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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Spotlight on Shannon Vannatter and White Roses

Don't forget the new rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!


SHANNON VANNATTER is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/writer. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband Grant, their eight-year-old son, and their church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, a dragonfish, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch.

Her series with Heartsong Presents launched in May with White Roses. White Doves follows in October, and White Pearls in January. Each book ships to a 10,000 member bookclub, then to stores six months later. All three books are set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Brides and lovebirds take advantage of the re-mailing program to have wedding invitations and Valentines cards mailed from Romance with a unique postmark. Romance also hosts several annual weddings with Valentine’s Day the most popular.

Order White Roses at Learn more about Shannon and her books at Her new blog, The Inkslinger, features true love stories, inspirational author’s real-life romances, insight into the love lives of their fictional characters, book excerpts, romantic destinations, and weekly book giveaways at

by Shannon Vannatter
Published by Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents


Pastor Grayson Sterling loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. Grayson knows he needs to move on, that the continuing depth of his grief is not healthy for him or his young son. Desperate, he convinces his church to hire Mark Welch as associate pastor to relieve him of some of his load. When Adrea Welch arrives at his church with her brother, Grayson cannot deny his attraction to her.

For years, florist Adrea Welch has been artfully arranging white roses for Sara Sterling. Now those flowers are carried to the cemetery by a faithful, grieving husband. How can Adrea be so attracted to a man still devoted to his dead wife? When secrets from Adrea’s past collide with their budding relationship, both she and Grayson must learn to lean on God’s abiding wisdom.

Readers, buy your copy of White Roses today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

My dad always sends me flowers or balloons on Valentine's Day. As he's gotten older, I've wondered how I'll feel the first time no gift comes. Then I turned it around, and wondered would happen if I die first. I decided he'd take them to the cemetery. It became a widowed pastor and the florist who did his wife's flowers and grew from there. I still have my dad. He's seventy and still works part-time as a ranch foreman.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Adrea is tempted to bite her nails when she's nervous, a habit I had as a kid. Grayson has panic attacks if anyone he loves is in danger or when an ambulance goes by. I lost a cousin in a car accident several years ago. For a long time afterward, I worried that someone I loved was in every ambulance I heard.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Adrea is Death by Chocolate, her choice when she's feeling down. Grayson is Chocolate Chip. Just because he's yummy handsome and that's my favorite flavor. So far, all my heroes have dark hair and green eyes like my hubby.

4. Are there any themes in White Roses that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The theme is letting go of your fears and letting God handle life for you. A side theme that readers might not notice: Wade was a thorn in Adrea and Grayson's side.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The black moment was the most difficult because I hate being mean to my characters. My favorite was the happily-ever-after.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The next book in the series is White Doves and releases to the book club in October and stores in April. It's set in the Romance, AR post office. The heroine is the postmaster and the hero is the mail carrier.

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Thank you, Shannon, for being in the spotlight with us.

NEW!! Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of White Roses. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Question: Since it's close to Father's Day:
1. What do you think I should do for my dad in return for all those gifts?
2. What's your favorite memory about your dad?

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Kimberly Watts said...

1. What you should do for your dad?
I am learning that as parents age, the number one thing they want from their children is time. So, I think you should set aside a day, just for you and your dad. Start by writing him a letter and telling him how much those roses have meant to you over the years. Then, end the letter with an invitation to spend quality time together. Life is so busy and hectic, sometimes that quality time is so hard to come by. Go to eat at his favorite restaurant, and just make the day all about him.

2. My favorite memory of my dad is happening right now. My husband left me a little over a year ago. My dad has amazed me during this time. He has been so supportive and caring the entire time. To top it off, he keeps surprising me by showing up and cutting my grass for me. That means so much! He also called me one day to take me fishing. I have grown up fishing, but this was the first time I had a fishing trip with just me and my dad. We had so much fun. The time we spend together will be cherished in my heart always. So, as you can see, my favorite memories of my dad are happening right now.


Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...


Awesome answers. Wow! I had a candy bouquet with all his favorite candy delivered at Easter, but you've definitely outdone me.

Sweet story about your dad. There's just something about a daddy.

Anonymous said...

What you should do for your dad? > I think you should think of something that your dad likes to do i.e. fishing, golfing, etc. and spend the day with him doing something he loves to do.

My happiest memory of my dad? > I always loved watching him at Christmas - he loved watching us get our presents but his eyes would truly light up like a kids when he got his gifts! My dad is no longer with us here but I always see him with his eyes all lit up and a huge grin on his face! :)

Anonymous said...

I think Kimberly has the right idea. Time is precious. Not only will he be the recipient of some great "me time," but you'll be making great memories at the same time. You'll both benefit.

My most treasured memory with my daddy was the last year of his life. After much wasted time between us, we had patched up the broken places, and Carlin and I had moved back home. Although he was not in the best health by that time, he was certainly enough to do the thing we needed the most. Just spend time being together. We had coffee together every single day for the last year of his life. It is a time that I treasure, knowing how different our relationship could have been at the end of his life. I love my daddy and miss him so much! You are indeed blessed to still have your daddy, Shannon.

Kathy Phillips

Anonymous said...

Time is the best gift of all!
I remember most about the songs my dad used to sing!
Since I was a little girl I loved Tennessee Waltz From a Jack to a King and lots of others that came before my time!
God bless,

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

I did give my dad one gift I hadn't thought about. In life, I'm Shannon Vannatter. In writing, I'm Shannon Taylor Vannatter in honor of my maiden name and it gives Daddy a thrill.

I told Mama that if I'm ever rich and famous, I'll buy him a brand new PT Cruisers. He loves them, but won't go into debt for one.


My dad likes to eat. And he's not fat. Wish I'd gotten that gene. He loves doing things with my son. The zoo. Maybe we'll take him to the zoo this summer.

Your dad was a sweetie. I remember being at his birthday party. He definitely loved having all his kids around.


Time seems to be anonymous so far.

I don't guess I knew your dad and I didn't know he was gone. Glad everything got ironed out before hand.


My dad sings too. He's the songleader at my parent's church. I have great memories of him whistling. He loves whistling tunes. My husband's a whistler too.

Misty Holland said...

1) Losing my dad at an early age, I can personally say, time is a virtue. It's precious! If I could, for Father'd Day, I would love to have just one more day with him. Take him out to his favorite fishing hole, and just fish all day. Take a picnic lunch and stay out until the sun goes down. Set a side a whole day just for your dad. Make memories that will last a life time. Like I said, it's precious.
2) How to pick just one favorite memory. That's hard! Let's start with how he would cheat at every bored game we played, or how he would lose a game of horse, just so that for once, you could be the winner, or how he would miss at target practice, just so he could make a big deal out of you hitting every target. How he would travel over a hundred miles just to get your puppy back that he accidently got rid of, after you cried for two weeks straight. And how he would hold you when you were scared. I know you said, just one, but It's hard to pick just one, when all your memories are precious.

Martha A. said...

I think think of something he would love best, probably if he loves to give you gifts, he probably loves gifts, so even little things would be good!

My favorite memory of my dad....that is a hard one for me as my dad and I are estranged since last july and this is the first father's day since and sadly there is no repairing it. I try to remember the good things and probably right now, my best memory is probably a little too i will just leave it at that. But all of you with great dads...please love them and cherish them.


Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Misty,

Daddy's in the hay right now. Since he's still a part time ranch foreman, he's spending his days cutting hay. Plus, he has hay and cows of his own. As soon as hay season is over, we'll do the zoo thing.

My favorite memory was in 2007. I finaled in my first big pre-pubbed writing award, but the conference was in Dallas. I'm not the take off on a long trip by myself type and hubby couldn't get off work. Mama was still working at the time and Daddy's hours are flexible. They decided to make a vacation out of it and take me. At the last minute, Mama's co-worker had to have surgery, so Mama couldn't take off. Daddy took me and my son to Dallas. While I was at the conference, Daddy played in the pool with my then 6 year old all day long. After I placed second in the contest, I figured out he didn't know I'd placed for sure. He took me to Dallas on the chance I might have placed. Then on the way home, he told every hotel clerk, every waitress, every gas station attendant that his daughter was a big-time writer.


I usually don't give advice. But pray about it. Nothing is ever unfixable with God.

Esther Miriam Lopez said...

My dad passed away 11 years ago and since he is no more, the only Father I celebrate is my heavenly one :)

I wrote Him a praise song/poem that I will post on my blog on Father's Day and also I am helping out at an Father's Day celebration at church to celebrate all the fathers themed " All the Kings Men" :))))

I was quite young when my dad passed on but my fav memories are our family Saturday night dinners at our local bar and also the day he bought me and my sisters jewellery for the fist time. We both got identical gold rings. :))

Please enter me.


karenk said...

i think that you should spend quality time w/ your dad...just the two of you.

a favourite memory of my dad is going for ice cream w/ him on those hot summer nights.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi Esther,

You're still honoring your father. Very sweet.

Oh Karen,

You gave me an idea. My dad loves eating out and he loves ice cream. I could take him out to dinner. Catfish is his favorite and then to the ice cream parlor. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

1. I believe the best way would be to set aside a day just for your dad and you. Reflect on the old times and how much he has meant to you all these years. As a parent, I find that the most valuable gift my children can give me is their time and just talking with me...keeping me involved in their lives.

2. My dad has not been around much in my life so I choose to answer the 2nd question in regards to my father-in-law. He is the sweetest man that has ever lived. I had 2 girls from a previous marriage. When my husband and I got together, my father-in-law was the proudest grandpa in the world. He would take my 2 girls all over his small town & show off his grandchildren. He constantly was taking them the flood walls to see the murals, to the nearby state park & getting them ice cream. He was a very positive influence in their lives and his acceptance my children and I has truly touched our lives and I count he and his wife as one of my blessings in life.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi carstinch,

The gift of time seems to be unanimous.

Beautiful story of your father-in-law. I bet your girls love him. A story of unconditional love and acceptance. Thanks for sharing it.

Esther Miriam Lopez said...

Hi Tiff...

I have an award for you at my blog

squiresj said...

You should do for you Dad what my daughter who doesn't has much does for her Dad. Buy him a gift bag of snacks and goodies that he likes but won't buy himself.

I have so many many memories of my Dad. He was always there to hug me and listen to me when no one else would listen. I could share my heart with him and not be ridiculed or laughed at. He accepted me for me. No one has done that since I lost him 30 years ago.

windycindy said...

My dad will be turning 92 and he loves gadgets. Whenever one of us finds something unique, we buy it for him and then randomly surprise him...Dads love their children and grandchildren: going out to dinner,
watching a video together, hanging out on the deck while the children are playing...
Many thanks, Cindi

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi squiresj,

I sort of already do the snack thing. Every Easter, I get him peeps and marshmallow eggs. He loves them, but never buys them. Great minds think alike. Dad's are just awesome.

Hi Cindy,

My dad loves eating out. So I usually get him gift cards for his favorite restaurants or take him out to dinner and nab the ticket.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:

kathy1217: Kathy P.

Congratulations! I have emailed you for your information so Shannon can mail out your book.

Thank you to everyone for your support.