Heart of Hollyhill by Ann H. Gabhart
“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” ~George Iles
Oftentimes I'm asked what is the most important attribute as a writer. What do you think it would be? Talent? That's certainly nice to have, but in my opinion not the most important ingredient in success as a writer. Discipline is good because a writer has to put her fingers on the keys to write on days when the words are coming hard and the sun is shining outside, inviting her to go out and play instead of staring at a blank computer screen. Connections might be very helpful. If you know someone in the publishing business, you might be a step up on me, for instance. I didn't know anything about how to go about being a writer when I started writing.
All I knew was that I did want to write. That's the reason I often give perseverance as my answer to which attribute is most helpful to a writer. That's because writing success generally doesn't happen overnight. Most of us have several books on our unsold shelf before we write the book that makes it out to readers. One of the questions I'm asked most often is "how many books have you written?" It's a fair question, I suppose, but not one easy for me to answer. I don't know how many books I've written. Sometimes I have to think a while to come up with how many I've published, but that's an easier number to count. I'm thinking that's twenty-three right now with three more in the works. But I've never counted up the books I've written that have never sold. Why should I?
So perseverance or what I sometimes call pure stubborness is important to me. I got a major dose of stubborness when the good Lord was handing that out. It has served me well as a writer because discouragement has never caused me to give up on my dream of being a published writer. But while all of that is good, when I was on one of those longer walks through discouragement valley, what I needed most to keep writing was hope. Hope that the next story would catch an editor's eye. Hope that the characters I was living with would one day live in a book on store shelves with a title and cover that would appeal to readers so much they would buy it to find out about those characters' stories.
So with the glimmer of hope still shining some light on my path through a time of rejections when my stories weren't selling, I decided to write a book full of hope. I came up with a hopeful young girl who lives in a small town during the 1960s much like my own hometown in that decade. Her father is a part-time pastor who has had some hard times in his life such as his wife deserting the family, but he still preaches about hope. I surround Jocie with some unique hometown characters, especially Wes, who is old enough to be Jocie's grandfather, but is also her best friend in the world. He won't talk about his past before he came to Hollyhill and instead tells Jocie he's from Jupiter. Then there's crazy old Aunt Love who wears nothing but black and never has much good to say about Jocie, but tries to make her behave by quoting Scripture at her. While Jocie has always thought nothing interesting every happens in Hollyhill, the summer of my story, she is swept up in a whirlwind of discoveries that threaten to change everything about her life.
Those characters, that town so like the town of my childhood, became the book, Scent of Lilacs. I wrote the story with hope sitting on my shoulder. That hope was realized when the book found a loving editor and was published with an appealing cover and title. But then the book went out of print. Another discouraging time. I loved my characters. I had two more books set in Hollyhill, Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy. I wanted Jocie and her family and friends to keep finding readers to share their hope. And now they are getting a second chance with the Heart of Hollyhill series being reprinted with new covers. And that's exciting for me. I'm glad I didn't abandon hope, but instead found a new market for my stories. Since Scent of Lilacs was first published, I've had nine other books published in the Christian market. Stories full of hope and love.
"Hope never abandons you; you abandon it." ~George Weinberg
Do you like stories that leave you feeling hopeful?
Ann H. Gabhart has published over twenty novels for adults and children including her bestselling Shaker novels. A native Kentuckian, Ann lives on a farm in Central Kentucky. She’s married with three children and nine grandchildren. Scent of Lilacs, the first book in the Heart of Hollyhill series, was a Booklist Top Ten Book in Christian Fiction. The Outsider was a finalist for Christian Fiction Book of 2009. Visit Ann’s website, www.annhgabhart.com or share her writing adventures down on the farm on “One Writer’s Journal,” www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com. And now Jocie Brooke, the lovable character from Ann’s Hollyhill books has her own blog. www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.
Scent of Lilacs blurb
Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964. Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie’s life has something they’re not saying, something they’re hiding from her—and from themselves. As Jocie digs into her family’s past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs? Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhart explore the very essence of new life and love.
THE GIVEAWAY!!Readers, Ann has so graciously offered to giveaway one copy of her book, Scent of Lilacs, to one of my blog readers. This sounds like a very interesting book and I have enjoyed reading her other stories so I have this one on my wish list:) A personal favorite was Words Spoken True. Loved that one! One of you will be so blessed to win this book!! Get your entries in below and tell others about this.
This giveaway will end 4/2. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**