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Author and Chrisman Graduate Grant Ray will be returning to Chrisman on Saturday, September 10th for a book signing at the Chrisman Public Library at 1:00 p.m.
Ray is the son of Dale and Carol Ray and graduated in 1984. In 1986, he married his High School sweetheart, Brenda Perry from Paris. Together, they have four grown children, two of which have families of their own and two grand daughters.
Grant’s love for writing started when he was a child.
“My parents taught me to love language at an early age. I started writing for the school newspaper in the third grade,” Ray told us. “I learned how to use the mimeograph machine at the elementary school to copy it.”
By the time he was in Junior High, Ray was writing for fun. Notebooks were filled with short stories, always fiction. “It was therapeutic, even cathartic, but they were sloppy in their structure.” He then sought help in his writing in High School and began writing school district news for the Chrisman Leader during his Sophomore and Junior years.
“Besides writing research papers in college and seminary, I picked up writing again in 2010, this time with an eye toward publishing.”
After graduating from Chrisman, Grant earned his undergraduate degree from Lincoln Christian University. He went onto complete his Masters Degree and did his doctoral work at Trinity Theological Seminary.
Ray became an ordained minister in 1990, but is now semi-retired from pulpit ministry and counseling fields after thirty years. For Grant, ministry can be very fulfilling, but exhausting at times. “I enjoy helping people understand that faith isn’t like how some ministries and churches portray it,” he said. “Christianity often gets a bad rap, but that’s because so many people misinterpret and misuse the Scriptures.” Looking back, ministry wasn’t where Grant thought he would be. “My goal was to be a doctor.”
Grant credits his writing inspiration to his two high school English Teachers, Helen Mattern and Vickie Riggen as being his go-to help when he was trying to improve his writing. Being a visual learner, Ray also watches television shows and movies in his favorite genres to compare what is written with what is on the screen.
Ray likes historical fiction, but is most drawn to crime and mystery fiction. “I am currently writing two different series simultaneously,” Grant said. “One is in a specialized sub-genre known as historical Christian Fiction. The other series is a murder mystery.”
Being very right brained, Ray writes an outline of the story, then begins to “flesh it out” by watching the story play out like a movie in his head and writes down what he sees. “Although I know my characters, I let them “tell” me what’s coming next in the story to the point that sometimes they surprise me,” he said. “I know some people hate to write their own grocery list, but for me writing is fun.”
His first book took about six months, but usually it takes longer. Ray’s first book was published in 2011. The first book of the Watchers Series, ‘All the Right People’ was published in 2020.
“I don’t force my writing like some people do. If my characters get stuck in a situation, I sometimes must think through the solution for quite a while before I can see enough in my mind to write it down.”
To date, Grant has published three books and has one that is ready to publish soon, while working on two others.
Though he’s a busy man, Grant is looking forward to heading back home.
“I am thrilled and honored to be part of Chrisman’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. I remember attending the Centennial, so it is cool that I get to take part of the 150th,” Ray said. “I try to track what happens in the area. I’m glad to know that the town hasn’t lost her spirit.”
Be sure to stop by the Chrisman Public Library on Saturday, September 10th at 1:00 p.m to get your book signed or stop by to say a quick hello to Grant Ray.