INTERVIEW | Maurice Gray

Maurice, describe yourself for our visitors.

I LOVE to read. I enjoy comedy (I’ve actually tried my hand at stand-up comedy a few times). I listen to gospel music and also some jazz. In my church, I’m involved with the Singles Ministry and the Young Adult Network (for ages 18-45), I sing on the Men’s Choir and the Voices of Light (gospel choir) and I play on the church softball team (the season runs from late April through June)

How do you find time to connect with God?

My best times alone with God are when I’m driving or in the shower or other unconventional prayer times. It took me awhile to figure out that I don’t necessarily have to be on my knees at a set time to pray effectively. It’s great when that can happen, but I try to take advantage of opportunities like those I described as well.

Tell us about your current book?

All Things Work Together is the sequel to my first novel, To Whom Much Is Given. To Whom’s main characters are Max Carson and Donna Randall. All Things features their best friends, Fred Bennett and Yolanda Mason. In To Whom, Fred, a world class womanizer, got saved. Now he’s at the beginning of his Christian walk and struggling to live for Christ. He has feelings for Yolanda, who is torn between feelings for Fred and for private investigator Raoul Carizales. When one of Yolanda’s students is kidnapped from the playground on her watch, his mother hires Raoul to find him. Fred has information useful to the investigation, which means he has to work closely with Raoul (whom he can’t stand).

As Fred and Raoul try to work together, Max and Donna struggle with their newlywed status, her call to the ministry and how they can still maintain their friendships with Fred and Yolanda with all the changes in their lives.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

When I wrote To Whom, I wanted to do more with Fred and Yolanda, but I couldn’t because Max and Donna’s story had to be told. I wanted to do a series of books anyway, so I got to thinking what would happen after the “happily ever after” ending of To Whom. I’ve read lots of Christian love stories, and I always wanted to know what happens after the happy couple gets married. I wanted to explore that through Max and Donna. And aside from featuring Fred and Yolanda this time, I also wanted to deal with the aftermath of a lot of other events that happened in To Whom, including a woman from Fred’s past, more about the family of the woman who tried to kill Max and Donna in To Whom and to deal with Max and Donna’s spiritual gifts and where those gifts lead them. All Things Work Together almost wrote itself 🙂

Describe your journey to publication.

I started writing To Whom Much Is Given in the fall of 1990. It took me three years to get the first draft done (I did a lot of starting and stopping 🙂 and three more to revise it after getting a critique and finding out how long a way I had to go as a writer.

I attended the Sandy Cove Christian Writers Conference in North East, MD in 1997 and got great feedback from Gayle Roper, a veteran author of Christian fiction. Her feedback helped me revise (and rename) To Whom Much Is Given. In 1999 I met Patricia Haley, another Christian fiction author. She taught me how to self-publish, an option I really didn’t want to embrace. After about thirty rejection letters, I decided to give it a try. I got downsized from my job in February of 2000 and jumped right into the process. I created my company Write The Vision, Inc. to facilitate the process and To Whom Much Is Given was released that October. I’ve been off to the races ever since.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on an anthology project for Dreams Publishing with two other Christian authors (Terrance Johnson and D.A. Jackson) called A Few Good Men. Each of us is writing a hundred page story about those men of God who sometimes get overlooked by the women they’re interested in for various reasons. These aren’t soap opera men. They might be short, or skinny or overweight or less than good-looking. Maybe they stutter or simply lack confidence. Whatever their shortcomings, they are men of God, and they just want the women in their lives to see that :-).

After that, I’ll get back to working on my next manuscript, something with all new characters. I still have another book in me featuring Max, Donna, Fred, Yolanda et al, but I’ll get back to them after I finish this new manuscript. Like the anthology, it also will deal with Christian relationships from a man’s perspective.

Where can visitors find you online?