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?
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:
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!!