Baggage. We’ve all got some. Some of us just have… heavier baggage. After his wife and children are brutally killed, Greg Barnes has more baggage than he knew what to do with. That’s why he spent a year in the bottle, completely drunk. Now he’s trying to recover from his loss AND the damage that year did to him. That’s partly why he quietly has breakfast at the small cafe in Seaside every morning – he’s just trying to keep his head down and work through his issues. But Greg has an admirer. Carrie Carter, the owner of that small cafe, has a secret crush on Greg but she’s got her own baggage – and it’s not all that light either. When the two are thrown together by a horrible crime and a mystery they start to build a new life together. But will this new life be able to handle the weight of their combined baggage?

What led you to write Shadows on the Sand?
The original thought came from my editor who suggested I write another Seaside book. I love that setting of a Jersey shore town like Ocean City, NJ, where my parents met and where I met my husband. I did the four Seaside Seasons books in that setting, and since I was out of seasons, I hadn’t thought too much about more until Julee suggested it. I lifted Greg, the cop in the first four books, and made him my hero. Carrie just came alive in my imagination.

Starting out, who were the authors who inspired you? Who inspires you now?
When I started, there was very little Christian fiction. I loved Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney (after I outgrew Nancy Drew). Romantic suspense continues to be my favorite genre for reading and writing.

How does your faith influence your writing?
Many people write good stories but even though they are writing of life and death, too many don’t even consider the deeper questions about God and the meaning of life we all have. It’s my responsibility and my joy to add the spiritual arc to a book, to consider life and death, relationships and our relationship with God in light of Scripture. If I have some answers to offer and some questions to ask about the spiritual areas of life, I can’t not write of them. The trick is to write such a good story with characters so real that there’s no sense of lecture or sermon.

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Being a writer is one of those wonderful God-surprises that sometimes appear in our lives. I was a teacher until we had our kids. Then I wanted to stay home with them, but I missed the intellectual challenge of being with adults. I started to write just to fill that void and found I loved it. I thought I might as well write something I could sell, so I did. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It was probably more a case of ignorance on my part and grace on God’s.

What do you most hope that readers get from reading your work?
I want people to have a great read, a given for a novelist, but I also want them to think about the questions my characters ask and the answers they seek. The thing I like about fiction is that it shows patterns of living and the consequences of the choices the characters make. Right now I am writing a blog,, a different kind of writing that grows out of my life and my recent experience.

Check out more great articles

About The Author

Gayle Roper has won numerous awards for her book, including Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Holt Medallion (three times),, and Romantic Times Book Report's Lifetime Achievement Award.