Wednesday, June 10, 2009

with Trish Perry

I'm happy to welcome Trish Perry back today for an interview. Trish is giving away a copy of her new release Sunset Beach. The book drawing will be open until Saturday evening, so be sure to leave a comment (with your addy to help me track you down) to be entered into the drawing.

Trish, tell us about your Beach House series. Actually, the Beach House series is novelist Sally John’s creation. Sally wrote the first two books in the series, and I wrote the next two. There are two characters who appear in all four books, but otherwise, each book in the series involves a different cast of characters. The house itself is the other constant “character” in the series—it’s a funky little, chotchkie-laden get-away in San Diego that was once owned by a sweet little old lady who has since joined her Maker. Everyone who visits the beach house undergoes a change—always for the better. I think Sally had a great idea, and it was a blessing to be involved with the beach house.

Where did you get the idea for the series? The series was Sally’s idea. The two books I wrote evolved very comfortably for me. My first foray into the series involved characters I had already created in my first two novels (The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True). I was dying to tell the third story in that series. So when Harvest House asked me to write Beach Dreams, it seemed like a perfect fit. Sally’s setting; my characters. Then, for Sunset Beach, I needed to develop all new characters and an entirely unrelated story. God blesses me with ideas so often, I have a hard time remembering exactly how my ideas come about. He just plants little snippets in my head while I’m in the shower, doing the dishes, sitting in front of the computer staring ahead like a zombie. When I look back after the fact, it’s always hard for me to pinpoint the genesis of each step in the process.

Which book (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite, and why?
Wow, that’s such a hard one. I’d probably give you a different answer on any given day. Today I’ll say that Too Good to Be True was the most fun. I had just finished writing a much more serious novel (which I haven’t published yet), and I was dying to do something funny and light. That was when I wrote Too Good to Be True. It had some serious issues and moments, but the heroine and her interactions with her mother and the hero made me laugh. As far as my favorite character, today I’ll say it was Aunt Addie from The Guy I’m Not Dating. I remember sitting in a tire shop while my car was being . . . tired, and this spunky older lady walked in wearing a perky red jacket and sporting a grey bob haircut. I grabbed a little pad of paper from my purse and drew her right then and there. She became Aunt Addie, a dear woman who is occasionally dotty and occasionally spot on with her observations. She was an excellent foil for my bad girl. Loved her.

Which character that you've written has most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Sonny Miller, the heroine in Sunset Beach, was an interesting one for me. She got her college degree, as I did, in Psychology, but she was far younger when she achieved that. And everything else about her was so different from me, as well. She was completely in the dark about her family of origin, and I was intrigued to imagine a girl going through life without knowing any family member other than her mother. It made me hungry, emotionally, thinking about what that must have been like for her. It’s hard enough to grasp one’s identity when you know much about your own background. Imagine trying to have your feet firmly planted on the ground when you don’t know, really, where you came from.

You have an interesting background! What prompted you to start writing? How long have you been writing? Were any turning points in your writing career?
I started writing creatively about 19 years ago, when I was taking my college courses (as an adult). I developed the itch to write but didn’t quite recognize it. When I submitted some of my English assignments, my professors encouraged me to write more. So I took as many creative writing courses as I could cram into my Psych degree, and I was working on my first novel by the time I graduated. A turning point in my writing career actually came as I neared the completion of my degree. I was making the bed, praying to God, asking Him for some guidance about whether to go on to grad school (for Psychology), as I originally planned, or take some time off to write. He “spoke” to me in a lovely way as I was tucking in the sheets. I’ll never forget it. I thought I was taking two years off from my Psych work. I never went back.

In Sunset Beach Sonny has just finished her psychology degree. Are there other similarities between you and Sonny? Do you write yourself into characters at times?
Since I happened to choose Sonny as the character who most interested me, above, I’ve probably answered this to some extent. As far as writing myself into characters, that has never happened deliberately. But I think the snarkier comments from some of my characters couldn’t come about if I wasn’t able to think of them, personally. I can get pretty sarcastic, and I grew up around British humor, which might surface through some of my characters on occasion. But I never mold any of my characters around myself or anyone else I know.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Now, how did you know about that? Yeah, that’s the worst! When I’m sitting here jamming away, I’m fine. But when I’m between bursts of brilliant inspiration, I get the major munchies. Cashews are a big favorite, and when I’m really bad, Cheetos and Lay’s potato chips go down beautifully and quickly and straight to my git along.

LoL Well, I really didn't know but it was a bit of an educated guess. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t really do quirky things as often as I do embarrassing things. I’m sitting here, spending way too much time reliving some of the stupid things I’ve done in public. It’s having a very bad effect on my delicate self-esteem, so I’m going to pick one incident and move on. I tend to wear comfy pants around the house when I’m writing, and I have a pair of running pants that are a little too long. One day I kept stepping on the backs of those pants, so I got two diaper pins, pulled the pant legs up from behind, and haphazardly pinned them onto the calves of the pants so they wouldn’t annoy me. Several hours later I needed to make a run to Costco and I noticed a few guys checking me out as I walked past them. Yeah, I’ve still got it, I thought. Uh, no. What I still had was diaper pins holding up the backs of my pant legs. That’s me all over. All I needed was a beanie with a propeller on top to finish off the look.

I almost always wear jeans, but today was a yoga pant day and I thought about your story as I ran into the grocery store. *grin* You're not just a writer, you're a reader too--what kinds of books you enjoy reading?
I always prefer novels, but I read a wide array of books. Romance, humor, historical, literary, classic, you name it. I tend to mix it up as I go, so if I read something dark and heavy, I’ll usually follow with something that will make me laugh or at least smile. But, oh, do I love to read. I actually get excited when I know I’m going to have a little time in the evening to read before bed.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Last year at the ACFW conference, Robin Jones Gunn talked about the fact that the Lord has given each of us overriding themes that will keep showing up in our work. I was struck by the fact that all of my work has involved the importance of listening to the Lord’s guidance. I’ve never set out to incorporate that idea into what I write, but He has clearly put that issue on my heart. I look back at books I’ve written, and I see that message there, at the bottom line, every time.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
He’s definitely impressing upon me the need to give the day’s work to Him every morning. I’m a tad overwhelmed with work at the moment, and there’s no way to get everything done that needs to be done. So I’m forced to give each day to Him and trust that I’ll hear His guidance about what to work on first.

What a good lesson for me to hear right now, Trish! Thank you for that. Can you tell us about what you have in the works?
I have nine book proposals out there at the moment, with one more due to another publisher. I’m just waiting to see what the Lord wants me to do next, assuming He has another book in mind. I hope to know something soon, but the break is badly needed and perfectly timed. A total blessing.

Patty, thanks so much for the interview! I enjoyed it.

And thank you for being here, Trish! It's been wonderful getting to know you!

Here's an excerpt of Sunset Beach for you to enjoy!

You can purchase Sunset Beach at Amazon and CBD

To keep up with Trish, visit her at www.trishperry.com and at her blog where she does fun author interviews and book giveaways.

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the book drawing!
Also, I'm posting today at Adding Zest.
Join us next week to meet Debby Mayne!

5 comments:

  1. This was great to read! ^_^

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  2. You have a beautiful blog. :)

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  3. I enjoyed the interview and would love to win a copy of Sunset Beach. Thanks for the giveaway.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

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  4. Ohh.. great interview... And enter me please!


    shirley at shirleymcclay dot com

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  5. Fun interview (and fabulous blog!)

    I've heard great things about Trish and am excited to possibly win one of her books - thanks!

    Karin

    kvbwrites at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete

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