Story Behind the Story: Shannon Taylor Vannatter


Years ago, my dad started sending me and my mom Valentine’s gifts, either flowers, balloons, or candy. When my dad hit 60, it hit me that my parents were aging and I wouldn’t have them forever. Feeling melancholy, one Valentine’s Day, my flowers came and I wondered how I’d feel the first year they didn’t come.

My husband sends me flowers or gifts at other times of the year, but never Valentine’s Day. That’s Daddy’s day. I hoped that in Daddy’s future absence, my husband would continue the tradition. Then I decided I might go first and if that happened, Daddy would probably bring the flowers to the cemetery.

I flipped it around and it became the premise for White Roses. I set the story in Rose Bud and Romance, Arkansas. The tiny towns are seven miles apart. Romantics send their wedding invitations and Valentine cards to be re-mailed from Romance with a unique romantic postmark and couples come there to exchange vows.

White Roses

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.

By the way, I’m still blessed to have two healthy parents. Daddy is 71.

About Shannon: Shannon Taylor Vannatter married her high school sweetheart. Since then her husband answered the call to preach and they became first-time parents 16 ½ years into their marriage. She 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 nine-year-old son, and their church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, 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.

The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named her #3 Favorite New Author, White Roses as #1 Contemporary Novel and #2 Favorite Contemporary Cover, and White Doves as #8 Contemporary Novel and #1 Favorite Contemporary Cover. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette Three Rivers Edition voted her one of 20 to Watch in 2011.

Learn more about Shannon and her books at

More about Nicole

Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks

  • i reviewed all three books for Shannon – i LOVED them all. Knowing how she came about the story makes it so precious.

  • Thanks for the compliment, Marianne and for the great reviews.