I was fortunate enough to interview Shelley at the ACFW convention in St. Louis, MO on September 26, 2014. You can read our interview at http://www.rtbookreviews.com/blog/81657/author-qa-shelley-shepard-gray-talks-amish-fiction-self-publishing-and-more
Before sharing my review, here's a bit of information from Shelley.
A Word from Shelley…
I'm so excited about this year's series, "The Amish Brides of Pinecraft"! Ever since I discovered that Pinecraft was an Amish snowbird and vacation community located in the heart of Sarasota, I yearned to set a series of novels there.
Last year, after my editor approved the location, my husband and I took a trip down south to Sarasota. We went at the end of February, and I have to admit that I was as anxious to go on a research trip as I was to get warm! Everything had been gray and snowy here in Southern Ohio for months.
One fun coincidence that happened was that my Amish friends from Sugarcreek just happened to be vacationing in Pinecraft at the same time. My husband and I spent an afternoon with them one day. They were so gracious! They took time to show us all of the sites. Before long, I was completely charmed by the area. The buildings are quaint and lined by sidewalks. Palm trees and flowers were everywhere, many Amish and Mennonites rode red bicycles, and everyone seemed to be in a happy, relaxed frame of mind.
I couldn't wait to begin writing the series!
I decided to make up the Orange Blossom Inn and have it serve as the home base for all four books in the series. I created the character of Beverly Overholt. She owns the inn and hosts most of the main characters in the books. After that, I got to work on plots for each book.
The series begins with The Promise of Palm Grove. In this book, Leona Weaver must decide whether to hold tight to past choices she's made or take a chance on the promise of what could be. I hope everyone enjoys her story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE by Shelley Shepard Gray: Amish friends Leona, Sara, and Mattie arrive at a B&B in Florida for a two-week vacation before Leona’s marriage to Edmund. While Leona believes Edmund to be a “gut” man, she has doubts about spending the rest of her life with him. As a result, their relationship has been strained recently. She is concerned about sharing this revelation with her friends for fear of their reaction. Local Amish man Zachary Kaufman is the opposite of Edmund. After spending a brief period of time with Zachary, Leona remembers the feelings of joy that have been missing in her life. She begins to experience a sense of peace. Will Leona follow her heart or her sense of duty, as she has committed herself to Edmund? This is the first installment in the "Amish Brides of Pinecraft" series. There are a number of intriguing secondary characters who will hopefully be featured in upcoming sequels. The flow is even and doesn’t feel rushed, giving the reader time to really enjoy the characters. Vibrant descriptions and details bring the plot to life in this heartwarming tale of new beginnings and renewal. In fact, the reader may find themselves wanting to book their own trip to Pinecraft.
To Connect with Shelley…
Readers can find me at: http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/
Or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray
Or follow me on Twitter @ShelleySGray