Friday, December 18, 2009

Ann H. Gabhart ~ Interview + Giveaway!

Today author Ann H. Gabhart is telling us about her book, The Believer. She has offered an autographed copy of her book to one lucky winner!

Welcome, Ann! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a country girl who loves to write. I have three grown children, all married, and nine beautiful grandchildren who keep me hopping. I’m married to a wonderful man who loves to sing gospel music as much as I love to write. Darrell sings bass in The Patriot Quartet, a Southern Gospel group. I like walking on our farm with my three dogs. I attend a small country church a lot like the church in my Hollyhill books. Right now for lack of anybody else willing to do it, I’m leading the singing there even though I’m not much of a singer. But I’m willing to try most anything except jumping out of an airplane. I’ll leave that one up to President George Bush who says he’s going to skydive again on his 90th birthday. I prefer the birthday excitement of a nice hot cup of tea and a new book to read.

How long have you been writing? How many books do you have published?
When I was nine or ten I loved to read Hardy Boy mysteries and decided to write my own mystery with me, my sister, and my cousin as the crime solvers. That was loads of fun and I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve published nineteen books in various genres and have five more under contract to be released in the next few years. My first novel, a historical romance, was published in 1978. My first inspirational novel, The Scent of Lilacs, was published in 2005. I love writing for the inspirational market. The readers of inspirational fiction are great.

If you compared your writing style to any other Christian Fiction author, who would it be? Also, how would you rate your romance?
While I’ve had some reviewers compare my writing to this or that other writer, that’s not something I do. I like thinking I have my own unique style the same as those other writers do.

I’d describe my novels as G but there is some kissing in the stories. Of course with the Shaker novels, the kissing is rare since the Shakers didn’t believe in men and women having any sort of romantic relationships. They believed all should live as brothers and sisters.

In your own words tell us a little about The Believer.
The Believer is set in 1833-34 in a Shaker community in Kentucky. The two main characters, Elizabeth and Ethan, come to Harmony Hill by different paths. Ethan is raised by the Shakers after he makes his escape from an abusive father. Years later Elizabeth ends up in the Shaker Village when her father dies and she has no way to take care of her younger brother and sister. Naturally when Elizabeth and Ethan first meet, sparks fly, but since such feelings are forbidden in a Shaker community where matrimony is considered sinful and the Shakers practice extreme measures to keep contact between the sexes at a minimum, there seems little hope for their romance. Ah, but the need for love is hard to deny. The story has several other characters that add depth to the story including Elizabeth’s little sister. Hannah is a free spirit who struggles with the Shaker rules even as Elizabeth does her best to keep her out of trouble. Ethan is guided in his spiritual growth by a kind Shaker brother, Issachar. Both Elizabeth and Ethan are faced with challenges that test their beliefs and courage.

While The Believer is set in the same Shaker community as The Outsider, the stories take place in different time periods, 1812 and 1833-34, and aren’t about the same characters. However they are book one and two of my Shaker book series. Book three, The Seeker will be released in the summer of 2010 and takes place during Civil War times.

Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When she hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But when she feels a strong attachment to a handsome young believer named Ethan, life gets complicated. Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can't shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling? Or will Ethan's love for her change their lives forever?

What made you want to write this story?
My first Shaker book, The Outsider, was very popular with readers and actually was a finalist for 2009 Fiction Book of the Year Award given by ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishing Association). So my editor encouraged me to write a couple more Shaker books to build on the popularity of that first book. I was a bit hesitant at first, not sure I could come up with new stories set among the Shakers, but then after more research and getting to know my characters, I really enjoyed telling Elizabeth’s and Ethan’s story.

What research did you have to do for this book?
The Shakers were a unique religious group that started up in America a few years before the Revolutionary War. They grew in popularity in the Nineteenth Century and then gradually died out until now there are only four active Shakers in Maine. I tried to read as many books about the Shakers as I could so that I could get an understanding of their religious ideas and how they lived. I also had to research the time period to try to make the story as historically accurate as possible while letting my characters live their stories.

Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
I’m not much of a movie buff, so I have to admit I’m totally out of touch with current movies and movie stars. My publishing company asked me to send in movie star pictures for my heroine in the book that will be out next summer and I had to google red-haired actresses. But I’ll play along. If I was casting the parts of Elizabeth and Ethan in The Believer, Ethan would be the most handsome dark-haired actor there is and Elizabeth would be an actress who is spunky and blessed with common sense. So how about Leonardo DiCapria for Ethan? And Ashley Judd would make a good Elizabeth even though she might be a bit old for the part.

What are you working on now or going to write next?
I’m writing my fourth Shaker novel. It’s in the early stages so I haven’t come up with a title yet. But I’m actually working right now on the copy edits of The Seeker, my third Shaker book, that’s scheduled for release in July 2010.

How can readers get in contact with you?
I always enjoy hearing from readers. It’s fun to hear what they think about my books and my characters. You can get in contact with me from my website, or check out my Facebook fan page at I also have a blog, One Writer’s Journal,, where readers can keep up with what’s going on down here on the farm and in my writing life. I usually post on Wednesdays and Sundays and I do my best to respond to all comments and messages.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. I’m also reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, an entertaining book about writing and how to find the stories within and then get them out on paper or the computer screen. Her language is not crystal clean, but if you can get past that, her advice is excellent.

Tell us something surprising about yourself that readers may not know.
I grew up on a farm. When I was fourteen, I begged to bushhog a field so I could drive the tractor. I got married when I was seventeen and have been married forever. I don’t recommend marrying so young, but it worked for my husband and me.

If you could be any animal, which would you choose? Why?
A dog of course. Because dogs know how to have fun. They love without reservation, forgive easily, and don’t mind getting dirty.

TV show, and/or movie?
I don’t watch much T.V. My husband likes to watch all those talking head news programs. I like reading newspapers to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I do love sports and watch University of Kentucky basketball without fail. As for my favorite movie, I enjoyed the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies with Harrison Ford because they were so much fun. As I said earlier, I’m not a big movie buff. I’d rather read the books.

Place to go on vacation?
I love hiking in the mountains and I love walking on the beach. So anywhere with oceans or mountains is good.

Book this year or month? Why?
My favorite book this year? That’s a hard pick. Maybe Ahab’s Wife by Sera Jeter Naslund because of the lyrical writing and all the historical details. Or Stephen King’s On Writing. I like to read other writers’ how-I-got-started-writing stories and King is an entertaining writer even when he’s giving out writing advice.

Do you have a link to a place to read the first chapter of this book?
I have links to a portion of the first and third chapters on the Shaker Books page on my website,

The Believer was released on August 1, 2009.
**USA and Canada residents only, please**

Okay readers, here is your chance to win an autographed copy of The Believer! To enter: Leave a comment with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win), and please specify that you want to be included in the contest! *If you want an extra entry, become one of my followers.* The comment is mandatory. (Please, say in the comment if you are a follower!! It makes my job easier when you do.) You will not be entered unless you leave a comment. If you are already a follower, and then you leave a comment, you will still get two entries in the contest. The contest will run from today (Dec. 18) until 10:30 CST on Thursday (Dec. 24). I will announce the winner that night. The winner is always randomly drawn. I will contact the winner on Friday the 25th, and then that person will have one week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner. Good luck! Thanks for visiting.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview...thank you for the opportunity to read this fabulous book.


collettakay said...

I really enjoyed this interview. Very interesting.

I'm a follower.


Anonymous said...

This is the type book I really enjoy. Please enter me; am a follower.

Carole said...

The Scent of Lilacs was one of my very favorite reads last year and I need to go back and finish the Hollyhill series. I hope Ann writes more book in that style.

I plan on reading her new series and would love to win a copy of The Believer. Thank you for the interview (great questions, Carman) and giveaway.

I'm a follower.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Buukluvr81 said...

I have never read Ann's books but have one(The Outsider) in my TBR pile. I would love the chance to win the second book, The Believer, so I can have both books in the Shaker series.

I am a long time follower.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!

Mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Great sounding book. Thanks! Marissa
smrogi at att dot net

Katie Bensch said...

Hey, LOVED the interview! Sounds like an AMAZING book and I would love to be entered for the giveaway!

Lindsey B. said...

wow! this book sounds amazing :)
please enter me in the contest. thanks so much!

Ashley W. said...

Oh, I can't wait to read it.Carman,I love meeting new authors(to me) and the interviews are always so much fun! Please enter me in the giveaway.

I'm a follower

Merry Christmas,

Casey said...

I would enjoy a chance to read this book- it looks good! Thank you!


Ann H. Gabhart said...

Hey, guys, Merry Christmas! Your kind comments and enthusiasm about perhaps winning my book, The Believer, were an early Christmas gift to me. Actually I would have checked in earlier on your comments, but my kids came home for Christmas yesterday and the place was a madhouse. But here I am now and I'm glad to meet some of you for the first time. Hope if you read any of my books you enjoy them.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Carole, thanks so much for reading my book, The Scent of Lilacs. I had a lot of fun writing those Hollyhill books. Jocie was a fun character. I tell people I should have called the series The Perils of Jocelyn. Hope if you read any of my other books, you enjoy those stories too.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Molly, thanks for having my book, The Outsider in your TBR pile. Most of us have a big stack of books we want to read. I know I do. As the t-shirt says, "So many books, So little time." Whenever I want to give myself a special treat, I take some extra time to read. Reading helps a writer keep feeding that stew pot on the back burner in her head so that every once in a while she can dip out a bowl full of new story ideas.

Edna said...

I just found your site, through Abi, then Carmen and not sure from there, but I would love to win this book, I really love to read and collect books, I am A Christian and then a Southern Baptist but I really like to read about the Amish, etc,

I am a follower of your blog also.


Deborah M said...

You are an amazing young woman! Please sign me up to for the giveaway.
Deborah M.