Sunday, December 7, 2008

Featured Author Jessica James

This week we are pleased to have Jessica James, author of Shades of Gray, as a featured author on our blog. Please check back throughout the week for her author interview, an interview with her hero and heroine, excerpts, and a chance to win a free copy of her book.

Jessica James’ Shades of Gray is an enthralling, charming tale about Andrea Evans, a fiery, talented Union scout, and Alexander Hunter, a dashing, powerful colonel in the Confederate army, who are thrown together in the middle of the tumultuous Civil War.

The book opens in 1862 with Hunter pursuing a scout, supposedly a young boy named Sinclair, who led him and his men into a Union trap. However, when he finally encounters the lad and attempts to capture him, Hunter falls off his horse, hits his head, and passes out in a dangerous river. It is when Andrea saves his life that their fates become intertwined.

After several more daring escapes from Hunter and his men, and with the help of the handsome Union colonel, Daniel Delaney, Andrea takes on the job of spy, posing as a Southern lady in Richmond, Virginia, the very heart of the Confederacy. However, during her subterfuge, Delaney is gravely wounded, dying in the presence of his beloved Andrea and his devoted brother, Hunter.

A few months later, Andrea is captured by Hunter, and against his knowledge and wishes, imprisoned in one of the Confederacy’s most lethal jails, where she suffers both severe injury and torture. When Hunter learns of her incarceration, he demands her release and takes her to his home, Hawthorne, to recover. The stubborn nature and unyielding patriotism of both Andrea and Hunter, combined with Andrea’s hot temper, make for some captivating, explosive battles of wits between them during her convalescence. This heated situation heightens with the presence of Victoria, a woman determined to become the mistress of Hawthorne, who delights in trying to paint Andrea as evil in Hunter’s eyes.

The attraction between Andrea and Hunter builds throughout the novel, but trouble befalls them from the moment they admit, and act on, their feelings. When a severe misunderstanding separates them, they are once again thrown on opposite sides of the war. Can Andrea and Hunter overcome their differences and find love and forgiveness, or will the war forever separate them?

Since its publication in January 2008, Shades of Gray has won a Gold Medal for Best Regional Fiction in the Indie Awards and a Silver Medal for Best Regional Fiction in the IPPY Awards, a testament to Jessica James’ wonderful story and talented writing.

She has done a splendid job with this novel, making it impossible for readers not to fall in love with her charming characters and engaging plot. She skillfully weaves real battles and historical figures into her story, as well as numerous plot twists that keep the reader guessing. This book is destined for great things, and I cannot wait to read Ms. James next wonderful tale.

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