What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ann Gabhart and Free Books!

PhotobucketEstranged from her family, Lacey finds herself in a marriage of convenience to a preacher twice her age, but she never expected him to take her to a Shaker village where marriage is forbidden and individual family units dissolved.

Before we visit with today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Michelle Sutton's novel, Letting Go, is:

godlovinmomandwife@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's meet novelist Ann Gabhart, author of The Blessed (Revell Books, July 2011).

PhotobucketAnn H. Gabhart has published over twenty novels for adults and children including her bestselling Shaker novels. Ann lives just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky and so has walked some of the same paths her characters might have walked in generations past. That personal knowledge of the physical layout of a Shaker village and her thorough research provide a colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels.

Ann enjoys bringing history to life in her stories whether that’s national history, Shaker history, or her family’s history as she did in her book, Angel Sister, her Depression era novel with a setting based on her mother’s childhood.

Ann lives on a farm in Central Kentucky with her husband, Darrell who sings bass in a Southern Gospel quartet. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

Please tell us four random things we might not know about you.

--Let’s see. I got the dog hunger when I was about ten and have had at least one dog in my life ever since. They go with me on my walks in the woods and fields here on our farm where my husband still raises beef cattle.

--The only time I ever had to go to the doctor for stitches was after a cow slung her head and knocked me about five feet. I had a boxer’s cut on my eyebrow and a major black eye.

--I go to a little church where if we have fifty people for morning services we think we have a crowd, and sometimes I lead the singing even though I can barely carry a tune. At little churches like mine whoever is brave enough to stand in front of the congregation gets the job. That leads me to the last thing most people can’t believe when I tell them now.

--When I was young I was so shy I melted into a puddle of nerves if I had to get up in front of people. I even had to work up my courage to call someone other than friends and family on the phone. I got over it and now I enjoy speaking in front of people.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Blessed.

PhotobucketLacey Bishop’s life is a tangled mess. After her mother’s death, her father marries a woman who has no patience with Lacey. So at age thirteen, she’s sent to work for a preacher and his wife, Miss Mona. When Miss Mona dies, the preacher convinces Lacey, now twenty, the only decent thing to do is marry him. That way, she can continue to act as mother to the little girl left on his doorstep as a baby four years earlier.

Reluctantly, Lacey agrees, but she never once imagined Preacher Palmer would give up his church to join the nearby Shaker community where all live as brothers and sisters and believe marriage to be a sin. To make matters worse, Lacey is drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. Any thought of love between them seems no more than a foolish dream. Will Lacey ever find true happiness?

I really find this premise intriguing, Ann. The conflicts you've set up are wonderful.

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

Lacey’s had some hard knocks in life, but she keeps getting back up and facing each new challenge with an invincible spirit. When Lacey was a little girl, her mother taught her to do a dance every year to welcome spring at the first sighting of a dandelion bloom. Even with all the trials that come her way after her mother dies, Lacey keeps doing her spring dandelion dance. She wants to keep joy in her heart and she wants to be loved. At the same time she’s a sensible person who knows there’s always some balancing to do in life. She’s blessed with a good helping of common sense. That’s why she finds the Shakers so odd when she goes into the community during the strangest period of Shaker history, what the Shakers called their Era of Manifestations.

Most novels feature a villain, whether in the form of a person or as an entity or psychological fear. Who or what would you say is your novel’s villain?

In some ways Preacher Palmer could be considered the villain even though he is a man of God. He’s sure he knows what’s best for Lacey and for himself and his flock, but past sins catch up with him and ensnare him in his own tangled web of missteps he’s taken in his life. In other ways the Shaker beliefs could be considered the obstacle to Lacey’s happiness when they separate her from the child she loves.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketI don’t watch very many movies or much TV because I prefer to read. So when I’m asked this question I have to Google photos of actresses and actors to pick look-alikes. The trouble is that people can look so different from one photo to the next. But for my lead roles in The Blessed, I picked Rose Byrne for Lacey.

PhotobucketAnd Paul Wesley for Isaac.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

Bad Ground by Dale Cramer. Dale has a wonderful command of the tools of a writer’s trade. He plops readers down into his unusual setting in Bad Ground and makes us care what happens to his characters. I found the information about hardrock mining fascinating. It’s a background Dale can write about with much expertise because he lived the life of a hardrock miner before he started writing.

What are you working on now?

I just finished my fifth Shaker novel, The Gifted, scheduled for release next summer. My main character, Jessamine, is very different from Lacey in The Blessed. The Shaker sister in charge of teaching her the Shaker way keeps wondering whatever will she do with Sister Jessamine. Before that I have a historical novel, Words Spoken True, releasing in February 2012. This novel, set in 1855 Louisville, KY, has, by far, the most romance of any of my inspirational titles, but there’s some interesting and surprisingly timely history too.

Where else can readers find you online?

I enjoy meeting readers in person or via the net. My website is www.annhgabhart.com. I send out an occasional newsletter readers can sign up for there. I post about my writing and life down here on the farm a couple of times a week on One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com. I have a Facebook author’s page, Ann H Gabhart, and do some tweeting on Twitter with a user name annhgabhart.

The book is available at fine bookstores and for online purchase through the following buttons:


734541: The Blessed, Shaker Series #4

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Since I’m a dog lover, I sometimes put a dog or other animal in my stories. So here’s my question for you. What fictional pets or animal characters stick in your memory from books you’ve read? I’ll tell you mine in the comments after I hear yours.

Thank you, Ann, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Ann has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, September 5. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Ann's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Mary Connealy, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of her book.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.


Rebecca said...

I read one book where the lady had a pet iguana and it got out when she wasn't around. That really sticks in my mind.

Thank you so much for the chance to win this.


ZachandZoesMom said...

A fictional pet that always stuck in my mind was a dog named "Shaul" in the book "A Daughter Of Zion" by Bodie & Brock Thoene.
Thank-you for letting me have a chance to win this book! It sounds so interesting!! :)


dancealert said...

I just finished reading the book "Lets Take the Long Way Home."
One of the characters had a dog named Clementime. Funny name.
There were two dogs in the story but I can't remember th other dogs name.

I would love to read your book. I have never read anything about the Shaker Community.

I'm a subscriber and a follower via gfc. I posted this giveaway to my blog: http://dancealertreads.blogspot.com/2011/08/reading-writing-and-stuff-in-between_29.html

dancealert at aol dot com

by Pegg Thomas said...

"Big Red" was my favorite book growing up and... coincidentally... my first dog was an Irish Setter. We were the same age growing up and best buddies. I've never not had a dog in my life. Currently I have 3, all rescues, a beagle/lab mix, a border collie and a St. Bernard.
twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Ann H. Gabhart said...

I'm like you, Pegg. I've had a dog in my life ever since I can remember. And I love reading about animals. But best I remember a horse named Black Penny because that was one of the first books that truly awakened my love of reading. And I loved the dogs in Where the Red Fern Grows, but I don't remember their names.

Clementime is a funny name for a dog, Dancealert, but I once wrote a story for middle readers with a llama named Cleopatra. She wasn't a nice llama.

Joanna and Rebecca, thanks for sharing your fictional animal names. I wouldn't be happy if an iguana was loose in my house, Rebecca.

Lorna said...

Hi Ann! My favorite fictional story with a dog is BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE. My daughter and I read it aloud to one another and had a good cry--always a great mother/daughter bonding experience.

Enjoyed your interview and I enjoyed the The Blessed already (very much), so I don't need another copy. :)

Patricia said...

Absolutely and without a doubt: "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. If you are not familiar with it, the characters are rabbits - real rabbits. By the time the book was wrapping up I was crying, I was cheering! I read it around 1980, and still remember parts of the story.

Ann and Trish, thank you for this Giveaway opportunity!

If I am fortunate enough to win, my email address is:

madley (AT) cogeco (DOT) ca

Thank you, both of you.


Ann H. Gabhart said...

Lorna, thanks so much for sharing your favorite fictonal animal. Winn Dixie is a good one. And thanks for reading my book already. I appreciate that.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Those rabbits were fantastic in Watership Down, Patricia. I enjoyed that book so much that I tried for years to get my son, who was an avid Fantasy novel reader and a teen when I read Watership Down. He finally read it a couple of years ago and admitted I was right about the book being good. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Trish Perry said...

I remember Watership Down being a huge hit when it came out. I'll have to put it on the ever-growing TBR list!

I'm currently reading a secular book called The Loop that features a parrot and a basset hound. The book has some moments that some might find offensive, but I think it's really well written. Both animals are wonderful characters in this book, and they're both having such a terrific affect on the protagonist.

Regina Merrick said...

The first dog in a book that made a lasting impression with me was "Jack," in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. He was such an integral part of the story, and I remember crying when they thought they lost him to the raging Missouri River, and jumping in my chair when he showed up down the trail!

All your upcoming books sound great, Ann! Can't wait for the one set in Louisville - and that's where I'm heading this weekend! Great interview, Trish!

Diane Ashley said...

Love that question, as it got me thinking hard. The very first animal I remember reading about was the morose Nevermore in Edgar Allen Poe's poem, The Raven. That poem still gives me shivers when I read it.

I cannot wait to read your book and hope to win it here, Ann. Thanks, Trish, for such a great blog.
loves_the_c (at) yahoo (dot) com

Ann H. Gabhart said...

You definitely need to put Watership Down in your to read pile, Trish.
Richard Adams also wrote Traveller, a Civil War story told by General Lee's horse. An interesting perspective. Thanks so much for having me stop by your blog, Trish. I enjoyed the interview.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

What a great reading memory, Regina. Sounds as if you fell in love with books the same as I did while you were very young. My granddaughter is enjoying the Little House on the Prairie stories now. She's nine. And I do love reading about dogs in stories. I even tried writing one from a dog's point of view once. I thought it was cute, but guess editors didn't agree. :o(

Diane, that's an interesting answer. And a good reason for shivers. My son used to date a girl who was terrified of birds, but she loved horror movies. I figured it was that movie, Birds, but her mother said she got tangled up in her bird mobile when she was a baby. We all have such unique memories, don't we?

Christy said...

I seem to remember a dog from one of Cindy Woodsmall's books called Better Days. It sounds really strange, I know, but it fit the store quite well. :o) And not to be exclusive to just dogs...my current read has a fish named Elmer Fudd. Where do you authors come up with stuff? LOL!

southernsassythings at gmail dot com

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Thanks for making us smile, Christy, with your animal answers. I named a dog in one of my young adult books, Maybe. That came right from life as I had a nephew who had really named his big black lab Maybe. And then, I remember watching a movie about a boy and his dog once where the dog was named Moreover. We could start a whole new conversation on fun pet names, couldn't we?

Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Gabhart, I enjoy animals, too, and since we have so many, I guess I should! As I was reading your question, all I could think of was "Charlotte's Web" and all the fun farm animals from that book. I think my favorite from that book was the goose...I loved the way she talked, "Probably obably!" Your book, "The Blessed", looks to be a very good read. Thank you for the chance to win! Thank you, Ms. Perry, for hosting the author and giveaway!

Blessings to you both,
Kelly Y. in Virginia

Krista said...

Well... I've always loved Walter Farley books- and somehow "Island Stallion" has always stuck with me. It's one of my favorite books.


Ann H. Gabhart said...

Hi, Kelly. Thanks for the blessings and for the reminder of another great book. I think I need to reread Charlotte's Web. I remember the spider and the pig, but some of the other animals have slipped out of my head. The goose sounds fun.

Krista, I knew a horse person would show up. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Black Beauty. That was a story that made a major impression of me when I was a young reader. So many great animal characters.

apple blossom said...

I love animals in books. The one series I enjoyed was Mr. Tinfish series by Chris Wardle. All the characters are animals in this series. They have human characteristics. Run their community very well. They attend to challenges and changes in the environment. Handle problems and you name it. It is a very cute series.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Thanks for your comment. I love animals in books, too. I haven't heard of the Mr. Tinfish series, but it sounds fun. I'll have to check it out.

Pamela J said...

Stealing Jake has an orphanage full of kids that absolutely BEG to be allowed tp keep a mama cat that is about to have kittens. As it was already hard to feed the kids, where would the food come from to feed the cats? But, that cat has a personality all her own and wins the hearts of everyone that comes around.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at wb4me dot com



Content Copyright Trish Perry | Graphic Design and Layout Eagle Designs