The publication of the first Miss Julia book, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind in 1999, set Ann on a full-time writing career. This book went through six reprintings in less than a year, and was ranked #9 on the Independent Booksellers’ seventy-six most highly recommended books for 1999. In addition, the book was named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers list. The paperback edition of the same book was listed in The Best Books of the First Five Years by BookSense, as one of the titles independent booksellers most enjoyed handselling. The book was also published by Readers Digest Condensed Books, appearing in twelve foreign languages.
Miss Julia Takes Over was one of seven nominees for the Book of the Year Award (2001) by the Southeastern Booksellers Association.
Miss Julia Throws A Wedding, Miss Julia Hits The Road,Miss Julia Meets Her Match, Miss Julia's School of Beauty and Miss Julia Stands Her Ground have all appeared on the New York Times
Inspiration for the escapades of Ann’s much-loved character, Miss Julia, comes in all manner of ways–a chance remark by a friend or family member, an incident she happens to see, in a dream, or by being reminded of something in her past experiences. It is always deeply satisfying to her when scenes in the book she is working on suddenly seem to fit together to make a good story. She does not outline or make detailed plans before starting a story. She does, however, have a general plot in mind before beginning to write, but this usually entails only the conflict and the final resolution, with few ideas of how they will be worked out. So, with just the beginning and the end of a book decided on, Ann relies on the characters themselves to fill in the middle with first one subplot after another. This, she says, is the joy of writing–-when a character suddenly does or says something unexpectedly, leading her to funny and surprising ‘mini-scenes’ that seem to delight readers.
Ann was once asked by an interviewer how she knew when something she’d written was good. She replied, “I know it’s good when I fall off my chair laughing.” From that response, we can be sure that she enjoys writing about her characters as much as we enjoy reading about them.