Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Straight Browsing from the Library: Ann Swann

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ann Swann will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

My favorite childhood book? No, there wasn’t just one. It may have been Grimm’s Fairytales (a gift from my incarcerated father) or maybe it was Silver Chief, Dog of the North, my first foray into the crime/suspense novel, or it could have been The Biography of Amelia Earhart. When I was in middle school, I vividly recall being fascinated by her story. I spent one whole afternoon cloistered in my cozy attic bedroom, completely immersed in that book. I don’t know why I felt such a kinship with her. Perhaps it was because we were both lost.

What is your favorite book today?

Today, my most favorite books are The Crystal Cave, The Stand, and Dandelion Wine. No, that’s not right. My favorite books are my Stevie-girl and the Phantom books. They are based on my hometown. If I were braver, I would have been Stevie.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Senior prom is beautiful, until Gabi is arrested for murder.

What are you reading right now?

Moonlight Becomes You, Any Dream Will Do, The Loveliest Dead, and I just finished A Man Called Ove and The Kite Runner.

What books do you have on hold at the library?

I don’t have patience for “on-hold.” I’m a one-click addict.

Do you have any bad book habits?

If the book doesn’t hook me within a few pages, I usually put it aside. That’s why I could never finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Both. E-reader at night for the built in night light (so I don’t wake Dude, my darling hubby) and paperback simply because I love the feel of them.

One book at a time or multiples?

Multiples. I also write that way. Two at a time usually.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

Book mark! To dog ear is blasphemous.

Least favorite book you've read this year?

No. I can’t go there.

Favorite book you've read this year?

Mine. I really do like this new novel. I think the beginning is—for once—just the way I intended it (that doesn’t always happen).

When do you do most of your reading?

At bedtime

Favorite place to read?

In my easy chair or in bed

Favorite genre?

Suspense, thriller, horror, speculative, contemporary fiction, YA everything

Do you loan your books?

Definitely! And I give them away, too. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have room to walk through my house. Have you seen the reality show Hoarders? Oh wait, it isn’t hoarding if it’s books.


Senior prom is the happiest night of Gabi’s life. Her crush has just revealed that he is every bit as infatuated with her as she is with him. When he has a car wreck and is transported to the hospital in a coma, Gabi feels as if she’s taken a knife to the heart. But his jealous cousin, Rose, sees her chance to give the knife an even harder twist. She convinces Gabi to meet her at a local parking spot outside town. It's a night that will change several lives forever. One of the girls will return, and one will become known as the remains in the pond.


I didn’t see Matt anywhere. There weren’t any vehicles in the gravel lot. I parked but didn’t roll down the windows. Something felt wrong. The night began to feel as opaque as the murky water. If Matt wanted to see me, where was he?

Backing up, I shined my headlights a different direction, then I made a small tight circle and lit up the entire parking area a little at a time. Low mesquites and spindly live oaks bordered one side of the lot. It was the sort of foliage that loved a little water now and then but thrived just as well without it. I saw neither Matt nor Rose.

After a few minutes, I pulled out of the lot and circled the pond as far as I could go. The gravel road didn’t loop around the entire thing, only about three quarters of the way, and then you were forced to turn around in the only remaining wide spot unless you wanted to get out and have a picnic beneath the single stand of oaks tall enough to give good shade.

Of course I didn’t need any shade now. And I really didn’t want to get out of the car. This seemed too weird. I put the car in reverse and executed a careful turnaround. When my headlights picked out the figure at the edge of the water, I inhaled sharply. It was not what I expected to find.

I rolled down my window. “Rose?” I called. “Is that you?”

A branch cracked, a shadow moved, and panic slid between my ribs like a blade. The figure turned toward my headlights, definitely female. She wore her long hair lose and flowing. Under the moonlight, I couldn’t be certain if the woman’s hair was red or light brown.

“What are you doing here?” No answer. “Where’s Matt?” I tried to keep my voice steady, to show her I wasn’t afraid. I put the car in PARK and opened my door tentatively, putting one foot on the ground.

She stared into my headlights, one hand shielding her eyes like a sailor looking for land, and then, like a flash, she ran straight at me. Straight toward my little Honda with the window rolled down. Her hair flew out behind her and it was all so surreal that for a moment, I simply sat there, paralyzed. Then she raised her right hand above her head. In her grip, I caught a glimpse of silver.


Ann has been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills she’s waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people's houses, taught school, and even had a short stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

Ann’s stories began to win awards in her college days. Since then she’s published novels, novellas, and short stories. But even if no one ever bought another book, Ann wouldn’t stop writing. For her it’s the cathartic pause in a sometimes-crazy world. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.


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