My earthly father loved me deeply. My Heavenly Father loves me deeper still.

Pastor Bob Gray praying on the porch of the mission house in the Caribe Indian Territory of Dominica, an island country of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

My father knew Jesus so personally that I often wondered if he heard His voice. I also pondered if the words out of my dad’s mouth were straight from the Lord. My father didn’t joke, and you always knew the meaning of what he was saying.

That’s not to say he wasn’t funny. He was quirky in a unique way.

While some dads excel in the dad joke category, my father rarely jested with his words. But with his actions? That was fair game.

As a teenager, I often piled in the back seat with friends—in the days of no seat belts and sitting on laps to get as many girls in the car as possible. We’d be laughing and talking over each other while Dad quietly drove us wherever we needed to go.

My heart would sink the moment I heard the vrrrooom vrrrooom from Dad’s lips. He’d slink down in his seat and lay on the horn, scaring the begeebers out of all of us. My friends loved it. Their stoic pastor acting like a kid is something they’d never forget and the one thing I wished I could.

Until now.

My dad is gone, and I love those memories.

Every time I write a book, there is a piece of me in the story. That is true for today’s release, “A Deeper Love.” My dad played a significant role in this book.

Alicia, the main character, has perfected the eye roll when her boat captain, Tug, pulls out a bad dad joke. Tug was her father’s best friend. Alicia knows Tug will always be there for her. And she’ll always love him, no matter how irritating his jokes are.

My dad would have liked Tug, and he would have loved the Isle of Tiga. My parents served as volunteer missionaries for eleven years on the Island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). They lived in the Carib Territory and were the only non-nationals permitted to build on this land, and two of the few on the island with white hair. Just about everyone knew who they were.

Islanders knew my dad as Pastor Bob and my mother as Sister Bob. They lived in a cinderblock house like the one I “constructed” for Alicia. The Bataca Church that my dad built was my inspiration for the place of worship on the mountaintop of the Isle of Tiga.

The way my father influenced this book the most was in his character. He knew when to be silly and when to be serious. And he was always serious about sharing Jesus, but even though he was a pastor, it never felt preachy when he told you about his Savior.

That is my goal as well. In “A Deeper Love,” I hope you laugh, sigh, swoon, and maybe tear up. But more than anything, I pray you see Jesus in a fresh light that will refresh you as a tropical vacation.

Enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card and an eBook copy of “A Deeper Love” by clicking the link in each blog post written by fellow Suamalie Island authors. Thank you for participating in the giveaway. Here’s today’s link:

November 1: Amanda Tru

November 2: Rachel Skatvold

November 3: Susan K. Beatty

November 4: Tabitha Bouldin

November 5: Melissa Wardwell

To learn more about book 9 in the Suamalie Island series, be sure to visit Amazon to view a video preview of the book from me.

Published by Author Heidi Gray McGill

Heidi and her husband of over thirty years live in South Carolina. Besides writing Christian fiction with relatable characters in life-changing stories, Heidi relishes time with family and friends. She enjoys scrapbooking, playing games, traveling, and building bridges with her grandsons that must fall with a loud crash and usually involve a monster truck.

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