Monday, August 8, 2016

A Visit From Ann Gabhart


Ann Gabhart is back! We're celebrating her latest release, Murder Comes by Mail. Ann is one of my favorite authors, and she's also one I've had the privilege of meeting in person. With over a dozen books to her credit, this talented writer is sweet and witty and knows how to keep her audiences entertained. 

Welcome back, Ann. Congratulations on your latest book, Murder Comes by Mail! This is Book 2 in The Hidden Springs Mysteries, correct? What sparked the idea for this story? 

Murder Comes by Mail is my second Hidden Springs mystery. Most of the characters from Murder at the Courthouse show up again in this story. It’s often hard to nail down exactly what sparks a story idea. Sometimes an idea might explode like a burst of fireworks in the sky. Other times it might be more like the flicker of lightning bugs at dusk. You think you have it and then it disappears to show up across the yard. The idea for this book came from thinking about what would happen if what seemed a good act turned out to have bad consequences. Then it shifted to how does a normal person respond when evil begins trailing after him. 

Sounds interesting. I’ve heard these books referred to as cozy mysteries. How do you define the difference between a cozy and a regular mystery? 

A cozy mystery is generally a more light-hearted story. That might sound strange since we are talking about murder and nothing about murder should be considered light-hearted. But in a cozy mystery, the violence of the crime nearly always takes place off the page. Bodies are found. Readers don’t “witness” firsthand the murder. Also, in most cozies, the victim of the crime is either someone the reader has not gotten to know in the story and so has no attachment to the person or the victim is someone the reader doesn’t like and isn’t particularly sorry he or she is a victim. In thrillers and other mysteries, the victims might be a more sympathetic character. The reader might be right there when the murder happens on the page. 

Also, many times a cozy will have a small town setting or an animal friend to add atmosphere and perhaps a little levity to the story. Usually the main character is a female amateur sleuth with no connection to any law enforcement agency. That’s not true with my Hidden Springs mysteries, but sometimes rules are made to be broken.

Actually, I didn’t know all these rules when I was writing my cozy mysteries. I just came up with a character and a setting. Then I let murders happen. I did throw in those cats. That plus my small town setting pushed my books into the cozy mystery genre even though Murder Comes by Mail has more suspense than most cozies. 

Cats and suspense, sounds like a good combination. I’ve also heard that there are a “bevy of quirky characters” in this book. Do you have a few favorites among this gang?  

Quirky characters always seem to show up on the streets of small towns. It’s good to sprinkle a few of them into any story set in one of those small towns like Hidden Springs. In Murder Comes by Mail we might not have as many as in the first Hidden Springs mystery, Murder at the Courthouse, but there’s still the newspaper editor Hank always on the hunt for a headline story to sell his weekly newspaper issues. We have Aunt Lindy, and while I don’t consider her exactly quirky, she definitely has a unique personality. We have Reece Sheridan, the lawyer who’d rather be fishing. In the sheriff’s office, we have Betty Jean who keeps everything under control while she dreams of finding Mr. Perfect and getting married. Lester Stucker is still around as a deputy too. He’s a little like Barney in Mayberry and takes his job as school crossing officer very seriously. 

It seems as though your characters have "character". Looking forward to reading about them. Was there any particular portion that was especially difficult to write? 

A scene in the final chapter was a little hard for me to orchestrate. There is a physical struggle between my hero and the villain. One of my editors wanted to make the movements in that struggle clearer. So I had to rewrite that a couple of times. Then a different editor asked me to somehow work more about a cat into the story. So Grimalkin, Aunt Lindy’s cat, got more play in the climactic scene. 

Now I'm really looking forward to reading this one - the action scenes in your other books are very good. And I don't recall a cat in any of them! :) What’s on the horizon for you? Will The Hidden Springs Mystery series continue? 

At least one more murder will take place in Hidden Springs for my Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane to solve. Murder Is No Accident has a release date of March 14, 2017. We have some new characters and some familiar characters from the other stories in this one. When I was searching around for inspiration for a new mystery, I remembered an old house in our town that has one of those tower rooms. As a kid, I always wanted to go up in that room. And so, I decided to make that house the central part of my new mystery with a young girl sneaking up into that tower room and being a witness to what might be an accident. Or is it murder? And of course, we have a new cat, a calico named Miss Marble. 

I’m not sure if Hidden Springs is going to be more peaceful after Michael solves this new mystery. Right now, no more mysteries are in the works as I’m going back to my historical novel roots for the story I’m currently working on. But you never know. I might head back to Hidden Springs and stir up a little more trouble. 

I did a special promotion giveaway in my newsletter and asked readers if they would like to live in a town like Hidden Springs. One reader responded that she didn’t think she would like living in Hidden Springs. The crime rate was way too high. That comment made me smile because she was absolutely right. 

Well, I never thought about it like that! Too funny. Thanks so much for joining us. Wishing you many blessings your journey! :)

Thanks for having me over on your blog, Karen. Always fun to see what your readers have to say. So let me ask them a question. Did you read mysteries like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when you were a kid the way I did?



Ann's Bio 
 
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, the 2015 Selah Book of Year winner. She’s also known for her Shaker novels and Heart of Hollyhill books. Now, as A.H. Gabhart, she is writing the Hidden Springs Mysteries set in a small town much like the Kentucky town where she grew up. Ann and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and still enjoy country life on a farm near that small town. To find out more about Ann’s books or to follow her blog, visit her website. You can also join the conversation on her Facebook page


A Preview of Murder Comes by Mail 


 

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses–a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens. 

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves–because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

Readers will love racing along with Deputy Sheriff Keane as the clock ticks in this page-turner. Available at Amazon and other retailers.





Giveaway Info

Ann is giving away a copy of Murder Comes by Mail to one of my followers in the United States. Kindly note the following:
 
1) Please comment below, and leave your email address so I can contact you.
 
2) I'd appreciate you following Write Now by Google Friend Connect or Facebook (see sidebar). 
3) Giveaway ends Thursday, August 11, 2016 at midnight Eastern Time. Winner will be notified by email and have 36 hours to respond or another name will be chosen.  


I'll leave you with Ann's question: 

Did you read mysteries like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when you were a kid the way I (Ann) did? 

Happy reading and writing,
Karen

33 comments :

  1. Not having written any mysteries, it's interesting to read how ideas come to Ann. Not sure how I'd come up with a good enough one. Also loved learning the distinction between cozy and other mysteries. Congrats to Ann on her book!

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    1. Thanks for reading my interview, Natalie. I also find it interesting to hear how an author comes up with story ideas or how he or she works. Writers are all different in their creative habits.

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  2. How nice to get to know Ann and to know more about her cozy mysteries. I'm am particularly interested in the genre. Winking. I hope you sell oodles of copies, Ann!

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    1. I see you've dipped your writing pen into some mysteries too, Susan. You might have been able to explain the cozy genre better than I did. I appreciate you dropping by to read the interview and wishing me oodles of sales. That would be fun.

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  3. The cat figures into the final scene? Interesting.
    You might not have know the cozy mystery rules when you began, but you obviously got them right. Congratulations, Ann.

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    1. Well, my Hidden Springs mysteries break a number of the "rules," Alex, but readers don't generally care about rules as long as you write a good story and play fair with your clues in a mystery. Grimalkin is quite a cat, so her playing a role in the last scene was a natural thing for her.

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  4. Natalie,
    Mysteries are a mystery to me too, as far as writing them. :) Ann does a great job. Glad you came to see us!

    Susan,
    I thought her book might interest you! You have that mystery thing in common! :) Appreciate you coming over today!

    Alex,
    The cat idea interested me too! Hard to picture but great to read, I'm sure. :) Thanks for stopping over!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  5. No, I did not read the mentioned books while growing up. I did, however, read Murder at the Courthouse and want to continue this series. Thanks Ann

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    1. I'm glad to hear you gave my Hidden Springs mystery a chance, Loretta. Maybe you'll win the next one here.

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  6. I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys growing up. Looking forward to reading this book.

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    1. I liked the Hardy Boys best, Ola. Maybe because I pictured them as such cute guys. LOL. Good luck in the drawing.

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  7. I didn't read any of the mystery books growing up, but I would love to read Ann's "Murder Comes By Mail." Love her writing style with all the quirky characters and cats! lclee59(at)centurylink(dot)net

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    1. Thank you so much, Connie. I like getting to know those quirky characters I write about too. And the cats were great fun even though I'm definitely a dog person.

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  8. Cozies live up to their name. They are indeed cozy, with a small town atmosphere. Congrats to Ann.

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    1. Some cozies are cozier than others, Medeia. Murder Comes by Mail with its psycho killer stretches the genre a bit. Thanks for the congrats.

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  9. For any of you who would like to give one of my books a try for free, my first inspirational novel, Scent of Lilacs is a free download until the end of the month. One Amazon reviewer said it shouldn't have been narrowly labeled a Christian novel. The reviewer said, "To call this book Christian genre could deny a whole group of open-hearted readers an amazing story." So some of you might consider grabbing it while it's free.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I forgot to add the Amazon Kindle link and then I added the wrong one. This might work better if you were interested. http://bit.ly/1i919wo It's also at other e-book sites like B&N and Christianbook.com.

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    3. I think I'm spinning in the dark. That was the Christianbook.com link. The Kindle link was right all the time. Sigh. http://amzn.to/1hVVRDc

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  10. Hi Ann and Karen - I haven't read any books in this genre, but it sounds interesting. Please throw my name in the hat. :)

    susanjreinhardt AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Well then, you need to give a cozy mystery a try, Susan. You might like the stories. :)

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  11. Loretta,
    It sounds like a great series. Glad you were able to stop by! :)

    Ola,
    I too, enjoyed Nancy Drew growing up. Appreciate you coming by! :)

    Connie,
    I too love Ann's style. She's a wonderful writer. :)

    Medeia,
    I agree. So glad you were able to come by today! :)

    Ann,
    It's always a pleasure! Thanks for sharing the link for your other book too. :(

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  12. Susan,
    I'm thinking you'll enjoy Ann's cozy stories. Good to see you!
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  13. Hi Karen and Ann - cozy mysteries keep many people going at different times ... it's the sort of thing I read when I'm stressed and just need a cozy takeaway! Ann's book sounds so interesting ... and I know the idea of living in a town where murders occur all the time and 'we can see the setting easily' whenever we read another book is strange - but comforting or cozy! Cheers Hilary

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    1. You're spot on with your description of what appeals to cozy mystery readers, Hilary. A cozy takeaway sounds nice.

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  14. Oh, this sounds yummy-the perfect summer read! And my birthday is coming up August 14th, so I'd love to add it to my wishlist, even if I don't win it!

    Ann: My aunt bought me a Nancy Drew book for my 12th birthday and I read it more than once. I think I got some from the library, too--we didn't buy books that much when I was a kid, like we do now!

    My favorite genre--as for most pastors and wives--is mystery. I think we like that justice thing at the end.

    Thanks for writing, Ann!

    Jen jeanettelevellie@gmail.com

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    1. That's interesting about the favorite genre for pastors and wives, Jeanette. I'll have to remember that tidbit if I write another story starring a pastor and his family the way I did in the Heart of Hollyhill series. We didn't buy books when I was a kid either. The library was my favorite place. All sorts of magic there in the story aisles.

      Thanks for adding my book to your wishlist. That makes me smile.

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  15. Hilary,
    I think you are right about the cozy mysteries! They are a perfect book to curl up with at most any time. :) Thanks for hopping over!

    Jen,
    Appreciate you coming to see us. Happy Birthday early! Yes, this would make a great birthday gift. Added your name to the list.:)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  16. Thanks for the interview, Karen! So nice to get to know Ann. I enjoy cozy mysteries and I will definitely look this one up!

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    1. Thanks, Susanne. If you get your hands on a copy of either of my Hidden Springs mysteries, I hope you will enjoy the stories.

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  17. What a great interview! It was fun to learn more about Ann and her books. I thought her reader's comment about the crime rate in the town was funny. I enjoy mysteries and cozy ones take some of the stress out of them (no blood and gore). :)

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
    ~Jess
    *GFC follower
    haightjess at gmail dot com

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  18. Susie,
    You are welcome! You just might like this one. :) Appreciate you stopping to see us! :)

    Jess,
    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. It's always fun to have Ann visit. :) I'm with you, the cozy ones are less stressful!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  19. Nice to meet you Ann, and thanks for the intro, Karen! This sounds like a series I'd love. I hope I win! :)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!