Intimate Conversation with Ann Clay
Ann Clay resides in Southern Illinois with her family. She enjoys reading, writing, crafts, traveling, and family time. She began writing in 1999 and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Thanks to the support of family and friends, Ann shares her heartwarming stories with readers of the heart.
BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book?
Final Play is a contemporary romance, released October 30, 2014, and is available in both print and digital forms. Final Play is readily available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, but could also be ordered from your local book store. It is also accessible through Kindle, Nook, and other digital sources.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
This title is what I call my in-between-book. I'm in the heat of finishing the second book from my Gumbo Series, also in the contemporary romance genre, entitled 'Beyond the Blue Cypress'. Because the second title starts in the early 1950's, I have to do some research to make sure the text and the feel of the book mirrors that time. So in-between writing 'Beyond the Blue Cypress', I got the idea for this book as the football season rolled in. I thought it would be nice to have a good weekend book to read in between quarters of a football game. The story introduces the steamy romance formed between a formal pro-football player and a young doctor he meets just as he leaves his football career to enter another.
BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Always! I've always been an avid reader. Reading was my means of escape when I was a child. Also, I come from a long line of storytellers. My father and brothers could spin a tale without thought or effort. Just pick a topic, we could make up a story, and then, could spin it any way you choose... funny, sad, or adventurous. So, while writing is different from storytelling in a sense, I often use ideas I've seen, heard, or experienced to help me create the plots of my stories.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
I'm fortunate enough to be able to travel, and in my travels I see a lot of story potentials/ideas. Sitting in the airport is a people-watching opportunity for me. While some people work on their electronic devices or read or talk, I watch people. Their movements, how they interact with strangers, all to me tell stories of everyday living. So I use those things to come up with ideas. I try to write stories I'm interested in. The characters, once they form themselves, pretty much run the story. I just happen to be at the keyboard, jotting it all down. I’m not one of those authors who sketches out the entire story. I pretty much have a concept, I know what the characters will and will not do, and I kind of, sort of know the ending... sometimes. Other than that, I allow the characters to tell their stories.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Anree Alexander, a formal star football player, hangs up his helmet for a prestigious position at a national sports network as a sports analyst. He's popular, smart, driven, yet very modest. Anree loves family, but at the time he meets our heroine is not particularly ready to settle down or start a family of his own.
Rhonda Mitchell, had to overcome a tumultuous past, but champions her struggles with a lot of hard work and support. She lost both parents at an early age, but was blessed to have a godmother, her mother's best friend, as a guardian. Rhonda manages to finish college and med school before many of her peers. And at the time she meets Anree, is steadily focused on establishing her practice and managing other priorities in her life. Which means she's not looking for a serious relationship.
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Wow! Key plots deal with self-assessment, what we think is important in life, overcoming heartaches, how much time we spend on ourselves, fear, expectations, commitment, parenting, love or the lack of it, manipulation, protecting the people we care about, promises, hope, healing, and celebration.
This story deals with opening oneself up to possibilities. We never know just how much or how far we can go, never know what we can achieve, if we don't open our minds and hearts to it.