Friday, May 13, 2016

INTERVIEW WITH A.H. GABHART



A. H. Gabhart is the author of Murder at the Courthouse. As Ann H. Gabhart, she is the bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, and several popular Shaker novels such as The Outsider, The Believer, and The Innocent. Ann grew up in a small rural town in Kentucky much like Hidden Springs. She and her husband still live on a farm near that same Kentucky town. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

INTERVIEW

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  

I am a woman blessed beyond measure with the place I live, the family I love, and the stories I imagine.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

I’m not sure it qualifies as a hobby, but I do like to hike and enjoy taking photos of wildflowers and other beauties of nature to share with my Facebook friends. My dog, Oscar, a lab chow mix keeps me company on my walks, and sometimes so do a few of my nine grandchildren. I have a huge to-be-read stack of books and dream of someday taking a long reading vacation.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

My favorite book was Black Beauty. I shed many tears over that story. But I also read every Hardy Boy mystery in our local library and credit those books with starting me down the writing trail. The Hardy Boys inspired me to begin writing my own mystery since I fancied the idea of being a detective and solving a mystery the way they did in their stories.

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I grew up on a farm. I got the first dog that was mine alone when I was eight and have had at least one dog buddy in my life ever since.

The very first “profit” I made from writing was winning 100 baby chicks when I was in the sixth grade and entered a 4-H essay contest.

The question I get asked the most is how many books have I written. I don’t know the answer to that since some of my books haven’t been published. But Murder Comes by Mail is my 30th published book. You’d think I’d know that number straight off, but I had to count up the books. Maybe with a nice even number like 30, I’ll be able to remember now.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I have re-invented myself as a writer several times. The first book I wrote way back in the 1970s was a gothic romance. That book is still on my reject shelf. My first published book was a general market historical romance. Then when I couldn’t keep up with market trends for that genre in the 1980s, I wrote a number of young adult coming of age novels. When I again hit a slow spot in selling my work, I decided to write a book about a preacher and his family. That story brought me into the Christian inspirational market. I love writing for this market, but even here, I’ve written several different genres. I have some stories set in small towns, my Heart of Hollyhill series and my Rosey Corner series, that I think of as family stories with historical and romance threads. One book, Words Spoken True, is a historical romance set in 1855 Louisville. Then I have my Shaker books with settings in the 1800s. And now, my new releases are contemporary cozy mysteries set in a small town. So yes, I have changed course. The why was sometimes due to lack of interest from editors and sometimes because that was the story I wanted to write at a particular time.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Back when I was a beginning writer and had obtained an agent to represent me, I sent a manuscript to her which she rejected with the comment that my characters were “cardboard characters.” That was tough. But she didn’t give up on me and my next book actually was the one that found a publisher.

The best might have been when my book, Love Comes Home, won the Selah Book of the Year in 2015. One of the judges said my story left her changed. Another time, a reader said she had been able to finally deal with the sorrow of losing a baby thirty years ago after reading that same book, Love Comes Home. It is a good feeling to know readers are touched by your stories. 

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

Sometimes I think I’ve already tried them all. But actually, back when I was writing for young adults, I did consider and write several chapters of one of those another world fantasy ideas. Plus, I have also tried my hand at writing devotions with the thought of perhaps compiling a book of inspirational ponderings. I have yet to come up with enough inspirational thoughts for an entire book, but maybe someday. I don’t know that I have a why for either of those other than the answer I used to give my kids. Just because.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

I might try to see if I could write for the inspirational fiction market earlier in my career, but I doubt if I could have done that when I started writing. Back then, I don’t think Christian fiction was a separate genre. That specialized market evolved later when readers weren’t able to find the kind of books they wanted to read in the general market.

But everything I’ve done has been a learning experience so perhaps things worked out as they should have. You can’t go back and do things over anyway.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

Tell the story you want to tell. If you get rejections, and most writers do, don’t let that make you give up or stop believing in yourself. Just keep writing. Few get really good at anything without practice. So keep in mind that everything you write is practice.

Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win a copy of MURDER COMES BY MAIL!

 
Doing a good deed never felt so bad

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man
back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses—a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens.

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves—because the killer could be targeting one of them next.
 

 

50 comments:

  1. Thank you for the encouraging interview. Put my name in for the drawing. The book sounds entertaining. lill dot kohler at gmail dot com

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    1. Glad you think the story sounds entertaining, Lill. I do want readers to enjoy reading my books.

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  2. I never realized you had written in so many different genres. Thirty books? Wow! I've read a couple of your books and really enjoyed them. Mysteries are fun to read and trying to figure out the ending before I finish never works for me. Please throw my name in the hat.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I can sometimes figure out who did it, but not always. I do enjoy reading good mystery stories. I have written a lot of different type stories, Gail. Something for everyone. :)

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  3. Sounds intriguing! jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Intriguing is the perfect word for a mystery, Joan.

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  4. I love Ann's books! This cozy sounds absolutely yummy! Throw my name into the hat! maryeellis at yahoo dot com

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    1. So good to be visiting here, Mary. And glad you think the mystery sounds interesting. Missed seeing you in Cincinnati.

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  5. I love Ann's books! This cozy sounds absolutely yummy! Throw my name into the hat! maryeellis at yahoo dot com

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  6. I love Ann's books! This cozy sounds absolutely yummy! Throw my name into the hat! maryeellis at yahoo dot com

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  7. I love Ann's books but have not read any in this series yet. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of "Murder Comes in the Mail".

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Hope if you get a chance to read my Hidden Springs mysteries, you'll enjoy the stories, Wendy. And thanks for reading some of my other books.

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  8. Love your books Ann! Looking forward to reading number 30 of yours. It sounds really good, but not surprising your other books are great. Have a bless weekend.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Diana, that's so nice. I look forward to you reading number 30 too.

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  9. Looks like a great read! Thanks, Kristie
    tklovenest at aol dot com

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    1. Thanks. I hope a lot of people will like going to Hidden Springs for a visit, Kristie.

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  10. I love all of Ann's books especially the Shaker series they are Awesome just like Mary Ellis, they are both fantastic authors I would love to win this book klobucher3897@gmail.com

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Lois. I'm glad you've enjoyed my Shaker books and everybody loves Mary's books.

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  11. I love all of Ann's books especially the Shaker series they are Awesome just like Mary Ellis, they are both fantastic authors I would love to win this book klobucher3897@gmail.com

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  12. I love her books. cheetahthecat1986(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim. I appreciate that.

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  13. I have already read Ann's first book in this series and it was great! I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for this giveaway.d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed your first visit to Hidden Springs, Donna. Hope you'll like the return visit.

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  14. Loving all the comments, guys. I'll come back later to talk, but I've got my 7 year old grandsons here today and wow, can they ever keep me busy. So I'll check in later if I don't fall asleep first. :)

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  15. I've read several of Ann's books and really enjoyed them. Since I also like cozy mysteries, Murder Comes by Mail sounds like a perfect book for me. Thanks for the chance to win it.
    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Thanks so much for reading some of my books, Pam. I really appreciate that and hope you'll like the Hidden Springs mysteries.

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  16. I love your books and this one sounds so awesome. As always I would love to win a copy of this book. spotts06ATcomcastDOTnet.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading my books, Stella. I do so appreciate that and I'm glad you think this one sounds like a good read. Good luck in the drawing.

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  17. Murder Comes by Mail is a book I would really enjoy reading. I also think its fun that you won 100 chicks in the writing contest Ann!
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryann

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    1. That is a fun thing and shows how much of a country girl I am, Maryann. I didn't eat fried chicken all year after I raised those babies. LOL.

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  18. My dream is to someday take a long reading vacation too....lol!! Or be able to hibernate for a year with just me & my books, I MIGHT just make a dent in my leaning tower of Pisa TBR pile :-D I've always been an avid reader ever since I could read my first books way back in elementary school. I'd often be found in the library in High School or on the weekends checking out enough books to see me through the weekend. Back before I was a Christian, as a young woman I read the regular Harlequin romance books. I was hooked with stories with romance in them. Once I gave my heart to the Lord, I still wanted to read romance but not all the other stuff that the secular market put out. That's when I discovered the Love Inspired & Heartsong Presents line of Christian books. I was hooked!!! From there,I discovered many different genres in the inspirational category; Amish, Contemporary, Historical, and Suspense, etc. I even read some speculative books by Frank Perretti, although I don't read those so much anymore. I've found a vast variety of books for whatever reading mood I happen to be in. Buying my first Kindle 4 years ago has really taken me into the digital age of reading. Imagine thousands of books on one device you can take anywhere you go and not take up room in your suitcase, lol! I could have never imagined that :-) I still prefer my paperbacks to digital, however as I like to pass those on to m sister-in-law when I'm done reading them.

    Cozy mysteries are kind of new to me. I have read some general market ones & enjoyed a few. I especially love the quirky titles they give them, "Death by Darjeeling" for example, I believe that's a series of mystery books set in tea shops (or something like that). Your book "Murder Comes by Mail" sounds like a good one too. I do like small town stories because I happen to live in one and understand a small town feel :-) Thanks for the fun interview and book giveaway chance!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  19. Great comment, Trixi. Enjoyed reading about your love of reading and how and why you started reading inspirational novels. Romance is good in most any genre, isn't it? I read some on my iPad and occasionally on my Nook, but I'm like you in that I prefer the paper copies and I have plenty of them waiting in my TBR pile too. We'll just have to take that long reading vacation. I hope if you do get a chance to "go" to Hidden Springs and read about the mysterious happenings there, that you'll have a good time.

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  20. Looking forward to reading this book and seeing how Michael deals with the problem

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    1. Always good to hear from you, Ola. I hope you like Michael's next adventure into mystery.

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  21. I can't believe you've been writing since the 70's...and I have only recently discovered your books...I practically lived at the library in the 70's...also was surprised that you had tried writing fantasy stories...can't wait to read this new series...also going to check out all your other books...please enter me in this drawing...thank you for the chance! inkdrinker4ever@yahoo.com

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    1. Well, I had several stretches where I didn't get much published and then one long stretch where I was writing books for kids. So glad you have discovered my books now, Mary. I like your e-mail name. :)

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  22. would love to win angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  23. I have always enjoyed Ann's books but after meeting her two times through the library where I worked, I now feel a 'kinship'. And we both call Kentucky home!
    Thanks for featuring Ann and giving one of us the chance to own her newest book!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Connie. Always good when you check out my guest posts. I appreciate that so much and we can be Kentucky "kin." I enjoyed visiting the Suspense Sisters to talk about my new mystery.

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  24. love Ann's books and would love to win! Rhonda
    nashhall@aol.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Rhonda. I appreciate you reading my books so much. Good luck in the drawing.

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  25. I really enjoy Ann's books. She is a very talented author and I would love to read this! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks so much, Sonja. I appreciate your kind words and you reading my books.

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  26. I love reading your interview. I would love to win a copy of this book. handydandycandy@live.com
    Cindy Cooper

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    1. Thanks for reading my interview, Cindy.

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  27. I am too late for contest but still wanted to comment. I love good mysteries and this book sounds like it will be awesome! I really enjoyed the interview! I love the Title! The cover is gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet. I like mysteries too and hope my Hidden Springs stories will make some mystery readers happy. It is a great cover, isn't it? Grimalkin is a very lovely cat.

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  28. I would love to win a copy of "Murder Comes By Mail". I very much enjoyed "Murder at the Courthouse" and would like to continue on with the story. Thanks so much for the giveaway. lclee59@centurylink.net

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    1. Thanks, Connie. I hope you will enjoy a return visit to Hidden Springs when you get a chance to read Murder Comes by Mail.

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