Book focuses on uplifting stories of life, family and community

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Posted April 30, 2021 | By Leah A. Taylor, Correspondent

Amy Mangan hopes her new book, “Accent Pieces” helps readers make sense of life, love and friendship, all while sharing a few decorating tips.

The self-described novice decorator, who loves nesting at home, put together a collection of essays and columns detailing the experiences that form the patchwork of life.

Mangan promises that there is a bit of everything in her collection of uplifting and inspirational writings, including plenty of call-outs to Ocala landmarks and traditions.

In the book’s opening essay, she references her preference as a teenager for decorating and redecorating her bedroom instead of cruising Silver Springs Boulevard. For readers of a certain age, the reference evokes memories of a time when driving up and down the Boulevard on the weekends was the epitome of the teenage social scene.

“Accent Pieces” is her second book in three years. Mangan collaborated with a local team and admitted it helped that the stories were already written and expertly edited. Her editors helped select her articles from various magazines like Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens and newspaper sources. Then, graphic designer Steve Codraro, who Mangan affectionately calls “her library,” assembled the pieces into the book. In the end, Mangan put together an homage to all the things she loves—home, family, community, Ocala, home decorating, humor and laughter, and everything in between.

“The best kind of decorating is tied to sentiment and love,” Mangan said.

Items like her father’s boots, standing tall in her home office, or the two pieces of art from a trip to Mount Dora with her mother are the accents of life that make her story. Her favorite accent piece is a collection of photos (of all the special people in her life) that hangs on the wall between her kitchen and master bedroom. Mangan calls it her “wall of love,” which she sees every morning and evening and reminders her of who truly matters.

Some of those who truly matter are listed in the book’s dedication: Her husband, Mike, and children, Griffin and Gillian, who she coins as the “best piece of my life,” and her sisters, Julie and Cindy, whose support is as important as their love for The Hungry Bear.

The venerable Ocala burger joint is a big part of her life. The drive-thru establishment pops up often in her writings, including starring roles in two essays and freestanding mentions in others.

“This town has the biggest heart,” Mangan said.

Within the collection, she focuses on the value of things well-loved both in her home and in the community. Mangan wants to strike a balance with the essays so readers get a glimpse into her world, but also to inspire reflection on their accent pieces.

“I really wanted it to be just a very comforting piece of work,” she said.

“Accent Pieces” will be available on June 17 in hardcover and paperback. Online preorders can be made through Black Rose Writing, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Books-A-Million.

The book will also be available locally, including at Agapanthus on Broadway, Gallery on Magnolia, Your Heart’s Desire and Ivy on the Square Boutique.

Agapanthus’ owner, Paula King, said she looks forward to readings Mangan’s book.

“I feel myself nodding my head in agreement already. Amy is a talented and accomplished writer, and I love the idea that this book is a collection of her essays,” King said. “Her observations about life as a working mom and about creating a home in her hometown are going to be something to curl up with on a summer’s day.”

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