Spring has arrived here in Kentucky, just in time for Ann Gabhart's visit. Ann's here today to share the story behind the story in her book, The Scent of Lilacs. She's also giving away a copy to one of my readers. Be sure and check out the details below.
Welcome, Ann! It's great to have you back.
Thank you, Karen!
Here is the Book Description:
Life changing events rarely happen in Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the summer of 1964. Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems everyone in Jocie's life has something they're not saying, something they're hiding from her - and from themselves. As Jocie digs into her family's past, she stirs a whirlwind of discoveries. Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs? Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
Here is the Story Behind the Story, in Ann's Words:
Several years ago I’d hit a wall. Yes, I was writing, but I tried several different genres, and nothing was working. So I decided to take that age old advice to “write what you know.” What I knew were small towns, country living, and country churches. I set the book in the 1960s and cranked my memory into full gear to come up with the background of my story.
The little town of Lawrenceburg where I grew up became my fictional town of Hollyhill. I took what I remembered about Main Street in the Sixties and set my characters right down in the middle of it in the newspaper office. Town was two blocks with the courthouse on one end and the post office on the other. The library was up the street on one end of town. We had two grills, two banks, two hardware stores, two dress shops, two laundromats, two furniture stores, two doctors, and two stoplights. (Everything must have come in twos.) Saturday afternoons all the farmers came to town and you could walk down the street and meet friend after friend. You knew everybody in the county and not only knew them, you knew who their family was. You knew what their houses looked like and whether they kept the weeds out of their garden or not.
So that's the kind of town I wrote about in my Heart of Hollyhill books, starting with Scent of Lilacs. I came up with a girl whose father is the editor of a small town weekly newspaper, and on the weekends pastors a little country church. I stirred in a few eccentric characters. Don’t all small towns have their share of those? I didn't exactly model any of them after people in my town (with the exception of Old Sally and even with him I made changes), but I did take a smidgen of this person and smidgen of that person and come up with some people who felt right at home in a small town and a country church.
That didn't mean I didn't change what needed changing to make the story better. I wanted Hollyhill to be Small Town, America. A place readers could recognize and maybe say "I grew up in a place like that." The books are all being re-released. Scent of Lilacs was first in March 2013. Orchard of Hope will be out in October 2013. Summer of Joy will be re-released in February or March 2014.
In order to celebrate these books back in print, Jocie, the young heroine in the book, is reporting from Hollyhill once a week on her own blog, the Hollyhill Book of the Strange. No spoilers or excerpts from the book. All new small town adventures. Hope you'll stop by on Monday nights or Tuesdays to see what Jocie and her Hollyhill friends are up to.
You can check out Jocie's thoughts here, on Hollyhill's blog.
Thanks Ann, for stopping by. It's always a pleasure. Wish you all the best with your books!
Thanks so much, Karen, for inviting me over again. I always love visiting your place.
For more info on Ann, visit:
Buy Scent of Lilacs here
Find Ann on Facebook and Twitter
Here is My Review of Scent of Lilacs:
One thing I like about Ann Gabhart’s books is that they have personality. It’s present not just in the characters, but in the story. Ann has a gift for creating characters that most anyone can relate to, a setting you can see, and a plot that tugs at your heartstrings. Then she wraps it into a neat and touching package.
Scent of Lilacs is no exception. Jocie’s summer contains pleasant surprises and answers to several prayers. Sadly though, she encounters hard lessons as well. But they are inevitable, considering that Jocie’s mother ran off some years before with Jocie’s older sister Tabitha.
Originally published in 2005, the Scent of Lilacs was released again this spring. I’m thankful for the chance to read it now, as the combination of surprises and humor provides a heartwarming and inspirational read. Will look forward to checking out the rest of the Hollyhill series soon.
Here are the Giveaway Details:
- You must be a Google Friend Connect follower and leave your email address with your comment.
- Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please total your entries and include links with your comment.
- Open to residents of the United States.
- Deadline to enter is noon EST Friday, May 17, 2013. Winner will be chosen by random.org, notified via email, and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, May 20, 2013.
So tell us, what was it like where you grew up? Big city or small town? What are you reading this spring?
Happy reading and writing,