I always love chatting with Shelley Shepard Gray, and today I have the absolute privilege of welcoming her back to the blog!
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 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.
Her newest novel, Her Secret, released March 14 from Avon Inspire.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.
After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.
For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.
Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.
Yaaaaay!!! Welcome back, Shelley! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Shelley: I have a terrible sweet tooth, so any dessert is good for me. That said, I really like chocolate cake, coconut cream pie, and vanilla ice cream
Carrie: Yum! Now I want some coconut cream pie!
Shelley: Yellow roses
Carrie: Yellow roses are so pretty and sweet 🙂
Carrie: Me too!
Shelley: I don’t have one, but I do love country music, so if that is playing, I’m generally very happy.
Carrie: Shelley, how can you not have a favorite song?? We’re going to have to talk about this 😉
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Shelley: I would like to say reading as well, but even I don’t read as much as you do, Carrie! Since I feel that God gave me the ability to write, I guess that would be my superpower.
Carrie: You can totally have a reading superpower too – I share 🙂 But YES writing is absolutely your superpower. I mean, have you SEEN how many fantastic books you write in a year? (Probably so, because you wrote them lol)
Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Shelley: Alice in Wonderland, a copy of James Michener’s TEXAS that was once my father’s, Little Women, Outlander, and Anne Perry’s Cater Street Hangman.
Carrie: I love the mix of books and genres in your list!
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Shelley: Alice from Alice in Wonderland. She was the first character who liked imaginary worlds, too. : )
Carrie: Alice is a great character who I think most bookworms can relate to 🙂
Which books are “on your nightstand”?
Shelley: On Sunday I bought President Bush’s Portraits of Courage and The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Ella MacNeal
Carrie: Both of those sound really good!
Along those lines, tell me some good books you’ve read recently.
Shelley: I really liked Getting it Back by Elizabeth Harmon, Murder in Containment by Anne Cleeland, and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Kind of an eclectic mix, I think.
Carrie: The Hiding Place is one of my forever favorites. I re-read it every few years.
If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?
Shelley: Boy, that’s a hard one! My first pick would be Linda Howard’s Son of the Morning. Hmm. Maybe Perfect by Judith McNaught? After that, there’s no telling. I would probably just grab and go.
Carrie: That’s such an unfair question, isn’t it? I really should talk to the person who comes up with these. Oh wait… 😉
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Shelley: I’m a romance fan at heart, so I always go to the romance section. Right after that, it’s the cookbook section (I have a serious cookbook addiction), then mysteries.
Carrie: I love cookbooks but I’m terrible at remembering to use them lol.
If I snuck a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Shelley: These are such fun questions! In my purse, you would find:
- Lipstick and powder in an old Louis Vuiton cosmetic case that was once my mother’s. (she passed away years ago)
- Bifocals, because I really should be wearing them all the time but I can’t get used to them. So, I wear them to shop.
- Felt tip pens. Yeah, I’d much rather write something down in a green or blue felt tip.
- One of those nifty Kleenex pocket packs. Just in case, you know, anyone around me needs one. (leftover habit from being a mom)
- My wallet that is usually empty. I never have cash unless I remember to take some out of my husband’s wallet
- And about a dozen receipts that I should have thrown away because I’m really kind of a mess.
Carrie: Oh yes, my purse doubles as a receipt receptacle. And I love that you have your mom’s old cosmetic case. How special!
Describe your main characters from Her Secret, and tell me who you would cast in their roles if Hollywood wanted to produce Her Secret as a movie!
Shelley: Hannah Hilty is lovely, deceptively fragile, full of secrets, and scared of a stalker.
Isaac Troyer is Hannah’s easy-going, kind, faithful, and loyal neighbor.
I’m afraid I can’t think of any actors who could play them. I rarely watch TV or see movies.
Carrie: Well, who has time for movies and TV when you have a writing AND reading superpower? 😉
What surprised you about Her Secret or your characters as you wrote their story?
Shelley: The most surprising thing that happened when I wrote HER SECRET was that it was a whole lot darker than I thought I could write. I was surprised by how strong Hannah was. My favorite scenes were between her and her sister. I loved their relationship.
Carrie: That is a really great element of your novel – the relationship between Hannah and her sister. And I LOVED the stalker plot. Such terrifically chilling suspense
What do you most want readers to take away from Her Secret?
Shelley: Since I read for pleasure, that’s always what I hope readers will take away from my book. I hope they’ll enjoy spending a few hours in Hart County with Hannah and Isaac. If someone feels glad that they picked up my book, I’ll be very happy.
Carrie: I have been absolutely giddy waiting for this series to start – and it did not disappoint in the least!
Shelley, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Shelley: Thank you for hosting me! This interview was a ton of fun. I’ll have two books coming out in July. One is a novella in An Amish Summer novella collection. The story is called A Reunion in Pinecraft, and it takes place at the Orange Blossom Inn, the setting of my Amish Brides of Pinecraft series. My other release is HIS GUILT, the next book in my Hart County series! I’m excited to share both with y’all!
Carrie: We get to go back to Pinecraft?!?! YAY!!! (I’m a little excited about this!)
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What about you? What’s your favorite dessert?