I'm thrilled to have Shelley on my blog today. Please welcome her with your comments.
Every comment and email address will have a chance to win one of her beautiful books and a handmade Amish handcraft!
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I’ve always loved writing, but I never even considered writing until the last year I taught school. Then I just wrote for fun. When we moved to Ohio, my husband suggested I go to the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America meeting. An announcement about their Saturday meeting was in the paper. After my first meeting, I began to try to write a book in earnest.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I write inspirational Amish romances for Avon Inspire. I like writing stories about men and women falling in love, but also deepening their faith. I also love writing about the Amish. Soon, I’ll be also writing historical western romances.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
I usually write 6 days a week. Right now, I aim for 10 pages a day Monday-Friday, and 5 pages on Saturdays. I take Sundays off. The length of time it takes me depends on the deadline and how the book is going. I’ve written a book in six weeks before, but I wouldn’t recommend it! Three months is my idea amount of time.
Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?
Autumn’s Promise. It’s the third and final novel in my Seasons of Sugarcreek series. It’s an Amish romance with a twist. My heroine is English, and my hero is Amish. They’ve both been through a lot, and must decide how much they are willing to give up for love.
I depended on a verse from Philippians to guide me. Basically, the spiritual message is that we’re all ‘works in progress’, and that the Lord gives us obstacles in life to discover more about ourselves. Both my characters lean on that verse.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?
I might be in the minority, but I’ve never felt like giving up. For me, getting the opportunity to make up stories is such a blessing. But, yes, I completely agree with you, writing is a very solitary job, and it can be extremely challenging and discouraging.
Before writing Amish romances for Avon Inspire, I wrote sweet romances for Avalon Books. It took me quite a while to sell a book to them. Then, after that, it took me another three years to sell to Harlequin American Romance, where I write for them as Shelley Galloway. Now I’m juggling big work loads and lots of deadlines. Sometimes I get just plain tired!
On those days, I give myself a break and go for walks or shop~anything to be out of my house and around other people. I also find a lot of support from my critique partners. We’ve been together over 10 years, and have each had our ups and downs. They know what I’m going through, so talking to them helps.
Once I give myself permission to take a break, within a day or two, I’m anxious to write again. : )
Who’s inspired you the most?
I would have to say my father inspired me the most. He’s been gone for some time now, but his success in life made me realize that anything was possible. So, I often try to have big dreams and work as hard as I can.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
Ha! I could spend an hour on likes and dislikes! I really enjoy baking and reading cookbooks. I also love spending time with my kids. They’re older now, so any moments I’m with them make me very happy. We also have two dogs. The miniature dachshund is my little buddy. I love taking her on walks.
I love to travel, too, and have been fortunate to have traveled to a lot of different places, both in the United States and in Europe. Lately, I’ve been telling my husband I want to go on two different cruises. One is a transatlantic cruise, and stop in Casablanca. The other is a northern European cruise, and stop in St. Petersburg.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
My website is http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/, and I write a blog on it about once a week. I’m also very active on FaceBook, and have two pages there, a Fan Page and a regular page, where I post little things about my days. If people are interested, I’d love for people to ‘friend’ me there!
I give a lot of books away, and offer contests and drawings with almost every book release. My next release is GRACE, which will be published in October. It’s a Christmas romance, and a continuation of my first series with Avon Inspire, the sisters of the heart series. I’ll post information about that book on both my website and on FB.
Thank you so much, Shelley for sharing with us a bit of your life!
Folks, don't forget that comment and email address! You don't want to miss a chance on winning a book from Shelley!