Welcome, Ms. Gray!
Over Thanksgiving, I had an interesting discussion about the popularity of Amish novels with my mother-in-law. I told her that a lot of my readers like to read Amish-themed books because their lifestyles are often the opposite of their busy daily lives. The Amish don’t use electricity or drive cars. Most don’t have cell phones or use the computer on a regular basis. Because of those things-plus many other guidelines, their lives are much simpler, and their pace of life is slower.
I don’t know about you, but there are some days that I would really enjoy becoming disconnected from all the noise and frantic running around.
I’m never more aware of these differences than when I am writing my Amish Christmas novellas. That’s when I’m constantly reminded about the real reason for the season, and I find myself wanting to celebrate time with family, enjoy a leisurely hour chatting with a friend, or baking cookies for a neighbor.
In A Christmas for Katie, my main character is little Katie Weaver, a somewhat headstrong six year old. In this story, Katie isn’t begging for the latest must-have present. Instead, what she wants is to have a better nativity scene in the front of the library. The current one there is peeling and broken down and she is sure that it’s not good enough to celebrate Christ’s birth. Her goal isn’t met with a lot of enthusiasm. The librarian is occupied with other problems, someone keeps stealing the nativity pieces, and even her mother has to gently remind her that the Amish don’t really believe in nativity sets.
I loved writing this little book. While writing it, I found myself wondering how I could make sure that I wasn’t only thinking about to-do lists, work, and shopping this holiday season.
One of the things my husband and I decided to do was take Butch, our new little adopted dachshund, for a long walk every day. Just yesterday, we were on our town’s bike trail, bundled up in mittens and coats (Butch, too!) we found ourselves looking for bright red cardinals, laughing about things that happened with our kids over Thanksgiving break, and chatting about nothing important.
When we got back home, Butch was tired, our cheeks were red, and our spirits were lifted. We were already looking forward to our next walk!
I hope each of you has a wonderful holiday season. And, if you don’t already do something to slow down your life a bit, I hope you’ll give it a try. You might just be glad that you did.
Shelley Shepard Gray
Back of the Book:
A Christmas Ebook ExclusiveWill a little Amish girl make a Christmas miracle?It isn’t easy to be Katie Weaver. Her sister-in-law Ella is about to have a baby, making Katie an aunt for the second time … and she’s only six and a half! Plus, her favorite librarian, Miss Donovan, seems sad. She won’t even fix up the rundown nativity in front of the library in time for Christmas. Then, an old woman is attacked outside the library, and, one by one, the nativity figures start to disappear!Luckily, there’s a new deputy in town, Connor Fields. He takes a real liking to Miss Donovan … and he promises to find the missing nativity pieces for Katie.Now, all Katie has to do is pray that Ella’s delivery goes well and that some kind of nativity is in place for Christmas Eve. Oh, and that Miss D. falls in love with Connor. Katie knows from watching her three brothers that it makes people real happy. And that would be a Christmas miracle indeed!
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About Shelley Shepard Gray:
I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.
I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.
Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.
I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.
Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.