Welcome, Shelley! What 5 things should readers know about you?
- I like to write! To date, I’ve published over 60 books.
- I like dachshunds!
- Though I write about the Amish, I’m not Amish. However, I do know quite a few Amish ladies and they’ve helped me with the research over the years.
- I like to travel! My husband and I love to go on cruises and travel in Europe. Sometimes I think I work so hard so I can go on another vacation. <g>
- I grew up in Texas, and that state still has my heart.
I hear you about #5. My daughter was born in Texas—we had to move when she was just under 6 months old—but she is totally enamored with the state and wants to go back. There’s just something about it!
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
There is a lumber mill in Charm, Ohio that employs over 400 men and women from the surrounding areas. Seventy percent of the workers are Amish. I wanted to write a series where a family-owned mill was a focal point of a community. Of course, I fictionalized it. The first book, A Son’s Vow, takes place 99 days after a tragedy happens in the mill. For this book, A Daughter’s Dream, I wanted to focus on a woman who isn’t sure she wants to accept her family’s legacy.
Great inspiration! I love that the mill is based on a real place.
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I started writing in 1999 and sold my first novel in 2001. I started writing romances because I like to read romances. I started writing inspirational romances when I felt the need to add another, more serious thread to my romances.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I love the whole process of writing. I actually love working with the team at my publisher, even all the revisions and edits. I feel like I am part of a great group of people who want to produce novels that we can all be proud of. The most challenging part for me is making all the deadlines that are a part of this process.
I can absolutely see how the deadlines could be the most challenging part. It must be almost like school, in a way…
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I’m currently working on next year’s Amish series, which is set in Kentucky. It’s called the Amish of Hart County series. I’m also in the middle of writing a series of historical westerns that take place in Texas right after the Civil War. The first book in that series is called The Loyal Heart.
Oooh! You had me at “Civil War”! No book for Amelia, then? 🙁
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
Lots of authors and books have inspired me. I read a lot, and read across all genres. Writers who can immediately capture my attention and make me only want to finish that book inspire me!
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Some dreams are worth everything. #AmishLove : )
Short and sweet!
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold 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.
I really enjoyed my trip back to Charm, Ohio (though if it’s your first visit, no worries–it would work okay as a standalone too) and seeing Lukas and Darla and their respective siblings again. I was intrigued by Rebecca in book one and wanted to see her story. There just aren’t enough romance heroines named Becky, IMHO. 😉
A Daughter’s Dream is all about figuring out what you’re meant to do with your life…and with whom. Several stories are interwoven with that of our main couple’s, Becky Kinsinger and Jacob Yoder.
Becky and brand-new-to-Charm Jacob are all kinds of adorable together–but first they have to find the work that God has prepared them to do. At the start of the novel, Becky’s sure that teaching is her true calling, but spending just part of a day as a substitute teacher has her questioning her ability (not surprising, because subbing is so not a fun job. I speak from experience here. It really is different when you’re in your own classroom vs subbing in someone else’s–but I digress). Jacob found fulfilling work in Florida as a carpenter, but has had to move back to Ohio and in with his parents in order to take over guardianship of his newly-orphaned 13-year-old niece. Jacob decides to give up carpentry to help his father farm the family land, but is it the right decision for him?
Jacob’s niece Lilly is grieving–but that’s not the real reason why she appears to not love school as much as she did in the past. Rachel, Charm’s schoolteacher, is determined to find out what’s behind Lilly’s apathy and change it for the better. Meanwhile, Lilly’s having some trouble fitting in at her new school, though she has attracted the attention of one unexpected individual. Rachel’s dealing with her own problems–she’s had some wonderful news, but it leads to unexpected conflict with her husband, Marcus. Finally, Becky and Lukas’s younger sister might have a suitor–or will Becky’s involvement end things before they even begin?
Everything is resolved nicely, except for Amelia–fingers crossed that her book is next, or at least soon! 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.