Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Terrific Trish Perry

Trish Perry's novels are cherished for their grace, tender insights, great writing . . . and humor.          

       Lots of humor.

      "I sat down and picked up The Guy I'm Not Dating, not really intending to read it," wrote one reviewer of Trish's first book, "just thinking I'd glance over a few pages. Two hours later I'm still 'glancing over' those pages and laughing enough to make my husband ask, 'What's so funny?' Later the same night, I turned to the last page and had to declare, 'Loved it! Loved, loved, loved it!"

      Short-listed for the Romance Writer's of America Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, The Guy I'm Not Dating was followed by ten more books (and more awards), from the Tea for Two series to devotionals to co-authoring with the likes of Debby Mayne, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kristin Billerbeck and Dian Hunt.
    Trish's latest release is The Midwife's Legacy. A generational story, told through the imaginations of four different authors, the story begins in 1800s Midwest before moving to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Trish's story, Labor of Love, is linked to the others by a journal whose entries illuminate the calling of midwifery. As each story unfolds, the journal provides encouragement to each woman navigating her own path as a midwife. The women also discover each nugget of wisdom is also speaking into their personal lives.
    I caught up with the utterly lovely Trish to ask her a few questions about her books and her writing life. I hope you enjoy her company as much as I did. Be sure to visit her website, www.trishperry.com, and soak up the writerly atmosphere.
Some writers have a direct path to publication, but others follow circuitous routes which eventually deposit them at their intended destination. Which method describes your journey to becoming an author? And would you choose that path again?
My route was definitely circuitous! I didn't even start writing until I was in my early forties, well after I had dipped my toes in a number of different ponds, professionally. But I brought those years of experience with me when I began to write, so I hesitate to say I would change the path if I could. Still, I do envy those young writers who figure it out well in advance and aim for education and experience that will enhance their writing abilities and chances for publication. The idea of having started publishing 20 years earlier than I did? Sigh.

Yes, "everything in its time" is much easier said than endured. But you weren't idle because while your imagination percolated with story ideas, you went and got a degree in psychology. Does that degree help you write fiction? Can you give us an example from your latest release?

Yes, my degree is a huge help. I don't sit down and create characters who fit a textbook definition or diagnosis in any fashion, but I've benefitted from studying counseling and the types of dysfunction many of us experience in our lives and families. When it comes to designing internal conflict, it helps to have been absorbed by psychology in the past.

As far as an example from Labor of Love is concernedmy heroine, Kendra, loves being a midwife and switched quite a few years ago from the pre-med path her sister took. Kendra's father, now deceased, was a noted cardiologist, just as Kendra's sister is now. Kendra knows her father regarded midwives with a degree of disdain. So now she feels a residual lack of respect from her father, which is mirrored by events that develop with a local doctor in the story. That local doctor's criticism of Kendra hits her at a deeper level than it might, had her father been more appreciative of the profession. In other words, Kendra has daddy issues, and they're being played out with this doctor.

Yes, I see the psych degree in there! Excellent. What drew you writing about midwives? 

My agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, asked me if I had any interest in writing about a contemporary midwife. I loved the idea and wanted to dispel some of the stereotypes that still linger about how midwives present themselves and operate today. The first three novellas in the collection involve midwives from times gone by, when the profession wasn't considered an unusual practice. Today many people still think of midwifery as it was when it resurged in the 60s--rather fringe-like. The kind of thing practiced by hippy chicks living in communes. I enjoyed demystifying that misconception.

On your website, you always ask writers to name Five Random Things about themselves. Turning the tables here! Tell us Five Random Things about Trish Perry.
  • I can't swim. Not a bit. I'm like a big bag of rocks in the water.
  • When I was a kid, my sisters and I performed regularly at a nursing home, singing old British songs our mother taught us.
  • I have a black belt in TaeKwonDo. I don't remember much of that today, though. That was about a decade and fifteen pounds ago.
  • I used to sing lead in a rock/R&B band. Loved that.  
  • I'm an oddly good shot, which I learned while living in a rural setting filled with a plethora of "varmints." 
Girls who can shoot straight are extra-cool. What can readers expect next from Trish Perry? 
I'm about to write a Christmas novella for a collection with Martha Rogers and Debby Mayne, for B&H's Bloomfield series. That won't release until 2014, I believe. I'm deep into a day job right now, so I've had to pull back on contracts for  a while. I miss writing regularly, and I can't wait to get cracking on this new project!
 In the meantime, head to Trish's page on Facebook and give her a big ol' LIKE.