Welcome Back, Trish:
SKC: We learned a little about you last time you came to A Pen for Your Thoughts. This visit I thought I would ask you a few newer questions. Let’s begin with this one. How is this new book of yours different from the first?
TP: Different from my very first, you mean? Or the first in the Beach House series? I’ll give you a quickie answer for both. Sunset Beach is probably a little deeper, with more drama, than The Guy I’m Not Dating. But I’ve still incorporated humor and romance in the plotline. My books in the Beach House series are more women’s fiction/contemporary romance than chick lit.
And Sunset Beach differs from Beach Dreams in that the characters and circumstances are all new. Beach Dreams was a continuation of the storylines started and continued in The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. Sunset Beach starts all over, with different people.
SKC: You answered just right. I don’t know if you know it, but you are one of my daughter’s favorite authors. What inspired you to write as you do and would you say you draw in a younger crowd more than an older bunch or both?
TP: Oh, how sweet! I’m thrilled your daughter enjoys my books! I don’t know if I draw in more young people than old dames such as myself, but I am most definitely not the matronly, quiet, sage type of older woman. I enjoy serious novels as much as the next person, but I also enjoy a good laugh and happy, romantic endings. That’s the type of novel I lean toward when I write; I’m just better at that than the heavy themes. My personal experience is that there are plenty of women “of a certain age” who like to pick up a story that isn’t going to drain them of their life’s blood before they get to The End. Sometimes you just feel like smiling while you read.
SKC: That’s how I do my devotionals. I know exactly what you mean. With your fiction how do you balance dialogue with character and plot with setting so that your books run smoothly?
TP: I truly have to work at that. I think I’d enjoy writing the entire book in dialogue if I could. You can show a lot of characterization through dialogue, though, so comfort with dialogue isn’t a bad thing. With regard to setting, I hear all the time that other readers are like I am—if too much setting description shows up, I’ll skip to the quotation marks. Setting needs to be weaved in subtly, so the reader barely notices she’s just been fed an image. A smooth plot moves forward through the actions of—and conversations between—the characters. In my opinion, if plot is happening to the characters, rather than characters moving the plot, your characters aren’t interesting enough.
SKC: Besides inspirational fiction books, what books do you read in the secular world? Would you say reading others’ books helps to get your creative juices flowing? If so, how?
TP I read at least as many secular novels as I do Christian. And yes, definitely, other people’s books get my creative juices flowing, although I don’t notice it while I’m reading. I don’t read a scene and go, “Wow, that makes me think of [blank] happening to [blank].” Rather, I think the influence happens like osmosis, and a vague, cloud-like mass settles down on you when you sit at the computer. That’s why it’s so important to read as much as you can when you’re a writer. No one will write something the way you do, but we all nurture one another’s creativity. It’s very cool.
SKC: I agree completely. If you were to select a different genre to write, what would it be?
TP: What an interesting question! I’m kind of morphing into women’s fiction (or maybe just contemporary romance—I hate the idea of no romance in any of my stories). But that’s not so much like choosing an entirely different genre. I actually wrote a supernatural/spiritual warfare novel which had quite a lot of historical fiction mixed in, and some day I’d love to publish it—I honestly think it’s very good (or it will be once I completely rewrite it). So I guess you could say my other genre would be supernatural spiritual warfare historical fiction. I think you could call that Mutt Fiction, don’t you?
SKC: Hmm. Mutt Fiction! Now there is something you can start if no one else does! In the meantime, how is your family adjusting to you being a full-time writer? Or do you still work (at home or outside the home) on the side?
TP: Well, I’ve been divorced for a few years, so I guess the writing didn’t go over so well there. But my kids think it’s great, and they’re wonderfully supportive. I don’t currently work on the side, but I plan to eventually, unless I suddenly hit the mother load with my book income. I’m currently training to do courtroom reporting, and I think that will be an interesting side job.
SDC: You know what, Trish? I am praying for that mother load too someday. Maybe like a painter…it won’t come till after I’m long gone. Ha! Tell us more about what your new book entails (maybe toss in a quick blurb) and also where the readers can find it when it’s out. Will you do that for us, Trish?
TP Sunset Beach is currently available everywhere.
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.
SDC: Thanks so much. Trish, we are so excited that you have a book for one of our readers this week. What question would you like to toss out, if you were to ask other readers or writers anything that deals with fiction stories particularly?
TP: Shirley, you ask some excellent questions. I’d love to know what readers wish someone would write about. What are we missing when it comes to addressing the needs and yearnings of Christian women out there? I’d truly love to know.
SDC: That is great for our readers to reflect on. I’m curious about the answers that will come in. For now, we thank you for joining us and sharing a bit of your life. May God richly bless you with your newest work!
TP: Thank you, Shirley. Always a pleasure! And God bless your writing, as well.
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