I'm thrilled to be part of TRISH PERRY'S Blog Tour for her latest release, THE BEACH HOUSE. Below she answers some questions on how she came to write this book, which is Inspirational chick-lit, and a nice summer read. I hope you enjoy her interview, and please click on DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE, so you can check out an excerpt of this light, and lively book!
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BEACH DREAMS - The Book
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I wanted very much to write a book about Jeremy and Tiffany, who were secondary characters in my first two books (The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True). I started to write the third book with the same setting as my first two, but then Harvest House asked if I would move the setting to fit The Beach House Series, the first two books of which were written by Sally John. So I started over and made my east coast protagonists travel across country to sunny San Diego. It was fun to create that facet of their story—it added quite a few layers to the plot. In fact, the circumstances of their getting together was completely different than what I originally planned.
What are the major themes of the book?
The importance of seeking God’s guidance constantly surfaces in my stories—the different circumstances that drive my themes usually fit under that umbrella.
Situations aren’t always as they appear, for example, and we can be fooled or we can misjudge others if we don’t constantly seek God’s wisdom and guidance. And sometimes we can miss out on His blessings if we fail to see situations as He means us to.
Another theme that emerged was how difficult it can be when a believer is drawn romantically to a nonbeliever. I’ve touched on the subject before, but in Beach Dreams, the nonbeliever is someone who feels almost real to me (and many readers) at this point. I feel a renewed empathy for Christians in these circumstances. Again, God’s guidance and strength are so important.
With which character do you identify the most and why?
Certainly Tiff. I’ve never deliberately been mean, as Tiff was in my first two books, but I identified with her in Beach Dreams. She struggles continually to shrug off her less-than-Christian thoughts and desires, and that’s a constant in my life. Christ gave us a beautiful, one-line prayer in Gethsemane: “Yet not as I will but as You will.” Wow, that’s my daily battle—trying to surrender to His will. And I saw that in Tiffany.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book?
I relied on Sally’s first two books for the specific setting (since all of The Beach House Series books are set at the same beach house, with different characters). And, since I’ve never been to San Diego, I spent a great deal of time researching the various places available to tourists and residents of the area.
I also researched Bristol, England and Kings College, London, because both sites figure in Jeremy’s background, and his father visits from Bristol.
Certainly the research tasks were simple compared to those required for historical writing, and for that I’m grateful!
Was it difficult to write a book in a series, following someone else?
It was a new challenge, but Harvest House was clear with me that I had significant leeway in my approach. We didn’t want the book to disappoint Sally John’s readers by being wildly different from her style, but we also wanted to maintain a style my readers had come to expect. I think we accomplished a happy medium.
Why did you decide to bring back characters from your previous books?
There was such an unfinished feel for me with regard to Jeremy by the time I finished my first draft of Too Good to Be True. He had become so lovable, but he was still alone and spiritually lost. Both my editor and I hoped there would be an opportunity to do a third novel, with Jeremy and someone falling in love and Jeremy getting a clue about Christ. Because Tiffany had been such a pain in The Guy I’m Not Dating and for much of Too Good to Be True, it was fun showing how God could reach even her. So her development became intriguing to me, too. Surprisingly, I received requests from many readers to throw these two characters together. I’m not such a unique thinker after all!
What is a mistake - big or small - that you’ve made that you could later see God used for a specific purpose and how did he use it?
I was deeply into adulthood when I went back to school to earn a degree. Rather than fretting over having waited so long, I focused on the fact that now I knew what I really wanted to be. A psychological therapist. You couldn’t have found a more attentive, diligent student, and I did well. So, when I neared graduation and realized I had developed an overwhelming desire to write fiction, I freaked out just a little. How could I switch gears yet again? Had I just wasted years earning a degree I wasn’t going to actually use? That felt like a huge mistake.
But God knew what He was doing. If you want to do an in-depth study of character goals, motivation, and conflict, you go on out there and earn a degree in Psychology. I may not be too quick in the plotting and scene-setting departments, but my psychological training comes in handy when creating characters and walking with them through life. I think that’s why God led me to get that degree, and now I know I didn’t waste a moment learning what I did.