Ann’s new book, Murder at the Courthouse, was just released this month.
I was looking at your website, www.annhgabhart.com and I loved the Welcome you put at the top. “Welcome to Hidden Springs––pop. 732 731. For our readers, Hidden Springs is the setting for her new book.
Tell us what the book is about Ann.
“Michael Keane is ready to relax as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky—and that’s just fine with Michael. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps.”
Well as you know, I love mysteries, so I will definitely be reading the book.
Tell me why you decided to write a mystery book.
“I’ve always loved mysteries. The Hardy Boy Mysteries and Nancy Drew Mysteries were some of the first books I devoured as a young reader. In fact, I often give those Hardy Boy books much of the credit for me first taking up pen and trying to write a story. I wanted to be in a mystery like they were and writing my own seemed the only way to make that happen. The safest way too! So years later, after writing many historical novels and coming of age stories for young adults, I decided to try my hand at a mystery. The first Hidden Springs mystery, Murder at the Courthouse was the result.”
I am always amazed, although I shouldn’t be how the books of The Hardy Boy Mysteries and the Nancy Drew Mysteries affected so many people. I devoured their books and was thrilled when television shows came on the air. Like you, I could imagine myself in all sorts of mysteries and trying to solve the cases.
So is there a story behind this story?
“Once I decided to write a mystery, I knew I wanted to set it in a town much like the town where I grew up. I still live near that little town of Lawrenceburg, KY. But in my story, I kept the big stores out and let my fictitious Hidden Springs stay small and one of those towns where everybody knows everybody. I wanted that small town feel with its quirky characters. But I also wanted a main character readers could like. Not a perfect man, but one who liked having roots in Hidden Springs. Then I added a mystery that challenges all he has ever believed about his town.”
Just that reason alone makes me want to read the book Ann. I’m sure your fans feel the same way.
Are you going to write another mystery?
“Hidden Springs mystery number two, Murder Comes by Mail, is already written and with the publishers. That story is going through edits and will be released in July 2015. I am currently working on Hidden Springs number three. So I’m definitely writing at least a few mysteries.”
Was it difficult to come up with your title, characters and plot?
“A mystery plot can be a challenge. You have to plant clues and at the same time try to keep readers from guessing the ending too easily or too soon. Mystery readers like being mystified in a story, but they do want to be able to look back and see that the clues were there if they had only picked up on them. My characters weren’t really hard. Each time I write a new story, my characters seem more than happy to spring to life in my head and start talking. So I started with Michael Keane. Then I added his Aunt Lindy. Of course, he had to have a love interest. And you can’t forget about Anthony Blake, a kid Michael is trying to help, who tries every way possible to spurn that help. As for the title, I brainstormed with an agent and came up with several suggested titles for this mystery.
“My publisher’s titling committee took those suggestions and did their own brainstorming session. The result was one of the titles I’d suggested – Murder at the Courthouse.”
I am very glad you caught the “writing bug” at the age of 10 and kept writing. You have produced some wonderful stories for readers to enjoy.
What’s next for Ann Gabhart?
“Right now, as I said, I’m working on the third Hidden Springs mystery. After that, I plan to go back to my first writing love and write another historical romance. I’ll have to switch gears a bit from these contemporary cozy mysteries to do more research and step back in time to write that story. But good characters make the story no matter the setting or era. So my job will be to come up with the right characters for those new stories.”
Just think Ann, some day, in the future, someone will ask another writer what influenced them in their writing a mystery. Those words will be, “I’ve always loved mysteries. Hidden Spring’s Mystery books, by A. H. Gabhart, were some of the first mystery books I read.”
Thank you for visiting us.
Good luck with this new adventure.
Be sure and visit Ann Gabhart at