Ann Howard Creel writes historical novels about strong female characters facing seemingly impossible obstacles and having to make life-changing decisions. In her new novel, THE RIVER WIDOW, a former tarot-card reader turned widow and stepmother must escape the clutches of an evil family while also facing the crime she herself has committed. In THE WHISKEY SEA, a fierce young woman becomes one of the only female rumrunners on the Atlantic Coast during Prohibition. And in WHILE YOU WERE MINE, a New York City nurse must give up the child she has raised as her own during World War II.
When asked where she gets her ideas, Ann answers, “From history.” She doesn’t know when the muse will strike, but often while reading about history, she sees an image in her mind. The spark for THE RIVER WIDOW came while learning about The Great Flood of 1937 along the Ohio River. Ann immediately saw a woman dragging her abusive husband’s body to the river to let floodwaters take it away. Rather strange, she knows.
In the works are new novels about an American horsewoman joining an all-female group of doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers during World War I and a tale of an American teacher needing an escape who inherits a Paris nightclub just as Europe is steadily marching toward war.
Besides writing, Ann's other interests include old houses, new yoga routines, red wine, and all things cat. For book clubs, Ann will visit you via Skype. Contact her through her website: www.annhowardcreel.com.
Q & A with ANN HOWARD CREEL
Q: How much of The Magic of Ordinary Days is based on true events?
Historical fiction is based on true events, but the author creates fictional characters to witness them and become involved in some way. The love story in the book is a product of my imagination, but the story of the Japanese- American women and German POWs is based on a complicated chain of events that unfolded during the war in Colorado. Sensational at the time, it is mostly unknown now.
Q: You write for both children and adults. Which do you prefer?
I write stories that inspire me, and half of my books are set in the past. Often untold human stories and situations strike me and trigger ideas. I’m also inspired by places that I visit. Once an idea has begun to germinate in my mind, I usually see it clearly as meant for either children or adults. I enjoy writing for both.
Q: What else do you do besides write?
While I still maintain strong ties to Colorado, I'm now living in Paris, Kentucky, where I'm renovating an older house. In Kentucky, I love to walk, take drives through the Bluegrass country, garden, and meet with friends. I have two cats that I adore; friends and family affectionately tease me about becoming a "crazy cat lady." My dream would be to start a non-profit agency that helps stray animals. I also love traveling anywhere, especially to Europe.
Q: What inspired you to write The Whiskey Sea?
While staying on the New Jersey shore for a summer, I learned about the rich history of the area and in particular, the borough of Highlands. Further research led me to a true story that sparked the premise for this novel. The Roaring Twenties and the era of Prohibition are fascinating times in our nation's history, and Frieda's story came to life because of the extraordinary events of that decade..