Friday, May 15, 2009

Jerry Borrowman, Jodi Marie Robinson and and interview with Tristi Pinkston, what more could you ask for?

First of all, please take a minute a watch the Youtube video about Jerry Borrowman's new book that was showcased two weeks ago on my blog. This book is awesome!

Secondly, Jodi Marie Robinson has decided to make an honest woman out of me and will be giving books to the other two winners, who will also be receiving my books. I think that makes them grand prize winners!!! So, keep entering for giveaways -- you seriously never know what's going to happen.

And finally, saving the best for last, I am pleased to interview the wonderfully witty, amazingly aweseome, Tristi Pinkston.

First, let me give you a little background about Tristi, which I stole from her web-site.

With her crisp writing style and attention to detail, Tristi Pinkston pulls her readers into the pages of history and helps them feel the emotions that fueled the events of that time. She has been hailed as one of the most talented historical fiction writers currently on the market.

Jeff Needle's review for AML, said, "This kind of writing can only come about when the author has thoroughly researched her subject and worked very hard to put herself in the place of her protagonist."

"You can find basic history lessons anywhere," Tristi says. "I specialize in telling the other side of the story, things that aren’t so commonly discussed. I feel that in order to really understand history, we need to look at it from all angles. I’ll admit, some of my viewpoints keep me from winning the political popularity contest, but that’s okay with me. I’m telling the stories I feel need to be told."

Here's what Tristi has to say about herself: I'm a stay at home mom and a homeschooler (visit I spend lots of time ignoring my dirty house and hiding laundry in weird places. I specialize in moving things from one place to another, and then back again. I love Flylady’s housework routines (visit and I sometimes even do them. In my spare time, you know, those hours most people waste with sleep, I'm a writer. I love to do research and make my novels as realistic as possible, helping my readers to understand nuances of history that escape the textbooks.

In addition to the novels I write, I maintain a blog which contains tips for aspiring authors and also my own personal ramblings, which sometimes make sense and sometimes do not. I also write book reviews for It’s a fabulous job – I get to read books and talk about them, two of my favorite things.

I was just called to serve as the Wolf Leader in my ward. Scouting is something I’ve never done before but I’m looking forward to the new experiences. I enjoy reading, watching good movies, and scrapbooking. I like trying new recipes (even though my kids won't eat them and would much rather have Ramen noodles), spending time with my kids, and taking Sunday afternoon naps, which are so necessary. I also enjoy chocolate just a little more than I really should.

On a personal note, I met Tristi when her first book, "Nothing to Regret" came out. The book was powerful, well-written and completely knocked my socks off. I knew then that Tristi's books would become fan favorites and she would be a strong presence in the LDS market.

Here is my interview with Tristi:

M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

AUTHOR: I’ve wanted to be an author my whole life. I wrote my first poem when I was about seven, I think, and I knew back then that this is what I wanted. I don’t write poetry any more, though.

M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

AUTHOR: I first submitted to Covenant, and they had it for a year. They asked me to do some revisions, and I did them, and then it turned out to be a no. I then submitted to a few other places, and I had just about decided it wasn’t going to work until I got a call from Granite. They asked me to come in and meet with them, I dry-heaved all the way there (not very lady-like, but true) and we signed a contract.

M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

AUTHOR: Oh, of course! I thought Covenant was going to pick it up. Then I made it all the way through to the end of the process with another company, and then they asked for money to help publish it, money I didn’t have. I went to bed and cried for two hours. Then I got up, went to an all-night Kinko’s, ran off six copies and submitted to everyone else I could think of. That’s how I found Granite. I published two books with them, self-published my third, and now I’m with Cedar Fort.

M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?

AUTHOR: I do most of my actual writing between nine and midnight, after the kids are in bed. I do the bulk of my e-mailing in the late morning.

M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is
good enough to write a book about it?

AUTHOR: I really do get my ideas in the strangest places. My first novel came from a dream, my second came from a Relief Society lesson, my third is a family history story, and “Agent in Old Lace,” my new release, came about from a news story. The series I’m starting in the fall came from a late-night conversation with my husband and we got the giggles while we brain-stormed it.

M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to
have their manuscripts become books in print?

AUTHOR: First, beware of pride. When someone wants to give you constructive criticism, listen to it. Take what they’re saying and apply the parts that are true and junk the parts that might not be true for your story, but be willing to listen to everything. It’s hard to admit that someone else is right about your story. It was quite the blow to my ego last month to be working on a revision and realize my mother was right – my first chapter really did drag. But as we listen and evaluate and apply, we’ll find that our writing becomes so much stronger. This isn’t to say we should do absolutely everything we’re told. Sometimes someone will make a suggestion and we’ll know it’s way off base – those you just shrug off.

Second, you have to be willing to keep trying. Too often, I hear people say that they submitted to a company and were rejected, and so they’re not going to try again. You can’t do that. Submit, and submit, and submit. And if some advice comes along with the rejection, take that advice. Revise, and then submit again.

M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit
down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline

AUTHOR: It all depends on the story. When I’m writing a historical fiction, I have a timeline in front of me. I know what battle happened when and where, and I know which historical figures were there and what they did, so I know how to move my character in and out of the scene. Beyond that, I do tend to let it flow.

For my contemporary novels, I start with a general idea of what I want, and then I just see where it takes me. I’d say about 70% of the final version of “Agent in Old Lace” was spur of the moment, and nearly all of my fall release was just written as it came.

M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's
block? If so, how do you deal with it?

AUTHOR: I set it aside and I do other things. I read books, I watch movies, I scrapbook, and before long the answer will just come. If I sit and stew, it rarely comes.

M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when
you are writing?

AUTHOR: I can’t listen to music while I write. If I’m listening to music, I need to be singing along, and I can’t sing and write at the same time. But I can write without absolute quiet—there’s often “Blue’s Clues” in the background, or children discussing the merits of one Lego piece over another.

M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

AUTHOR: I like to immerse myself in the time period I’m writing about, when doing a historical. I read books and watch movies about that era and try to soak in the atmosphere. For “Agent in Old Lace,” I talked to authors who had written suspense, and they helped me start the story where it really needed to start.

M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

AUTHOR: Wow. That’s a hard question. My parents have always been really supportive, and my husband has really stepped up to the plate and been there for me. I’ve met scads of authors who have made comments that have influenced me. I’ve read scads of books that have helped me hone my skills. I don’t know if I can narrow it down any further than that.

M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?

AUTHOR: I have used a critique group for the last year. Before that, I felt I didn’t have time, and it’s true—my children were younger and I wasn’t able to leave them for long stretches without very disastrous things happening. But last year, I was invited to participate in a critique group and my husband felt like he could handle a little more absence on my part, so I meet with my group every week. (Hi, Keith, Kim, Nichole and Heather!!) Each member of the group brings something different to the table and they have pointed out things to me I wasn’t noticing on my own. Now, when I write, I hear their voices in my head. “Tristi, take out ‘that’ in the first sentence.” It’s making my writing so much stronger, and I hope I’m reciprocating.

M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?

AUTHOR: Okay, Michele, which of your kids do you like best?  I’m joking, but only sort of. Each book represents who I was at the time I wrote it. When I look at them, I can remember the thoughts and feelings I had during the process and it’s like a journal to me. I have to say that “Season of Sacrifice” has the deepest emotional impact to me because it’s the true story of my ancestors, and “Secret Sisters,” my fall release, was the most fun to write. But they are each important to me in their own way.

M.B.: Any final words you would like to share

AUTHOR I’d like to thank you for hosting me, Michele!

M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

AUTHOR: You can get my first three books from my website ( and “Agent in Old Lace” here


Shirley Bahlmann said...

This is great! I just started reading "Agent in Old Lace" at CFI when I surreptitiously plucked it off the new release rack, but only got to page 4 when I was painfully ripped from the pages and had to PUT IT BACK because we were LEAVING! I have a copy on its way to my door, though, and I can't wait to get past page 4!
Nice review, Michele!

Jewel's Gems said...

Great review. I love Tristi's books and I'm looking forward to reading this one. She's a cutie:-)

Aubrey said...

I don't know where you find time to fit it all in, Tristi, but I'm really excited to get my hands on this one!

Jennie said...

Nice interview, Michele. Tristi, I'm looking forward to reading this book.

Julie Wright said...

What a fun interview!And great review Michele!

Punky said...

Awesome review! I think my sister will like this book! It is kinda her type.