My guest today is Author Ann H. Gabhart who has written a series of Shaker novels. You know of course that I wrote a series of Quaker novels so Ann and I have something akin in common. Here’s Ann:
“My Mom – What a Character!
One of the best things about working on a new book idea is coming up with new characters. And the very first character I generally think about is the female lead. I’ve been writing practically all my life, so that makes for a lot of books. And a lot of different characters. But one characteristic I like my heroines to have is strength of spirit. They make mistakes. They’re apt to take off down wrong roads. They get knocked down by life sometimes. But they always get back up. They always fight through to the end. They search for ways through their troubles and don’t just stumble across solutions.
That’s the kind of characters I wanted for Angel Sister. But this time, thinking up my people was different. This time I had my mother’s family in mind since the background for Angel Sister is based on my mom’s stories about growing up during the Great Depression. While the characters in the story are only loosely based on my mom’s family, I did think of my mother while coming up with one of my viewpoint characters, fourteen-year-old Kate. Kate has a take-care-of-people, can-do attitude and that’s my mom. The same as Kate in the story, Mom grew up without money. Her family had a milk cow, honeybees, a garden, and a tab at the local grocery. So they never went hungry, but there were few extras. That didn’t bother Mom. She just dealt with it. She tells a story about when she was in a school play once and they only had one pair of stockings without a run. Her sister was crying, wanting to wear the good stockings on a date. Mom was fine with that. She told her mother not to worry, that she’d keep her legs crossed to hide the run in the second pair of hose. That’s my mom. Fix things. Keep everybody happy.
After they married, she and Dad moved into an old farmhouse where the teakettle right beside the hearth would sometimes have ice in it on a winter morning. Thank goodness before I came along, they had a warmer woodstove. She and Dad worked side by side on the farm and then she came in from the fields to do all the household chores too. When people in the family fell ill, she gave up whatever she was doing to take care of them. She rarely complained and she stayed beautiful – inside and out. When I was a child, the greatest compliment I could get was someone saying I looked like Mom. I didn’t, but I wanted to.
Now Mom is ninety-one and has dementia. Her memory is fading. Pains are harder to bear and life is harder to live. But she’s still beautiful and strong. I’m so glad I could bring her childhood years to life in some small way in Angel Sister. The story is fiction, but Kate is strong like my mom.”–Ann
Ann has been kind enough to offer a copy of Angel Sister to giveaway. Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing (include your email with (at) and (dot) substitutions.)
If you’d like to learn more about Ann Gabhart, here are some links:
“One Writer’s Journal” www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-H-Gabhart/132862247566
“This book (Angel Sister) will leave you changed as it uncovers family secrets and draws you into the days following the first World War and the Great Depression. It will astound you how the characters persevere while making difficult decisions amidst heartache, and their determination to make it through the toughest of hard times.” — RT Book Reviews, 4½ Stars Top Pick