It’s always a treat to chat with fellow Kentuckian, Ann H. Gabhart & especially today on RELEASE DAY for her brand new historical fiction An Appalachian Summer!
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling and award-winning author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, The Gifted, and The Innocent—as well as historical novels—River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, Angel Sister, Love Comes Home, and more. Writing as A. H. Gabhart, she is also the author of the popular Hidden Springs Mysteries series. She has been a finalist for the ECPA Book of the Year and the Carol Awards, has won Selah Awards for River to Redemption and Love Comes Home, and won RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love Award for These Healing Hills. Ann and her husband enjoy country life on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.
AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
RELEASE DATE: June 30, 2020
Discover what happens when one intrepid young woman steps away from the past into a beautiful, wide-open future
In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson’s parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they’ve picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she’s used to. The only problem? This is not the man–or the life–she really wants.
When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious–true love–is drawing ever closer.
Hi! Welcome to the blog!
Ann: Dogs. I’ve loved dogs ever since I was a little girl and begged for a dog of my own. I’ve had many furry buddies since then and now have two sweet dogs, Frankie and Marley. Well, Marley, the English spaniel is sweeter than Frankie, my rescue dog from the Humane Shelter. Frankie might be a lab and Australian shepherd mix. That rascal sometimes has his own agenda, but I’m still glad he’s mine.
Carrie: Dogs really take over our hearts, don’t they?
Ann: Tea. Always tea. I like it strong and hot and made from loose tea leaves instead of tea bags. I’ve never taken more than a sip of coffee, but started drinking tea while still a kid. Got to have my tea while writing.
Carrie: I don’t care for either one, but if I have to choose I’d always go with tea too. Unless coffee tasted like it smelled – then i’d be all over it haha!
Ann: Both. I love hiking up those beautiful mountain trails but I also love walking along the beach at sunrise with the tides tickling my toes. The birds singing in the mountains. The waves making music on the beach. Love both places.
Carrie: ‘Both’ is my favorite answer for this question 🙂
Ann: Card game. I love playing cards with my family. I have a granddaughter who always wants to play cards and I’m glad to oblige. Of course, she does love to play Monopoly too.
Carrie: I love playing cards and board games pretty equally – as long as it’s fun!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Ann: That’s an interesting question that has me thinking. That’s an IF YOU HAD and not a DO YOU HAVE which might change my answer. Alas, I don’t really have a super power, but if I could wish one up, it might be nice to have a memory super power so I could remember all the things I’ve researched for my stories. Not only that, but I’d never put something away in a safe place and forget where the place was. I’d always know where I last put down my phone and never have to search through my purse for my keys or that receipt I know has to be in there somewhere. I’d remember everything except the things I didn’t want to remember. If I’m making up this super power I might as well tweak it to suit me.
Carrie: ah that’s a good clause to put in there – remember everything except the things you don’t want to remember. Yes please!
Q: Tell me some good books you’ve read lately!
Ann: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz
Carrie: All of those are on my TBR pile except Laura’s book which I read and LOVED! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed them!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Ann: For years I had a desk in my kitchen where I did my writing. Well, even earlier than that, I put my typewriter on the kitchen table to be right out there with my kids while I was writing. That was before my husband bought me an old wooden secretary desk with a hidden space for a typewriter on a spring activated table you could pull up on the side. By then, my kids were growing up and in school. But I’m meandering away from the question. Some years ago I received a small inheritance and we used it to add an addition to our house with an office for me. What a gift for me. It has plenty of room for the big old desk, but best of all it has windows on both sides of the desk. Love my windows that look out over green pastures and lets me see the birds flying in and out to the bird feeder. I’ve written dozens of books here in this room and I hope to write a few more.
Carrie: that sounds like a wonderful place to write! And I personally hope you write a few dozen more – at least!
Q: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Ann: Piper in this new release, An Appalachian Summer, was a little difficult to write because she came from a rich, socially prominent family in the 1930’s. I don’t have any problem going back in time with my characters, but I don’t have much experience with rich. Most of my main characters have been down to earth country or small town people. So getting into Piper’s thoughts and expectations took some extra thought and more imagination since rich is a lifestyle I know little about. But then I took her to the mountains where she had to live the country life and things were fine.
Carrie: Mountains for the win!
Q: Some authors like to hide little things in their stories. Is there anything you have hidden in An Appalachian Summer?
Ann: I do sometimes hide a past character in one of my stories. I’ve done that several times in my Shaker books. None of the Shaker books are sequels. What makes them a series is my fictional Harmony Hill Shaker village setting. But sometimes I sneak in a mention of a character from a former book. For example, in The Innocent I have Elizabeth’s brother, Payton from The Believer, run away in the middle of the night with one of the sisters. Most readers might not even notice that the names were the same as he is only mentioned very briefly in The Innocent.
I did that in An Appalachian Summer too. That story takes place in 1933 which is years before These Healing Hills, my other story with Frontier Nursing history set in 1945. But I sneaked a mention of Granny Em, a character I loved in These Healing Hills, into An Appalachian Summer. She didn’t make an appearance, but her name was there as a granny midwife.
Carrie: oh yay! I wondered if those two books would connect at all!
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from the book & why do you love it?
Ann: “I’ve heard the whippoorwill and seen the stars.”
My main character, Piper says this. I love it because it shows how the mountains have changed her. I also happen to love hearing whippoorwills on a summer night and seeing the stars lighting up the heavens.
I know you said one quote, but I’m going to cheat and share two. I also like when Truda, Piper’s aunt says, “Every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”
And don’t you agree that’s true?
Carrie: Two quotes is always allowed, especially when they’re both so delightful. And yes, I totally agree with Truda!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Ann: I’m headed back to the mountains again for yet another Great Depression era story. This time my main character is a mountain girl who is one of the packhorse librarians, a government work program established to put women in the mountains to work and to get reading material to mountain people, many of whom never had access to a library or reading material prior to this endeavor. These book ladies rode up into the rough Eastern Kentucky counties on horses or mules to deliver books to people in their homes. One packhorse librarian delivered her books on foot after her mule died. My character, Tansy, does have a good Morgan horse along with that love of books. Her trails aren’t easy but she stays in the saddle and even books a little romance along the way.
Carrie: I am so fascinated by the packhorse librarians – I’m really excited that you’ll be writing about one!
Revell is offering a print copy of An Appalachian Summer to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about An Appalachian Summer and/or my Q&A with Ann H. Gabhart?