The Story Behind Scent of Lilacs

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 10 Comments


What Can you Get for 99 Cents?

What will a dollar buy these days? A candy bar. A soft drink – maybe. A pack of bubblegum. More gasoline at the pump than a year ago. A zillion or so different things at a Dollar Tree Store. Right now for less than that dollars, only 99 cents, you can download first Hollyhill book, Scent of Lilacs. 

I like it when the publisher decides to run a sale on my books because I want to share my stories with as many readers as I can. Scent of Lilacs is a special book for me because when I was writing it, I thought it might be the last book I ever wrote. You see, before I decided to use my memories of how my little hometown was in the 1960’s and create my fictional town of Hollyhill, I’d gone through a long stretch of writing without finding a publisher for my stories.

Scent of Lilacs original cover

Scent of Lilacs first cover

Had My Writing Dream Come to an End?

I’d had two historical novels published in 1978 and 1980 and eleven young adult books published after them. But then, I fell off the publishing wagon. The books I wrote didn’t find loving editors or any kind of editors. I tried more young adult books. I tried mysteries. I tried a straight romance. Nothing garnered interest from those who could put my books on the store shelves. I began to wonder if I’d ever publish another book. Perhaps my writing dream had come to an end and it was time to come up with new goals. New things to do. But I had never wanted to do anything but write stories since I started writing my first Hardy Boy clone mystery when I was ten. I couldn’t give up without trying at least one more time to write a book someone might want to read.

One More Book

So, I stopped worrying about what editors might want. I didn’t think about which genres were selling. If I was going to only write one more book, I wanted to write a story I could love. A story about people I could know. A story set in a small town like mine. My little town became Hollyhill. I copied the Main Street and the Courthouse. I copied the sound of the screen door on the old newspaper office. Bits and pieces of my memories found their way into the story.

Best of all, a family came to life in my imagination. Jocie, the thirteen-year-old who lives the story. Wes, the grandfather figure who claims to be from Jupiter. David, Jocie’s father who runs a newspaper but wants to preach. Aunt Love, who quotes Scripture to try to make Jocie behave. Zella, the set in her ways secretary at the newspaper. Leigh, who wants to marry a certain preacher. They came to life as I began to hear them talking to each other. And while I knew some of the things that were going to happen to them in the story, many of the events surprised me as the characters led me along their story road.

Simple, Straight from the Heart Prayers

Of course, none of that meant the story would ever get published. I liked those other stories I’d written that ended up on my rejection shelf. But the people who lived in my Hollyhill were different. They danced around me. They encouraged me. They refused to let me give up. And they, especially Jocie, pushed me to pray. In the story, Jocie has a dog prayer because she’s wanted a dog forever. She has her sister prayer because she wants her sister to come home. She has her please no more cabbage for supper prayer because she can’t stand cabbage. And more.

If I could write about Jocie sending up simple, direct prayers straight from the heart, why couldn’t I say a book prayer? I could and I did. That was a prayer the Lord surely answered when my agent sent the finished book to an editor whose favorite flower just happened to be lilacs. And I was back in the book writing business again. Since then I’ve had fifteen other novels published in the inspirational market with more on the way.

Scent of Lilacs – 99 Cents

But Scent of Lilacs has a special place in my heart because I love those Hollyhill characters and because it started me on a new fiction writing path where I get to write the stories I want to write. Now you can download Scent of Lilacs for the low price of 99 cents. Many greeting cards cost over three dollars and as much as seven dollars these days. I guarantee you Scent of Lilacs will give you more words for your dollar. 🙂 See more about Scent of Lilacs here.

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

If you’re already read the story, which character did you like best? Would you recommend it to your friends? As always, thanks for reading!

Comments 10

  1. Linda Clement

    I have read the whole series and they are my favorites! I love that you keep Jocie alive for us. I felt sad as I finished the last book. I am so thankful that you persisted in prayer and got Jocie’s story to us. Blessings!

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Linda, Jocie hasn’t written as much lately on her Heart of Hollyhill blog. It didn’t feel as if anybody was reading it and Jocie’s a busy girl. LOL. But I like hearing what Jocie has to say from time to time. Thanks so much for reading her stories. I think it would be fun to go back to Hollyhill someday. Maybe I need to let Jocie come up with a story.

  2. Diane

    FYI – when I clicked on Amazon Kindle, it took me to Christianbooks.

    I already own the first three in this series in print, but will buy an ebook copy too. If they aren’t my favorite books, they are at the top of the list!

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Oops, Diane. I should have checked my links to make sure they went where I thought they did. Thanks for letting me know. I fixed that, I think. Now I’d better check the others.

      And how nice of you to tell me that you already own my Heart of Hollyhill books and that they’re some of your favorites. I like being on a favorite book list. 🙂 And that softens the sight of a new one star review on Amazon from someone who either didn’t like the book or didn’t read it. Wasn’t sure what the reviewer was trying to say. But I am thankful for the many nice reviews of people who did enjoy the stories and for readers like you.

      1. Diane

        Not sure if I did reviews for you on Amazon – I will go and check now and if not, will surely get them written and up there! They are wonderful books that played on my emotions and deepened my faith. Please don’t ever stop writing!

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          Ann H Gabhart

          That would be great, Diane. Can’t have too many reviews, especially from those who like your story. That such a great remark for you to make. That the books deepened your faith. That makes all the hours writing those stories so worthwhile. And they deepened my faith too because of how while I was writing the stories it just seemed that the perfect Bible story or verse would come to mind. A good feeling.

          1. Post
            Ann H Gabhart

            Thanks, Diane. I’m smiling! Glad you liked the books enough to light up all the stars on the reviews.

  3. Karen Jones

    What a touching story. Prayer works!!! And I am delighted you persevered and put your trust in God and not all of it in the publishers. I do enjoy reading your books! Congratulations on your success! And please thank your publishers for all who will enjoy reading Scent of Lilacs for .99!!! 😊 Interesting—that is the scent I have in our bathroom right now given to me by a friend a week ago.
    God Bless You!

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks, Karen. Maybe wishing for spring just makes us think of our favorite flowers. A good time for some flower specials. 🙂 I appreciate you reading my books and your sweet comment. I do hope some new readers (at least, new to my books) will find their way to Hollyhill to get to know Jocie and friends.

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