Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Trish Perry and Too Good To Be True

Hi Everyone! Meet author Trish Perry.

How did you come up with the concept for the story Too Good To Be True?

Ren, the heroine, was the first part of the story to land in my mind. I knew her attitude, personality, and sense of humor. Next to emerge: her relationship with her controlling mother - controlling moms are fun when they belong to other people. Their relationship brought my opening line to mind, and everything built from there. I knew I wanted Ren to start out facing several disappointments at once, so she became a divorcee and she lost her chance to adopt. I used one additional, minor disappointment to tip the scales and cause her to pass out from the stress. She had to be totally vulnerable, in need of a rescue. Once Tru came along and I worked on the details of his and Ren's characters, most of the story fell into place. The story is quite character/relationship driven and very much about family.

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to do a word play on Tru's name (his name was initially "True"), so my working title was True Love. But I never really liked that title, because it sounded too la-dee-dah, too much like a straight (and maybe trite) romance. I got stuck, though, so started asking for help from friends and family, and my best friend threw Too Good to Be True out there. I liked it.

Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction?

Yes. I wrote a spiritual warfare book, which required my setting half of the story in the 1860s, during the Civil War. The experience was a good one, and I learned quite a lot, but contemporary fiction just flows better for me.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Number one for me is the big bugaboo most of us face: time management! You know how it is, Rachel. Even if a writer devotes all of her day to writing, there is so much more to the job than simply writing books. I'm not the most self-disciplined gal in the world. I need a manager, armed with an impressive whip; and I need a secretary, upon whom I can crack the whip. But for now, I have to be all of those people, and we're constantly arguing over who gets the computer and the Lindt truffles.
Another challenge I face is marketing. I'm a marketing wimp, and I pray that I'll get better at promoting my books. One of the reasons I didn't do well as a stockbroker was because I can be timid when it comes to selling. So, we need to add a promoter to the list of people I need in my entourage. You see, I'm really just a diva waiting to happen. Where's my stylist?

How long did it take to write Too Good To Be True?

I'm guessing here, but I think I took about six months to complete my first draft, and then another couple of months to refine it for submission to houses.

How much research did the book require?

I used an OB/GYN nursing expert and did online research regarding pregnancy symptoms (after all, it's been almost 15 years for me—if we didn't forget, we'd never have more than one). I also researched single-parent adoptions in Virginia, Virginia divorce laws, details about specific sites in the Washington, D. C. area, and various medical ailments, including endometriosis, fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Sounds like the book is a load of laughs, doesn't it? But I should stress that sometimes a writer has to do plenty of research just to be able to mention something offhand and be sure it rings true.

Who was your favorite character??

Of course, I love my heroines the most. I so want them to succeed and to find love and all those good things in life. But the character who was the most fun to do was Ren's mother, Clarissa. What a piece of work she is. Adversaries, or their reasonable facsimiles, are a blast to do, I think. Especially in chick lit. You never have a really evil person in chick lit (at least not in mine). But the characters who present the hardest challenge to my heroines? They're the best!

Are there new projects on the horizon?

Many! But none of them is contracted yet, so it's a bumpy horizon today. Tomorrow could be another story!
I'm a few chapters into 'Til Depth Do Us Part, a third book in the current series. I've had numerous readers ask about the futures of two specific characters featured in both The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. But I think I'm going to set that aside for a while to work on some other ideas for Harvest House's consideration. I'm looking at a possible new book (or series), based upon a fictitious book title mentioned in Too Good to Be True. Is that confusing enough for you, or should I rewrite that sentence in Sanskrit? And I'm working up a possible "anticipation series," with titles related to a specific theme. As Sue Grafton did with her Alphabet Mystery Series (A is for Alibi; B is for Burglar; etc.) and Mindy Starns Clark did with her Million Dollar Series (A Penny for Your Thoughts; Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels; etc.), I'm working on a chick lit series spun from a unifying theme or rhyme.

Who is the person who most influenced your writing?

I'll bet writers change their answer to this question over time. I probably will. But for now I'm still crediting Donna Levin, the author of Get That Novel Started (And Keep It Going 'Til You Finish). Obviously, I thought I might be able to write a novel way back when I bought Levin's book. But hers was one of many writing-craft books I read at that time, and she was the author who convinced me that I could actually get an entire novel written. I don't even remember feeling like I might write others after that first one, but I knew I'd write at least one! That particular novel hasn't even been published, but if I hadn't written it, I probably wouldn't have attempted any others novels, either. Levin made me complete that all-important step.

What message would you like your readers to take from Too Good To Be True?

Even though we can't see God’s hand in some of the events in our lives, He's there. He loves us, He has plans for us, and He wants to prosper us, not harm us, and to give us hope and a future. We all struggle in accepting that notion at times, but that's the way it is, whether we accept it or not. And isn't it fun when we get to look back and see what He was doing when we were doubting?

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

I know the joy I feel while writing, even on the tough days, so I'm sure this is what He wants me doing for now. My goal is to obey Him, because I know He uses our gifts to bless others. The most wonderful feedback I've received has been from readers who feel inspired about their own lives in some way after reading my book. And hearing that you've entertained someone isn't bad, either.

What advice do you have for readers?

For readers? Hmm. I'd say, "speak" your mind. If you read a book you enjoy or which blesses you, let the author know it, to assure her she's on the right track. Let other readers know it, so the books you like will gain popularity and spawn others of the same genre or by the same author. Let the publishers know it, so they'll promote the kind of books you like. With the Internet we readers have the capability to communicate on all of these levels.
Years ago a published author friend of mine humbly asked readers to post positive comments (if they were sincere, of course) for his books on and other such sites. Until he made that request, it never occurred to me to bother. Now, as a reader, I often rely on those comments when deciding what I'll buy. Review venues give a bit of power to the reading public.

Of course, if you can't say something nice ...


Katie said...

What a wonderful interview. I especially like what she said about time management--there are so many things to be done outside of being a writer. I just added the book to my wish list-can't wait to read it!

Rachel, you might want to look at the post on your end...the apostrophe's are causing whacky html stuff to go on in those particular words.

Thanks for introducing this author, who for ME, is new!

Kristy Dykes said...

Great interview, Trish. Enjoyed reading it. I'll be hosting you on my blog on March 28. God bless--