Thursday, May 22, 2008

Author Interview: Tristi Pinkston

By Nichole Giles

With the recent batch of new books coming out, there are quite a lot of authors who are doing blog tours. What is a blog tour? It’s a new, high-tech way of free advertising, baby! An author will tour from blog to blog, having book reviews and answering questions to the host—all from the comfort of the author’s favorite computer chair.

I am such a lucky girl because I am part of a continuously growing community of authors who are happy to host each other in their blog touring efforts. This week, I had the opportunity to interview Tristi Pinkston, whose newest release; “Season of Sacrifice” has been available for purchase since March.

“Season of Sacrifice” is the story of the Perkins family who were part of the famous “Hole in the Rock” pioneer settlers. Benjamin and Mary Ann Perkins had a good life, and were looking forward to the day when Mary Ann’s family would be able to immigrate from Wales to be near them. They never expected to be called away from their home in Cedar City so soon, and Mary Ann had never dreamed that she might be required to share her husband with her younger sister, Sarah—whom she hasn’t seen in ten years. This poignant story is filled with heartache and love, and the absolute and unfailing faith known only to people of that era.

The following is my interview with Tristi:

1. Since this is a family story, what prompted you to pick this particular piece of history and put it into a novel?

My ancestors lived such incredible lives. From the moment I first heard their story, I knew it would make an incredible book. I didn’t even have to add fictional elements to make it fascinating – I just used the real story. Not every family history story will have enough elements in it to create a novel that will sell – this one did.

2. Did writing the Perkins’ story make you feel closer to them as people as well as family members/ ancestors? How?

I felt like I really came to know them through writing this book. Mary Ann was a little bit shy and insecure, and needed Ben’s love to make her feel valid. Ben was a little bit of a jokester and loved to sing and dance, but he took his responsibilities and his faith very seriously. Sarah deeply wanted to do what was right, and once she discovered what that was, she went for it full on and never looked back. Their personalities became very real to me as I wrote.

3. I’m sure you learned a lot of things you didn’t understand before embarking on this project. Is there one in particular that resonates with you? Why?

Before I wrote this book, I didn’t understand the deep faith that went into the practice of polygamy. I have never really cared for that principle and writing that segment of the book was hard for me until I realized that the people who practiced it weren’t necessarily converted to the principle – they were converted to the Lord and wanted to be obedient. Once I made that distinction in my mind, I was able to go forth from there. Polygamy wasn’t something to get all excited about – it was something to endure for the greater good.

4. This book obviously required a great deal of researching. Where did you start your research?

I began with the family history books that have been passed down in my family, including some pages from Ben and Sarah’s life histories. Then I read books my dad has collected on the Hole in the Rock, as well as Blaine Yorgason’s historical fiction novel on the topic. Then I went to the Internet to fill in the gaps.

5. About how many hours of research did you put in before you felt like you had enough information for an entire manuscript?

Because this information was already available to me, I spent eighty hours in research. Ordinarily, it takes me much longer than that. But, I’m feeling a little embarrassed to say, I didn’t do quite enough research into my pioneer animals. I was informed today that I depict the driving of the oxen all wrong. I’m sorry . . . but the rest is historically accurate. I promise.

6. When writing a historical fiction novel that is based on truth, I have found it extremely difficult to decide on the best way to approach telling such a story. How did you decide where to start and what approach to take?

You know, the whole thing really just fell into place. It sounds too simplistic to say, “I sat down and started writing,” but really, I did. This book has gone through fewer rewrites than any of my other historicals to date. I really feel I was led to construct it the way I did.

7. You feel so passionate about this book that you took great measures to self publish it. Are you glad you did this? Can you tell us the pros and cons you’ve come against?

I am very glad I self-published this novel. It’s the only way it ever would have come to light. I really feel this is the book I was meant to write. Of course, that’s not to say that it’s perfect—I doubt anyone ever writes a truly perfect book—but the story deserved to be told. Of course, a con is the money – I did pay for the printing and will be paying for any ads, etc, I choose to place, but I would do it again in an instant.

8. As writers, we all tend to learn a new important lesson with every project we take on. What was your lesson that came from this project?

Not to give up, no matter what the odds are against you. Even if people repeatedly tell you no, if you believe in yourself, you have to keep pushing ahead. You owe it to yourself.

9. What advice would you give other authors who are trying to tell similar stories?

Be prepared to face a lot of rejection, but be prepared to do whatever you must in order to tell the story you were meant to tell.

Thanks for your time, Tristi. I have loved getting to hear more about your book and your writing process. Good luck on your future projects!

~I have had the privilege of reading portions of Tristi’s work in progress. She’s taken a break from historical fiction to write a canny, hilarious LDS fiction novel and I can’t WAIT to see it hit the shelves.


Rebecca Talley said...

Great interview. Her book is next on my list.

Anonymous said...

Very nice interview. :) Thank you for hosting Tristi on her virtual tour.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Nice job on Tristi's interview. I enjoyed reading it.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks everyone! Be sure to pick up a copy of "Season of Sacrifice" to add to your personal library.


Danyelle Ferguson said...

Nichole - I enjoyed your interview with Tristi. I really enjoyed her book as well.