Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Helen Grey

A warm welcome, Helen. Your book sounds very interesting. Tell us, is there a story behind your book, Ozark Sweetheart?
Yes, there is a story behind Ozark Sweetheart.
In my early years of scribbling, my mother read all my books. Then, after a time when I had been grilling her about her experiences growing up in the Great Depression, she typed up some notes for me. Back then most historical books were set before the turn of the century, so those notes went in a file. Six years ago I lost my mother. Several months later I pulled out those notes—and decided the time had come to use them.

I wrote a historical set it in the Great Depression, fictionalizing the small town of my girlhood and characterizing a heroine with the help of my mother’s notes. After a long wait, during which I wrote the two books that follow it, the sale of the series seemed almost prophetic in timing. The message saying the series had been given a YES arrived on Hubby’s birthday. The contract arrived on the anniversary of Mom’s death. Ozark Sweetheart is supposed to release in March of 2014.

Love stories set from true events and people. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
The heroine, Callie, is the one I spent the most time with. She is drawn from my mother’s background and named for my maternal grandmother. I got drawn into the time period and people of the Great Depression.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I would be concert band style.

I'd love to know why! What is your strangest habit? (you pick which one—just something to have fun with and show some personality.)
When teaching, I always wore colored shoes (I had them in almost every color imaginable) to match my clothes. My students would even check to be sure my socks matched my pantsuits.

Lol. Fun. What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
Board games or Scattergories with my family always result in hilarity.

What is your favorite season of the year?  
I love spring when nature is coming alive and bursting into color.

It's become a favorite of mine too. What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I love my beautiful Ozark hills and countryside. There is so much color, wildlife, and scenery.

They are a beautiful part of this country! Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 
Doesn’t everyone put off housework?

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special) 
Judy, a friend at church, took a special interest in my writing and started reading everything I wrote. She believed in me!

Questioning whether I would ever be published, a scripture verse came to my mind—and lodged. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

Could I do that?  I lacked courage, but I couldn’t chase that scripture out of my brain. So one day I asked Judy if she would claim that promise with me. She not only gave me an emphatic YES, but assured me that her prayer warrior mother would join us. From that point on the three of us were united in petitioning God for my books to find a publisher. And it came to pass!

That's lovely, Helen! When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Ozark Reunion, book two in the three book series, is scheduled to release the first of June. Here is the book blurb:

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, it’s time for Riley to start over. And the first step is winning the trust of his Missouri hometown. But it isn’t easy for a man with a troubled past. Especially when his first love, Jolene Delaney, seems to believe that the new rumors about him are true.

After Riley broke her heart, Jolene threw herself into teaching school and caring for her father and little sister. But she knows something is missing from her life. Especially when she comes face-to-face with Riley again. Can he convince Jolene that he’s truly a changed man? Or will he succumb to old temptations and destroy her faith in him once again?

Looking forward to it!

To buy her book, go here:

Parable Print

About Helen:

Helen Gray grew up in a small Missouri town and married her pastor. They have three grown children. If her writing in even a small way touches others, she considers it a blessing and thanks God for the opportunity.

Connect with Helen here:

Helen is giving away a copy of Ozark Sweetheart. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!

Caroline Brown


Linda Marie Finn said...

I so love that truck, I can remember my great grandma Kells talking about the depression, about making and selling bread.
Linda Finn

Nadine Keels said...

Oh, there's nothing like prophetic timing! nadine(dot)keels(at)gmail(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

I can so identify with wanting to put your mother's life in your book. So glad you followed your heart. And God's timing is always perfect. pat at ptbradley dot com

Marianne Barkman said...

I know Helen a little bit from the blog SEEKERVILLE. My parents were young children during the depression, though they never talk about those bad times. Thanks for the chance to win this book

PriviesAndPrims said...

How sweet to honor your mother's memories. :)

priviesandprims [at]yahoo[dot]com

Merry said...

I enjoyed getting to know more about Helen and how Ozark Sweetheart came to be.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Jackie McNutt said...

So nice to learn about Helen and her book Ozark Sweetheart.
Loved that the shoe story! such a fun way to interact with her students.
Thank you

sam said...

I like the fact that you wrote this book, Ozark Sweetheart, from your Mom's notes on the Depression. I think that's really fabulous. It memorializes your mom, in a way. I'd love to win and read your book. I see you also married your pastor. I married the youth pastor at our church. It was 43 years ago now. sharon, wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Helen Gray said...

Thank you for the warm comments, ladies.

Mom always read everything I wrote and encouraged me. This is my way of thanking her for that support.

My pastor husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on May 31.

Martha Sturm said...

Great to see someone else from small town, MO! I come from Marshall, MO off of I-70.
So great that your Mom left you history. I thought I knew a lot about my Mom's family, but sometimes I wish I had asked more questions.

Wendy Newcomb said...

Loved the interview, thank you for the chance to win the book.


Anonymous said...

Hello Hellen. This seems to be real interesting after reading this interview. And I love books set in places like this and this time. I would love to win it. Thanks Carole for having Helen here. She is new to me. Please put my name in the drawing.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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