November 20, 2014

Medina
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Best-selling author to speak at luncheon

MEDINA — A New York Times best-selling author will speak at a noon luncheon May 1 hosted by the Medina County District Library.

Shelley Shepard Gray, who writes stories featuring characters who live in the Amish community, will speak during a Writers Live Luncheon at Weymouth Country Club.

“I’ve gotten a lot of calls about this author,” said Tina Sabol, a district library spokeswoman.

Sabol said the simple, secluded Amish lifestyle is intriguing for fans of the series.

Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley Shepard Gray

“I think it appeals to a lot of people because we’re right on the edge of the Amish community here, and there’s a little bit of mystery surrounding them,” Sabol said.

In July 2011, Gray’s novel “The Protector” reached No. 34 on the New York Times best-seller list.

One of her latest books, “Hopeful,” hit bookstores Feb. 4. The novel is part of the “Return to Sugarcreek” series and features a young woman who is torn when she learns her love interest wants her help in courting another young woman.

She also has a stand-alone novel, “Redemption,” that takes place in 1866. This book also was released in February.

Her books are part of the growing genre of inspirational romance. While the themes center on romance and love, there are no steamy scenes or even kissing that one might find in a traditional romance novel. The books focus on the courtship between Amish couples leading up to a proposal.

Gray, who lives in southern Ohio, said on her website that she finds writing inspirational books gratifying.

“I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me,” she wrote in her online biography. “I wanted to write stories about regular, likeable people in extraordinary situations — and who just happened to be Amish.”

Since 2000, Gray has published more than 40 novels. She is active in her church, leads a Bible study group and plans to continue to write books that promote her Christian ideals.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.