image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Spotlight on Trish Perry and Sunset Beach


TRISH PERRY is an award-winning novelist who has written 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. She writes a monthly column, “Real Life is Stranger,” for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. 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.

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 the American Christian Fiction Writers group and Romance Writers of America. Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her teenaged son. She invites you to visit her at

by Trish Perry
Published by Harvest House


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.

Buy Your Copy of Sunset Beach today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The setting was already a given. All of the books in the Beach House series are set at the same curious little beach house at Mission Beach in San Diego, with different characters and stories each time around. As I do before every book, I prayed and waited for inspiration before writing a single word. When I do that, tidbits just pop into my head at odd moments of the day. What came to me first for Sunset Beach were twins. When I wrote up a summary, I actually considered two sets of twins—one middle aged and American, one younger and of Russian descent. But as I bounced ideas off of my critique partners and listened to their guidance, I tweaked here and there to come to the characters now peopling the book. And my heroine was the connection between them all. Once I started thinking about her life goals and how they might be thwarted, the roles of the other characters took shape. The story simply came together from that point on.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

My characters and I seldom have much in common, and that was the case with Sunset Beach, as well. That said, I must admit, if they do or say something embarrassing or reeking of human failure, there’s often a germ of reality there. But most of what my characters do, think, and say is, for me, like acting. I step into their heads and think as they do, not as I do. That enables me to come up with characters who are more than I am—more noble, more selfish, more vulnerable, more blunt, more romantic. My writing voice is a result of my own experiences, but my characters aren’t like me at all.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

As a heroine with a true character arc, Sonny Miller changes flavor by the time the story ends. She starts out vanilla, with a slight ripple (we can make it fudge ripple); because she really knows so little about herself or her past, and she’s unnerved by that (that’s our ripple). But by the time the story ends, her flavor is more like Ben & Jerry’s “everything but the . . .” flavor. She learns more than she ever dreamed about her past and steps toward significant changes in her future, all of which could be quite overwhelming.

4. Are there any themes in Sunset Beach that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

The overriding theme has to do with personal identity. Whether we do so consciously or not, we all base our identity on something, whether it’s our family history, our accomplishments, who we love, who loves us, or how we live today. The theme that developed in the telling of Sonny’s story was where our true identity lies, if we’re believers. When we strip everything else away, who are we, really? Should nothing else about us endure, what part of our identity will always endure?

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The story itself came fairly smoothly—the relationship development and actual chain of events. The part that was the most difficult was the setting. I lived in California as a wee one, but I remember little of it. And I never lived in (or even visited) San Diego. So I had to do quite a bit of research and correspond with businesses and residents of the area to get myself grounded and familiar with where everything would happen. I’m not a big fan of research, which is one reason I don’t write historical. I fret about every detail, and that’s bad enough when you’re writing contemporary, let alone delving into history.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I don’t know what my next book will be, actually. I have six proposals floating around at the moment, and I’m due to get a seventh one finished and submitted. I don’t know which (if any) of those projects will be next. I’m just waiting on the Lord for that. The subject matters of the various proposals are varied, as are the characters involved. So I’ll either be writing older women or thirty-somethings, and they’ll be living in the Washington, D.C. area or North Carolina or in a small town somewhere. Or not! We shall see.

Thanks, Tiff!

* * * * *

Thank you, Trish, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Sunset Beach.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname 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.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Carmen said...

Interesting that Trish has a degree in psychology and the main character is struggling in her decisions of life. Sounds great! Add that to other women at the beach house, and lots can happen! Please add me to your drawing. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Merry said...

I'm ready, take me to the beach! I would love a chance to win Trish's new book. Thanks.


windycindy said...

Happy June! The cover of this book is such a lovely beach scene. This book sounds like a great one to read this summer. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Aik said...

This book sounds interesting to me. Please put my name in your hat!

aikychien *at* yahoo *dot* com

Carolynn said...

I love Trish's books, thanks so much for the chance to win this one!

Anonymous said...

Your book sounds really interesting. I would love to be entered in the drawing. Rose