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Guest Author: Shelley Bates

Over Her Head
Shelley Bates

Faithwords, 2007

ISBN: 0-446-69493-2

I’m thrilled to be a part of award-winning Christian fiction author Shelley Bates’ blog tour! I read Shelley’s RITA-winning first novel, Grounds to Believe, a couple of years ago and knew I had found another favorite author. I had the privilege of meeting Shelley at ACFW‘s 2005 conference in Nashville, TN. Her quick smile and down-to-earth attitude made her a delight to be around.

Shelley’s newest novel, Over Her Head, is available in your favorite bookstore now. The beautiful cover inspired me to read it right away. I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Lauri Hale has the perfect life–and the perfect family to go with it. She imagines fun, love, and academic success for her daughter, Anna. But when one of Anna’s classmates is found murdered and the police start asking questions, fear and suspicion threaten everything Lauri values.

Anna isn’t the only suspect–a whole group of teenagers seems to be involved, but none of them is talking, and the community is in an uproar.

Lauri is asked to leave her prayer group just when she needs it the most, and her marriage bears the strain of the crisis. Lauri’s only ally is Janice, the mayor’s wife, whose own son could implicate Anna– or exonerate her.

Ultimately, Lauri must face her fears: What if Anna really was involved in Randi Peizer’s murder? And what kind of person is Lauri if she can doubt her own child’s innocence? Only God can provide the answers when Lauri finds herself in OVER HER HEAD.

As a mother of two teenage boys, I related to Lauri in that I want only the best for my sons. Lauri comes to realize she needs to rely on God for her strength when the rest of the world seems to be against her. Over Her Head is a novel every mother should read. Shelley’s terrific writing style places the reader in the heart of the story. I highly recommend this book with confidence that readers will feel blessed for doing so.

I invited Shelley to take part in a short Q & A with me.

Do you plot out your novels or do you write as your muse takes you?

I’m a plotter to the core. The thought of writing into the mist terrifies me! (I’m not so keen on fog in real life, either.) The most fun, creative part of the writing process is coming up with that synopsis, which is where I start. Once I have a rough draft of it, I submit it to my two brainstorming groups, who between them plug the holes and suggest nifty twists. I rewrite it, and that goes to my editor for approval. Once it’s approved, it becomes my blueprint for the book. This process is so important to me that I’ve actually created a workshop around it.

Do you have a favorite life verse?

My favorite verse in the Bible is Psalm 139:9-10. "If I take the wings
of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there
shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." I've been to the
uttermost parts of the sea in my travels, but no matter where I am,
these
verses hold comfort and promise for me. And they're beautiful poetry,
too :)


What are three things readers might be surprised to learn about you?

Goodness. Let me think.
(1) I rescue chickens (current flock 6, plus 3 bobwhites)
(2) I have no idea how to put on makeup.
(3) I wrote my first novel when I was 13 ... and it took 30 years
before I was published.
Lisa's note--Shelley's first novel won the prestigious RITA award!
Not bad for a first-timer! :-)


What do you hope readers take away from reading your novels?

All my books are about people who learn that they've put religion
before a relationship with God, and about a God who loves them
back to Himself. Growing up in a toxic church, this was my experience,
and it was a real revelation to realize my whole life was about the works,
not about the spirit. If just one person blinks and realizes they need to
make a change as a result of God speaking to them through one of my
books, then I'm a happy woman.

Shelley, thank you for visiting and sharing some of your
thoughts with us!

Thanks, Lisa, for letting me join you on your blog!

Visit Shelley's
website to learn more about her writing and other interests!

Lisa Jordan

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