Welcome, Ann-Margret Hovsepian! Tell us, When did you decide to become a writer?
Actually, I never decided to become a writer. In high school and college, my only thought was to go into science, specifically chemistry. When it became clear in college that I wasn’t cut out for that I struggled to figure out what to do next. My first application to university was rejected so I looked for a temporary job while I reapplied and I landed at a small trade magazine where I was asked to take care of typesetting and proofreading. Within days I knew that I belonged in publishing, though I still didn’t have a specific career in mind. Four years later, at which point I was managing the editorial department and doing some copy writing, I decided to start my own business. I still didn’t think of myself as a writer, although my parents told me I was gifted in that area; I was going to offer desktop publishing, copy editing and proofreading services, writing freelance articles only as a side job. Nineteen years later, with over 300 hundred articles and four books published, it’s safe to say that I did eventually evolve into a writer, in spite of myself!
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That’s interesting, What is your favourite genre to write?
When I started writing regularly, most of my assignments were news pieces or profiles because I was most interested in periodicals and journalism was a natural fit. I never aspired to write fiction (and I’m still not sure whether I want to attempt it) but I did long to write more creatively and from my heart. As my writing skills improved and I started writing for less newsy publications, I had more opportunities to write editorials and devotions. I still enjoy writing profiles of fascinating people but my heart is really in writing devotions and Bible studies that will hopefully inspire and challenge the reader.
Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?
My books are generally written with a Christian readership in mind but I always try to make sure that others who may pick them up will feel like there is something for them, too. I never assume that my reader is a Christian so I try to use language that reflects that.
How do you connect with God best?
Since I work at home and am alone for up 20 hours most days (can you tell I’m an introvert?), I have many opportunities to connect with God throughout the day. I often find myself talking to Him – about anything at all – since I have no one else to talk to and I enjoy that constant sense of His presence in my life. That’s been a very special blessing in my life and it would be one of the things I missed most if I ever found myself working in an office again.
How long have you known the Lord and what brought you to a relationship with Him?
I started attending church when I was a couple of weeks old but I decided to commit my life to Christ when I was seven, the morning after we watched the film “A Thief in the Night” at my church. Now you can guess how old I am! I lay awake all the night before, worried about what would happen to me if Jesus came back and I wasn’t ready to meet Him. I prayed with my father the next day and shared my testimony in church a few weeks later. (Let me make it easy for you: I gave my life to Christ on January 1, 1980!)
Which Christian author has influenced you the most?
I don’t even have to think about this one: C.S. Lewis. I was reading his books before I knew much about him and was always amazed by his wisdom and insights. Later in life I became fascinated by the man himself and it pains me that he is not alive so that I could go and meet him and talk to him. He has influenced me as a Christian and, I hope, as a writer.
What do you consider the best piece of advice you can give to novice authors?
As far as the craft of writing goes, my advice is to balance confidence with humility. You need confidence and courage to put your thoughts on paper but you also need humility to be open to direction and correction. Talent is important but it’s not enough. A major part of my success in being published comes down to my willingness to listen to and work with editors.
In terms of the business of writing, I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers – not only time and energy but also resources. Choose a writers’ conference that is right for you, making sure it’s one with good networking opportunities, and save up for it if you have to. Nothing beats meeting the editors and publishers who want to publish what you are writing.
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What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
As long as it involves being creative, I’m all over it! I enjoy calligraphy, sewing, drawing, cooking, indoor gardening, decorating and all kinds of crafts. (Alas, I am inept at knitting and crochet!) I also enjoy reading, of course, live theatre and fluffy Hallmark films. On a more serious note, I am active in women’s ministry, both at my church and on a denominational level.
Thank you so much for sharing with us Ann! If you want to learn more about Ann-Margret Hovsepian’s books or purchase them, you can find them below: