The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author Interview: Trish Perry


Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Inspirational Author, Trish Perry. This is Trish's first time on my blog so let me start by saying, "Welcome!"

SW: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

TP: My life has gone through a number of different phases, as has anyone else’s. Professionally I’ve worked with attorneys, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as a stockbroker, and now as a writer. I may start a day job over the next year or so, as a court reporter, but we’ll see about that. Personally, I’ve experienced singlehood, marriage, and divorce, and I’m very happy in my current state. I have two fantastic kids and an amazing grandson. But I’ll be an empty nester in a few more months, which I both look forward to and dread. Still, I know the looking-forward-to is going to win out. I’ve published four novels in the inspirational market, with a fifth releasing in September and at least two more coming out in 2011. Life is good!

SW: When did you first become interested in writing?

TP: Besides mere dabbling here and there through the years, I got serious about writing after I went back to school to get my Psychology degree. I got good feedback and had such fun writing for my various courses that I started taking creative writing classes. By the time I finished my degree, I had changed my mind about going into counseling and decided to write fiction instead. But it still took years of writing before I got my first book contract.

SW: Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?

TP: The first few things I published were poems, personal essays, devotionals, short stories for kids, and other small pieces. Those are never a waste of time—they’re a great place to start. Every byline is a step closer to a book contract. I went through plenty of rejection before getting any of those items published. And I still have a full novel (my first one) tucked away, unpublished. When you want to write a book, you have to think multiple books, and you have to be willing to accept that they won’t all get published. But they’ll all teach you something about the craft.

SW: How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?

TP: I always need stewing time. It’s easy enough to come up with an idea for a novel, to write out a paragraph or two that describe a story I think would be fun. But then I need to simply think before I write word one. I have to imagine my lead characters—what they’re like, what they want, what they face. And yes, I always have to do some research before I can begin any writing, and then I research during the entire writing of the book.

I’m not a seat-of-the-pants writer by any means. I need more structure than that. But I am more flexible now than I used to be. I know where I want my story to end up, and I know some of the major plot points before I write. But after I plan out the first ten to fifteen chapters of the book, I often start writing, just to get the project moving. Otherwise I get so caught up in planning, the actual writing doesn’t get done. As I write those first chapters, other story elements take place that I hadn’t expected. I’ve come to enjoy that part of the process. It keeps my right hemisphere active.

SW: Tell us about your latest release?

TP: My most recent novel is Sunset Beach. Here’s a brief description:

Sonny Miller is tired of not knowing who she is. Soon she’ll begin graduate school to earn her masters in Psychology. But how can she counsel future clients about their identities when she isn’t even sure about her own? To that end she has cooked up a little meeting at a certain beach house in San Diego.

Sonny’s mother, classical soprano Teresa Miller, isn’t aware she’s about to be reunited at the beach house with her sister, Melanie Hines, after 25 years of estrangement. And Sonny isn’t aware her mother has invited a surprise guest of her own. Russian adoptee, Irina Petrova, finds herself dragged along on a trip so tumultuous she summons her handsome concert violinist brother for moral support.

The four women converge on the funky little beach house in San Diego, each with her own disappointments and hopes about family, identity, and love. For Sonny, the trip reveals all she expected and more than she ever dreamed.

SW: What inspired you to write this story?

TP: Sunset Beach is the fourth book in a series (The Beach House Series), originated by author Sally John. Sally wrote the first two books in the series, and I wrote the third (Beach Dreams) and then Sunset Beach. Each book in the series takes place in the same setting but involves all new characters. By the time I wrote Sunset Beach, I wanted to write a romance, but I also wanted to write about relationships between women—mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends. This novel combines those concepts.

SW: Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them, and what endears them to you?

TP: The first thing I knew was that I wanted to write about estranged twins. From there I thought about what might have caused them to separate from one another, which brought about my third character, who is actually the romantic heroine. And when I developed her romantic entanglement, the fourth woman came about through her association with the hero. What endears me to all four of these women is their failings. Even the character who seems most well adjusted has issues with competitiveness and jealousy that she comes to recognize during the story.

SW: What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?

TP: I know that my ability to write, and every book contract I receive, is a gift from God. So I hope to honor Him with my effort with each book I write. I try to write entertaining stories, and I don’t aim for any kind of message with them. But a theme typically emerges while my characters struggle through whatever their conflicts are. I leave that up to God, because He knows whom He wants to reach. When I get a letter from someone who describes how one of my books influenced her, I always think, “Oh, you’re the one He gave me that story for!” Very cool.

As far as long-term goals are concerned, I honestly look at this business as a one-step-at-a-time endeavor. Of course I would like to be writing and publishing until my last day—that’s a goal—but I don’t stress about whether or not I’m currently writing my last book. If God wants me writing more books, He’ll provide the contracts. When He draws me to other ventures, I’ll follow.

SW: Any ideas for future projects?

TP: Yes! My next novel, which releases in September, is the first in a new series with Harvest House Publishers. As with The Beach House Series, each book in the set will share a common setting—in this case a charming, historic town in Virginia, about an hour west of Washington, D.C. The series is called The Tea Shop Series, and the first book is called The Perfect Blend. Here’s a quick blurb about it:

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.
I’m currently writing the second book, the title of which we just changed. Unless we change it again, it will be called Tea for Two and will release in March 2011.

SW: What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, any other hobbies?

TP: Wow. I’m a real movie buff, so I can’t pick just one. I love The Philadelphia Story as much as I do Braveheart, and I love Lilies of the Field as much as Lars and the Real Girl. My tastes run the gamut, although there are plenty of films I won’t watch because they’re too vulgar, gory, or just plain stupid.

Favorite food? I’ve been dieting lately, so I’ve discovered how very much I love what I can’t have; namely, pastries and chocolates. But I truly enjoy all good food (thus the dieting), and the only things on my “Don’t Like” list are okra and cooked celery. I’m very easily pleased in the food department.

And vacations? I love the sun and the beach (although I can’t swim—honestly can NOT swim). I love Italy. And someday I’d like to take a cruise, either European or Caribbean. I love the idea of sitting on deck, just reading and enjoying the weather. And there’s the eating, of course.

SW: Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?

TP: That sounds as if you’re asking for book recommendations, so let me throw a few out there. As with movies, my taste in books varies widely. Here are a few I’ve read lately and enjoyed: The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney, Havah by Tosca Lee, The Big 5-0 by Sandie Bricker, How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely, The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse, and The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt. (A word of caution, by the way: these aren’t all Christian novels.)

Trish is giving away a copy of her book, Sunset Beach, please leave a comment and your email to enter.

For more on Trish and her books:


Purchase her latest release.


13 comments:

  1. Hi Trish,
    You are a multi-talented woman! Love the cover of your book (even if you can't swim, hee hee), but it sure looks inviting anyway!

    Congrats on this, and wishing you much success!

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  2. Nice job with the interview! Good luck!

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  3. Thanks! Trish is really talented and an inspiration, so I enjoyed this very much.

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  4. Good interview! sounds like an interesting story.

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  5. Awesome interview Shawna. I enjoyed it as I always do. Even when I don't comment!

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  6. I've missed you Shawneda! You're comments are fun.

    Still want to take you up on the webcam interview. Apparently the webcam we have either isn't working, or I just can't figure it out. It's older, never used, but older, so maybe I need a new one. I'm such a tech dummy.

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  7. Trish, your interview was so interesting to read! The series that "Sunset Beach" is a part of sounds really good and not only would love to win a copy of your book, but I certainly want to read the other three. Best of luck with your future work - God be with you.

    Beverly
    bgrider2@cox.net

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  8. Thanks, Shawna, for the interview. You have such nice, chatty readers! I like that.

    Looking forward to giving Sunset Beach away to one of you kind people!

    Blessings,

    Trish

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  9. I love the way you place "Christian" first on your profile.
    I'm your newest follower and I invite you to look over my blog and perhaps become one also.

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  10. I'll do that, Covnitkepr1. Welcome!

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  11. I enjoyed visiting your blog! Very inspiring
    Hopefully you will appreciate mine also
    God Bless, Bob West
    http://westbob.blogspot.com/2010/04/line-upon-line.html

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  12. Hi Bob, I'm now following you too. :)

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  13. Trish is a great writer and fun lady! So excited that her talent is seeing such success! Great interview.

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