Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Interview with Trish Perry and a giveaway!!!

Leave a comment or ask the author a question to possibly win a copy of The Perfect Blend. (include your email address)

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I didn’t initially plan to write romance, and my first novel (which isn’t published) had very little humor in it. But my style evolved to one that incorporates humor in the midst of more serious issues and always returns to romantic elements. Some of my books border on women’s fiction, and I keep thinking I might want to write historical, but my guess is that there will always be twinges of romance and humor in what I write—it’s just the way I think.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

Well, let’s eliminate the day each of my children came to know the Lord as well, since you probably get that answer all the time. Still, my happiest day would no doubt involve my kids. I don’t know if I can pick out a single day. But recently both of my kids have made a point of telling me I’m the coolest mom (my son said that when I spoke in a very blasĂ© voice about a decapitated mouse in our garage) and that I had a terrific attitude about life (my daughter implied that aloud to her husband when I said I look at how blessed my life is and ask “Why me, Lord?” Her comment to her husband was, “You see why I grew up so optimistic?”). Those were two of my happiest days, when my kids expressed such positive feelings for me. There’s nothing better than knowing your kids appreciate you as a person, beyond your being their parent.

How has being published changed your life?

My hairdresser put it perfectly during one of my visits to her. She said, “You know how we all have dreams of what we’d really like to do some day? I’ll bet you sometimes stop, consider your writing career, and say, ‘I’m doing it! This is it!’”

She hit it exactly. Writing for publication is a dream come true for me, and it was (and is) well worth the years of work. I’ve met hundreds of fascinating authors, readers, speakers, and people who have shared stories of their lives with me, all as a result of my writing career.

And the exercise of creating characters, throwing problems at them, and watching them address those problems is quite a learning experience for me. Sometimes I consider situations and life occurrences I never would have thought of before. I think you gain a deeper understanding of people and their behaviors and learn not to be quite so judgmental as a result of living through your characters.

What are you reading right now?

I have quite a few books going at the moment. I’m almost finished with Deborah Vogts’ Seeds of Summer, I’m wrapping up a collection of short stories by Flannery O’Connor, and I recently started Wendy Burden’s Dead End Gene Pool and Mary Modern, by Camille Deangelis. I read a lot of books at once—what I read depends on where I happen to be, upstairs, downstairs, in the car with an audio book, etc.

What is your current work in progress?

Last week I turned in final edits on Tea for Two, the second book in The Tea Shop Series (Harvest House Publishers), and my manuscript for Unforgettable, a nostalgic romance set in the early 1950s (Summerside Press). Now I’m writing devotionals for God’s Grace is Sufficient—Decaf is NOT! (Summerside Press), a collection with Sandy Bricker, Kris Billerbeck, Loree Lough, and Cynthia Ruchti, scheduled for a September 2011 release. A companion devotional, Delight Yourself in the Lord . . . Even on Bad Hair Days, will release this spring.

What would be your dream vacation?

I’d love to travel Europe (comfortably), soaking up the culture, people, food, and scenery. I’d like to take my time at it. I don’t like traveling, typically, but I would if I were wealthy and pampered. Not that being wealthy and pampered is my life’s goal, mind you, but we are talking vacation here.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

That varies with each project. I tend to choose my actual locale if I have the choice—that’s the Washington Metropolitan Area. I’m familiar with the area, of course, but I also love it. This is an area rich with variety in which my many heroes and heroines can watch their lives unfold. But other books have required my skipping across the country to set up shop in a San Diego beach house in order to fit into an already-established series. I’ve also had storylines require dashing up to Manhattan, traveling down the east coast to Florida, and who knows what else to expect in the near future? Sometimes an editor will make a specific request, but usually I get to choose.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I have a different answer to this question every time I get it, depending on my mood. Today, I’m thinking Steve Levitan and/or Christopher Lloyd, the head writers of Modern Family. I’d love to pick their brains for how they manage to create characters who are so ridiculous yet realistic, so silly yet sympathetic, so flawed yet perfectly suited to their familial makeup. I think they’re such creative writers, and they would make for an entertaining evening of conversation.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

My past passion with cooking has recently reawakened after years of going the easy cooking route—probably because I’ve recently finished dieting. That can’t be good.

And I love film and getting together with my friends and family for food, laughs, and conversation.

That’s it—throw the writing, reading, and day-to-day obligations in there, and I have no time for any other hobbies, seriously. I used to sing on the worship team, but that’s gone by the wayside these days, along with working out and dancing (other than the occasional impromptu boogie when a song simply will not allow me to do otherwise).

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it

Procrastination. I’ve learned it’s a family thing. My older brother is also a writer (a scholarly one), and like me, he works best under a deadline, and right up to it. I can easily work all day long and get absolutely nothing accomplished if I don’t have a deadline haunting my every waking minute. So I embrace the pressure of a deadline.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

I hate to sound like a broken record (I give this advice all the time), but I advise all authors to begin their days offering their talent and their writing efforts to the Lord. And then I advise them to work their hardest at the craft. Join a local writers’ group, join ACFW, read books like Writing Fiction for Dummies, Plot and Structure, and Plot Versus Character, by Randy Ingermanson, James Scott Bell, and Jeff Gerke, respectively. And, of course, make writing a daily habit. When you feel you’ve done your best, submit, and accept that everyone gets rejected in this business. If you’re offering your talent and your works to the Lord, He’ll guide your path, so you’ll know you can hang in there until you publish or until He draws you lovingly toward a different goal.

Tell us about the book.

Steph Vandergrift left everything to elope with Middleburg attorney Rick Manfred, who then stood her up at the altar. Too embarrassed to return home, Steph hopes to earn enough to get by until she can decide what to do next. Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel hires her and appreciates the extra help at the tea shop.

Also appreciative of Steph is Kendall James, one of the kindest, most eligible bachelors in the area. But by the time Steph feels able to consider dating again, her run-away fiancé returns and tries to win her back. Steph is wary, but she and Rick always blended so well.

Christie Burnham, the frank-talking equestrian from whom Steph rents a room, and her frillier sister Liz become fast friends and confidantes to Steph. Between the two sisters, there isn't much any man is going to pull over on Middleburg's newest bachelorette and tea shop employee.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I want them to be entertained, of course, but I hope they will also consider the issue of acceptance and how it plays into one’s decisions and attitudes in life. We need to continually consider whose acceptance we seek, and we need to judge the appropriateness of our stance. God’s acceptance is what really matters, and He made it clear, through His sacrifice, how much He values and accepts us for whom we are.

Thanks, Trish! I loved this book.


Wendy said...

I would love to win this book. I love her books.
My question is - How long does it usually take to write a book (not including procrastination time :) )

Charity said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway for Trish's book!! I like her style of writing:) And here is my question, Trish, where do you get your names for your characters?


Ann Lee Miller said...

I love the jilted at the altar start and would love to read the book!

Trish Perry said...

Thanks for your comments so far, ladies. Wendy, since I'm the queen of procrastination (I'm actually procrastinating right now, while I'm visiting this site), I take as long to write a book as the publisher gives me. I'm awful that way. But I've never missed a deadline yet!

Charity, the character names come from various places. Sometimes I'll hear a real person's name and will tuck it away for future use. Or maybe I want one that just sounds soft or spunky or harsh. You can hear those things in certain names. I often change a character's name in the middle of a manuscript, if I feel I've mismatched it with the person.

Ann, I hope you'll like The Perfect Blend and Steph's adventures after the jilting, whether you win the book here or not!

Thanks for the interview, Laura! I'm looking forward to sending the book to one of your readers.

Jo said...

I would love to win this book. Please enter me in the giveaway.