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When I dusted off my bookmarks a couple of years ago, I had quite the fascination with Kindle box sets. They are a great way to meet new authors and the prices are pretty hard to beat. Today’s featured author is a go-to for me, I always enjoy her stories and sense of humor.
About the Author
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.
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Favorite character type
Heather: I’m a sucker for the strong, silent type. Give me a hero who speaks with his actions (in a good way, obviously), and I’ll call it a page-turner.
People who know me well laugh at this because I’m not a huge talker myself. In real life, that strong, silent type and would hang out without speaking. Which sounds a little boring.
In the world of fiction, though? Oh yeah. Give me a strong, silent hero any day. 🙂
Beth: Yes, I completely agree! I even married that type (and I’m not exactly chatty Cathy so we just listen to the incessant chatter, humming, singing, etc. of our children)! 😉
Heather: Offer me Chinese or Mexican food (or coffee), and we might end up friends for life. I know, I know. Chinese and Mexican foods have nothing to do with each other.
People who like one don’t generally gush over the other. But what can I say? I love them both. Just, uh…don’t mix them together. No moo goo gai tacos for me.
Beth: Mmmmm… I prefer all kinds of Mexican but Chinese is up there too (usually just the chicken dishes though, I’m boring like that).
Favorite place to write
Heather: Yeah, my bio might have given this away. I sort of like going to my local coffee shop to write. Don’t get me wrong – I do write at home. I also homeschool and cook and clean and do a million other things at home, and those things cause a lot of distraction.
I sometimes struggle with concentration, and the things about being at home is that there will always be a million things that need to be done. Those distractions lead to entire days spent not writing.
So I like to escape to my local coffee shop where there’s a ton of noise, but none of it has anything to do with me. Nobody is asking me questions. If something dings, I know it’s not my dryer. The sound of running water doesn’t make me scour the house to find the leak.
I just sit, block it all out, and write. It helps, too, if I don’t connect to their WiFi. While WiFi is optional, drinking copious amounts of coffee is required. In fact, I think that’s a law…
Beth: Oh, it is so nice to step away from the never ending to do list at home sometimes!
Heather: It’s not so much that I have a favorite word or words, but rather that I enjoy the way sounds interact with each other. I like sentences that make my tongue smile. (Yes. My tongue can smile. So can yours if you let it. 🙂 ) In honor of my love of alliteration and the fun sounds it can make…
Alan the alto was enamored of almonds. He enjoyed encyclopedias nearly every day, too. In fact, Alan’s ideal encyclopedic volume was “I” where he discovered an ingenious instrument called ipu.
On an overly oven-like day in October, Alan went to Oahu where he met an ipu-maker named Olivia. As they stood under an umbrella, they discovered they both had uncles named Ulysses and that they also understood the underappreciated language of Uzbek.
And they lived happily ever after…
Beth: I’m tempted to make my family members read that aloud!
Favorite childhood books
Heather: I went through a phase somewhere around seventh grade. I might have been a little dog crazy at the time. I read The Call of the Wild and White Fang, not to mention 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians. There was a set of books about an Irish Setter somewhere in that mix.
I’m sure I read at least a dozen other dog books that year, but my favorite was The Journey of Natty Gann. I loved that book, and I can still remember bits of the story after all this time – but more than that, I can’t think the title of that book without a rush of emotion coming back.
I remember how it felt to read that book. Every child should be so blessed as to have a book that resonates so deeply within their soul that they carry the feeling and memory of it decades into their future.
Beth: Amen to that! What’s not to love about dogs!
Heather: I’ve just launched a new series. Skye, Rainbow Falls Book 1, came out at the end of June in the Cherish box set. I’m super excited about Rainbow Falls. It’s a hidden gem of a town in Montana, and it’s filled with…well…colorful characters. (Pun totally intended.) Skye is a story of God’s amazing grace and His desire to redeem the ugliest parts of our lives and turn them into things of beauty.
Skye struggles with accepting this idea that God can redeem her darkest moment. She’s carried her hurt and pain around for a long time, and she’s let them become a shield that keeps everyone away and prevents her from feeling anything too deeply.
When she’s confronted with her past, though, she has to choose. Will she embrace the God who never let go of her? Or will she continue to run away from Him and the people who love her? Skye’s authentically human, too, so she doesn’t follow a simple roadmap. Life would be awfully boring if she did. 🙂
I hope you’ll all stop for a visit in Rainbow Falls…and that you fall in love with it like I have.
When Skye reaches her limit, she packs a bag and runs away from it all…without realizing what she’s running toward. Sam is the only wrinkle in her plan. What happens when a woman chased by guilt and fear runs headlong into a battle-hardened Marine who isn’t used to backing down?
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Beth: Sounds good, Heather! Thank you so much for sharing some of your favorites and the following excerpt with us today!
Skye Blue was flying home.
What a strange word.
Too many years had passed since she’d last set foot in the vibrant but close-knit community of Rainbow Falls, Montana.
They hadn’t been horrible years. Mostly. She’d had a roof over her head and food to eat. She’d gotten an education, been given a job. Life had been stable in Idaho, and that counted for something.
Then why, oh why, did leaving it all behind and running away from Boise to Rainbow Falls lift such a suffocating burden from her shoulders?
Or even better, why couldn’t she breathe to begin with?
The only wrinkle in her escape plan was the man sitting next to her.
Her hometown was nestled in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, and those mountains — beautiful though they were — created some geographical limitations. As a result, Rainbow Falls boasted only a small airport. And small airports only took small planes. Small, as in seven rows of four seats divided by a center aisle – two seats on each side.
And because fate wanted to punish her for some unknown slight, Skye was trapped in a seat between the window and one of the most formidable people she’d ever encountered.
With one glance in his direction, her protective cloak of confidence fell away. She was once again the small girl watching in terror as police invaded her mother’s home for the first time.
Prickles raced across her skin, heating it from the inside out.
Skye clenched her eyes closed. She could do it. She could block the image running rampant in her mind’s eye. Her hands fisted around her seatbelt. It was the only thing she could hold onto, the only thing to anchor her to this moment instead of the past.
Eventually, her breathing returned to normal and she opened her eyes. The view outside the window drew her attention. The mountains. They had mountains in Idaho, but nothing compared to these. Mountains were vast and immovable. Which only served to remind her of the man sitting next to her.
“What brings you to Rainbow Falls?” His voice held the scratch of a smoker, but the telltale odor was absent.
Anyone else want to give Skye a big ol’ hug?
Do you feel a personal connection to your hometown or special place?
12 thoughts on “Heather Gray: author spotlight + excerpt”
My boys love book animals!
Excited to read your latest work!
Ha! So glad I’m not the only one. When I was in first grade, I read an entire series of books based around a circus. Each story was about one of the circus animals. Loved those stories! I remember my big brother taking me to the school library to help me find more as I finished each one.
My daughter went through an enthusiastic horse phase 🙂
Fun interview, Beth and Heather! I love my hometown here in northern Utah, and my neighborhood is the best! We have such amazing neighbors.
So glad you cold stop by today Winnie! Northern Utah is a beautiful place!
I’d love to visit your valley some day, Winnie!
I so enjoyed Skye and Rainbow Falls! We have a granddaughter who since she was 20 months, has been saying alliteration and recognizes them. We make up our own alliterations and she will say, “that is an alliteration.” Fun, fun post!!
Awesome! See? It’s never too young to teach alliteration. ^_^
Thank you for stopping by, Ann!
Thanks so much for stopping by Ann!