Shelley Shepard Gray is known for
her heart-warming Amish novels. In her new series, Return to Sugarcreek, she
set out to tell more stories from Sugarcreek, the setting of her previous
popular series. Shelley took a moment to share with us about the second release
in this series titled
YOUR NEWEST NOVEL, THANKFUL, HAS A PLOT WITH AN ODD SORT OF LOVE-SQUARE: CHRISTINA, ADEN AND CHRISTINA’S MOTHER AND FATHER. CAN YOU TELL US HOW AND WHERE YOU GO THE INITIAL INSPIRATION FOR THIS NOVEL?
I began plotting this novel, I wanted to have several plots revolve around the
idea of being thankful. I also wanted to focus on how one event can change many
peoples’ lives. I thought Aden saving Christina’s life was just the sort of
event that would resonate with many characters in the novel. Actually, I never
thought of Christina’s parents being central characters in the novel. I simply
knew, as a mom, that I would want to take care of both Christina and Aden.
HOW WAS THE WRITING PROCESS FOR THIS NOVEL DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PREVIOUS NOVELS?
I have to say that these characters
really spoke to me. Because they felt so ‘real’ to me, I kept challenging
myself to make them seem like real people to my readers. For example, no one in
the book can really sleep, and they all handle their insomnia in different
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER, CHRISTINA? WHAT MAKES HER AN INTERESTING PROTAGONIST?
I loved how Christina was always
going to be fragile in Aden’s eyes, because he knew how close he came to losing
her. Yet, she was actually pretty strong.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GET OUT OF THIS NOVEL?
My biggest hope for every novel is
that readers will feel that reading the book was time well spent. I know they
have many books to choose from and not a lot of spare time, so it means the world
to me when they pick one of my books to read. Beyond that, I hope that
Christina and Aden’s story might inspire them to reach out to someone who has
made a difference in his or her life.
WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE SERIES?
The next novel in the series is Joyful. It continues the trilogy’s
storyline, of Judith and Ben’s efforts to have a child of their own. Joyful also features the Beiler family,
who were introduced in Hopeful. Joyful
features the romance of Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Nolt.