who thinks they can’t handle what life offers. Eternity is a long, long time. Ann Best has a firm grasp on its tail, and I don’t expect she will ever let go.
~Diane Marcou, Editor; Author, The Smuggler’s Ghost.
The quality that rings true through Ann Best's memoir is its fundamental honesty. Her spare yet gently compelling prose lays bare the thoughts and feelings of a woman left to deal with the aftermath when she discovers that her husband--the father of her children--is gay. By the time we've finished traveling with Ann Best on her personal journey of thirty-odd years, we feel that we've made a new and valued friend.
~Jonathan Langford, Author, No Going Back.
The sequential tragedies in this memoir seem almost impossible for one person to bear. The author encounters more tragedies and carries more burdens on her small body than most of us will ever know in our lifetimes, yet with each blow she finds ways to move forward, often with help from friends, occasionally through miracles. She portrays all of the “characters” so realistically that they are likable even in their weaknesses. The writing is brilliant, the dialogue natural and unforced. She portrays her experiences with such skill that I suspect readers who have never experienced a gay or alcoholic husband or a brain-injured daughter will be able to relate to her as she struggles to provide a stable center for her children in the midst of chaos.
~Colleen K. Whitley, English Professor; Editor, Brigham Young’s Homes; Co-editor, The Silver Queen, Worth Their Salt, Worth Their Salt, Too, and From the Ground Up: The History of Mining in Utah (Utah State University Press).
Welcome Ann! It's great to have you back again.
Denise: When I was last speaking to you, you were waiting for your cover. It was quite a long wait. Tell us how you felt when it arrived.
Ann: I knew my publisher, WiDo, was working on a lot of great titles, so I knew it would be awhile before I got the cover. That didn’t make the wait any easier! It was so good when it finally came.
Denise: How do they decide on the design for the cover? These days covers are so important in selling a book and there are some magnificent covers out there.
Ann: Since my book is a memoir, my editor wanted some personal pictures. Fortunately, I had kept some black and whites from my first marriage, which is the center of the book, and was told that since my story and characters are “true,” I’d get to preview the cover. So you can imagine how nervously I was waiting for its arrival. When I saw it, well, wow! It was spooky to see my family the way we were about thirty-five years ago staring out at me!
Denise: Were you happy with the end result?
Ann: Yes, I was pleased with the cover. I think the designer did a great job. I’m looking at the photographs and thinking: Isn’t life strange. On my wedding night I had no idea what was coming: divorce, a second troubled marriage, a catastrophic accident.
Denise: That has been a lot to come through. Where did your writing figure amongst all the pain and turmoil?
Ann: There was always my dream. I started writing in elementary school, and always wanted to publish a book. I always worked towards that. I never lost sight of my dream. That has been a long journey, too!
Denise: How do you fit all this in your life while being a caregiver to Jen and now you're making plans to travel to help another daughter who’s having neck surgery?
Ann: Like many people I’ve got a lot going on right now. Besides my care-giving duties as Jen’s mother (most of my blogger friends know Jen,) my younger brother recently died. My only brother. My only and younger sister died 15 months ago. They abandoned me! He lived in Utah, I’m in Virginia, so I’ve been calling a lot of friends and relatives out west, trying to help my brother’s three children as they’ve been dealing with all of this. He was divorced, but I’m close to his ex-wife, too. I can tell you that he’s also the star of my memoir in progress: how I rescued him from the homeless shelter…
But, meanwhile, I’ve got to get my current memoir finished.
Denise: Oh, your next memoir sounds intriguing. So now you have the galleys of your current memoir. It must have been high excitement when they arrived. How does it feel to be at this point? Perhaps there’re some newbies who’re not sure what you even mean by galleys. What are galley proofs, and at what stage do you get them? How long is the process expected to take?
Ann: The galley is the last stage in the process. A galley: In the “old” days it was large sheets of paper. Today, it’s a digital printout that you read on the computer screen. I’m reading 14-point Times New Roman. The large font and the wide spread tremendously help me catch those “little” details that I missed in earlier drafts. This is the stage where you look for punctuation errors and those few remaining rough sentences. I think this is the most fun part of the process.
Denise: Fun, Ann? I don’t think I’ve ever heard an author describe reading the galleys as fun.
Ann: Well, I’m having fun! I’m about to finish a second read-through of the book’s galleys, and that’s it. Maybe that’s part of the fun. Knowing I’m NEARLY THERE!! I’ve been working on them intensively for two full days. This is at the end of almost a year of editing five complete drafts. I’ve read about how the late Maxwell Perkins, famous editor who worked with Thomas Wolfe and others, went through the massive drafts Wolfe put out. Editing can be a very long process! Until some excellent “second eyes” started working with me on my early drafts, my book was far from a finished and publishable product.
Denise: So Ann, when will you finish this and hand over your baby?
Ann: Today (Tuesday, March 29th) it’ll be done! I’ll email the changes to my editor. (I love all this awesome technology.) (Denise butts in - UPDATE! Ann just emailed to say she's finished the galleys and has sent them off into the ether er, to the editor!) Barring publishing problems (that can occur), the release date for In the Mirror is April 25th. Wow! Gives me the shivers. I can’t believe this is almost a done deal. Suddenly, it all seems to be going so fast--like my life.
Denise: Ann you make no secret of your age – nearly 71. How did you get the energy to go through this grueling process? Other people might be thinking about chilling out and not doing much of anything.
Ann: I’m finding that the older you get, time flies on swift wings. But I’m enjoying the ride, enjoying the journey. The journey is what this is all about. I’m looking forward to my next memoir, and my next…
And so are we, Ann. Thank you for sharing with us today and every best wish for great success with In the Mirror.