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An Interview with Ann Chamberlin

Today we’re talking with author and playwright Ann Chamberlin. Ann is a member of the World Fantasy Convention and is also serving as the Registration Committee Head for WFC 2020!

Ann spent big blocks of time as a child in Europe where her father was professor of mathematics. She has traveled across North Africa, Turkey, Syria and Jordan. She lives in an old farmhouse on nearly two acres near Salt Lake City--except when she's in her book shop at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Ann’s nineteenth book, a memoir of her grandmother, is due to be published this year. Most of her books are historical novels set in the Middle East, including a trilogy published by Forge set in sixteenth-century Turkey. This trilogy spent almost a year on the Turkish bestseller list after being translated. She has also written many plays, including JIHAD, which won the best off-off Broadway new play of 1996 and which also received a production in Bogota, Colombia at a conference for theatre women for peace. Ann has a degree in Middle Eastern archaeology and anthropology from the University of Utah and excavated a dig in Israel in 1974 as part of those studies.

WFC2020: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

AC: Before I could write. I would take blue essay books my dad brought home from the University of Utah, draw pictures and make my mom write the captions.

WFC2020: I hope you still have some of those first books around! I’m sure some of our readers would love to contract with an agent. How did you meet yours?

AC: I like to write between dances at folk dancing; sometimes the rhythm is just what I need. I was doing this one day in 1977 when a dancer I’d never met came up to me and asked what I was doing. I told her.

“Do you have an agent?” she asked.

“No, I don’t think I’m ready for that.”

“Write to this guy.” She gave me a name and address on a piece of paper.

The next week, she was there again. “Did you write him?”

“Not yet.”

“Write him.”

So I wrote, just to be able to tell her I’d done it.

I never saw her again, and Bart Fles sold my first novel, even though he said he’d never heard of the woman who’d given me his name.

WFC2020: By the time we gather in Salt Lake City for WFC 2020, your nineteenth book will be out. Congratulations! Of all those books, which are you most proud of?

AC: I guess the Turkish trilogy, since it’s had the most success and brought me the most wonderful reception in Turkey. Those are Sofia, The Sultan’s Daughter, and The Reign of the Favored Woman. But I’m always partial to the thing I’m working on at the moment.

WFC2020: Tell us about your most recent book or story.

AC: I just finished a historical mystery set in Paris during La Belle Epoque. It needs final rewrites, but now I’m fascinated by the work on a new memoir of a friend of mine who lives in Paris.

WFC2020: That sounds like a great story. We’ll look forward to hearing more in Salt Lake. And speaking of World Fantasy Convention, you’ve attended several. What do you like about WFC?

AC: World Fantasy Convention is a good place to connect. Meeting my editors is always best.


Ann is one of the people you’ll meet in Salt Lake City! In fact, she’ll probably be one of the first people you see, since she’ll be running the registration desk. In the meantime, find out more about Ann and her books on her website.

Author photo by Ann Florence

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