Friday, February 14, 2014

HOPEFUL - Shelley Shepard Gray - One Free Book, Plus More

Bio: Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Welcome back, Shelley. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I really enjoy writing inspirational romances because I enjoy writing about positive people and experiences. I enjoy creating characters who I would like to know. I enjoy writing about the Amish because I live very close to an Amish community. I also truly admire their faith.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
When my kids were still living at home, I used to make them Valentine’s Day scavenger hunts. All day I would make up clues, wrap up little baskets, bake a heart- shaped cake and a big pot of chili. That evening we’d eat together, have some cake, then I’d send my husband and the kids on the hunt. We had a beagle back then who would race around the house with them, howling. We did this twelve years in a row, and those days were some of my happiest.

How has being published changed your life?
My first book was published in 2001. It’s been a long journey for me and an incredibly gratifying one. Though there have been many highlights—too many to list, I’d have to say that writing and having such a long career has given me a confidence that I never expected to have.

What are you reading right now?
I’m a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Every February I judge books for the annual RITA awards, the highest honor in the romance industry. So I’m currently reading RITA books. It’s great fun, and I always love discovering new authors.

What is your current work in progress?
I always work on at least two books at the same time. So I’m currently working on SNOWFALL, an Amish Christmas novella, and Deception on Copper Hill (working title), a historical romance/mystery set during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

What would be your dream vacation?
I love to travel to new places. Right now, my husband and I are planning a trip to Portugal to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Celebrating 25 years of marriage in Portugal will definitely be a dream vacation!

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Usually I chat with my editors about settings. After that, I really just let my imagination take over. I will say I’m extremely fond of beach settings, probably because I get so tired of Ohio winters!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I would probably choose my sister, because she lives in Athens, Greece, and I hardly ever get to see her.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I really love to bake and cook. Nothing makes me happier than to spend the whole day in the kitchen. I also really like my exercise bike, which is a good thing since I spend so much time either sitting behind a computer or baking in the kitchen!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I have a love/ hate relationship with revisions. I usually never like what I write, so when I see a revision letter I am always sure that the book is even worse than I originally thought! I am definitely a writer who needs an editor though, and 9 times out of 10, the requested revisions are exactly what the book needs to become better. I deal with revisions by only doing about an hour or two of them a day, if I can! Then I put them to one side and work on something new. : )

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
My best advice would be to take advice! I’ve learned so much from my critique partners, my agent, and my editors. It’s because of their mentoring that I’ve grown as a writer. I would also add that patience really is a virtue. Good things will happen to people who work hard and don’t give up!

Tell us about the featured book.
HOPEFUL is the first book in my Return to Sugarcreek Trilogy. It features Miriam Zehr, a gal who is a little plain, a little insecure, and a lot in love with Junior Beiler. When Junior finally talks to her, she’s sure her life is about to change. But what she doesn’t realize is that her life is about to change in far more ways than she could ever imagine. It’s a book about hope and faith and not always getting what you ask for.

Please give us the first page of the book.
She was late.

Holding her canvas tote bag in one hand and a box of oatmeal raisin cookies in the other, Miriam Zehr exited her house, darted down her street, turned left on Main Street, and almost ran down old Mr. Sommers.

With a grunt, he stepped to the side, his garden hose spraying a good bit of water onto her skirts before settling back onto his daffodils.

She skidded to a stop. “I’m sorry, Eli.”

He merely raised one eyebrow. “Late again, Miriam?”

“Jah.” As discreetly as possible, she shook her blue apron and dress a bit. A few drops flew from the fabric, glinting in the morning sun.

He shook his head in exasperation. “One day you’re going to injure someone with your haste.”

She winced. “I know. And I am sorry, Eli.”

Looking at the box in her hand, his voice turned wheedling. “Those cookies?”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on facebook at and on my website at

Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read." (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 


Five winners will receive:
  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

Thank you, Shelley, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Hopeful -
Hopeful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book One - Amazon
Hopeful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book One - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book on this blog. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela from KY

Melanie Backus said...

What a wonderful interview, Lena. Hopeful sounds like a great book. Thank you for the opportunity to be a winner.

Melanie Backus, TX

Mama Cat said...

Awesome! Thank you for opportunity to win your latest book! I live in Phoenix.

Jackie McNutt said...

Lena, Shelley is one of my favorite authors I would love to read Hopeful ! I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you from Ohio

Emma said...

wonderful interview. Hopeful sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.Have a wonderful weekend.PA.

Patty said...

A peace offering of cookies never hurts anything. I would love to read Miriam's story!

Patty in SC

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of Hopeful. I am a huge fan of Shelley's and I was able to meet her in person last September at a book signing. She is such a sweet beautiful lady!

Judy B from Indiana

Jackie Tessnair said...

Love this interview!I love Shelley's books.Thanks for the chance to win this one.Jackie Tessnair,N.C.

Britney Adams said...

I enjoyed Shelley's interview and loved learning about her Valentine's Day scavenger hunts! What fun! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of HOPEFUL!

Britney Adams, TX

Mary Preston said...

HOPEFUL sounds like such a fantastic read.

Mary P


Diana Flowers said...

I enjoyed the interview. Love Shelley's books so much but have NEVER ever won one as much as I've tried! :) This time, however, I'm very "Hopeful!" ;)

Diana Flowers said...

OOPS-I'm sorry--dianalflowers(at)aol(dot)com

Diana in SC

Rhonda's Doings said...

I love Shelley's books! hope to win a copy! Thanks ! Rhonda from VA

Patsy said...

I love to read Amish books I would love to read this one!
from south Miss

Barbara Thompson said...

Fantastic interview, Lena! I love Shelley's books. She's a great author. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you!!

Barbara Thompson (West Monroe, LA)


MsRubyKat said...

Wonderful interview! Would love a chance to win a copy.
Karen G., NY

sm said...

I like your family Valentine's scavenger hunt! Very clever! Wish I'd thought of that when my kids were home. Love to win HOPEFUL! and read about her surprise turn of events. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

This book looks and sounds interesting!!!
Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless!

Kay from NY said...

I love reading Shelley Shepard Gray's books. Hopeful sounds like a great book. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Kay from NY