Author Spotlight:: Shelley Shepard Gray

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Ann Gabhart is Romance Girl! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (

This week is Shelley Shepard Gray is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Shelley’s latest book, Grace, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married for 21 years, and am on the verge of being an empty nester. Our oldest goes to the University of Alabama, and our youngest is a senior in high school. Where did the time go? I feel very fortunate to be able to write full time.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

Currently, I am writing Amish Inspirational Romances for Avon Inspire, and Western Historical Romances for Abingdon Press.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?  

My husband actually helped me get started writing. Soon after we moved to Cincinnati, he found an announcement in our local paper stating that the Ohio Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America was having a meeting right near us. He encouraged me to go. I was scared to death, but am so glad I went! During one of my first meetings, I met Heather Webber, one of my critique partners. We’ve been partners, with several other women, for ten years now.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published? 

I published the third manuscript I wrote. It was for a small library publisher called Avalon. I used to write for Avalon under my maiden name, Shelley Galloway. I still write for Harlequin American Romance as Shelley Galloway, too.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I write best in the morning, and I do best when I give myself page numbers to complete for the day. Hmm…I almost always play solitaire before I start, and lately I’ve started listening to music. My little wiener dog sits by me, too.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader? 

The best things that  helped me were being in a critique group and writing almost every day. By now I’ve written over 30 novels, and I can see where I’ve improved.

What are your biggest distractions? 

Right now, email and Facebook are my biggest distractions. I’m by myself in my basement, so it’s always so tempting to ‘chat’ with other people online.

What is the role and importance of an agent? 

I absolutely love my agent. She’s been with me almost the whole time I’ve been published. For me, she helps me guide my career. She’s also the most supportive. She is also wonderful about calling people and checking up on things for me-and for putting things in perspective. I think all of need someone working with us in our careers. She also knows way more people in the business than I do-and therefore has been instrumental in knowing what books to pitch.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

Try to think of your career in the long term, not just what book you’d like to immediately sell. Also, remember that a rejection is only a rejection of the book or proposal, not of you as a person. Finally, the most important job of a writer is to write. If you are so busy blogging, organizing, and volunteering on committees that you can’t work on a book, it might be time to reprioritize things.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.  

GRACE is a Christmas romance novel about two people who come unannounced to a cozy bed and breakfast looking for an escape. It’s also about God’s Grace, and His influence in our lives.

What’s on the book horizon for you? 

Next year, I’ll have a new series out with Avon Inspire. It’s an Amish series set in Ohio called Families of Honor. I’ll also have the first book out with Abingdon Press. It’s called A Texan’s Promise.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books? and on Facebook.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Thank you for the interview! I’m honored to be here!

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Renae says:

    I have read "Grace" and several of your books and they are wonderful! Grace was very touching. I loved reading how the characters changed throughout the story!

  2. Karla says:

    I would love to win a new book by Shelley. I have read several and loved all of them!!!

  3. Sharon Holweger says:

    I would love to read another book by Shelley I haven ot read this one yet.

  4. Karo says:

    I have not read Grace yet, but have read nearly all of Shelley's books and i just love them. I can't put them down.

  5. catnippin says:

    I was introduced to Amish fiction by my twin sister. I'd love to win Shelley's new book "Grace" to add to my collection!

  6. Kristie says:

    I love Shelley's books. So refreshing and realistic. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Suess says:

    I'm always interested in meeting new authors. God Bless!

  8. Virginia says:

    Shelley….I ran past your picture and thought it said you were 21….and believed it!!!!!!!! yes I would love to win one of your books. vrush729(at)aol(dot)com

  9. Marisol Maddox says:

    I've only just caught onto the Amish fiction genre but I would love to read Grace, it sounds like a great book!

  10. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Ranae, Thank you for reading Grace! I'm very glad you liked the book. : )

  11. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Karla, thanks for the sweet words! Best of luck to you!

  12. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Karo, I love to hear that you can't put them down. That's my goal! Thanks for commenting!

  13. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Catnippin, : )

    How nice that you and your twin enjoy the same books! I hope you will enjoy GRACE.

  14. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Kristie, thank you! Best of luck with the drawing.

  15. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Virginia, thanks for the smile! My son is 19, so 21 was a long time ago! I hope you enjoy GRACE.

  16. esanders36 says:

    "Grace " was an excellent was an uplifting story and that is what we need in a negative focused world.thank you for providing us with the means to escape…even if only momentary.please keep up the good work!

  17. Priscilla says:

    Shelley is a terrific writer and I have enjoyed her books!

  18. Rose says:

    I would love to win this book. I have read all your books to date except for Grace. I am waiting for the library to get it in. I would like to have this book and buy the rest that come in the series. Thank you for all the love and caring you put into your work.

  19. kathy says:

    I love reading anything Amish related and I was pleasantly surprised when I joined my local library (we moved last year)and found 3 rows of inspirational reading with several new (to me) authors writing with Amish themes. Mrs. Gray was one of them and I have throughly enjoyed her books. Thank you Shelley for your dedication and ability to put wonderful stories to paper.

  20. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    esanders, I'm so glad you enjoyed GRACE. Thank you for leaving a comment!

  21. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Priscilla, you're too sweet! Good luck with the book drawing!

  22. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Rose, best of luck to you! Thank you so much for reading my novels.

  23. Shelley Shepard Gray says:

    Kathy, don't you love it when your local library offers a great selection of new books? I'm so glad you found me there! Good luck with the drawing!

  24. Karen Gervais says:

    I would love to win "Grace". I requested it from the library and I'm still waiting. Shelley is one of my favorite Amish authors.

  25. Katya says:

    Oh my goodness!!! I am SO glad I found this blog!!! I love reading about the Amish and one of my best friends happens to *be* Amish! The Lord has given Shelley a true gift in writing and I love reading her books! (I just "friended her on Facebook recently,too!) Suzanne, thank you for sharing this!!!

  26. Roxanne says:

    I love you, Shelley! I haven't read "Grace" yet, but I am a huge fan of yours. It would be nice to win a copy, but if I don't, I will definitely buy one. Stay blessed!

  27. gamemom1963 says:

    I have read "Grace". I had never read anything by Shelley. I have never read any of your books either ut I love the books about the Amish. I will defintely look for your books from now on. Please let me know where I can find them and more of Shelley's books too.

  28. Nancy says:

    I appreciate being introduced to Shelley. I love books about the Amish. I'm originally from Indiana, so am a bit acquainted with the culture.
    I would love to be able to read "Grace" and review it for my blog.

  29. Karen in Kentucky says:

    Hi Shelley,
    I have just begun reading your novels and love them. I'm currently finishing up Autumn's Promise. I understand this is the last in this series, but I want to know more about Robert and Lilly!!! Looking forward to reading more of your writing.
    Since retiring, I've become
    fascinated with the Amish and just can't seem to read enough. I've also become addicted to quilting, primarily from having two Amish quilts made for our new house. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

  30. Kate Lloyd says:

    I enjoyed the insightful interview with Shelley Shepard Gray. Looks like I'm heading to Barnes and Noble today for Shelley's latest book. No one has to twist my arm to purchase another Amish novel!
    Kate Lloyd

  31. Barbara says:

    Oh my! I have just found Suzanne Woods Fisher recently & I am finding all these new authors! So many good books & now looking forward to reading this one too! Our library does real good too, at having all these amish novels there.
    ibittybarbara at gmail dot com

  32. robynl says:

    a great read from all accounts here; I must look into this book; thanks.