Don't forget the rules of the spotlights here. Answer the question associated with this spotlight in the comments in order to be entered in the drawing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author, TRISH PERRY is an award-winning novelist who has written The Perfect Blend (2010), Sunset Beach (2009), Beach Dreams (2008), Too Good to Be True (2007), and The Guy I’m Not Dating (2006), all for Harvest House Publishers. Her monthly column, “Real Life is Stranger,” appeared in Christian Fiction Online Magazine during its inaugural year. She was editor of Ink and the Spirit, the newsletter of Washington D.C.’s Capital Christian Writers organization (CCW), for seven years. Before her novels, Perry published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media. She will release several new books in 2011.
Perry holds a B.A. in Psychology, was a 1980s stockbroker, and held positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and in several Washington law firms. She serves on the Board of Directors of CCW and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
The Perfect Blend
by Trish Perry
Published by Harvest House
ABOUT THE BOOK
Steph Vandergrift left everything to elope with Middleburg attorney Rick Manfred, who then stood her up at the altar. Too embarrassed to return home, Steph hopes to earn enough to get by until she can decide what to do next. Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel hires her and appreciates the extra help at the tea shop.
Also appreciative of Steph is Kendall James, one of the kindest, most eligible bachelors in the area. But by the time Steph feels able to consider dating again, her run-away fiancé returns and tries to win her back. Steph is wary, but she and Rick always blended so well.
Christie Burnham, the frank-talking equestrian from whom Steph rents a room, and her frillier sister Liz become fast friends and confidantes to Steph. Between the two sisters, there isn't much any man is going to pull over on Middleburg's newest bachelorette and tea shop employee.
Readers, buy your copy of The Perfect Blend today!
1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
The series idea was planted by my editor at Harvest House while she and I brainstormed a year or so ago. The first thing I thought of for the series was Milly Jewell, the tea shop owner. I based her a little on my British mum—a version of her at my current age. And then for The Perfect Blend I wanted to create a young heroine who would have a reason to work for Milly while taking the reader on a tour of the town and its inhabitants. So Steph’s predicament—being stranded in a new town, struggling with independence and the need to feel accepted—evolved from that.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
I think all of us, at one time or another, experience self-doubt and the need for assurance from others that we’re valued. I’ve certainly experienced that at points in my life. We all thrive on knowing we contribute in some way. These are the issues I’ve shared with Steph. The way she stumbles along, the disoriented state through which she sometimes acts, are all her. But I can imagine getting to the point she gets in the story, where your heartbreak and insecurity guide your decisions. Those decisions might be awful in real life, but they make for fun (and funny) reading!
3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?
Oh! I found the perfect flavor for Steph: Baskin-Robbins’ Acceptance Peach. It was a flavor back in 1976 during the Presidential election. It fits for Steph because she wants so much to feel accepted, and she really is such a peach. A total sweetheart, even though she’s a bit of a mess. I think I even described her creamy cheeks as being like ripe peaches when she smiles (which she does, more and more, as the story develops).
4. Are there any themes in The Perfect Blend that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
I never really zero in on a major theme when I first get started. I do allow one to develop as I go, and then I tweak during my rewrites to hone that theme. I’ve mentioned the natural human need for acceptance several times above, and that was what developed through Steph’s experiences. And the verse that came to mind as I finished the book was 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” Regardless of how we interpret the attitudes of others, we can always embrace the fact that God accepted us so fully He sacrificed His most precious Child for us. You can’t be more accepted than that, can you?
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
The most difficult parts involved the hero’s teenaged brother, Chip, who has a disability. The boy has a fantastic attitude, as did my late sister, Noreen, who lived with a similar disability. But Noreen’s situation was much more dire than this boy’s, so life was harder for her. I know Chip’s ability to thrive was possible, because Noreen managed to live to the fullest until her health deteriorated. I think I wrote Chip’s life the way I wish it had been for my sister.
My favorite parts to write were the romantic exchanges between Steph and the hero, Kendall. They were playful with each other almost immediately, thanks to his personality. I love that.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
I have a few releases coming up, but I think the next book to release will be the second book in The Tea Shop Series, Tea for Two, which releases April 1, 2011. Here’s the blurb:
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.
* * * * *
Thank you, Trish, for being in the spotlight with us.
ENTRY RULES Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Perfect Blend. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.
Question: Do you struggle, or have you struggled, with feeling you aren’t accepted? How do you deal with that awful feeling?
Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.
This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.
1 hour ago