Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Five Questions With ... Shelley Shepard Gray, author of "Eventide"

I'm so proud to re-introduce a favorite feature here at my blog - "Five Questions With ... Author Interviews."

And today, author Shelley Shepard Gray, author of over forty novels, most of them featuring stories of the Amish, has graciously taken time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her writing process and her books.

A Little About Shelley:

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list.

Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Shelley also writes historical, western inspirational romances for Abingdon Press as Shelley Gray. Her first novel with Abingdon, A Texan’s Promise, was released in October 2011 and has earned glowing reviews.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

And now, Here's Shelley!

1.       At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer? 

Shelley:  34! That's how old I was when I attended my first writers meeting and realized that it didn't have to be just a dream. I sold my first book two years later.
2.       At what point in your career did it finally sink in – “hey, I’m famous,” and did it  make a difference in your writing?

Shelley:  I still don't consider myself famous. But making the NYT list made a big difference in how I felt about my Amish romances. For the first time I truly realized that other people liked the books, too. I don't know what has made a difference in my writing, besides experience. I think I've gotten to be a better writer over the years.

3.       Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?

Shelley:  I've always been a huge romance fan. I love books by Lorraine Heath and Mary Balogh. My very favorite author is mystery writer Anne Perry. You will always see me at B&N the day one of her books is released! I also really loved Dee Henderson. I truly love to read. I read about three books a week.

4.       What do you have coming up in the future? 

Shelley:  The next few months are going to be very exciting for me! eventide will be released on Sept. 3, followed by PEACE, a Christmas novella, on Oct. 22. Then in February, the first book in my new series, Return to Sugarcreek, will be published on Feb. 4, followed by REDEMPTION, an Amish historical novella, on Feb. 25.

5.       What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into the writing biz today? 

Shelley:  My best advice is to actually write! Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down with research, plotting, and all kinds of promotional things. Set a word or page count goal for the week and try to stick to it. I also have to say that being willing to learn helped me a lot, too. I've received tons of revision letters and suggestions from editors and my agent. Finally, patience helps! Everything takes time. I know it's difficult, but it helps to enjoy the journey instead of wishing for instant success.

Shelley's latest book, Eventide, is set to release Tuesday, September 3rd. The final book in her "Days of Redemption" series, the book has been anxiously awaited by her fans.

About The Book:

Eventide is the riveting conclusion to The Days of Redemption trilogy by Shelley Shepard Gray, celebrated author of tender Christian romance novels set in Amish country.

Honest and faithful Elsie Keim falls for her new neighbor, Landon, but she can’t bear to tell him the truth: She’s going blind.

Landon is enamored with Elsie. When Elsie’s brother Roman steps in and shares the truth of Elsie’s disease, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. He wonders how he’d be able to keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie.

In Eventide, three generations of the Keim family come together to make their dreams come true.

Please visit www.shelleyshepardgray.com to learn more about Shelley and her books.

My thanks to Shelley Shepard Gray for her time in answering these questions, and to Harper Collins Publisher for arranging the interview and providing the review copy.

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