Intersection Column | Even More Will Be Given
by Shelley Shepard Gray
Her Heart’s Desire is the first book in my three-book Seasons in Pinecraft series. The story begins with heroine Mary Margaret Miller having to spend the night in a strange hotel room with two other women during an ice storm. Before the night is through, Mary has made two best friends. They decide to privately refer to themselves as “wallflowers,” since all felt like they were standing on the sidelines in their respective hometowns.
There are two connecting elements for this series. The first is the most obvious, all three novels take place during vacations in Pinecraft! The second connection is how I developed the series from the very start—a series about those three “wallflowers” who meet on a bus trip, become fast friends and learn to love themselves while they also fall in love with three special heroes.
I’ve always been a voracious reader and have loved the power of a good story. My love of reading has influenced my desire to write books that are filled with the things I like to read—romance, overcoming obstacles and the opportunity to experience someplace new or unfamiliar.
I like to say that I write books for my readers—and I often find myself thinking about a chapter that I just wrote and wondering if it is gripping enough to encourage someone to want to turn the page.
My novels based in Pinecraft have a lot to do with a conversation I had with a young Amish woman years ago. When I asked her how she got such a good tan in February, she smiled and told me all about her trips to Pinecraft for spring break.
That conversation spurred a number of visits. Each time I’ve traveled there, I’ve learned several new, fun details to add to my books. It’s important to me to actually visit the places I write about. I feel blessed that I’ve been able to do that.
One thing I love to do in my novels is show just how varied the Amish community really is. There are a great number of Amish in the United States, and several more communities in other parts of the world. In addition, there are several different types of Amish—from the very conservative Swartzentruber Amish to the far more progressive Beachy Amish. There is even a large Amish group in southern Kentucky called the Electric Amish.
My favorite thing about setting novels in Pinecraft is that all of these different, varied groups converge in one place. It’s the only place in the world where this happens. As a writer, the possibilities for stories set here are endless.
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given” (Matthew 25:29).
This particular verse guided me through the writing because several of the characters realize that God had blessed them with several gifts that they took for granted. Once they found beauty in these gifts, they were able to find happiness and even love. I happened to love the idea of characters going from viewing one particular trait as a flaw to celebrating it.
I read for enjoyment, so I write books with the same goal in mind: I hope readers will be pleased they spent a couple of hours reading the novel. If they stayed up late because they couldn’t put it down, that makes me happy, too!
About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 books. Two-time winner of the HOLT Medallion and a Carol Award finalist, Gray lives in Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
About the Book
After boarding a bus, all alone, for a vacation in Pinecraft, FL, Mary Margaret Miller meets two kindred spirits and a handsome carpenter, Jayson Raber. When someone from Mary's past shows up, it seems like her perfect vacation is ruined. But that's nothing compared to what's coming when she realizes what Jayson has been hiding.