Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Interview: Perry Elisabeth

  Today we have joining us another homeschool grad turned author, but she doesn't just author. She also formats and designs covers, as well as any other graphics that a person might need. So, without further ado, please help me welcome the talented Perry Elisabeth!

  *There is applause, though the audience is darkened so you can only hear the wide spread, hearty  clapping.*

  Perry is a Christian, homeschool graduate who has written and published several works; "The Heavens Declare," "Light of the World," "Pearl's Practice," and most recently releasing "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler." She lives in beautiful Oregon with her best-friend-turned-husband and their sweet baby boys. Find her books and other writings and connect with her at:

She is also running a give away for her recent release, so check out the Rafflecopter widget at the end.
 (Tomorrow she will be over at  Destiny of One, announcing the book's release, the giveaway winners, sharing one more excerpt and blogger Sarah Holman's video review.)

E: Thanks so much for joining us, Perry! We're so glad to have you here this time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometime later.

Perry Elisabeth: Thanks for having me! I enjoy the opportunity to share some of my writing journey and process. And, yes, I'll be back for a reader interview for sure! :)

E: Tell us a little more about yourself and your writing.

PE: Let's see... about myself: I'm 5' 2", 22 years old, the oldest of 8, married to best friend Tyler, mom to two little boys, author of 4 books, and freelance book and graphics designer. And I like lists. (Can you tell?) If anyone was to know anything else, they can just ask! (It gets them an entry in the giveaway, too!)

About my writing: I tend to write because I can't stand not to and because I see a need in the world for certain kinds of books for certain audiences. I keenly remember the speed with which my sisters and I would exhaust the supply of appropriate books at a library. I'm passionate about increasing the amount of decent reading material available for Middle Graders, and I'm specifically interested in writing for homeschoolers.

E: Those are very laudable goals! I well remember the "devouring books" part, too. Wink
 So, let's get started on the fun stuff! What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do you think really draws you to that/them the most?

PE: I enjoy writing contemporary, realistic fiction. I guess I'm a little bit of a nonconformist (thank you, Dad), so if there are a plethora of books in one particular genre or for one particular audience I'm inclined to try to fill the gaps in the genres that aren't receiving as much attention. I also think it's encouraging to children to read about their real world and about others like them. Plus, it's so much more natural to me to write about what I know and have either experienced or observed.

E: What's your most favorite writing related advice?

PE: I am sitting here trying to decide between "Write what you know," and "Show; don't tell." I appreciate them both; the former because it helps add the ring of truth (and I believe it can be applied in any genre to one degree or another), and the latter because I know there is nothing more disconcerting to a reader than the way "telling" jerks them out of the flow of the story. Major no-no for suspension of disbelief, I've learned! ;)

E: Good point.
What is your favorite type of character to write? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

PE: I enjoy writing characters who are lively and have a sense of humor. I enjoy being around people who are this way--whether they're real or fictional.

E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you like to draw off of people you know, other books, or just pull them put of the blue?

PE: Typically my characters are my own invention with bits and pieces drawn from my observations of real people. I'll borrow this and that from my stock of personalities, mannerisms, patterns of speech, etc. My characters tend to be composites of things I've gleaned over time. That said, I have included a few minor characters based off real people as sort of "cameo appearances" (one of whom married me the year after I wrote a character based off him in "Light of the World"!)

E: That worked out well, then, hm? Smile (I don't think everyone should expect that result, though, so we'll add that note of caution. Wink
Some writers talk about their characters getting out of control and things happening that they didn't intended to happen; have you ever experienced this?

PE: Nope! Maybe I'm too bossy with my characters for them to get away with this. I think, though, it has more to do with the fact that I believe the character of the characters drives the plot, so I'm careful to craft my characters' characters to be the type that would believably do what needs to be done to tell the story in my mind. (How's that for a totally confusing, run-on tongue-twister?) I guess that's another way of saying I'm bossy. ;)

E: How do you write, is it "start with page one, scene one" and go through it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into your head"
(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book written before you even start on the beginning)?

PE: I definitely have to go in order. I find I do my best writing when I'm living out the story in my mind and letting it flow onto the page.

E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

PE: I do plan my story's bones, although I can't over-plan. I recently learned this the hard way--by outlining a story too specifically and making it so I couldn't get the actual writing of it to flow. Now I have to let that one sit a while. Sad.

E: That is sad! True confession: I've done the same thing. I've got a lovely little plot that my sister and I worked out to the detail, and now it's just STUCK in my head, and has been for years. Some day i hope it will loosen, but until then I write other things. Wink 
Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works best to your way of thinking?

PE: I typically start out with a story idea that ranges from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. Something like: "There will be this cat who can write. She belongs to a detective and decides to help him by going under cover and collecting facts on a case since no one would suspect a cat. What should the case be? There will be someone selling a rich heiress's personal information to the tabloids." When I wrote "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler," I purposely avoided deciding who the culprit was ahead of time. I discovered it along with Mia, the cat, as I wrote the first draft. So, for me, it works best if I have a clear idea of what the story is trying to accomplish, and just enough idea of how to get there without being too detailed. Then I work it out naturally as the story moves along. And praise God for rewrites! ;)

E:  That makes sense! I totally agree with not knowing who your villain is, if you can pull it off, because that will save you agonizing over whether you're giving away too many clues or not! I have a mysterious villian in Traitor's Knife and it was difficult to write it "light-handed-ly" enough!
What is your worst writing trouble?

PE: "I tend to write too much dialogue," she replied. "Indeed, I have to remind myself to describe settings and actions." She nodded mournfully. "This is, after all, a book. Not an audio drama."

E: What is your worst writing fault? How do you identify and rectify it's effects?

PE: See above. Additionally, having too many ideas. I've fixed that one by making a habit of writing them all in my Ideas book for later use.

E: Well, I think a lot of people can relate to that last problem! I know I certainly can! (If you figure out the solution, come back to share it with us, won't you please?
Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning more about another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating.

PE: Thanks so much for interviewing me, Elizabeth! These are some great questions to think through, and I enjoyed answering them!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Perry Elisabeth said...

Thank you so much for having me, Elizabeth! I enjoyed your interview! ;)

E. Kaiser Writes said...

Thanks for coming, Perry! I always enjoy getting to know other writers and head about how they do what they do!
It's such a pleasure meeting other home-school grads who are out there doing stuff, and trying their best to do it to perfection! I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you!

Nathan Marr said...

I would love to win a copy of Perry's book!

Kelsey Bryant said...

I loved this interview, Perry and Elizabeth! It's great to get to know you, Perry. You had lots of good things to say. I like writing realistic fiction for the same reasons as you! It's valuable for kids (and adults!) to read about things they know because it helps them with the lives they're living.
That's so sweet about you and your husband Tyler!
Again, great interview, both of you, and I hope to read your book(s) soon, Perry!

Hannah Scheele said...

Nice interview! :)
I love the description of the cat mystery. :)
Hmm---maybe I should put in some guy I know in a book and then see if it gets him interested. :P ( Maybe not)

E. Kaiser Writes said...

Yes, Hannah, not sure if that would work most of the time. ;-) Probably a wild chance... though if you're dead sure you actually want the guy, go for it! Who knows, it could pan out! ;-) And if it didn't you'd still have a book, right? :-)
You crack me up!!! :-) <3

And Kelsey, glad you liked it! Yes, reading about things they are familiar with can be very important for kids.
Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Hannah Scheele said...

lol exactly! Maybe a good book to comfort me after the guy got creeped out and ran off...:P

Aww, I try. :)