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Interview with Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is a prolific storyteller, and is currently celebrating the release of her latest historical novel from Revell.

Welcome, Ann! In your newest book, River to Redemption, do you have a favorite character?
I always have a hard time picking a favorite character or a favorite book–another question I’m sometimes asked. In this story, River to Redemption, I had to like Louis as I brought him to life with the knowledge that he once really did live in Springfield. But I also liked breathing life into Adria, Ruth and Will. I enjoyed writing from the viewpoint of Adria as a little girl at the beginning of the book.

What do you hope for you readers to take away from this story?
I want them to enjoy getting to know my characters and be glad they decided to read this book. I don’t really write books to convey lessons for the readers, but if they take away the idea to “pray believing” then that can be a good thing.

Your recent release, River to Redemption, takes place in the 1800’s. What are your methods for researching a historical era?
Each book is different. With River to Redemption, I went to the town of Springfield to see if I could find out what the town might have looked like in 1833 and 1845. I find it helpful to read journals written in whatever time period I’m choosing for my stories because that helps me get a sense of how people thought at that time in history. I didn’t have that for this story, but I did dig into a few old newspaper articles. Mostly I just try to get to know my characters and then set them down in whatever historical time period that I’ve chosen for my books. I want them to settle in there and belong. And then we head down the story trail.

I see that you’ve written books in multiple genres including contemporary, historical, non-fiction, and young adult. Which genre is your favorite to write?
That’s a good question. Hmm, not sure exactly how to answer since I simply like to write stories in whatever space and time the story demands. I may be more comfortable writing historical novels. I like having the historical backgrounds to give the story some beginning bones that I then flesh out by dropping my characters down into the story. At the same time, I really enjoyed the characters in my Hidden Spring Mysteries which were contemporary stories. I like writing about small towns and the people who live in them in both historical and contemporary times.

Can you tell us about your writing space? Do you have any must-haves like snacks, drinks, music, or silence?
When I first started trying to write for publication, my typewriter was on the kitchen table. Eventually I got a desk in my kitchen. Then we added onto the house and I got my own office with windows on both sides of my desk. I need windows. My desk is generally very messy with all sorts of papers and notebooks. I could be more organized. I keep a cup of hot tea on my cup warmer and sometimes have a snack but no must-have ones. Maybe a bit of chocolate or some salty crackers. I don’t like music while I’m writing and much prefer silence although that’s not always possible with a retired husband in the house.

What tips would you give a new author seeking publication?

First I’d advise the new writer to read. That keeps words alive in your mind. Also, keep writing. When you finish one project, start thinking about your next one. The more you write the better you will get at putting words together. As to seeking publication, that’s easier these days with all the self-publishing options. If you are hoping to be traditionally published, things are harder and you need a boatload of perseverance as you keep writing to break into the market. I’ve always said perseverance was my best writing trait.

In your spare time, are there any hobbies that help you unwind?
I like to walk with my dog or sometimes my grandchildren. So each day I head out into the fields and woods here on the farm to hike a couple of miles. That gives me time to think about my story or to just not think about anything except what I’m seeing in nature. Also, I love to read. A good story can always help me unwind.

Is there a Bible verse that you hold close to your heart?
The Bible is a treasure of great verses, so I have a hard time picking a favorite. I do like the last verse in the Gospel of John just because of how it opens my mind to wonders beyond imagination.
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. Amen (John 21:25 NKJ)

You grew up on a farm in Kentucky. What is your favorite part of life on a farm?
I love being close to nature. I like being able to hike with my dog, Frankie, in my own fields. I like seeing birds, butterflies, deer and various other wild creatures although I do wish they would stay out of our garden. My roots go deep in the land here that my grandfather owned before me. I’m country all the way through.

What books are on your TBR list?
I have stacks of books I’d like to read. More than I’ll ever be able to read unless I stop writing and sit and read all day. But three on top of the pile are The Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick, Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrel, The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas, along with some research books to come up with some new ideas for my next stories.

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CJ Myerly is a graduate from Clearwater Christian College. She resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and two children. She’s always loved reading and writing and is currently working on a contemporary romance series. She hates clutter, loves organization, and has a love/hate relationship with all electronics. CJ blogs about books, writing, motherhood, and homeschooling at http://momentsdippedinink.com.




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