Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Boy, that’s a great question! Hmm. All my characters have some basic traits that are like me, I suppose. Most try to be good people. Most of my characters really do believe in happy endings and falling in love-as I do, too! But usually my characters are usually people not like me. Instead they’re people I’d like to know.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Since it’s Christmas time, I’d have to say the quirkiest thing I’ve done lately is decorate way too early for Christmas. And I’ve been known to listen to Christmas music all year long. Yes, it drove my children crazy!
I love Christmas music and play Christmas CDs from the day after Thanksgiving until New Years day. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I never thought of myself as a writer until I deliberately sat down and attempted to write a novel. I never thought of myself as a “real” writer until I sold my first book-back in 2000. I’ve always considered myself a reader.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ve always enjoyed reading. I majored in English literature, and really enjoyed studying the classics. Now, I usually will read romances or mysteries. I read fast, and I can never leave a bookstore (or grocery store! Or Walmart!) without a book in my hands. In college, my favorite place to hang out in was the local library-not the college one!
When I was a child, the library was an important place for my family to visit. We brought home loads of books. We couldn’t afford to buy them. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I try to keep focused on what is important and not get too stressed about things that don’t matter all that much. I rarely worry about a messy house! As far as writing, I usually have a bunch of deadlines, so I try to concentrate only what is due next, not what is due a month from now.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I use a baby name book-the kind expectant moms would buy! For my Amish books, I have copies of The Budget, which is the Amish newspaper. I get all my names from people mentioned in the regional reports.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Personally, it’s that I’ve been married 23 years to my college sweetheart and that my college-aged kids still like to come home. Professionally, it’s making the New York Times Bestseller List.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Ha! Hmm…I guess I’d be a mole.: ) I’m very comfortable staying home and kind of hiding out from the rest of the world. Especially in the winter!
What is your favorite food?
That would be cookies. I love to bake cookies, and have been known to eat too many.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
As far as actual writing, my greatest roadblock was when I once had a heroine who completely did not want to follow my outline or goals for her! I ended up praying a lot, and asking God to help me meet my deadline, and have the strength to believe in the story and the heroine enough to ignore the outline and my fears.
I also have to say that selling A Texan’s Promise was a tough roadblock, too. The manuscript went to many editorial boards and was “almost” sold, but then rejected, for various reasons. I had to learn that there is a time for everything, and that I needed to be patient and wait for this book’s time. Once again, God’s timing was perfect.
I know what you mean about that. My McKenna’s Daughters series was like that. Tell us about the featured book?
A Texan’s Promise is a western historical romance set in
in the 1870’s. My hero, Clayton Proffitt, is just wonderful! He’s honorable and
noble and willing to do whatever it takes to help the woman he loves. My
heroine, Vanessa Grant, starts out as an extremely vulnerable woman in the
worst of situations, but then finds enough to strength to save Clayton from
himself. A Texan’s Promise features a
whole cast of characters, who have been hurt in one way or another by war and
hardship but have become better for those experiences. Colorado
I wrote the book for fun on weekends and in the evenings. I guess you could say in a lot of ways, it’s the book of my heart.
Please give us the first page of the book. Here you go:
“Vanessa, honey, why you crying?”
Clayton! He stood in the doorway to the stables, his presence both a soothing balm and a source of panic.
Vanessa gingerly leaned back against the wood behind her, willed herself to relax, but it was no good. It was going to be some time before she could calm down again. “I’m sorry I woke you.”
“You didn’t.” His eyes narrowed as he stepped closer. “It’s midnight. Isn’t it awfully late for you to be out of bed?”
Yes. Yes, it was. It was too late for a lot of things now. Wiping her eyes with the side of her fist, she shook her head. “I’ll go in soon.”
Clayton crouched beside her, his knees brushing her skirts. A puff of dust flew up, mixing with his scent, all bay rum and horses. “Care to tell me what happened?”
She was thankful for the darkness. “No.”
I can’t wait to read this book. How can readers find you on the Internet?I hope readers will visit my website: www.shelleyshepardgray.com, or on Facebook, too! I write a blog a few times a week, and am on FB almost every day.
Thank you, Shelley, for the interesting interview.
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A Texan's Promise - Book #1 in The Heart of a Hero Series
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