Friday, August 9, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature: Ann Gabhart







Today I welcome a small town gal who persistently walked an up and down hill journey. God blessed her with twenty-five published books, and she continues to use the gifts He gave her: Ann Gabhart

Enter to win Ann's new release,
Small Town Girl 
Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

Like many of my fantastic Friday guests, I met Ann through the Internet. I saw her sweet smile and the books she has written and immediately wanted to become friends. I asked Ann about the journey God has led her on, this is what she answered:



Writing isn't Just Magical...


At ten years old, a kid can imagine doing anything. That’s why I picked up a pen and began writing my first story–a mystery modeled after the Hardy Boys books I’d been reading. Of course, in my book I was the cute, smart kid who solved the mystery. Through the magic of imagination, I was no longer shy and awkward. I was the heroine. Right then, the dye was set. I discovered writing could not only be magic, it could be fun.

Fast forward a few years, and I was a very young mother and wife still dreaming that impossible dream of being a writer. How in the world I ever thought that would be possible, I don't know. Maybe I was still too young to know better. I just knew I wanted to write and I wanted to see that writing in print. That was way before I could see my words on the internet. Back then there was no internet, or computers in every home. 

Phones, the property of the phone company, were attached to a cord in the wall. The thought of phones that could take pictures or electronic books were something the Jetsons might have. But there were ink pens and wire bound notebooks. There were typewriters. Plenty of ways to write and in spite of how hard it was to find hours for writing in my busy life as a mother with a toddler and a baby, I was determined to chase down those hours. Those hours were very slippery and hard to grab for writing with so many other things demanding my attention.

Finally I began keeping a journal record of how much I wrote each day. That was my way of keeping my goal in front of me. Some days I couldn't enter any writing progress, and that made me more determined to carve out time to write the next day. I started out writing short pieces and managed to get a few published. Then I wrote my first novel.  I've never looked back. I loved coming up with a set a characters and staying with them through a whole book. I'd found my writing niche. Not that it was easy. I wrote three books before I managed to find a publisher.

That third book, a historical romance for the general market, was published in 1978. I thought I had it made. If I did it once, I could surely do it again. And so I did. Warner Books published my second book in 1980, but then my next novel didn't meet their needs. Once again, I was writing books that weren't finding a publisher. My historical stories were "too clean," the general market editors said.  

I re-invented myself as a writer and began writing for young people. I published eleven chapter books for middle readers and young adults. I really enjoyed writing those coming of age stories, but alas, once more, market trends changed. My books kept returning to me like boomerangs with little “sorry, but no thanks” rejections on them. For several years I wrote without any publishing success. I tried more young adult books. I tried my hand at a cozy mystery. I even tried a fantasy young adult novel. But none of them found a loving editor. One of the rejects said, "There's nothing wrong with this story, but nothing right about it either." What in the world did that mean? I had no idea.   

After an extended dry spell, I began to think I’d never see another book in print. I decided to write one more story. I quit worrying about the markets or what editors might want to see. I wasn’t going to think about anything except writing the story I wanted to write. Something I knew. What I knew was small towns and country churches. 

I loved the characters from the opening sentence, a preacher and his family in a small town during the 1960's.  Jocie was my kind of character and she had a lot of discoveries to make in her little town of Hollyhill, Kentucky. I prayed for that story. I prayed it would find readers. In my heart, I sang that old spiritual “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” And the Lord answered my prayer. He sent my story, Scent of Lilacs, to an editor who happened to love lilacs and so was willing to give the book a read. That editor worked for Revell Books, a Christian publishing house.  I found my new writing home.

I wonder now if the Lord didn’t use my years of rejections to guide me into this market. The rejection filled years weren’t pleasant. I was often very discouraged, but I kept hanging on to hope. The next book. The next editor. The next idea. And I kept writing. The books I wrote during those rejection filled years might never see print, but they were great practice to hone my writing skills. 

Since the day in 2004 that I heard Revell Books wanted to publish Scent of Lilacs, I’ve published twelve more titles. The most recent release is Small Town Girl, published this summer, 2013. A Shaker Christmas novella, Christmas at Harmony Hill, will be out in September. 

I love writing for the Christian market. I’m ever thankful the Lord heard my prayer and gave me stories to share and readers willing to follow my characters on their fictional journeys.

Ann Gabhart is the author of several bestselling novels. She's published twenty-five novels and has more stories on the way. Ann keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband,Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children and nine grandchildren. She loves to walk on the farm with her grandkids, and her dog. She also enjoys reading and getting to know her readers. To find out more about Ann and her books visit: 


www.annhgabhart.com
Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com 
or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart
Twitter, https://twitter.com/AnnHGabhart 



To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Ann Gabhart's book: "Small Town Girl":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.
Good news...International readers may also enter. Ebook will be sent if the winner is International, paperback copy will be sent if the winner is in the U.S.
Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Ann, for Joining us This Weekend!


Reader, talk about ups and downs, Ann certainly has experienced them. I love the way she tells of her persistence to find new ways to get the job done. God calls all of us to do a job, but sometimes it needs to be done differently than we expect.  What have you done for God that you never thought you would do?

50 comments:

  1. I never expected to be doing reviews of Christian books, but find that is where the Lord has led me to at this moment. When I was young I hated doing book reports so I never knew how much I would enjoy doing reviews of Christian books. God is good in so many unexpected ways for He knows our hearts and how to lead them into what delights Him.

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    1. Janice, I didn't much like history classes in school either. Boring, I thought. But then I started writing historical fiction and doing research and find history fascinating. We change and grow and it's good when we can see the pathway the Lord opens for us.

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    2. Janice,
      Isn't it true that tasks required and tasks chosen ring different bells in our head? I must admit I enjoy doing book reviews now, too.

      I always enjoy your contribution to our chats and am always thankful for your inspiration.

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  2. How interesting! I never dreamed that I would be a singer, let alone that God would provide a way to go to college for it. His grace is always sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. Solo de gloria.

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    1. The Lord must have given you a singing talent, Julianna. So go that He opened a way for you to use it and demonstrate His grace in your life.

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    2. Julianna,
      A singer! I wish I could attend your concerts. Life caused my daughter to start her training a bit late for singing. She is so very happy in the choral conducting program. Wouldn't it be amazing to have you two connected. God does do amazing things.
      Blessings on your musical career.

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  3. I loved hearing this story. And as a small-town girl myself, I'm excited to read Ann's next book. Oh, also, I started writing because of how obsessed I was with Nancy Drew books as a kid! So the Hardy Boys comment at the beginning made me smile. :)

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    1. Melissa, those Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew mysteries get the blame for a lot of us young writers first picking up the pen. LOL. Maybe because that's where he first get pulled into the fun of stories. Good to hear from another small-town girl who writes. Hope if you get a chance to read my book, you'll enjoy the small town story.

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    2. Having grown up in the big city, Detroit, I especially enjoy the small-town stories. They have a sense of peace, slower pace, and ...fresh air.

      And isn't Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys a right of passage. Sure hope the current generation is inducted into the club.

      Always love having you here, Melissa.

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  4. Hi Ann i would love to win a copy oif Small Town Girl, thank you
    Shirley B

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    1. Hi, Shirley. It's always fun to have you visit one of my guest blog appearances. Thanks, and good luck in the drawing.

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    2. Shirley,
      Thanks for stopping by. It seems you are friends already with Ann, you two started talking the moment you walked in the door. What fun!

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  5. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs and perseverance. Keeping a journal entry of how much write is great idea. Blessings to you.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I've had plenty of ups and downs but the words and stories always kept coming. The journal was a big help to keep me focused on my goal when I was starting out.

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  6. This was a great post! I never thought I'd be a book reviewer even though my sister tried to tell me many times that I should try it. But after my first review I was hooked and I absolutely love it! It has also given me the chance to "meet" so many amazing people, which is awesome! Thanks for the giveaway I'm really looking forward to this book!
    gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Abby,
      Good point, writing book reviews is a great way to "meet" amazing people. I'm so glad you stopped by, grab some virtual sweet tea before you leave. :)

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    2. Mary, I'll have some of that tea. With a splash of lemon, please. Abbi, glad you enjoyed the post. I'm so glad you enjoy being a reviewer. It's not that easy telling about a book in a few paragraphs without revealing spoilers. I admire people able to do that.

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    3. Totally drinking that virtual sweet tea since it's my favorite drink of all time!

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  7. Great post, I would love to read this book. inspiremichelle@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Hope if you get a chance to read any of my books, you'll enjoy the stories.

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    2. Michelle,
      So nice to see you here today. Thanks for coming!

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  8. I have developed an acquaintanceship with Ann on F/B and enjoy all her postings. I would love to win this book so I may delve into her psyche a little more. My impression of her is one of faith and strength, kindness and joy. Always nice to meet her kind of people through her post and hopefully through her books.

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    1. Anonymous, what nice things to say about me. I'm blushing, but happy you feel that way about my FB postings. I hope if you get my book, you'll enjoy the story.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by. If you get a chance to stop by again, we'd love to know your name and email for the contest.

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  9. I would love to win this book! I am facing a full shoulder replacement, and need a good book to read while recuperating. Bgauthier49@live.com

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    1. So sorry about the shoulder replacement surgery coming up for you, B. Hope it goes well and you find lots of good books to read while you're recuperating. Good luck!

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    2. While the days ahead will be uncomfortable, the days to follow will be much better. I'm sorry you are in pain. Thanks so much for joining us today. I really hope to see you again.

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  10. Hi, Ann!

    Really enjoyed your interview re: your journey as an author. Haven't read any of your books, but would love to - especially Small Town Girl, as I grew up on a farm in the 60's near a small town in Ky. (& have now retired in that town). Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    P.S. Curious as to what small town in Ky. YOU live near?

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    1. Hi, Bonnie. I live near Lawrenceburg sort of in the central region of the state. What small town are you near? I grew up on a farm too - the best way to grow up although I didn't appreciate all the farm chores when I was a kid. Hope you'll get one of my books and give it a try.

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    2. Bonnie,
      You're a small town girl, too? What fun. You an Ann have so much in common, I'm enjoying your conversation. Thanks for stopping by again this week. I look forward to seeing you again.

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    3. Ann,

      I live about 20 miles south of Louisville - & have been to Lawrenceburg numerous times.

      My dad built our house - my parents have lived there for over 65 years. I agree that living on a farm is the best way to grow up, & like you - I didn't appreciate the hard work either (hay baling, stripping tobacco, corn crops, milking cows, feeding pigs, raising chickens, canning, cooking for hired hands, etc., etc., etc.).

      I certainly WILL try one of your books!

      bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    4. Sounds like we had like times growing up, Bonnie. Hated stripping tobacco the most just because it took so long!! I never learned to milk cows. Mom said I shouldn't if I didn't want to have to do the milking all the time. LOL. But I did most of those others. Liked raising chickens and bottle feeding lambs the most.

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  11. Linda D. McFarlandAugust 9, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I never dreamed I'd be living so far from my family but God has given me strength to step out of my comfort zone. God is so good. Would love to win...thanks for the opportunity...Great post, I'm a bit fan of Ann's!..Linda
    dmcfarl101(at)juno(dot)com

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh, I am so with you. My family does a lot of moving and as a result I often am far away from family. I hope your stepping out of your comfort zone has brought your some great new friends.

      Thanks for joining us today. Sure loved chatting with you.

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    2. Hi, Linda. One of the great things about being a Christian is that there is always a church family you can connect with wherever you are. And of course, the Lord is always there giving you that strength. You and Mary have experiences I don't since I've lived in this area all my life. My house now is about a mile from where I grew up. Deep roots!

      I'm glad you came over to check out my post, Linda. Good luck in the drawing.

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  12. Hi Mary. I've not done anything big for GOD I guess. I do know I have been asked to sub teach my ladies Sunday School and have turned it down. Didn't feel I could do it. I am wondering if that was GOD's way to test me. I did join a group to visit our shut ins and have enjoyed that. I sure would love to win Ann's new book. I love her. She is such a sweet Loving person. I am so glad you had this talk with Ann. I am also a follower of this blog. Please give me 2 entries. Thanks! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Hi Maxie,
      So nice to see you again. I'm glad you could stop by today.
      Sometimes we don't realize we are doing the very thing God asks us to do. A smile can warm a lonely person's heart, preyer for those who are hurting, attending a Sunday School class to encourage the teacher. Perhaps you are doing way more for God than you realize. :)
      One church I attended linked the shut ins with younger families. It worked especially well for those who didn't have grandparents in the area. We were the perfect family for this assignment. We had two small children and lived five hours away from the grandparents. The person in charged placed us with the grouchy, opinionated widow. We grew to love her so much and had a lot of fun with her. I hope you get to visit the shut ins more.

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    2. Mary Vee, that's such a great program for a church to undertake and a great witness story. Glad you were able to bring sunshine to that widow's life. And Maxie, Mary Vee is right. Sometimes we don't realize how the little things we do make a difference in other people's life. I'm sure the shut-ins are blessed by your visits. Glad you came by to listen in to my talk with Mary Vee.

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  13. I loved reading this post and learning more about Ann's journey as a writer. Just knowing that all the pieces didn't fall together easily for her encourages me to keep going and keep trying! Mary, thank you so much for hosting Ann. What I've done for God that I never expected to do is to set aside my writing career for a time to take care of my husband's parents, one of the most difficult and yet, in many ways, rewarding thing I've ever done. My email address is sue@sueharrison.com.

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    1. Hi, Sue. So fun to see your comment here. I am continually amazed that I can be friends with the author of bestselling books that I loved so much when I read them years before I knew you. And you did make a big sacrifice to care for your husband's parents. As you know, I'm struggling along some of the same paths with my mother now, but so far I haven't had to give up writing. Thanks to my sister and my mother having enough savings to hire caretakers for part of the hours. You are going to be like me and re-invent yourself as a writer with books people will enjoy after this time to re-group. Hope the e-book versions of Mother Earth, Father Sky and all the rest are selling well for you.

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    2. Sue,
      Another authoress joins us today. I am deeply honored! Thank you, Sue.
      God has given you a noble task. Taking care of our aging parents is a difficult task. My mom is suffering from dementia. It is a heart breaker. Your parents-in-law are so blessed to have your loving care.

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  14. There have been times when I've done things out of my comfort zone, like talking about my testimony when my mom brought it up in a conversation. What I hope for is that God encourages the people that we talk to, and that His name is glorified. =)

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Elyssa. We all have our own testimony and it's good that you've been willing to share yours. I'm sure others have been encouraged by your spiritual journey.

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    2. Elyssa,
      What a delight to have you join us today. Sharing our testimony can take real courage, especially to a family member we love so much. I struggled to share with my mother-in-law. I know we shouldn't be so nervous about the conversation, but I think we want to make sure we don't accidentally steer the person away. sigh. I am so with you on this topic. In the mean time, your hopes mean so much for all of us who have read your comment.
      Thank you so much for joining us today. It was a real treat.

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    3. Thank you Elyssa for becoming a follower. I look forward to the next time you can chat with us!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your writing journey. As a pre-published author, it's helpful, sobering, and encouraging to learn about the roads others travelled.
    cheriegagnon [at] bell [dot] net

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    1. Cherie,
      Thanks so much for stopping by today. Let me encourage you with lessons I've learned from past Friday author guest: not everyone travels a difficult road. Some do, some don't. I think God gives us the journey that will polish our books the best. Some, like me, need a few whops upside the head to get the process correct. Others, like Cara Putman soar right through. If you want to read other authors' journeys, I have a tab at the top you can click and scroll down to the author of your choice or the title that intrigues you the most.

      Thanks so much for joining us here today. I loved chatting with you.

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    2. Cherie, wishing you much luck on your journey to publication. As you saw in my story, the writing road can be tough at times. But the best thing to do is keep writing and keep pushing your work out there. For a different guest blog post, I looked up my first check earned for writing. It was in 1971 for $44. I didn't see another acceptance for almost a year and then I sold a little poem that brought me the big check of $3. :) But somehow I stay encouraged and even more important, determined. So grab hold of that word perseverance and keep writing.

      Oh, and Mary Vee, most writers can talk about a few struggles along the writing road. Maybe I won't go back and read Cara's soaring journey. LOL!

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    3. Too true, Ann. I thought I'd dabble the easy one out there. It's like the mom's who go into labor and birth the baby in one hour...where as folk like me go into labor for 36 hours. Hmmm. Looks like I got on the long curvy road to publication, too. LOL

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Thank you for commenting! Your thoughts add a lot to our conversations and the Never Give Up Stories