Tammy L. Gray lives in the hill country with her family, and they love all things Texas. Her many modern and true-to-life contemporary romances include the 2017 RITA Award-winning My Hope Next Door and 2021 Carol Award-winning Love and a Little White Lie. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry all while sharing the messy yet remarkable journey that is a faith-filled life.
In this interview, Tammy talks with us about her latest book, Love and the Dream Come True.
FF: Can you please provide a summary of your new novel Love and the Dream Come True?
This story explores the question: What happens after the dream comes true? When we wake up and find ourselves at the end of the road we were so sure we wanted and are still unsatisfied?
Cameron lands in that very place when he decides to go home for his sister’s wedding. His rock-star dreams had all come true and yet he’s still struggling with anxiety and dissatisfaction. At the wedding, he runs into Lexie Walters, his sister’s friend, and someone he has always admired and respected. Lexie is a perpetual optimist who has taken many hits in life but keeps on searching for the rainbow.
As Cameron uses his time at home to find his love for music again, he gets closer to Lexie and her spirited thirteen-year-old daughter, Morgan. Morgan and Lexie are navigating their own relational struggles, as Morgan hides a critical discovery from her mom.
Together, Lexie and Cameron find that it’s impossible to heal from pain by their chosen methods of coping. Cameron ignores it, while Lexie covers it with a smile. They both must face their past hurts if they have any chance of a future happiness together.
FF: What was the inspiration for your novel?
Cameron’s character has been growing through both of the previous books in this series. I always knew I wanted him to find satisfaction in the path God had chosen for him instead of forging ahead in his own desires as he did in the other stories. Lexie and Morgan were inspired by a friend of mine who took in her infant niece at nineteen when her sister was incapable of raising her. Watching my friend’s courage and perseverance over the past ten years has been awe-inspiring and something I knew I wanted to write about one day.
FF: What do you love most about writing novels in the contemporary romance genre?
The happy endings and the lessons we can take from every story. Fiction is so powerful because it allows us the beautiful opportunity to relate to someone’s else’s struggles and in turn find healing for our own.
FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
There is a big thread of forgiveness in this book. I know every person has been hurt by someone they love. My hope is that readers find a way to move past the pain and let go of any bitterness still stored in their heart. True peace and happiness cannot come until we’ve found the courage to forgive.
FF: Are readers always promised a “happily ever after” in your novels? Why or why not?
Yes, but the road there is often very curvy and bumpy. My books don’t always tie up into a neat bow at the end. Like real life, even in the good times, there is always work to be done. I want to give my readers a real story, but also one that leaves them inspired and hopeful at the end of it.
FF: How does Lexi’s role as a single mother play into the romance of this novel?
It’s huge part of the story, especially since her daughter, Morgan, is an important catalyst to Cameron and Lexie coming together. Lexie’s life is her daughter and she’s had to make many tough sacrifices over the years. Just as in real life, their romance and new family cannot exist without Morgan as part of the trio.
FF: Your character Cameron is a musician; how did music impact your writing of this story?
Music was a huge part of my childhood. While I’m not a musician, my brother is—as were my parents. I’ve seen firsthand how musicians breathe in notes like air and how it plays a significant role in both their emotional and mental states.
FF: Do you relate to either your characters Cameron or Lexie on a personal level?
I related to both of them personally for different reasons. With Lexie, I related to her struggles as a mom of a teenage daughter and how to find that balance of letting go and yet still protecting them. With Cameron, I could relate a lot to his professional struggles. Maybe not with music, but I think we all have questioned our creative talents at one point and our motivations.
FF: Do you see yourself writing with these characters again?
Sadly, no. This book closes out the series, though I’m very happy with where all my State of Grace Series characters landed in the end.
Love and the Dream Come True
State of Grace Series #3
Tammy L. Gray
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee’s music career has taken a nosedive. He reluctantly returns home for a family wedding hoping to find his love for music again.
Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped the money together to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin. When Lexie’s life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee. Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter.
But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron have to face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak and disappointment and questions that sometimes can only be answered on your knees.
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