Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Devotional with Ann Gabhart and Summer of Joy Book #Giveaway

Hello all! The past couple weeks I have introduced some authors to ya'll. Some of them may be new to you and some may be old friends. Well, today I have an author who is well known for her Shaker books. Anyone know who I am talking about? Oh right, it is up top there too;) May I welcome Ann Gahbart!! Ann is one of those authors who really pulls you in to her beautiful stories and makes you think about other times and places. Her newest one, Summer of Joy, is in my TBR pile and my review will be posted later this week. Be sure to check it out when it goes live! This one is set in small town America and I am sure you will enjoy it. And did I mention that one of you will win your own copy? Yep, just enter through the Rafflecopter form at the bottom!

Chasing the Writing Dream through Rejection Valley and Beyond
By Ann H. Gabhart


Have you ever had a dream that seemed so big, so impossible that you were almost afraid to admit you were thinking it? That’s how I was when I was a kid and first decided I wanted to be a writer. I had no idea how I was going to make that happen. I just knew I wanted it more than anything and I was willing to chase the dream to try to make it happen. I have a healthy dose of stubbornness that has served me well as a writer through the years as I’ve persevered and continued writing even when things weren’t going well.
After publishing thirteen books in the general market, I hit a low point in my writing life and began a long trudge through Rejection Valley. I wrote book after book with no success. One rejection letter included the not so encouraging note that there wasn’t anything wrong with my story but nothing really right about it either. Sigh. Things got so tough that I began to wonder if I should give up writing and find a job that came with a regular paycheck instead of working at writing with only the glimmer of hope of perhaps getting paid. At that time, the glimmer was getting pretty dim.
But I couldn’t quit. Writing is part of who I am. So I decided to write at least one more book. Since it was more than obvious I wasn’t cornering any markets, I decided to write the book I wanted to write instead of one I thought an editor might like. I came up with a story about a young girl and her father, a small town newspaper editor during the week and a preacher of a country church on Sundays. The characters and story are completely fictitious, but the background and setting came straight from what I remembered about my little hometown in the Sixties.
Jocie turned out to be a great character who sprang right to life in my imagination, and it was pure writer’s luck that Wes fell out of a Jupiter spaceship as he was passing over Hollyhill. Of course, that’s just a story Wes makes up for Jocie, but his and Jocie’s Jupiter talk adds a few smiles to the stories. I stirred in some more eccentric small town characters including a crazy old aunt named Love who tries to keep Jocie in line by quoting Scripture at her. But all is not as it seems in my little town of Hollyhill or even with Jocie’s Aunt Love. While Jocie is bemoaning the fact that nothing ever happens in Hollyhill, a whirlwind of discoveries suddenly threatens everything she thought was true about her life.   
As my characters came to life in my thoughts and my heart, I was anxious and eager to tell their stories. Scent of Lilacs, my first Heart of Hollyhill book, snagged a loving editor on its first trip out. And I stayed with my Hollyhill characters through two more books. Orchard of Hope takes place at the end of a long, hot summer as racial tensions swirl in Hollyhill. Then the third book, Summer of Joy, has the past coming to call on my Hollyhill family with challenges for their future. Each of the books can be read as a stand-alone story, but I hope once readers meet my characters, they’ll want to return to Hollyhill to experience more of their small town life. 
My years in Rejection Valley were discouraging, but perhaps I needed that time to become a better writer and to discover the stories I really wanted to write. I like writing inspirational fiction where I can include my characters’ faith journeys in their stories. I feel blessed when I write a scene and it just naturally connects with a Scripture verse or a Bible story. I never wanted to be a preacher, only a writer. So I don’t preach in my books, but I do hope readers will be able see the joy of Christian life as they live the stories with my characters.

Do you like stories that include a character’s faith journey?



One of the things I found interesting was the question Ann asks at the end there. Do you like stories that include a character's faith journey? So for the giveaway, that is your question. For me, I really like seeing how a character grows and matures in their faith. Many times I find help and encouragement along the way. As we are all growing and won't stop until we reach Heaven, I am often blessed in reading books like this. Take a look at that cover there. Ready to enter for a copy? Go on ahead! You know you want to:)

This giveaway will end 4/9. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. US ONLY!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway






**DISCLOSURE:  No compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

27 comments:

Amy C said...

Yes, I do! Inspirational Fiction is my favorite genre to read. Ann is one of my favorite authors too! So fun!
Amyc

Amy C said...

Orchards of Hope is one book she's written. Which I'm reading at the moment.
Amyc

Robyn-coolestmommy R said...

I do enjoy reading about someone's faith journey. I especially like when authors keep it real and we see the struggles along with the growth.

Robyn-coolestmommy R said...

She also wrote "Christmas at Harmony Hill" which is a wonderful book. I enjoyed it.

Cozy in Texas said...

Yes, I do like to read how someone's faith develops throughout the book.
Ann

Ann H Gabhart said...

Amy C., so glad you've enjoyed my stories. Hope you're liking your visit to Hollyhill right now. Maybe it's not snowing there today. :)

Ann H Gabhart said...

Robin, what a fun title - coolest mommy. I like being able to have what my characters believe, the doubts and fears they feel, and more be part of my stories. Glad you like reading about those sort of journeys too. Thanks for reading my Shaker Christmas book. So happy to hear you liked that story.

Cozy in Texas, hope you are cozy down there and seeing sunshine instead of snow the way we are here in KY. It's good to know that raders like you want to have a character's story include what he or she believes.

Donna Harmon said...

I enjoy seeing the growth of a characters faith, just as I do in life and sometimes when scripture is used in a fictional setting, I see something I might not have thought about before. donnaeharmon@yahoo.com

Linda Kish said...

I am enjoying them more and more recently. I really like the positivism in them.

lkish77123@gmail.com

Linda Kish said...

She also wrote CHRISTMAS AT HARMONY HILL, which I think I would enjoy.

Evelyn said...

Her books are so inspirational.

Ann H Gabhart said...

Donna, that is a good thing about reading stories that include a character's faith. The Bible is full of great lessons that can be applied to problems in real life and in fiction. The best fiction is the kind of story that you know could be true.

Linda, I like positive stories too. That doesn't mean that everything has to be perfect, but it does mean there is hope and characters you can care about and imagine living happy lives after the final scene in the story. I hope if you get either this book or Christmas at Harmony Hill, that you will feel that way about my stories.

Oh, Evelyn, thank you so much!What an encouraging comment for me.

Anonymous said...

yes i do. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

Mary Hart said...

Yes, I do like seeing a character's faith grow in a book, just like I love to see it growing in a person in real life!

Ann H Gabhart said...

Angela and Mary, it so good to hear from readers who like to share in the faith journeys of the characters they read about. And Mary, of course the best place to see spiritual growth is in our friends and loved ones. And in ourselves.

Susan P said...

I do love reading about the journey - I often find helpful messages or verses for my own faith. It is very encouraging!
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Thank you for the awesome contest. I would love to be included.

I love reading spiritual journeys.

:)

Ann H Gabhart said...

Thank you Susan and Juju. Hope if you're lucky and win my book that you'll enjoy my characters finding their way.

Melanie Backus said...

To see someone's faith grow, whether in real life or fiction, is a beautiful thing. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is beautiful and a faithful journey is the best journey.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Bamabooklover said...

I enjoy reading about other's faith journeys; their stories give me hope for loved ones who haven't traveled that journey as of yet.

Nancy said...

Yes, if it is handled well.

Cozette said...

Love where the journey is showed but not glossed over as if the journey is easy.

Ann H Gabhart said...

Melanie, always good to see your comments and I love what you say about faith. Faith can get us through some hard times in our life journey.

Bamabooklover, that's an interesting thought. We do need to hope and pray for those who are reaching for belief but seem to be hesitant to accept the Lord's love.

Nancy, I agree, but then I suppose any subject or character development is better when handled well. I never want my stories to feel preachy, but I do like having characters who can live their faith.

Cozette, I like your insight. Very little in life is easy and the things that come hard are sometimes the things that mean the most. Not that faith can't sometimes be easy and gift when we can believe like a child as the Bible says, but most of us do go through a few valleys. That's when we sometimes have to trust the next step to the Lord even though we can't see how things will ever get better. The Lord always sees to the end of the journey.

Connie R. said...

I absolutely do love a character's faith story woven into the general story of the book. I agree that it should be a natural part of the character's thought process and not added in to "make it a Christian story".

Connie R. said...

Ann also wrote "Small Town Girl".

Annette N said...

Inspirational fiction provides comfort. That is one of the best benefits to me.

Ann H Gabhart said...

Connie, the natural part of the character is what I work to include in my book. Well, I'm not sure work to include is accurate. I work to make my characters real and then what they believe is just part of that. So glad you enjoy Christian fiction.

Annette, I love your thought that inspirational fiction provides comfort. I'm often asked what I want readers to take away from my stories and I always say I want them to have been entertained and to be glad they read my story. Comfort sounds good too.

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