Guest Post: Heidi Gray McGill

Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.

True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.

Heidi’s links:


When I created Katie and Hans, the two protagonists in Matters of the Heart, I wanted each to encounter God personally and uniquely. I came across a quote by theologian John Frame: “When we encounter the word of God, we encounter God…His word, indeed, is his personal presence. Whenever God’s word is spoken, read, or heard, God himself is there.”

Then during my devotions, I read Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” RSV.

The promise that God’s Word never returns without fulfilling its purpose set the stage for developing Katie and Hans. These characters needed to hear God’s voice through His Word and His people.

I wasn’t sure how to make that happen, especially for Hans. In book one, Desire of my Heart, we met Hans Korhonen, a Finnish immigrant. This peace-loving, gentle farmer connected with Thomas, who was five when the Trexlers arrived at the Korhonen homestead. In the progression of time through the series, Hans returns from serving for the Union in the Civil War. The war has changed him, and his adverse reactions to the tragedies in his life cause him to doubt himself and God. He feels trapped and forced into following everyone else’s rules and sets out on a journey to become his own man. He wants nothing to do with the God of his past, whom he feels has abandoned him.

What changed Hans? Why would he go from a sweet soul to this tortured man? Scripture tells us that God never leaves us nor forsakes us. How could I get Hans to a place of acceptance? I knew then Hans needed to run into God at every turn, even if he didn’t recognize Him.

Kathleen Orla Murphy, or Katie, is Aideen O’Sullivan’s niece. Aideen is one of my reader’s favorite characters, and I wanted to continue her story by bringing in a family member. Katie comes to America from Ireland after much loss, similar to the sufferings of the orphans and widows from the Civil War. As a tenacious female character willing to stand up for what she believes in, Katie must work to keep God as her focus. Yet despite Katie’s deep faith, her strong self-confidence has her relying on herself rather than on God. Feisty and headstrong, Katie’s reaction to the trauma in her life is positive. She chooses to see possibilities and works to change things for those who have experienced what she has already endured. She feels God has prepared her “for such a time as this” and tackles obstacles head-on, going against convention and the wishes of others.

These two individuals take different journeys toward faith, love, and acceptance yet end up at the same place—right where God intended them to be.

Matters of the Heart is a standalone book in my Discerning God’s Best series. To receive a FREE copy of the prequel, visit

More about Matters of the Heart:

She determines to champion the needs of others, no matter the fallout.
He’s determined to be his own man and make his own way.
Will stubbornness keep them from discovering God’s best?

Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.

He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.

Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.

And here’s an excerpt:

Late May 1866

Shumard Oak Bend, Missouri

A flush of adrenaline tingled through Katie’s body. She’d made it into the kitchen without the floor squeaking or the door scraping. Right hand on the latch, she applied pressure to the wood with her hip, hoping that the door would be just as silent as it settled into the warped frame.

“Katie, me girl. Where’ve you been?”

“Oh, my! Aunt Aideen, you gave me a fright.” Katie yelped and flung herself around, her hand at her throat to hide the pulsing vein in her neck. The empty plate and fork she’d tucked under her arm slipped from their hold. She grabbed for the plate, but the fork clattered to the floor.

“Where have I been?” Katie’s voice rose in pitch. “The barn.” She felt a flush cover her cheeks and bent down to retrieve the utensil, hiding her face, hoping Aideen would think the redness in her cheeks was from the exertion of the movement. Katie watched the familiar, reddish-brown eyebrow lift, letting her know Aunt Aideen expected the rest of the story. Katie set the items down then busied her hands making tea.

“Care for a cup of tea?” Katie’s heart raced and she could not quell the fluttery feeling in her belly.

“That and an answer.” Aideen sat and folded her hands in anticipation.

Katie’s posture stiffened. Her back to her aunt, she forced a smile before turning with two cups of tea. “Fine.” Katie hesitated as she took her time placing the cups on the table. “Would you care for a cookie?” She reached for the tin.

“I wish for the truth.”

Katie arranged her skirts as she sat, delaying the inevitable. “I was in the barn feeding…” Nerves frayed, her leg bounced as if the pumping motion would help get the words out.

“Kathleen Orla Murphy.”

Katie’s heart thudded in her chest, and she was sure her aunt could see the tatted collar move up and down. Why was she nervous? She’d done no wrong. She crossed one leg over the other, her knee hitting the underside of the table. Ignoring the pain, she used her napkin to wipe up the tea that had breached the rim of her cup.

“Care to explain the plate?”

Katie lifted her chin. She did not want to burden Aideen, nor would she be dissuaded from her mission. She carefully uncrossed her legs and willed herself not to choke, stalling as the small sip of her tea went down wrong.

Available on Amazon.

Heidi has graciously offered one lucky commenter an e-book copy of Matters of the Heart. Have you ever done something that you didn’t want to share, even if what you did wasn’t wrong? If so, please share (feel free to be brief and/or vague).

Fine print: Commenters must answer the above question to be eligible. Commenters can only enter once. The contest will run from the publication of this post until August 2, 2022 at midnight central time. The winner will be announced on this blog August 10th.

Happy reading,



6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Heidi Gray McGill

  1. I’m so excited, I’ve “found” a new author to read.

    As for doing something I wanted to hide…let’s just say that PTL I have been forgiven and washed clean. Our Pastor calls all of us, himself included, knuckleheads. We are, and we are so blessed that Jesus loves us anyway.

  2. Have you ever done something that you didn’t want to share? Yes….When I was younger…and it’s not something good. It makes it so much sweeter to realize how merciful our God is 🙂

    Beautiful cover <3 Love it!

  3. Just popped in to share a sweet story…
    I was reading and a tear slipped. My 13 year old son was perplexed. I told him that reading the story makes a movie in my head. Sometimes I get attached to characters and I cry when they hurt. It also means the imagery used was vivid enough in my mind to make me become attached and cry. That is a good thing.

Comments are closed.