Guest Post

The Story Behind HER FEAR: Guest Post and Giveaway by Shelley Shepard Gray


There was just something special about Hart County, Kentucky. Almost three years ago, when I was first researching Amish communities for my editor, I read a very brief blurb about the Amish of Hart County. It really wasn’t much more than a few sentences, but they sure stuck with me! I remember reading that a lot of the Amish in that community were relatively new transplants-having moved to central Kentucky out of busier tourist places like Holmes and Lancaster counties.

When I learned that the community was located near Mammoth Cave and that one of the towns in the area was called Horse Cave-because outlaws used to hide horses in the cave underneath the town, I knew it was a good setting for a six book series. I think my editor was a little confused about my reasons for choosing the area, but she gave me the green light to go forward anyway.

Next thing I knew, I was planning a research trip there and was off and running!

I’ve really enjoyed writing this series, and it’s a little hard to believe that almost all of the books have now been published. Each of the books has been a little different for me. They’ve dealt with some pretty intense subjects, from stalkers to undercover agents to characters with dark and painful pasts. That said, I have to admit that HER FEAR was the most surprising book for me to write.

I had the same feeling when I wrote HER FEAR that I did several years ago when I penned THE PROTECTOR. I felt like the story was telling itself and I was just along for the ride. Everything about it was a bit of a stretch for me. I pride myself on creating Amish characters that are relatable and who I would want to be next door neighbors with.
To be honest, almost every one of the characters was a bit ‘off’. They all had problems! Big problems.

So, though a part of my brain kept telling the rest of me that I didn’t need to touch on so many well, touchy subjects, the story had the best of me. It didn’t seem to matter that I had Amish who made illegal moonshine. Or that my very sweet heroine was also very pregnant. Or that my hero had a very English job-working as an EMT. Or that even many of the ‘good’ guys really weren’t all that good. It all seemed to fit.

So, I did what any other author would do who is under a pretty tight deadline: I wrote the book.

I have to admit that the whole underlying theme of ‘fear’ and all things dark and twisty fit in nicely with the story lines. I just let everyone be themselves, battle their personal demons and find redemption.

And, for me, I would like to think that they did.

After I turned in the book and the weeks went by, I began to dread opening up my email. I was sure I was going to find a very long note from my agent carefully explaining why I needed to rewrite the whole book and tone things down. However, to my surprise, while I did have some revisions, she liked the novel almost as much as I did. That was both a relief and a blessing for me!

I hope everyone will enjoy Sadie Detweiler’s story and her romance with the very chivalrous Noah Freeman. Let me know what you thought!

And, please be on the lookout for HIS PROMISE, coming out in mass market on October 23.

Thanks so much for visiting us, Shelley! Readers, I have some FANTASTIC news: HarperCollins Publishers is giving away a complete set of The Amish of Hart County: HER SECRET, HIS GUILT, THE GIFT, HIS RISK, HER FEAR, and an advanced copy of HIS PROMISE! That’s SIX books up for grabs to one lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment below. Giveaway starts today, Friday, August 24th and ends Friday, August 31st and is only open to US residents. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Saturday, September 1st. Good luck and don’t forget to share this giveaway with your friends!

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement.

Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities in Adams and Holmes counties several times a year. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church.

She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.

Shelley also spends a lot of time on line! Please visit her website, to find out her latest news…or become her friend on FaceBook.

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167 thoughts on “The Story Behind HER FEAR: Guest Post and Giveaway by Shelley Shepard Gray

    1. Like your books and enjoyed meeting you in Holmes County twice. Looking forward to seeing you in Burton Ohio at the Library!

  1. Fabulous giveaway!! Please accept my entry. Would be thrilled to add these wonderful books to my collection. Thank you.

  2. I have read other books you have written, but not this series. I would love to try this one! I love imperfect characters.

  3. Have always enjoyed reading S. Gray’s works and this series sounds just as interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to win this series.

  4. Oh, how I’d love to win this set of books. Love your books and most Amish stories. I find that I slow down and enjoy life a little more when I read these books!

  5. I have read a couple of books in this series, I believe and would love to have the whole set!!! I love all Amish fiction books and am hooked on them. Thanks for the opportunity for the giveaway.

  6. I have enjoyed many of Shelley’s books over the years, but haven’t had a chance to read this series. What a generous giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win all six!

  7. When you read the first, you will want the series! Shelley has a real GIFT, and someone will be really BLESSED to win the whole set!!! I ❤️ her books and writing style ~

  8. Shelley has an amazing gift to draw her readers into her stories. Once you start, you won’t be able to but it down till the books end. This is an amazing contest and someone is going to be thrilled to win. I know I would be thrilled.

  9. I really enjoy reading Amish fiction and learning about the Amish way of life. Would love to read this series. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  10. I loved Shelley’s other series set in Kentucky, The Secrets of Crittendon County, so I know I would love these books. Not only do I read basically everything she writes but I’m a native of the Bluegrass state, so these would be extra special to win and read. Thanks so much for this amazing opportunity!

  11. I live in Horse Cave, Ky and our neighbors are Amish! They are so down to earth and I love when they visit us and vise versa! Hope you come and visit us again soon!!

  12. I love Shelley’s books! I always make reading her Christmas novel part of my holiday plans. Very much looking forward to the next one.

  13. I absolutely love read books! I love Shelley’s books along with Marta Perry’s books. When I go to PA to see family, I love driving through the Amish part of the country. This is an awesome giveaway!

  14. I love reading about the Amish! Shelley Shephard Gray is one of my favorite authors! I would love to win her books!

  15. WOW, Shelley, what a fabulous and generous giveaway!! Since I have not read your books, I would love to win this package! Thanks so much for the opportunity and good luck to whoever wins this one, including me (hopefully)!

  16. Another great series by Shelley Shepard Gray. I love that she touches on subjects that the Amish are not immune to! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  17. How nice that this book set will be given away to a lucky reader and fan of the author! Thank YOU! I know whoever wins will enjoy them – I know I would! (Ha!)

  18. What a wonderful gift – to win the entire series! Of course, I’d have to warn my family that they wouldn’t be getting fed until I was done all six books. lol

  19. Would love to Read these books… Different topics in the Amish World.. We have several Amish families living on my Road…

  20. Shelley, I love your collections of places near my home. Your one in Crittenden Co, Ky and now Horse Cave, Ky are close to home and close to my heart. I hope that one day you might return to Marion KY or close by and I will have the opportunity to see you once more. Would love to add these to my collection of books! Thank you for the opportunity

  21. Would love to win the six book set I have read all your books and then give them to my daughter to read and now if she sees one before me she gets it so it is going down from generations. The horse cace books are from where my husbands family is from would really love to have this set.

  22. I just brought a 3 series book set of yours yesterday….cant wait to start reading it….would be great to win this giveaway too…Thanks!

  23. I love reading your books. I would love to add this series to my collection. Thank you for writing the Amish based novels.

  24. I Love all Amish books would Love to win these Shelley Sheppard Gray is a great Author Love your books! Thank you for the chance!

  25. I love all your books Shelley! I feel in love with them when I first read the Sisters of the Heart series. Thank you for an amazing giveaway!

  26. I love her books. She is a great writer. Love to read Amish books its one thing that relax me after a long day, good book like these. I haven’t read these ones yet.

  27. Thanks for the chance to win such an amazing giveaway! It is so kind of you! Would love to read these books, they look very good.

  28. Love stories about the Amish, would love to win, to enjoy your books. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  29. I just recently discovered Shelley Shepard Gray’s books. I have read 5 so far and have loved everyone. I look forward to reading all of them.

  30. Like your books and enjoyed meeting you twice in Holmes County. Looking forward to seeing you in Burton Ohio at the library in September!

  31. I love your books and have been reading them for years now. This is a wonderful giveaway. Thanks for the chance!

  32. It would be great to win a cooy of this series. I have read the first three books and enjoyed them. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  33. Thank you to all involved for such a fantastic giveaway! I just love Shelley’s books and own most of them, none from this series. Even if I don’t win, I can’t wait to get them to add to my collection.

  34. I love Amish books. I will read then review and spread the word. Shelley is my favorite author. I love the Amish way of the simple life !!!!!!!

  35. I have read all the book in this series. And I am from Brandenburg Ky so I know the area u are writing about I love your books. Thanks so much for writing them

  36. Shelley is an excellent writer, capable of drama, mystery, adventure and romance, all written very well. I’d love to win this series, to catch up on all her books, then share it with my church library.

  37. I am reading Her Fear right now and love it. I have loved all the books in the series and it is one series that you cant put down. Can’t wait to read the last book.

  38. I love reading Shelley Sheppard Gray’s stories. I connected after I read the first one. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a good book to read. Thank You Shelley for all your time and thoughts and sleepless nights putting all these great books together. I appreciate it and will keep looking for your name anytime I end up in the book sections shopping.

  39. The winner of a complete set of The Amish of Hart County is Angela Wodkowski. Congratulations! Please watch your email for directions on how to claim your prize. Thanks for entering, everyone!

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