Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.
When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.
I just recently discovered Tammy’s books, when I had the opportunity to review her newest release My Hope Next Door. If you haven’t read it yet, go right now and snag a copy! It’s fantastic!!! (Read MY REVIEW)
Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.
Welcome to the blog, Tammy!! I’m so happy to have you here 🙂 I start everyone out with a “fast four” –
Tammy: Apples. Because they are easier to eat.
Tammy: Summer. I hate being cold.
Tammy: Dogs. Too many reasons to list.
Carrie: Zuzu is so happy to hear that! She is still traumatized over Crystal Walton’s answer to this question yesterday 😉
Tammy: Coffee. Because coffee makes the world a better place.
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Tammy: Being invisible. I’d love to get a glimpse into people’s lives when they think no one is looking.
Carrie: That’s deep. And a little scary. <keeps an eye on Tammy> haha!
Besides the Bible, what are 5 of your most cherished books?
Tammy: Oh, that’s a hard one. I enjoy lots of books for different reasons.
My first three are all in the same series:
1-3. Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers – I started this series on my way to Iraq in 2005. I truly believe it gave me the strength to get through that deployment.
4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – Because the writing is so amazing that every time I read it, I’m blown away.
5. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry – This book really helped me see what kind of voice I wanted as an author and what kind of characters I wanted to write.
Carrie: I have read none of these. How sad is that? I must correct ASAP!
My next-door neighbor and I were talking books the other day and she didn’t realize that there was such a genre as “Christian romance”. I of course stocked her up with a good supply to get started 😉 But, as an author of modern Christian romance, why do you think this genre is so important?
Tammy: Because the definition of love is our culture has been skewed. Romance novels paint a picture that if you “love” someone, that person will save you from all your pain (which is a lie). In addition, that “love” is always synonymous with sex. Where Christian Romance is different is that we show what love looks like through a different lens. One where Christ is our savior, so the other person can be our partner. It keeps the balance and the roles where they are intended to be. Christian romance shows that chemistry is important (and necessary), but more important is friendship, kindness and commitment. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of heated moments between my characters and sex within the bounds of marriage is a beautiful, God-honoring thing. But long-lasting, sacrificial love is so much more than what is painted in most romance genres.
Carrie: “We show what love looks like through a different lens” – i love that! So true! One of the reasons i love this genre so much.
In My Hope Next Door, an unlikely friendship develops between a former wild child and the “good kid”. Between Katie and Asher, who do you most relate to?
Tammy: Katie. Hands down. I didn’t become a Christian until I was an adult, and my path to get there was very crooked and rocky. The greatest joy I’ve seen with my faith is the freedom that comes with allowing God to be in control. It still blows me away that people find religion stifling. I guess when you hit rock bottom and the world is crashing down on you, true light has a very different meaning. For me, I try to write books that show the beauty of Grace because I was given so much of it.
Carrie: As someone who relates more to Asher – the good girl who is still miserably flawed – I had a difficult time understanding Grace until I was an adult. Once I “got it” (if you ever really can) – wow! I finally understood how beautiful Grace is and how truly amazing that it should be extended to us so freely. I loved that aspect to My Hope Next Door – so tender and refreshing.
One of my favorite characters in My Hope Next Door is Asher’s dad, Pastor Powell. He’s such a great picture of the ideal pastor – wise, sense of humor, compassionate, full of grace. What was your inspiration for his character?
Tammy: Honestly, my husband. I know that sounds cheesy, and I am definitely not Laura Powell by any stretch of the imagination. But Todd is an amazing Pastor, and I wanted to show my readers that men in that position are real and flawed, of course, but can also be amazing leaders and strong examples of Christ. I also wrote what I hope is my husband’s relationship ends up being with our son when he is an adult. 🙂
Carrie: I think that’s really sweet, not cheesy!
Tammy: My Hope Next Door is a story of second chances. It’s about letting go of past regrets, mistakes and the image we all carry. It’s about looking beyond stereotypes to the person God has created us to be. And it’s a beautiful love story between two very different people who share a similar pain. As an author, I always want my books to leave the readers changed in some way, or at least see the world from a different perspective. I truly hope this book will do both.
Tammy – again, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 I have added your backlist to my TO READ pile and now I just need more time in the day 😉 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Tammy: I’m currently working on a new book for Waterfall Press. Can’t give too many details yet, but I think my readers will be really happy. 🙂
Carrie: Well, I think I can speak for your readers when I say that – with a teaser like that – we’re all dying to know more details when you can give them!!
Connect with Tammy online:
More Books by Tammy L. Gray
What about you? Do you relate more to the wild child or the good kid?