Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blogger Winners. Also, an Interview with the Amazing Tristi Pinkston

by Stephanie Black

First of all, thank you to all the bloggers who offered to review Methods of Madness. I’d offered ten books and got a few more than ten offers, so I figure . . . close enough. If you posted a comment in the comment trail last week offering to post about my book (or sent me an e-mail, as a couple of people did), then you’re in. All you need to do now is send an email to letting me know you're still interested and giving me your snail mail address (if you haven't already). Next month I’ll send you a copy of the book.

Now for today’s blog topic. Author Tristi Pinkston is known for her historical novels—two World War II novels (Nothing to Regret and Strength to Endure) and a novel about the Hole in the Rock pioneers (Seasons of Sacrifice). But her newest novel isn’t a historical—it’s a contemporary romantic suspense novel called Agent in Old Lace.

Shannon Tanner is in love. She thinks her wonderful boyfriend, Mark, is on the verge of proposing—but then she stumbles across evidence that Mark isn't what he seems. Turns out Mark is a swindling, sociopathic creep who tries to kill her. (And you thought you had problems.) He's arrested and brought to trial, but he escapes, and he wants revenge against Shannon. Enter the FBI. They want to protect Shannon, while coaxing Mark out of hiding so they can prosecute him for the string of crimes this smooth-talking con man has committed. Problem is, in order to protect Shannon, they need to keep an agent close to her, but they don’t want to tip Mark off, and if he sees that a hunky guy has moved into Shannon’s apartment, he’s going to know something’s fishy. They need a female agent to move in—but their only female agent is out of commission due to an accident. So, to protect Shannon, handsome FBI agent Rick Holden dons a skirt and makeup and becomes Shannon’s Aunt Anita.

Making a jump from World War II and pioneers to a freaky murderous criminal and a handsome FBI agent is an intriguing choice for an author, and I had some questions for author Tristi Pinkston.

Me: Your first three novels were historical fiction. Agent in Old Lace is
contemporary romantic suspense. What sparked your interest in writing in
such a radically different genre?

Tristi: I actually wrote Agent in Old Lace after writing my first two books, and my third published book was written after that, but published before, if that makes any sense. After spending so much time in deep research, I needed something a little lighter to shake the cobwebs out of my brain. Agent in Old Lace was a great way to do that.

What was different about the process of writing a contemporary suspense
novel, as opposed to a historical novel?

In some ways it was harder, and in some ways, it was easier. When you're writing historical fiction, you have a time line in front of you and you know what happened when and where. Your main task is to figure out where your characters were at the time it happened and how they reacted to it. In that sense, it's easy because things are somewhat laid out for you, but in that sense, it's hard because it takes a lot of research to establish that time line and to make sure that everything you've planned fits in realistically with what really did happen.

Contemporary is harder in some ways, because you don't have anything laid in for you in advance. You have to start from scratch totally. But at the same time, that's easier because you don't have to dig to find out what's feasible or not in regards to the time frame. You do still research things you don't know - in this case, I researched medication and I worked with a former SWAT officer to make sure everything was done according to police procedure - but I didn't have to spend hours upon hours pouring over books.

How did you get started as a writer? What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I've written for as long as I can remember - literally. I don't recall a time when I didn't want to be a published author. That didn't take place for me in reality, though, until I had a dream which sparked the story behind my first published novel, Nothing to Regret. My road to publication is a bit long for this interview ... there is too much. Let me sum up. I submitted, got rejected, went to bed and cried for two hours, got mad, went to an all-night Kinko's, did a massive multiple submission, and that's how I found Granite, who published my first two books.

Advice for aspiring writers? It's okay to go to bed and cry, but you've got to get back up out of that bed and take action.

You also write multiple blogs. How do you balance your time so you're able to accomplish so much?

My job with came to an end last year as the economy took a hit. You can still find my blogs in the archive. That was an awesome job and I do miss it. My main blog is found here and you can find my website here. I also write book reviews and I host quarterly writing challenges.

I am really not in balance. I'm running around like a headless chicken all the time. I sit down and write a blog, then I stand up and change the laundry and give my homeschooled children their next assignment. Then I edit a chapter and read a story to the children, then I change the laundry and work on their math, then I check my e-mail. I'm constantly moving around (you'd think I'd be a lot skinnier). At the end of the day, somehow it all manages to get done. I have learned tricks along the way for helping the children to help themselves, and I do things like assign certain tasks to certain days and I only think about them on those days (unless there's an emergency in that department).

What are your plans for the future? More historicals, more contemporary novels, or both? Are there other genres you would like to try?

I want to write more in both genres, and believe it or not, I even had an idea for a horror/suspense a few months back. I'm still trying to figure out how to write it so it will work for my LDS fans. I'm never opposed to picking up new fans, but I don't want to alienate those who have been with me from the start. Oh, the dilemma!

Tristi, thank you so much for chatting with us here on the Frog Blog.

To purchase Agent in Old Lace, click here.


At 7/15/2009 5:51 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Tristi is awesome, it must be said. Great interview, Stephanie! I especially loved the question about balancing time because I always wonder how other writers do it. Can't wait to read Methods!

At 7/16/2009 12:45 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Love, love, love learning more about the fabulous Tristi. I'm just itching to get my hands on that book!

At 7/16/2009 5:26 PM, Blogger Kim Thompson said...

Great organization ideas, Tristi! Loved the book and think Tristi is an amazing writer, editor, and friend.

At 7/16/2009 10:56 PM, Blogger Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I've heard of this book, and it looks awesome. thanks for sharing!

At 7/16/2009 11:35 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

Great interview. I loved the book and can't wait for the next one


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