Featured Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Featured Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart
Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels.

Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, is followed by Small Town Girl and Love Comes Home. She also writes the Hidden Springs Mysteries as A.H. Gabhart.

Ann and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing.

The following is a July 2015 interview with Ann.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END 
OF THE INTERVIEW

The Innocent

angel-sister Scent-of-Lilacs~~

Be in to win a copy of
The Innocent, Angel Sister
or
The Scent of Lilacs


by Ann H. Gabhart

~~

(ONE copy of The Innocent – WORLDWIDE)
(ONE copy each of Angel Sister or The Scent of Lilacs – USA only)

~~

Contest runs from
July 10-24, 2015 NZDT

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Tell us a little about yourself.

ann-gabhartI’m a country girl, raised on a Kentucky farm. I first found out writing could be profitable when I was in the sixth grade. I wrote an essay and won one hundred baby chicks. Chickens were a 4-H project for me at the time. I don’t raise chickens these days, but I still live on a farm just over the hill from the home place. Right now, I’m looking out the window over my desk at a couple dozen birds flying in and out to my feeder and down past my backyard fence, six deer strolling past. I like walking on the farm with my lab mix, Oscar. It’s even more fun when some of my nine grandkids come to visit and walk with us. Lots of nature discoveries to be made then. I first took pen in hand to tell stories when I was nine or ten. I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve followed many story trails over the years and have been blessed to share some of those stories with readers like you.

 

What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I have always wanted to write. When I discovered the wonders of books, I was a big Hardy Boy mystery fan. So with childish optimism, I decided to write my own mystery starring myself, albeit a prettier, less shy, and very smart me, with my sister and cousin as sidekicks. From that story I moved on to teen angst short stories. After I married, at a much too young age, I determined to improve my writing and work toward my dream of being published. I took a correspondence course that helped me tremendously, simply because I was so young and naïve about the business of writing. That was long before the internet age, but through the course, I found resources to help me continue to improve my writing and learn how to submit my work, etc.

The last assignment of the course was to write an outline for a novel. I hated writing outlines in school. So instead of writing the outline, I wrote the novel. That’s when I knew novels were what I wanted to write. Since then, I’ve written very few short pieces, if you don’t count blog posts. I like being immersed with my characters for a long time while I’m writing. My people come to life for me and are like family or friends. Well, the good ones are friends. The not so nice characters are those people you meet in life and then take pains to avoid!

 

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

SHAKERSI love writing in the Christian fiction world. My first books were published in the general market. Two were historical romances and eleven were coming of age stories for young adults. I liked writing those stories too, but being able to include the faith journeys of my characters in my stories now seems to add a whole new dimension to my writing. I’m glad there are stories available about flawed people (and aren’t we all flawed in some ways?) confronting the problems life throws at them while growing in faith. The Bible is full of those kinds of stories. In fiction, the story may be “made up,” but the truths are still there. Christian fiction lets us explore all sorts of things, places and feelings within stories that avoid offensive language and scenes. That’s not to say Christian fiction doesn’t confront serious issues or that non-Christians won’t enjoy the stories. A good story is a good story and all types of stories are available on the Christian fiction bookshelf from mysteries to love stories to historicals to those with serious topics right out of the news and more. I think it’s a plus for the careful reader to be confident when picking up a Christian novel that the author will handle the story, whether it’s intensely serious or entertainingly romantic, with consideration of his or her readers.

 

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

HOLLYHILLI want my readers to believe the story could be true. I want them to invite my characters into their hearts. I want them to be sorry when they turn the last page that they can’t continue to live the character’s life with him or her a bit longer. It’s great when my readers wish that there was another book with another story to find out what happens next. I also want my readers to be entertained and glad they chose my story to read. If I can make my readers smile when a smile is in my words or wipe away a tear when the story touches their hearts, I’ve done my job as a writer. If the story makes them think or perhaps learn something about the historical background or about their own feelings, that’s a bonus. If it makes them examine their spiritual life, then that’s a gift from the Lord.

 

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

words-spoken-trueThe same as any other writer, I like hearing readers say they couldn’t put my book down. Or that my story made them laugh or shed a few tears. I was touched when a reader said she recommitted her life to Christ after reading my Heart of Hollyhill books. One of them does have a spontaneous revival scene. I’ve been pleased when other readers told me they stopped reading my book to get their Bibles to look up more about some Bible story or Scripture verse I referred to in the story. I can’t complain about a reader laying my book down to pick up his or her Bible.

 

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

Writing novels has given me a greater appreciation of the Bible and how stories are used in the Scripture to bring home points. In examining my characters’ reaction to hard times in their lives and their faith journeys, I have to also consider my own faith journey. Plus, I went for several years without being able to sell any of my writing. That was a hard valley for me to walk through when I did so want my stories in front of readers. But I think those years may have been the Lord’s way of nudging me toward the Christian market where I could use my talents to tell stories of hope and encouragement with mentions of Scripture and the Lord a natural part of the characters’ lives.

 

Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life?

ROSEYThis question is making me think. When I think of goals, many of them are centered on my books and meeting writing deadlines. Other goals are more personal. I want to be a good wife, mother and grandmother. I want to be the kind of person no one has to wonder whether I’m a Christian or not. That leads to a goal of more devotional and prayer time. Then, after walking with my mother along a sad path of declining health and dementia before her death last year, I have the goal of staying mentally and physically healthy as long as possible. That leads to everyday goals such as losing a few pounds and walking every day.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to hike. I enjoy time with my family and watching my grandkids grow up. That is happening so fast, but grandkids are a sweet reward for getting older. I have fun on Facebook sharing photos and more with family and reading friends. I’m a big basketball fan and settle down in front of the television every time my state school, the University of Kentucky, plays. I like getting together with my sisters and talking books and everything else. And of course, I love to read. One of the goals I should have listed above is finding a few more minutes in my day to read.

 

What can you tell us about your latest novels?

The Innocent

In my newest release, The Innocent, I return to my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill for one more story. My son-in-law, who is an avid reader but has probably never read any of my Shaker books, kept telling me I should write a story about a Shaker and a sheriff. So I did. The story is set at the end of the Civil War. When Carlyn Kearney’s husband doesn’t come home from the war and she finds herself homeless, she goes to live with the Shakers. There she expects to live a simple life among the peaceful Shakers, but sometimes nothing is simple. I even have a great dog character in this book. I wish Asher’s picture was on the cover along with Carlyn.

While this is my seventh Shaker novel, I don’t consider myself a Shaker only writer. Before my return to Harmony Hill this year, I set three novels in my small community of Rosey Corner to share the loves and challenges of my Merritt family during the tumultuous historical decades of the 1930’s and 40’s. Then my Heart of Hollyhill novels set in the 1960’s were recently re-released and have been discovered by readers who like getting to know my young character, Jocie, and her family in their Small Town, America setting. Both the Heart of Hollyhill and Rosey Corner series have their share of quirky characters inspired by people I knew from my own small town roots or by the stories my mother told about her childhood in the Thirties. I have been blessed with readers willing to follow me along these various storytelling trails from Harmony Hill to Hollyhill to Rosey Corner and even to 1855 Louisville for one of my stories, Words Spoken True.

 

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

Murder at the Courthouse

Now I’m hoping my readers will follow me to new story place, Hidden Springs where mysteries happen. The first of these small town mysteries, Murder at the Courthouse, will release in October 2015. They are so different from my other novels that my name as author is going to be tweaked a bit to A.H. Gabhart. That is to help readers know these stories are a new storytelling venture for me. I’ve always loved mysteries. Remember those Hardy Boy mysteries that first inspired me to take pen in hand. So it’s been fun to introduce a new cast of small town characters and embroil them in a mystery. Michael Keane has come home to Hidden Springs after spending time on a big city police force. He likes being a deputy sheriff in the town he loves where he’s sure he can keep the peace. But not all in Hidden Springs is as he has always believed.

 

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

Isn’t it great fun how the internet allows us to communicate so effortlessly these days? That’s the one thing about social media I have enjoyed the most. I’ll be reading comments on Facebook or one of my blog posts and think I’m talking with somebody one town over when that person turns out to be across the ocean. I’m amazed to think that the stories this Kentucky country girl writes can find their way to you readers so far away, but I’m also very glad they do. I like hearing from readers wherever they live. Making so many reading friends has been a bonus blessing I didn’t expect when my inspirational stories were published. So thank you for reading and loving books.

 

Do you have any parting words?

My mother used to think she might have a bit of Irish in her family background and so maybe she passed down enough of the Irish to me so I can leave you with this old Irish blessing.

May love and laughter light your days,
And warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
With joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours!

Enduring joy – that’s my heartfelt wish for you. Thanks for inviting me over to share with your reading friends, Ellie. I not only love to write, I love to talk about writing and books. So keep reading, everyone, and let’s stay in touch!

 


Words Spoken True

words-spoken-true(A Novel)

by Ann H. Gabhart

  • Revell Books
  • Historical 
  • February 2012
  • ISBN: 9780800720452

Purchase: 
[Amazon | Kindle | The Book Depository]

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.

When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune‘s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late?

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.


The Innocent

The Innocent
The Innocent

(A Shaker Novel)

by Ann H. Gabhart

  • Revell Books
  • Historical 
  • July 2015
  • ISBN: 9780800723415

Purchase: 
[Amazon | Kindle | The Book Depository]

She longs for peace–for her land and her heart–but can it truly be found at Harmony Hill?

Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. The war ends without further word. Now penniless, in debt, and forced from her home, Carlyn seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, only to discover that they will not allow her to keep her beloved dog, an animal that has been her faithful companion since her husband went off to war. Sheriff Mitchell Brodie has pity on the lovely young woman and agrees to take the dog. Carlyn is just settling into life as a sister in the Shaker village when she receives a devastating letter confirming her worst fears. As she wrestles with whether to commit herself fully to the Shaker life, mysterious deaths begin to occur, and Carlyn comes under suspicion. Can Sheriff Mitchell help her expose the true culprit?

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart invites fans back to Harmony Hill for a story laced with intrigue, romance, and heart.


Murder at the Courthouse

Murder at the Courthouse
Murder at the Courthouse

(Hidden Springs Mysteries #1)

by Ann H. Gabhart

  • Revell Books
  • Contemporary 
  • October 2015
  • ISBN: 9780800700737

Purchase: 
[Amazon | Kindle | The Book Depository]

After a few years as a police officer in Chicago, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried–after all the man was a stranger–until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street.

As Michael works to solve the case it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep readers guessing.

 Connect with Ann H. Gabhart

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

The Innocent

angel-sisterScent-of-Lilacs~~

Be in to win a copy of
The Innocent, Angel Sister
or
The Scent of Lilacs


by Ann H. Gabhart

~~

(ONE copy of The Innocent – WORLDWIDE)
(ONE copy each of Angel Sister or The Scent of Lilacs – USA only)

~~

Contest runs from
July 10-24, 2015 NZDT

b_w_scrolldiv

How to Enter:

Please comment on the interview and/or leave a message for Ann H. Gabhart in the blog comments below, then fill out the contest form with your details.

  • To comment, log in at the top right of the blog (or below the comments)
  • Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment
  • Complete the CONTEST FORM* then return to this blog

Only entries made completing the above criteria will be eligible for drawing. 

*The Contest Form operates through Google Forms. You do not need a Google account to use it. None of the information supplied is used outside of Soul Inspirationz administration of the Giveaway.

 

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