I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.
I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.
Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.
I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.
Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed. http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/bio/ another bio = http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/media/
1. What inspired you to write A Texan’s Choice?
I grew up in Houston, Texas, and spent many evenings watching old westerns with my father. I’m a huge fan of westerns and of historical novels. I specifically wrote A Texan’s Choice because I was anxious to write Scout Proffitt’s story. I loved the idea of featuring a hero had done many, many bad things…but wasn’t all bad. – That is so true!! Scout is such a gentle, humbling and loveable character. I’m so glad you wrote his story!
2. Given that you have previously only written Amish novels, what made you want to write about cowboys and outlaws?
I had actually written the first book in the Heart of the Hero Series, A Texan’s Promise, before I wrote my first Amish novel. So writing westerns is really a passion of mine. Also, since I write four Amish novels a year, it’s good for me to write about other types of characters. I think it helps keep my writing fresh.
3. What do you like most about writing Amish novels?
I love writing about the Amish lifestyle because I admire their faith and slower pace of life. I also live just an hour from an Amish community, so it is fun to write books that are set so close to where I live.
4. If you could pick a favourite character, who would it be?
Without a doubt, Scout Proffitt, the hero of A Texan’s Choice, is one of my favorite characters. I first started thinking about him when I wrote A Texan’s Promise, and had him be a secondary character in A Texan’s Honor. He was complex and challenging for me. I liked him a lot! – If I had to pick a favourite character, it would definately be Scout as well. You have done a great job crafting his story Shelley.
5. What do you enjoy the most about writing Christian Fiction?
I love writing stories that not only show hope by having characters enter into fulfilling relationships, but also becoming uplifted, too. For me, Christian fiction gives me an opportunity to create characters who are multifaceted.
6. How do you overcome writer’s block?
I feel fortunate because I haven’t yet experienced writer’s block. I do sometimes don’t feel like working, though. But I usually solve that by reminding myself that I have one of the best jobs in the world! I am so grateful to have publishers who believe in me and to have readers who are willing to read my books. I also try to take Saturdays off if I can, and do my best to keep my computer off on Sundays. Giving myself permission to step away from my job helps me look forward to Monday mornings!
7. When did you discover your passions for writing?
I suppose I discovered that passion after we moved to Ohio in 1999. Before that, I was always a voracious reader. (I still am!) I only started writing because I didn’t have a book to read one day during my lunch break at school. I never imagined I would get published. Ever. – Well I’m sure glad that the Lord blessed you with this gift! Your stories have been amazing. Love reading your books.
8. Where do you like to write?
My favorite place to write is in my office. It’s in our basement and has no windows. It’s a mess. I rarely do anything in my office but answer emails and work. Writing there keeps me focused. I’m also always happy to leave my office, especially in the summer!
9. Out of all the books you have written, surely you have a favourite?
Now that is a hard one! I really don’t have a favorite book. Some I like more than others. I’m particularly fond of the three books in the Heart of a Hero series, mainly because I wrote much of them in my spare time, and I wrote the first one for ‘fun’.
1)I’m left handed.
2) I have two dachshunds and could easily have three or four but my husband won’t let me!
3) I have a terrible sweet tooth, and am consequently either baking, planning to go out for ice cream, or dieting.
4) I love to travel. I carry around cruise and vacation brochures. We also have a world map in our house, I stick little pins on it to mark where we’ve been. I can’t wait to visit Australia, by the way!
5) I go a little Christmas-crazy. I love decorating our house for Christmas. But on December 26, I take it all down.
11. What is your favourite food, pet and animal?
I love ice cream, really like having our miniature dachshunds, and also enjoy watching all the birds in our backyard. We have tons of bright red cardinals, hummingbirds, a pair of ducks who return every spring, and a shy blue heron who comes at sunrise and sunset.
12. If you could pick any holiday destination, where would it be?
Probably either New York City or Las Vegas. Since I’m usually sitting in my basement, I love to be around all kinds of people and bright lights. I also love to go to shows, which both New York and Las Vegas have a lot of. – Both places sound fun! Although I live in Australia, I have never been to America. I must now make plans to visit soon!
13. You are given 1 Million dollars. What would you do?
I love any charity to do with literacy and books, so I would probably give a lot of that money to that. After that, I would probably take one of those fancy cruises that last 100 days. I keep telling my husband that I want to see Casablanca. – Sounds like a great plan Shelley 🙂
14. Are there any words of encouragment you can give aspiring authors?
My best advice is probably the hardest to do, and that would be to be patient. It took me three years to get my first contract. I realize now that I wasn’t ready when I first started submitting. I needed to get more experience and to learn the craft. But it was very difficult when I kept getting rejections. So, I would encourage aspiring writers to not give up and to continue to write the best books that they can write. The Lord really does have a plan for you.
15. Are you currently working on your next book? If so, care to give us a little insight?
I usually write more than one book at a time. Currently I’m working on a historical set in 1893 tentatively titled Deception on Copper Hill and Joyful, an Amish romance that is part of my Return to Sugarcreek series. – Wow! How do you do it? Don’t you get a little confused with each story? Can’t wait for there releases…
Thanks so much Shelley for answering these questions. I hope you have a blessed Christmas and enjoy your decorations 🙂
Thank you so much, they were fun to answer.