Author of the Week- TL Gray

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Welcome to ERG’s weekly Author of the Week Interview! This will be a weekly feature, and I’ll be interviewing popular authors in different genres. If you have a favorite author that you’d like to see featured, make sure to tell them to contact me.

So let’s get started. I’d like to introduce you to T.L. Gray. She is the author of the Christian Fiction books Shattered Rose and Shackled Lily. Let’s get to know this great author!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

I am currently a pastor’s wife and stay at home mom of three wonderful kids. In my past life, I was in the Air Force for 10 years serving as an engineer. In 2009, I left the Air Force and moved to a small town in North Texas where my husband took his first pastorate. God called us to Ennis, TX in 2012 to Tabernacle Church. The church and community are amazing and we feel so blessed to be here. Besides all the church activities, kids programs, and sporting events, I love to read, run and write. It is a very common thing to find me at our local Starbucks with either a book or a laptop.

When and why did you start writing novels?

Believe it or not, I never imagined I’d be a writer. I have struggled in my life with body image and self worth, and thought maybe one day I would write a memoir of how God has overcome that in my life, but it was always just a thought. Then after a string of reading really bad books, I just honestly got frustrated with the book industry. As a Christian, I wanted to read fiction that inspired me, but found there was hardly any “Christian Romance” I could relate to. The character’s worse days were often better than my best days. So I had started reading secular fiction, but found the new trend was broken characters who found redemption in another character or sex. It seemed like the market had fallen to two extremes, and I was in the middle.

So, in Nov 2012, I began writing Shattered Rose. I wanted to show young girls that true redemption comes from Christ, not the womanizing hero who was displayed today in young and new adult books. I wanted to offer a heroine who was flawed and broken, one who made mistakes, and yet despite them was still loved and valued by Christ. I wanted to offer something real to the Christian market, even though I knew it wouldn’t be marketable like a historical or amish romance would be.

What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?

To be honest, I never thought past my first book, but after a few friends read it, they demanded more and wanted it to be a series. Turns out, I truly love writing and storytelling, so I plan to do it as long as God gives me the passion and time for it.

Which one of your books or characters is your favorite?

Oh, that’s a hard one, because I love them all for different reasons. I will say that Issy was my favorite character to write. She is practically the polar opposite of me, so it was fun to have her do and and say things I would never have the courage to do.

Of the two books, I feel the most emotionally connected to Shattered Rose because it deals with such a personal issue, but on a strictly entertainment level, I think Shackled Lily has a stronger plot.

Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

shatteredRose_FINALcoverMy first book, Shattered Rose, was the hardest because I was so new at it and didn’t have the confidence in writing that I do now. It took several rewrites to get the transitions and character voices exactly where I wanted them. I’m not like most writers in that I plan my stories. Instead, they happen like a movie in my head, and then I write them down. At first, I found it challenging to convey in writing what I was picturing in my head.

Who is your favorite author and book?

Francine Rivers, Mark of the Lion series. I read that series on my way to Iraq in 2005, and will never forget how much it inspired me during a really trying time in my life.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m kind of in a book slump right now, so I’ve been rereading one of my favorite series. The O’Malley Chronicles by Dee Henderson.

Where do you get your plot ideas?

I have a really overactive imagination, so I’ve always had stories going on in my head since I was little. Often I’ll watch a movie or read a book and end up rewriting scenes in my head. Usually, I try to think of what I would want to read about or what message I want to convey and just let the story naturally drive us along.

I am already thinking about my next series where I plan to take some well known stories of the bible and put a twist on them. Those will be fun because the plot is already set, and the Old Testament is fascinating.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love to read, so that is my favorite personal past time. I also love to hang out with my family and enjoy watching my kids grow. They keep me laughing on a regular basis.

Do you have any new books in the works?

Yes, I am about to start on the third and final book in the Winsor Series. Then, I will go right into my new set of stories from the Old Testament. I’m really excited about those, because I’m going to do something completely original with some well loved biblical characters.

 

 

 

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