Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you! Today I’ve got the awesome Heather Gray here and she’s telling us a little about herself and her writing! Take it away, Heather!
- Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
- I think about my next story for a while before I actually start writing them. I don’t tend to write an outline, but I want to make sure I know my characters well before I sit down and start writing. That way I don’t have to do a lot of backtracking and fixing once I’ve already gotten under way. Once I start writing, though, I just let the story take me where it wants. I obviously have specific goals in mind for my characters. I know the conflict (or conflicts) they’re going to have and the lessons I want them to learn, but once I start writing, how those things are accomplished is fluid.
- What inspires you to keep writing?
- I always say that writing is fun and editing is hard work, and it’s true. By the time I’m done editing a story and getting it out there for publication, I’m tired of the whole process. There’s always another story (or five) inside my head just waiting to get out, though, and so I keep writing. It helps when people actually like the stories I write. J
- What advice would you give an aspiring author?
- Write, write, write. It’s so easy to feel discouraged and to believe that you’re not good enough to complete in today’s market. The truth, though, is that you will only get better by writing. Sure, read books and take classes that teach you about the craft, but while you’re doing that – write. You get better by keeping at it and not giving up. You also get better by letting editors look at your work and tell you what’s wrong with it. That’s not always a painless process, but it’s one that every writer benefits from.
- Who inspired you to keep writing?
- I write, in part, because I believe that’s what God wants me to be doing. So I’d have to say He’s my biggest inspiration to continue. It’s also the readers, though. Every author gets discouraged now and then. It’s bound to happen. I have amazing readers, though, who reach out to me to tell me how much my stories have touched their lives, entertained them, and made them think. Having that tangible proof that what I’m doing is making a difference in people’s lives – that’s inspiration and encouragement all rolled into one!
- What genres do you read?
- I read suspense, romantic suspense, and romance. I enjoy some forms of nonfiction, too. Regardless of genre, I like a story that captures me in the first paragraph and doesn’t let me go till the end.
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
- This one is tricky. There are so many things I would change, but fixing the world’s economy or eradicating disease – those aren’t things that change people’s hearts. All they do is change the circumstances. I’d like to see something happen that can directly influence people’s hearts. There’s the obvious answer to that – I’d like to live in a world where every single person in every single country could hear the gospel message. It’s still a choice. Nobody can be forced to accept anything they don’t want, but for everybody to at least have that opportunity – wow. The other thing I would change is that I would make every person in the world spend at least one day a month doing something for people less fortunate than themselves. Regardless of faith, country of residence, or anything else – we all need to be more grateful for what we have and more compassionate toward those who have less, and I think putting people into a position where they have to do for those who are in a more difficult situation than themselves could do a lot to accomplish that.
- If you could sit down to dinner with one author, who would it be? And why? What would you ask him or her?
- I write Christian fiction, and I know I should pick a Christian author, but I’m going to have to go with Dean Koontz. He’s one of the few authors that my husband and I both enjoy, he loves dogs, and I see enough quirkiness in his writing to think he has a highly developed (and highly entertaining) sense of humor. What would I ask him? I would ask him to tell me a story. J
- What is your ideal vacation spot?
- There has to be electricity, and I’d better have a real bed. Other than that, I’m pretty flexible. I like the beach, the mountains, and just about everything in between. I’m not crazy for the desert, but that’s really the only place I’d probably not go on vacation. Vacation is about spending time with people you love and relaxing while you’re doing it. I can do that on the beach, by a lake, on the deck of a mountain cabin, or in the car on a thousand-mile-long road trip. (Although I might need a new car first…) J
- Do you have any writing quirks that help you write?
- Chocolate helps me write. So does coffee. But I don’t suppose they’re actual quirks. J I do some of my editing directly on the computer and some on paper – I find that I see different issues doing it each of those ways. When I edit a printed manuscript, though, I have a red pen in hand. And another nearby. I love my red pens. I even carry one in my purse for emergencies. J
- What is your favorite time of day to write?
- Gah! Life is super busy right now, so my favorite time to write is “any time my house is quiet.” When life is a little more normal, though, mornings are my best writing times. My mind is fresh and rested, and my fingers are raring to go on that keyboard.
Heather Gray loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter – not necessarily in that order! She writes approachable characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. Her books almost always include someone who’s infatuated with coffee, too. Some things just can’t be helped. Heather delights in creating characters who, like her, have their share of faults and foibles, characters who are flawed…but loved anyway.
She saves lives. He protects them. And someone’s trying to stop them both.
Lily Ziminski is an ICU nurse near the nation’s capital where politics are a regular part of hospital policy. Assigned a series of high-profile patients, she finds herself an unwilling focus of the media. Lily would much rather do without all the attention…except where one cowboy-hat-wearing state trooper is concerned.
Caleb Graham runs into the same captivating nurse twice in one day, and he’s not a man who believes in coincidence. When problems at a local impound lot force him into the middle of a bizarre case that threatens Lily, Caleb will stop at nothing to protect her.
From a stranger in a parking garage to Secret Service agents, surprise chases Lily around every corner. In the midst of the chaos, she has two constants – her longtime faith in God, and her growing attraction for a silver-eyed trooper.