Painting with words is a tricky craft, but Jeff S. Bray is a master. His newest book, “Little Reminders of Who I Am,” releases Wednesday, Aug. 12, and can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Here’s a quick peek into the story:
“Aaron Stephenson loves his job. As food critic for the popular Houston Gazette, he gets to sample the best cuisine at the finest eateries in Houston without paying a dime. And because there are so many great restaurants in Houston, he doesn’t have to visit the same establishment twice … unless he wants to.
But when Aaron stops in at Davies Deli, a nondescript, off-the-beatenpath, family-owned diner, he suddenly realizes he wants to come back; and it has less to do with the delicious food than the owners’ brownhaired, green-eyed daughter, Deborah.
Aaron and Deborah feel a mutual attraction. But Deborah has a secret that could change everything.
And then there is Carter …
The book cover is based on a painting his wife, Carolyn, made for him. I had an opportunity to visit with Jeff online and learned more about him.
He and Carolyn moved to Atascosa County in 2005. They have five children, two of whom still live at home. They are active members in the First Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Jeff writes children’s short stories and adultlength novels. He has four published books in the “Elissa the Curious Snail” series of children’s books and two published novels: “The Five Barred Gate” that was released in 2018 and is available on Amazon, and “Little Reminders of Who I Am” which comes out today.
Always curious about fellow writers, I asked him why he writes. His response? “I have always wanted to be a writer. I feel that I have a God-given calling to write. I love the writing process and the feeling of completing a project. Most of all I enjoy taking people on a journey through the adventures I am able to create.”
He started writing seriously in 1989. His first collection of poetry was in 1997 and he began his blog, “Moments for the Heart,” in 2008. In 2016 he began writing professionally. His first published article was in 2017. It was a piece on fatherhood.
His children’s series, “Elissa the Curious Snail” was published in early 2018 and he met his publisher for “The Five Barred Gate” through a signing event for Elissa. They published “The Five Barred Gate” later that year and are also the publishers for “Little Reminders of Who I Am.”
Jeff does most of his writing on his laptop at home. Prior to the virus, he would venture out and spend some time at Sunshine Coffee house when he needed a change of scenery and a great cup of coffee.
When asked where do your ideas come from, Jeff said, “Most of my story ideas come from either experiences I have been through or dreams that I have had. That with a little bit of creativity and a story is born.”
Just like anyone creating anything, he has a process. Jeff starts with a general outline. He has his characters outlined and a plot he would like to follow. He writes out his characters in great detail, then puts them in the world he created. He follows the storyline to the end goal, but allows the flow of the story to take any turns that may come.
I asked Jeff how writing makes him feel. He said, “I love the creative process. The movie that is playing in my head as I am typing the words is a surreal experience. To capture exactly what I am feeling on paper and getting the reader to feel what I am experiencing is just an amazing thing. To make them laugh when I want them to, fear on cue, and to cry at just the right moment; it’s gratifying. Then there is the final sentence; the typing of ‘THE END.’ The feeling of satisfaction of another job complete.”
Being a writer myself, I like to know what makes others tick, so I asked Jeff how creativity aided his mental health. He said, “Having a couple of nervous conditions, myself, Neurofibromatosis and a mild form of Epilepsy, I think writing helps my mental focus. I will have to admit, focus is a major thing I deal with. It is not easy. I do have to take regular breaks, but I get the job done because I have learned to work with the challenges that I face. I overcome them; they do not overwhelm me.”
A few of Jeff’s influences, outside of the ‘big names,’ include Ted Dekker’s “The Lost Book” series and Cinda Williams Chinda author of the “Seven Realms Series.” He took some of her playfulness and used it within his latest novel.
His favorite work is “Little Reminders of Who I Am.” He loves the characters and said they were fun to write. He believes this book will appeal to more readers than his last novel; it is a love story, after all. He is a more experienced writer than he was with “The Five Barred Gate” and more confident in his writing ability.
Jeff’s advice to new writers is” “Don’t be afraid to try something new. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. At least you now know of one way that didn’t work or you now know something new that came out differently than what you had intended.”
Look for Jeff’s newest novel, “Little Reminders of Who I Am” on Amazon or Barnes & Noble today. Let’s help make his launch soar.