Stories that Matter

Featured Friday Author – Ann Gabhart!

I love books. So it stands to reason I’m going to love a blog about books. What a great place to meet new reading friends and to find out more about those people behind the books! I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ stories. I love reading about when they first started writing and how they broke into publishing. I’m guessing that many of you out there are like me and enjoy hearing the who, what, and where of the names under the titles on the books you read. Since my name may have been on a few books you’ve seen or read, here I go with my own story on how that came about.

So who am I? I’m a country girl who grew up on a farm. I was one of three daughters and no sons, so we helped our dad out in the fields. I liked driving the tractor, but didn’t get to do that very often since I was the youngest of the girls. I married a farm boy and naturally, as soon as we could get a loan, we bought a farm for ourselves. I was a very young mother who had two children by the time I was nineteen and added another a few years later. But from the time I was a kid, I wanted to write down stories. I filled countless wire-bound notebooks with my stories and kept a journal from the time I was a young teen. But that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to publish my writing. I wanted readers to read my stories. I didn’t want to simply hide them away in a drawer. With that goal, I began typing up my stories, stuffing them in manila envelopes and sending them out to magazines. I published a few of those short stories and personal experience pieces now and again. Then I tried my hand at writing a novel and knew I’d found my writing niche. That’s what I wanted to write – big, long stories where I could stay with the same characters for months while they lived out their stories in my head.

In 1978, I experienced the magic of writing a story an editor actually decided readers might want to buy, and my first book, a mass market paperback historical romance, was published for the general market. That was followed by another historical romance and eleven young adult and middle reader books in the 1980s and 1990s. Then my writing magic seemed to lose its twinkle. The editors stopped thinking my stories were stories their readers would want to read. One of my rejects said that there was nothing really wrong with my novel but nothing right either. Now that was helpful!

But even when my books weren’t finding loving editors, I kept writing. It seems writing is necessary for me to keep my happiness quotient at the proper level. After several years of no letters saying there was enough right about my books, I decided to take the age old advice and write what I knew. I quit worrying about market and wrote a story I could love whether anybody else did or not. That story became my first inspirational fiction novel, Scent of Lilacs, published by Revell Books in 2005. I’m happy to report that book is being repackaged for a second release in March 2013.

Then I wrote a book about the Shakers that became The Outsider. Now The Gifted is my fifth Shaker novel set in my Shaker village of Harmony Hill. The Shakers were a unique and interesting group and made a great background for my historical novels. I’ve also written other historical novels for Revell Books that don’t have the Shaker background – Words Spoken True and Angel Sister. A follow-up novel, Small Town Girl, with the same characters as Angel Sister is scheduled for July 2013.

 So where I am now is still where I’ve always been–loving to tell stories. In The Gifting, my character, Jessamine, has the same innate desire to write down stories. She has lived with the Shakers for half her life, but can’t contain her curiosity about the world. I gave her the same joy in writing that I’ve always known.

Where am I going? I hope I’ll continue to have characters come to life in my imagination. Writing isn’t always easy. Sometimes the words are hard to dig out of my mind to tell those stories, but I can’t imagine not writing. It’s what I do.  I hope some of you will go along with me on my story trails.

About The Gifted

Some dreams were meant to come true. Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her young life, but in spite of how she loves her sisters there, she struggles to conform to the strict rules. Instead she entertains dreams of the world outside. When Tristan Cooper seems to step out of those dreams to entice her into the forbidden realm beyond the Shaker Village, her life turns upside down.

Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?

About Ann

Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths her character might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Ann is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and Angel Sister. The Gifted is the fifth book set in her Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

Ann lives on a farm with her husband, Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit her:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

All right, now you tell me. Do like hearing about how your favorite writers got started in the book business? I guess I’m hoping you’ll say yes after I just told you my story. LOL.

Ann has graciously offered to GIVE AWAY a copy of The Gifted, so be sure to leave your contact information when you comment!! 

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31 Comments

  1. wanderer on August 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Anne, the Shakers have always fascinated me. Like you, I filled many a notebook and just lived inside my stories. Thanks for an inspiring success story, a success story with two happy endings.

    Catherine, I’ve followed your blog for over a year but never commented. Just wanted to let you know I always read and enjoy your posts and you’ve elongated my to-read list.

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks, wanderer, for chiming in this time. Sometimes when I’m giving talks about writing, I’ll ask if there’s anything more fun than a notebook and pen. Glad to finally meet somebody who knows what I mean when I say that.

      And so nice of you to let Catherine know you enjoy her posts. As a blogger myself who doesn’t get comments on every post, when I do get one from someone who likes something I’ve written or posted, it means a lot. So thank you from both of us.

    • Cathy West on August 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Glad you stopped by today and happy to hear you are enjoying the blog!

  2. Janet Goodlett on August 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I always enjoy reading how an author starts in such a career. I think having the creative mind for writing is a God-given talent. I’ve known Ann most of my life but I never knew how her writing started. Knowing Ann as both a person and an author has reminded me of one thing I never thought of before her books. Authors are real people with “normal”, everday lives! Anne is a mother, grandmother, daughter, wife and friend. She just has a great talent! Keep those books coming Ann! And tell Evelyn hello for me.

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks for dropping by, Janet. It’s always good to hear from hometown friends. I’m about as normal and everyday as they come. 🙂

  3. Carmee Gueth Ross on August 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for this giveaway! Love reading this story of Ann’s beginnings. There were some “bumps in the road” but it all came together and using your Shaker village as your backdrop has made for some interesting and enjoyable storylines. Hope you always enjoy writing because I enjoy reading your stories.

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      I have the desire to write, but there are times when it’s more fun to have written than to actually do the hard part of getting those stories down, Carmee. Always good to see your comments.

  4. Paula Osborne on August 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Cathy , thanks for sharing Ann Gabhart with us today-
    Ann,
    Here I am again just giving you a quick Hi from Ga, I always like to stop by the places I see you and your books, didn’t hear it in this blog but have you found that idea for another story yet? I am watching to see what will come for your next story as I enjoy all your previous ones.
    I haven’t read Gifted yet so would love to be in the drawing.

    thanks for sharing
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Good luck in the drawing, Paula. And I do have an idea. Now all I have to do is get it out of my head and into my computer. So hard to get the time necessary for writing right now with everything else going on with my Mom. And tonight my twin boys are coming home to celebrate their birthday. They’ll be 4 tomorrow. So I had to get b-day presents and cook a b-day supper. Good things to distract me from writing.

  5. Sherri Myers on August 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Hi, Ann. Thanks for the interesting interview; I enjoyed reading it! Yes, I enjoy reading how authors got started and the more of you I come to know through your interviews and facebook interactions (and my reviews) I realize you’re all just regular people like the rest of us who just happen to also make up stories. 🙂 I love writing with a pen (purple is my favorite!) and notebook, have a couple journals of my own that have helped save my sanity the last several years. I like writing reviews, but lately my brain and thoughts have been pretty scrambles so it’s been a struggle for me doing that. Hopefully soon I can get back into doing that. Wish you much luck with your new book! God bless, Sherri christianbookreviewer at gmail dot com

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks, Sherri. Glad you enjoyed reading about my writing roots. Journals do help keep us sane. And I admire those of you who write reviews. Not as easy as it might seem to try to condense your thoughts about a book into a couple of paragraphs without putting spoilers in there. Hope you’ll be feeling like reviewing again soon. Blessings back to you.

  6. Amy C on August 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Ann. I love learning about the authors who write great books!
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Amy C. I like learning about other authors too.

  7. Jane Squires on August 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I have tried winning this on a few sites so will try again. I know Ann’s books and even reviewed a couple. jrs362 at hotmail dot com
    So please enter me

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Good luck this time, Jane. I appreciate you coming over to leave comments when I’m out visiting on other sites. And I especially appreciate you reviewing the ones you’ve read.

  8. Dona West on August 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Love reading your books and passing them on to my customers weither it be in my Flea market store or on line. Love to read and have latched on to your books recently.. I love to try new authors to me from other authors that I read. Have gotten a few good ones this summer. Love following you on Facebook..

    • Cathy West on August 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks for visiting the blog, Dona – we share the same last name! I hope you will also give my books a try. 🙂 Yesterday’s Tomorrow has been out since last year, and Hidden in the Heart will be out this fall. Let me know if you do!

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Hi, Dona. I like readers who are willing to give new authors a try. Thank you for giving mine a try. And for following me on Facebook. I enjoy talking to my reading friends there.

      Cathy, I like the titles of your books. Hidden in the heart sounds very romantic. And I’m like you. I enjoy hearing from the people who have read my books. I joke with the people who buy one of my books at a book fair or book event to send me a message if they read my book and like it, but nevermind if they don’t like it. 🙂

      • Cathy West on August 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

        Thanks, Ann! I love hearing from readers as well, but since I’m a new author, it’s a challenge to increase my readership. I love seeing authors like yourself who have been at this a while, interacting with your readers. i want to be you when I grow up!! 🙂

  9. Nancee on August 11, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I have enjoyed other books by Ann, and from all that I have heard about The Gifted, it will be no disappointment! Thank you for featuring Ann. It’s always nice to know a bit more about the authors who write such wonderful books. Thank you also for offering this giveaway1

    • Cathy West on August 11, 2012 at 11:33 am

      I agree, Nancy! I have a lot of fun on Fridays meeting new authors!

  10. Maxie Lloyd-Hamilton Anderson on August 11, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Hello Cathy and Ann. I enjoyed reading about your life Ann. It makes me feel closer to my authors, when I know more about them. I have tried quite a few times to win this book, with no luck yet.I want to read it very badly. I had never heard of the Shakers before I saw your book. Guess if I can’t ever win it, will have to check out my library. I am interested in how the children come about if they don’t believe in marriage. Do they just live together? Thanks Cathy for this interview, and will have to check out your books also. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

    • Cathy West on August 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

      OOo, good question, Maxie! I would like to know that too. I guess they are ‘married’ under God?? I don’t know anything about this culture so I too found Ann’s interview very interesting! 🙂 One of the big reasons I started this blog was to bring authors and readers together. 🙂

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the interview, Maxie. And definitely not in regard to the Shakers living together in that way! They took in children who were orphaned or needed a home for various reasons. In the 1800s if a family fell on hard times there were few safety nets. If you couldn’t feed your children, you couldn’t feed your children. So when those sorts of troubles happened to people, they would sometimes take their children to the Shakers where they knew they would have shelter, be fed and clothed. They would get to go to school and perhaps learn a trade. The Shakers hoped the children would learn their way and stay with them, but nine out of ten of the children left the Shakers when they got older. It was also the Shakers’ belief that if all became Shakers and lived a perfect life as they thought the Lord intended, then he would give them children in some miraculous way without the need for relations between a man and wife. They believed marriage caused too much stress and all should live as brothers and sisters.

      Good luck in the drawing, Maxie. You keep trying, you’ll win a book one of these days.

  11. Jackie Tessnair on August 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Thanks for sharing Ann.I love your books.I don’t have this book yet and I am looking forward to reading it.I love reading shaker books.Thanks and keep the books coming.

    • Cathy West on August 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Thanks for coming over, Jackie!

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Glad you came over, Jackie, to read the interview. Always good to hear from my reading friends. Good luck in the drawing.

  12. janie on August 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Ann, I enjoyed reading this blog about your roots. I love reading your Shakers books, and Angel Sister!

    Cathy, I like your blog-“This is a Blog About Books”! I have signed up for your blog and am now following you on Tweeter. I going to place your book-“Yesterday’s Tomorrow” on my “To Read List”.
    janiefreeman@live.com

    • Ann H. Gabhart on August 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      Hi, Janie. Always great to hear from you. And I’m glad you enjoyed reading about my roots. It’s fun to find new blogs too. I like it when a new follower sign up to maybe join in the conversation on my own blog. And Tweeter, Twitter – not much difference there. 🙂

  13. janie on August 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    OOpps..I meant Twitter.

  14. Linda McFarland on August 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hi Ann, I seem to follow you everywhere! It is definitely interesting to read about an author’s background. I admire your determination so much. When God gives you a special talent, you are only truly happy when you are fulfilling and using that gift to the fullest. You keep writing, I will keep reading! I do journal although I’m not sure if I’m doing it right…and I love looking at & buying new journals and I absolutely love new ink pens….so I guess that’s a start. I hope you have a blessed week…Linda M

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