Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Read Local with the #ReadLocalDC Blog Hop

How does Washington, DC, inspire my writing?

Ha. There’s a lot to that story. More than you want to read in a single blog post, trust me.

I’ll hit the highlights, though.

When my family and I moved to the DC area almost a decade ago, we visited the nation’s capital on a regular basis. There was so much to see and experience. Not only was the culture different (we were from Idaho!), but the world was opened before us.

We stood in line at the Air & Space Museum one Saturday morning. We’d arrived early, and the museum wasn’t open yet. The line out front was pretty long, and of all the conversations I heard going on around me from different groups and clusters of people, not a single one (aside from ours) was in English.

I felt pride for my country — that so many people from all over the world would come to my nation’s capital — but I felt humility, too. I got a glimpse of how big the world is and how we, as a country, are just one small piece of that bigger whole.

I write Christian fiction, so I can’t help but draw the parallel to the faith walk and how we grow in understanding as we begin to realize that the whole of religiosity isn’t about us. Instead, our faith — our lives — are supposed to be about God.

It’s all about perspective.

Living near DC has influenced my writing in other, more specific, ways, too. An Informal Introduction is a great little example. You can’t work in an important hospital in Northern Virginia without having to deal with Secret Service — and occasionally the White House — from time to time. ^_^

She saves lives. He protects them. And someone's trying to stop them both.

Lily Ziminski is an ICU nurse near the nation’s capital where politics are a regular part of hospital policy. Assigned a series of high-profile patients, she finds herself an unwilling focus of the media. Lily would much rather do without all the attention…except where one cowboy-hat-wearing state trooper is concerned.

Caleb Graham runs into the same captivating nurse twice in one day, and he’s not a man who believes in coincidence. When problems at a local impound lot force him into the middle of a bizarre case that threatens Lily, Caleb will stop at nothing to protect her.

From a stranger in a parking garage to Secret Service agents, surprise chases Lily around every corner. In the midst of the chaos, she has two constants – her longtime faith in God, and her growing attraction for a silver-eyed trooper.

While I write Christian fiction, not everyone participating in this blog hop does. What we do have in common, though, is that our proximity to the nation's capital influences our writing in some way. One of the great things about living close to DC is that I get to meet people from all over the world, from different walks of life, with different ideas. In short, I get to meet people who are nothing like me, and I'm always a better person for the experience. The spirit of this blog hop is pretty simple, and I'm a fan of simplicity. This hop is operating under the guiding principle that honesty makes interesting conversation as long as everyone's respectful of each other. I hope you enjoy the hop and the many authors that you'll meet!

Thank you for reading! To return to the #ReadLocalDC Blog Hop on Ellen Smith's website, click here:

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Strong cities and strong fiction both share the quality of being an excellent mix of different things!

Yes! I felt humbled in much the same way when I first came to DC. Meeting so many people from all over the world really gave me perspective on how big the world is, and how universal some of our experiences are, too! I am fascinated by the hospital setting of An Informal Introduction too--I can only imagine working in an ICU, much less under media scrutiny! Thank you so much for joining up with the #ReadLocalDC blog hop, Heather!

Barbara - What a lovely tribute to your husband! I'm glad to see that you are carrying forward with life and that you continue to celebrate Richard's life as you live your own. I'm sure you inspire many people by your actions. Blessings to you!

Your setting of an ICU near the nation's capital in your novel featured on this blog hop about how Washington, D.C. inspires writing is an interesting idea. Having experienced the ICU in Baltimore for three weeks before my husband's death, I can imagine how many stories could come out of that setting, particularly when coupled with famous patients. I also read your post about "Grief" and about celebrating a life, which is what I am doing by helping my deceased author husband, Richard Morris, participate in this blog hop.
Barbara Morris