Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Interview with Author Trish Perry

Hello everyone. I'd like to introduce you to award-winning novelist, Trish Perry. We're happy to have you here with us at the Making Home Work Blog, Trish!

Trish resides in Northern Virginia, has a son in college, a daughter and son-in-law, and a grandson. She has written nine inspirational romances for Harvest House Publishers, Summerside Press, and Barbour Publishing, as well as two devotionals for Sumerside Press. Trish 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 degree in Psychology.

Thanks for taking time to share some of your writing and personal life with us.

How did you begin your journey into writing, Trish?

I was working on my degree in Psychology when I discovered my favorite part of the pursuit was when I had a writing assignment. I got positive feedback on my writing from various professors, so I took several creative writing courses within my degree. By the time I was due to enroll in grad school, I decided to take a few years off and just write and submit. I loved it so much, I never went back fo that grad degree!

Well, one thing is for certain--it turned out that you didn't need that grad degree! But were there any major roadblocks along the way to a successful writing career?

Yes, indeed there were roadblocks, but they weren't really writing related, just life related. Most significant was the dissolution of my marriage, during which time I had a couple of novels due, as well as all of the heartache and headache inherent in finding a new home, moving, tending to my son's broken heart, working with attorneys, ugh! Only the Lord got me and my son through that time. He truly blessed us.

Your open sharing of the answer to that question will touch more than a few hearts with hope. Your faith in the Lord to bring you through those difficult times shines through you writing, Trish. I love how you subtly weave faith through your novels. Has that been easy for you to do?

It does come naturally to incorporate faith into my characters' stories, because I can't imagine people getting to the other side of trials without His help. When I was studying Psychology, I realized I couldn't foresee guiding clients beyond a certain point of healing without bringing God into the equation. And I experience the same thing with my characters.

Do you carefully plot out your novels, or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?

Re plotting versus seat-of-the-pants writing, I'm mostly a plotter. I follow the guidance of some of my favorite teachers--James Scott Bell, Terri Blackstock, and Michael Hague--and craft about five specific plot points when I first put my story ideas together. And then I fill in as many chapter ideas as I can before I feel I need a break from planning. Then I dive in and write until more plot ideas fall into place. So I'm a bit of a mutt--half plotter, half pantser.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, and how do you think it affects your writing?

On personality tests I always test as an extrovert, and I really love getting together with people. They fascinate me, which is how my extroversion affects my writing. (it's also why I originally planned to be a psychological counselor). Still, I find socializing on a larger, more formal scale somewhat draining, and I always need some "alone time" to keep from feeling stressed. I seldom share a room at conferences for just that reason. The fact that I crave my alone time, though, is a big plus as a writer--one of the more solitary careers out there!

Can you share a little history on your series, Tea with Millicent (The Perfect Blend, 2010, Harvest House Publishers, and Tea for Two, 2011 Harvest House Publishers)?

My editor at Harvest House called me several years ago and asked what I thought of the idea of setting a novel series around a tea shop. Harvest's gift tea books have always been very popular, so the theory was that people would enjoy such a setting for a series. I thought it was a terrific idea, and I decided to place the tea shop in Middleburg, which is a beautiful little historic village not terribly far from me.

Will there be more than two books in the series?

We've only done two books in the series so far, and I don't know if we'll do more. But I know there are plenty of other fun stories that could pass through Milly's tea shop! Reader demand will probably dictate the future of the series.

In Tea for Two, I was fascinated by the scene where your main character, Tina, advises her client's teenage daughter on "reading" boys and their intentions--vitally important infomation for every young girl to know. Was the advice drawn from your study of psychology, and what moved you to write it into the story?

As with so much of what I write, I think God just put the words in my head. Sometimes my characters say things that fit the moment in a scene, and then I look back and think, Wow, that makes a lot of sense! LOL! As a teen I was more like Sherry, the girl Tina is counseling, than I like to remember--pretty clueless about the struggles boys and men can have with their drives. I think my Psych study did affect the way Tina broached the subject with Sherry. She didn't lecture the girl. That seldom works. Rather, she asked Sherry what she thought and acted as if Sherry already understood a few of the things she needed to know. It's far easier to accept advice when it's presented with that kind of respect.

Here's a blurb about Tea for Two.

Zack Cooper tries his best to raise his children, but he's losing his grip on them in their teen years. They've both had scrapes with the local law.

Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel has the perfect woman in mind to help Zack. Counselor Tina Milano meets weekly at the tea shop with her women's group. Milly encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before they get in even hotter water. Milly never thought things might heat up between Zack and Tina, Or did she?

Tina's connections with the Middleburg police department prove a mixed blessing for Zack and his kids. Both her best friend and old boyfriend are officers on the force.

And when Tina's women's group gets wind of her personal pursuits and clashes, they want to help. The group's meetings at the tea shop take on a slightly different flavor. Tina wonders who, exactly is counseling whom.

Thanks, Trish, for giving us these glimpses of yourself and your writing life. We're looking forward to reading the balance of the interview.

I learned that this multi-talented author has written more than just romance. Tomorrow I'll ask Trish about any funny or strange incidents that might have happened as she wrote any of her novels. Her answer just may give you chill bumps like it did me!

And to top off her visit, can you withstand the temptation of a chocolate to-totally-expire-for recipe? Trish will share a good one with us--including a photo of the finished delectable dessert she makes.

Trish invites you to visit her at:

See you in the morning!


  1. As a mom of teens, I think Tea for Two looks fascinating. Thanks for sharing about your life and writing, Trish. Lovely interview, Sally! ";o)

  2. Thanks Beth. I have Tea For Two and it is good!

  3. Thanks ladies! I hope you enjoy the Tea with Millicent books. I had so much fun writing them.