April 6, 2021

Can I Write The Way I Like To Read?

 Heidi Gray McGill

"Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river."

― Lisa See


I'm an avid reader, and for years, I happily served as a Beta reader. I realized I enjoyed the process of thinking through the details of whatever book I was engrossed in. I'd read to see if characters were compelling, sympathetic, or someone for whom I found myself rooting. I envisioned the characters to see if they felt real and were three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues.

I wondered--Can I do this? Can I write the way I like to read?

There was no "story" in my mind when I started. I chose to create a character I could relate to, someone plain and straightforward.

Like most authors, when I began writing “Desire of My Heart,” I struggled.  So much was wrong with the first draft of that book, if you could even call it that.  After learning what I needed to do to make it worthy of being published, I put it on a "shelf" and let it go. I walked away.


Only, the characters would not let me leave them locked in the Cloud for long


When Covid-19 hit, my schedule became free to focus on the novel again because the ESL program I was directing closed.  I dusted off the cover and reintroduced myself to my old friends. 


"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."

― Terry Pratchett


It was challenging getting restarted until I looked at my main character, Rachel, and realized I had been writing my own story. The old saying "write what you know" must be true. I've uniquely experienced profound loss and come out on the other side a better version of myself.

When my debut novel "Desire of My Heart" arrived… let's just say the delivery guy was a little concerned about my mental well-being. Holding my book for the first time felt something akin to holding my children. It had taken nine months, that second go-round, to finish my book, and I had birthed a part of me.

I have found tremendous fulfillment, even ministry, in writing

I am a Christ-follower. My faith is fleshed out through the characters in my books in a fluid and comfortable way, not pushy or confrontational. Writing is how I share Christ with those who may never pick up a Bible or step foot inside a church. My greatest compliments are reviews sharing how "scripture was seamlessly written throughout" and "the characters were so real I connected with them and saw ways I could improve my walk with God.”


So, what's next?

Book two in the "Discerning God's Best" series flowed easily, especially with Readers encouraging me. "With All My Heart," tells Pete's and Charlie's stories and has just as many "feels" as Book one. It is available for pre-order and launches on April 23rd.

I'm often asked what I write, my genre.

All my books are sweet and clean, meaning you would feel comfortable letting your pre-teen or grandmother read. They are all Christian. If you took out the Christian element, the plot would unravel. They are historical and set in the 1850s.

My books are also exciting and engaging

"Sometimes, it's the unexpected twists that make life an exciting adventure. At other times, fear, trouble, and deep heartache make it feel perilous. But in all times, accepting God's will, even if it means losing the one you love, makes it worthwhile." Heidi Gray McGill synopsis

When you read this series, to include the free prequel, you embark on a journey from South Carolina to Missouri with characters who quickly become family, adventures that become real, and hope that becomes a promise.

Inspiration was a process

Remember how I said I was a voracious reader? Years of living, in my mind, in the 1800s helped formulate when and where this series would take place. You can see some of the books I've read over the years by following me on BookBub.

What's next?

Today finds me thankful, nervous, in awe, and excited all at the same time. There are so many technical details that I didn't expect would be a part of writing a book. If you know me at all, you are currently laughing as I may be the most technically challenged person you've met. Just aa constantly reading helps me with my writing; using technology daily helps me overcome this shortcoming.

If I want to connect with you, I need technology. Facebook and Instagram are fantastic tools for this. But I'm an old-fashioned girl, so I use my newsletter to share my heart. I'd love to connect with you!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little better!

Heidi Gray McGill loves to travel, especially to foreign lands, even though she speaks no foreign language. She embraces the culture, the food, and even the inconveniences that come with adventure.

Her thirst for adventure plays out in her writing. If she can’t visit in person, especially in 2020 during the Covid-19 Crisis, why not visit in her mind and eventually in writing? When mishaps occur in her stories, a slightly tweaked personal incident could be possible, although she will most likely deny all reference to reality.

In addition to writing, Heidi is the founder and Director of an English as a Second Language Program in her hometown. She is an ESL certified teacher and enjoys providing opportunities for non-native speakers to learn English and of God’s love.

Heidi lives out daily her favorite Bible verse, 1 Samuel 1:18 “[Hannah] said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” Heidi identifies with Hannah, believing we each choose to be joyful in our hearts, no matter our circumstances. She also agrees that eating something, especially chocolate, can solve myriad issues.

Heidi has been married for nearly 30 years and lives near Charlotte, NC, where she spends her days having fun with her grandson. When she isn’t playing, you’ll find her cooking, scrapbooking, or writing. She recently released her first book, Desire of My Heart, and will release a sequel, With All My Heart in April of 2021.


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. We appreciate your visiting Suite T.

  2. I enjoyed your post and went over to your blog where I read the opening chapters to Desire of the Heart. Loved it and will be reading the rest tonight. :-) So glad I saw this.

  3. Patricia, thank you for this courtesy! Enjoy!