From her early days, growing up on the western frontier of Pennsylvania, Ann McMan found creative ways to exercise her gift for fiction. Her first literary endeavors were modest—mostly confined to aphorisms scrawled on cracked pavement with colored chalk. "FREE UPPER VOLTA!" But as the years passed and her skills increased, she branched out into literary nonfiction—best exemplified by the abstracts that follow. "Please excuse Ann from gym this week; she has contracted a virulent case of Norwegian Scabies." Sometimes, the performances were less effective. "Please excuse Ann from this week's field trip to the IXL Cottage Cheese Creamery. She is suffering from acute bouts of ague and malaria, which, combined, render it impossible for her to travel by bus." (Ann was unaware that outbreaks of malaria were extremely rare in the Allegheny Mountains. Four days in after-school detention helped her cultivate a greater appreciation for the rigors of research.) _________________________________________ College at an indifferent liberal arts institution taught Ann that understanding subject/verb agreement was not enough to secure her fame and fortune. After graduation, she got a job driving a young adult bookmobile—and spent her days piloting the great rig across the dusty back roads of rural North Carolina. Her duties included making certain that the mobile library always contained at least six copies of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, visiting the county juvenile detention unit (it was a great way to catch up with her brothers), and showing public service films about safe sex to pre-teens at 4-H Clubs all across her part of "The New South." Soon, the allure of higher education coaxed Ann back to school. For the past three decades, Ann has worked at a succession of premier institutions, designing marketing and advancement materials that promote, promulgate, and extol the benefits of indifferent liberal arts education. Somebody has to do it. All this time, she continued to write. And when, at the ripe old age of thirty, she realized that she was not like other girls, the great world of lesbian literature opened its arms and provided her with a safe haven in which to grow and learn about her new identity. She will forever be indebted to those literary pioneers who had the courage, the talent, and the temerity to gift us all with an art form of our own. Ann's first and subsequent attempts at writing lesbian fiction have been heartfelt attempts to pay that great gift forward. _________________________________________ Ann's themes are timeless—they are built around the things that make the world go 'round, like love, money, and modern class distinctions. She writes to what we all respect: the genuine, the authentic, and the deserving. Yet she mocks those things that we all despise, like the affected, the pretentious, and the malicious. She wields a metaphorical church-key that opens up a world that is broader than two women in love, richer than a small cadre of supporting characters, and more colorful than her colloquial dialogue. She is smart, funny, and unapologetic in her prose, and has the confidence never to talk down to her readers. And, because she understands that for women, the romantic hope and even fantasy that lives inside every one of us is a reality that complicates and colors life to an astonishing degree. As an author, Ann isn't afraid to give voice to cruelty, exploitation of the vulnerable, and soul-deep suffering, but she is remorseless about any kind of falseness in feeling, or manner, or conduct. Women and men who try to be what they are not get skewered within in her pages held up for ridicule such that they condemn themselves out of their very own mouths. And all of them, through her deliberately expansive domestic circles, are metaphors for those things we all recognize in our own everyday lives, no matter where or how we live. _________________________________________ Ann McMan is the author of nine novels and two short story collections. She is a two-time Lambda Literary Award recipient, a three-time Independent Publisher (IPPY) medalist, an eight-time winner of Golden Crown Literary Society Awards, and a laureate of the Alice B. Foundation for her outstanding body of work. A career graphic designer, Ann is also a four-time recipient of the Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design, and in 2017 she received the Golden Crown Literary Society's Director's Award for her years of volunteer service to the organization. Ann and her wife, Bywater Books Publisher Salem West, live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with their two dogs and an exhaustive supply of vacuum cleaner bags.Read more Read less
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