Author Hallie Lee’s second novel in The Shady Gully Series, titled Wolfheart, released this past week!
I’m so pleased to host my friend Hallie Lee for my next author interview! Hallie is the author of The Shady Gully Series of Christian Fiction books. Book Two, Wolfheart, released this past week. Welcome, Hallie!
Q: Hallie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you, Elizabeth. Sure! I was born and raised in Louisiana, and very much inspired by my mom, who was a voracious reader. Because she encouraged my aspirations, I began writing short stories in high school, and then tried my hand at romance novels in my twenties. But it was when my family moved Santa Fe, New Mexico, that I really honed my writing skills.
The exposure to such a creative movie making town gave me the opportunity to attend writing conferences and classes. I learned to write screenplays, and met Ronnie Clemmer, the producer of A League of Their Own. He saw something in me he wanted to mentor, and I really feel his tutelage and insight made me a better, more mature writer.
We eventually left Santa Fe and moved to Kentucky, and the southern landscape inspired me. It brought me back to my roots, and I wanted to try – one more time – to write a novel.
Paint Me Fearless was the result, and with it, the Shady Gully Series was born!
Q: What should our audience know about The Shady Gully Series?
Paint Me Fearless is edgy Christian fiction. My characters are flawed. They’re imperfect. They make mistakes. But they’re redeemable. Just as we all are.
While my protagonists, Desi and Robin, evolve as they grow older, the bruises and traumas from their childhood taint almost every facet of their adult lives. It takes a toll on their marriages. It affects their health. And ultimately, threatens their friendship.
These two women are crippled by their insecurities, both those they inherited and those they bloomed all on their own. The book really speaks to our deep-rooted need for acceptance and approval.
Q: Can you tell our audience a bit about the setting of Shady Gully? Is it based on a real place? What drew you to base your main setting around a tiny Southern town?
Shady Gully isn’t based on a real place, but I definitely drew from some of my own experiences living in a small town. Much like Desi, I was uprooted in my teens and replanted in a small town in Louisiana. I quickly became fascinated by the way of life there. Everyone seemed to know everyone, and I thought I’d never fit in, but looking back, I realize my deepest and longest lasting friendships were launched in that small town. Even though I don’t live there anymore, I’ll always consider it home.
Q: Your first book, Paint Me Fearless, was a deftly-handled crossover between more secular Women’s Fiction and Christian Fiction. I remember reading it and being amazed over and over by the way you meshed the genres so seamlessly! Did you always want to tell stories like those in The Shady Gully Series, or was it a journey to discover that you wanted to write in this crossover genre?
Thank you, Elizabeth. I consider that quite a compliment. Honestly, I didn’t intend for it to be a cross-over. I just wanted to write a story about two women who “wasted” their lives trying to be good enough. Their self-condemnation did a lot of damage. Both to themselves and to the ones they loved. Eventually, mercifully, they surrendered, and accepted that they weren’t perfect, and never would be.
They learn, hopefully (your readers will see if they read the book) that there is only one true way to fill the emptiness inside, to quiet the lies—and to ultimately become…fearless.
Wow. Now that I say it like that, it definitely sounds like a cross-over!
Q: Paint Me Fearless focuses on two close childhood friends, Robin and Desi, who grow up, grow apart, and grow close to God and each other over the course of the story. They both have very different backgrounds, upbringings, and struggles, but they need each other’s friendship. Which character do you relate to more?
I identified with them both. I related to Desi’s sketchy family dynamics, and I related to Robin’s feelings of not being enough. I think on some level I related to all of my characters. I even grew fond of Wolfheart, who was initially just a peripheral character to challenge Desi and Robin. But then he evolved. Became noble. And eventually insisted on his own book.
Q: Your new release, Wolfheart, brings a male perspective to The Shady Gully Series! Did you find it challenging writing from a male point of view?
No! I loved writing from the male POV. It was liberating! Probably because I enjoyed the opportunity to project onto these men the kind of characteristics and values that we as women want. Ha!
Q: It’s been so great to have you, Hallie! Before we go, can you tell us a little bit about what else we can expect from Wolfheart?
Wolfheart features a feisty line up of principled and uncompromising men…and the women they love.
It’s darker than Paint Me Fearless, but this is Wolfheart’s story, and as you know, he was no choir boy in Book 1. Here’s what will surprise you though:
There’s a lot of humor in this one. Go figure.
Elizabeth, I hope you and your readers enjoy the Shady Gully novels. I appreciate your featuring me and my work! I look forward to doing the same for you very soon 😉
Born and raised in Louisiana, Hallie’s screenplays and books are inspired by the southern landscape, which she says is “rich with cantankerous, salt of the earth folks destined to be on the page.”
Paint Me Fearless and Wolfheart, books one and two respectively, are part of the Shady Gully Series, a series which promises thought provoking, relatable journeys, and a cast of characters who tend to be ornery, but loveable, dramatic, but kind, and quirky—but smarter than they appear.
She and her family, furry kids included, now live in the hills of Kentucky, near Lexington.