Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Heather Gray Guest Post!

How a Book Comes to Be

Have you ever wondered where authors get their ideas?  I wonder all the time, but then, I was one of those annoying children who constantly asked their parents and everyone else within hearing, "Why?"  So, really, where is it that book ideas come from?  Believe it or not, writers don't walk up to fortune-telling machines at the fair, put a couple quarters in, and get a multi-million dollar plot in return.  Nor do they swirl fragrant tea leaves about in a bowl of warm water and try to decipher what the leaves are telling them about the next great American novel idea.  Well, maybe some do.  I can only speak for myself!
I have come up with ideas based on dreams, out of bizarre conversations I've had with people and out of the unending wealth of material my teenage son gives me.  I have created plots out of "What if?"  What if I won the lottery?  What if I found out I was the long-lost daughter of a multi-millionaire?  What if I learned that I'd been put up for adoption at birth because my parents were actually super spies, and to protect me, they had to hide me with a normal family?  What if shoes were made out of chocolate and everyone loved coffee as much as I do?  What if my dog talked and my son barked?  You know, the basic questions of life.
I read a quote by Toni Morrison, once.  "If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it."  I had already written my first novel when I came across this quote, and could I ever relate!
My first novel came about because I wanted to read a book one day and couldn't find a story that suited me.  I suppose my desire for a book was somewhat specific.  Inspirational.Historical.Romance.  Oh, and not a mail-order-bride tale.  On that particular day, though, every book I picked up was indeed a mail order bride story.  I finally gave up altogether and ended up with something contemporary, which I'm sure I enjoyed.  I don't always read historical fiction, and I don't always read inspirational.  On that particular day, though, that's exactly what I'd wanted.
All those mail order bride books got me to thinking.  There has to be an angle no one's thought of before.  That thought percolated in the back of my mind.  I couldn't quite shake it.  It was some time before I actually sat down to write the story, but by the time I did, I knew I wanted to do something with it that I'd never seen before.  Hey, I'm nothing if not original.  (Or so I like to tell myself.)
There's a huge learning curve that comes with a first book, at least in my experience.  My second book, already under contract, is a significant improvement on the first.  My third book, also under contract, is an even bigger improvement.  I hope people will enjoy my debut novel and that, with me, they will look forward to bigger and better things to come.  In the meantime, I will keep plugging away at my laptop and asking myself questions like What if elephants could fly and monkeys had webbed feet?  What if an orphaned albino Dalmatian wandered into my yard?  Why do teenagers sigh so much?  And how is it that they can convey such a wealth of emotion and opinion in that single small sound?
Thank you so much for stopping by!  If you'd like to read my debut novel, Mail Order Man, you can find it at any of these sites:
Amazon               Barnes& Noble                 Astraea Press                    Smashwords                      Kobo

Author Bio
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

You can find me at:

Mail Order Man
Some people get a mail order bride.  She got a mail order man.
A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office.  Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community.  Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike.  Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel.  Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends.  Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love.  Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny.  When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows.  Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind.  One question remains, though.  Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?


  1. Heather,

    What a fun twist on the traditional story of a mail order bride. I'd wondered where the idea came from, so I'm glad I found this post.

    Christi Corbett

    1. If we allow ourselves to consider it, inspiration is all around us, isn't it? :-)

    2. Thanks for visiting PrincessReviews!(: