Monday, March 14, 2011

Award-winning novelist Trish Perry has written eight inspirational romances for Harvest House Publishers, Summerside Press, and Barbour Publishing, as well as two devotionals for Summerside Press. She has served as a columnist and as a newsletter editor over the years, as well as a 1980s stockbroker and a board member of the Capital Christian Writers organization in Washington, D.C. She holds a degree in Psychology.

Trish’s latest novel, Unforgettable, releases in March, and Tea for Two releases in April. She invites you to visit her at

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?

No, I only dabbled in writing on rare occasions in my youth. If anything, I dreamed of being an actress, because I absolutely loved movies. But I never did much to pursue that dream, other than throwing together the occasional play for the neighborhood kids with my siblings. I did get a thrill from those, but by the time I was in high school, I
had become far too shy to go after acting roles. I wasn’t quite sure what to pursue, really, until I was beyond college age.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I started seriously writing around 1994, and I got a two-book contract in 2005.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

Always start your day by dedicating your writing to God. Ask for His guidance and inspiration and ask Him to help you stay disciplined to accomplish what He wants you to accomplish during your day. When I started doing that, I found myself less stressed if I had a family event that required my attention or if I got a rejection or if I wasn’t 100 p
ercent pleased with what I had written that day. I knew His hand was in it, regardless. And the removal of that stress seemed to free my mind and make writing less of a task and more of a service to Him. I knew that, if I was doing the best I could, I was following His will for me and my writing.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I struggle with the same thing everyone struggles with, especially the fact that the day passes by far too quickly for me to get done everything I want to get done. The dusting doesn’t get done, I don’t work out often enough, there’s always work unfinished at day’s end, and I have to force myself to give attention to others who need and deserve it. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have a chauffeur, maid, and beauty entourage at
my beck and call.

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

Oh, sure I still get rejections; I got one just a couple of weeks ago. The difference now is that I’m only having a paragraph rejected, rather than an entire book, because that’s all the publisher needs to see before deciding, usually. What a relief! And the rejection is definitely about that paragraph, rather than the idea of working with me, so I feel more hopeful about future work being accepted. I should add, though, that should that one paragraph be accepted, the publisher usually wants to see a one-page summary before offering me a contract. Still, that part of the process does get easier as time goes on.

Tell us a
little about your latest release:

Rachel Stanhope tries to see the good in everyone. But even her good graces are challenged when she meets Josh Reegan outside her Arlington, Virginia dance studio on a brisk fall morning in 1951. Admittedly, he’s attractive, but she finds his cynicism and cockiness hard to tolerate.

A hard-news journalist and former World War II Air Force pilot, Josh considers distractions like ballroom dancing frivolous wastes of time. He has yet to shed his wartime drive to defend good against evil whenever he can. Yes, Rachel’s confident nature is a refreshing challenge, but he wouldn’t tangle with her if his newspaper hadn’t roped him into covering one of her studio’s competitions in New York City.

Between Arlington and New York, between the melodrama of ballroom antics and the real drama of political corruption, between family involvement and romantic entanglement, Rachel and Josh have their hands full. The last thing either of them expects is mutual need and support. But once they stop dancing around the truth, the results are unforgettable.

If you could only share one line from Unforgettable, which one would you choose and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I’m sure if you asked me this question ten different times, I’d give you ten different answers. But I just pulled this short line out:

“That’s the way a man in love acts.”

I chose that line because I think nothing is more romantic than love acted out. Plenty of men can turn a phrase to express love beautifully. Or they can lavish their loved one with gifts. Or they can kiss to make her swoon. But when a man truly loves a woman, he treats her as someone precious, someone he cherishes. I love to see that between a couple, and I portrayed some of that in Unforgettable.

Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in Unforgettable that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?

I’m stretching here to give you an answer. The parts of me or my life that make it into any of my stories are unconscious on my part. Although I’ve inserted little tidbits I’ve learned about healthy relationships in past novels, Unforgettable unfolded pretty organically—gosh, I cringe when people use that word, but it works here. Still, I can look at the elderly couple in Unforgettable and see traces of my parents’ relationship. They tease each other and love each other like Mr. and Mrs. Chambers do, so it was easy to imagine the Chambers realistically.
Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?
The troublemaker in Unforgettable is a jealous egotist who has no qualms about making a scene. There is eventually a brief moment of humility and remorse on his part. But I’m sorry, honey, we still don’t like him.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

I corresponded several times with a representative with the USA Dance Central Office in Cape Coral, Florida in order to get my ballroom dances and dance competition history correct. I also used CDs of ballroom dance lessons to get a feel for the basic dances and how they’re taught—the lingo, the first things students learn, etc.

I had a recent computer crash and lost my backup, but I’ve gone back to find a few of the links I found useful. There are two hotels that feature in the book, and I loved the fact that I was able to see what they looked like in the early fifties:

The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan

There were a number of other topics I researched for my reporter hero, since he wrote a number of human-interest articles during the story: A&W Root Beer; tabletop jukeboxes; the first fire department established in Arlington, Virginia; segregation; the local government structure; and other such topics.

And I had a great time researching fashions and music of the era!

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Tea for Two, the second novel in my Tea With Millicent series with Harvest House Publishers, releases April 1. I’m eager to hear what readers think of Milly’s latest involvement with people passing through her tea shop. This book features Tina, a young psychological counselor who Milly enlists to help the handsome farmer who supplies the tea shop with fresh produce. He has two troubled teens on his hands, and he joins forces with Tina to try to keep them out of hot water. Before long things heat up in a different fashion.

Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days, the Summerside Press devotional I wrote with Sandie Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diane Hunt, and Debby Mayne, released March 1, and another, tentatively called Your Grace is Sufficient, But Decaf is NOT, will release at the end of the year (I believe).

In September, Summerside will release Love Finds You on Christmas Morning, which contains Debby Mayne’s historic novel, Deck the Halls, and my contemporary follow-up novel, ‘Tis the Season.

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

I would say, “Every published author started out feeling that way. You can do it if you want it enough.”

The very first thing I would advise is that they join American Christian Fiction Writers. I don’t care where you are in your writing career—right at the start or years into publishing—there are advantages to belonging to this wonderful group. You can learn so much about the craft and the business in general, you can meet people who have experience to share, you can attend the annual conference and make friends and contacts that will last the rest of your life.

And I would advise the new writer to read plenty of books on the craft (you could start with Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson, and then move on to craft books by James Scott Bell, Jeff Gerke, and Brandilyn Collins, just to get you rolling). And read a lot of novels. If you don’t enjoy reading novels, you really have no business writing them.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

That was it, Lisa.

And that’s how I would answer it.
Trish is giving away a copy of her book, Unforgettable. Stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

1 comment :

  1. So glad you could be with us today, Trish. I've been a fan of yours ever since I read THE GUY I'M NOT DATING. I absolutely love your new cover. Can't wait to read UNFORGETTABLE!


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