Monday, 19 May 2008

Interview with Season of Sacrifice author, Tristi Pinkston

Season of Sacrifice is the true story of Ben Perkins, and sisters, Mary Ann and Sarah Williams. After immigrating from Wales to Utah, Ben and Mary Ann are asked to leave the home they've built to join the San Juan mission and help pioneer the trail through Southern Utah. Ben takes his wife Mary Ann, his children, and his wife's sister Sarah. The six week journey stretched to six months. The experience strengthens their testimonies, but their faith is truly tried when Ben asks Sarah to be his second wife.

I thought this book was well written and thoroughly researched. The story of the Hole -in-the-Rock episode of LDS history is fascinating and it amazes me that pioneers with limited equipment could accomplish this feat. I also enjoyed the honesty of the polygamy part of the story. Sarah's response to Ben's proposal showed the very human side of polygamy.

The one thing that bothered me about this book was the length. There were so many years covered, I sometimes felt like I was rushing through the story. I wished the characters had been developed a little more and I could even see this book being written as a two or three book series. That said, I understand the author was trying to stay true to the extensive research she did. I'm interested in doing more reading about the Hole-in-the-Rock. I'd recommend this book and can't wait for her next book to come out.

Tristi joins me to answer a few questions...

Your previous books were published through traditional publishers. Season of Sacrifice was self published. How different was it to self-publish and would you do it again?
Self-publishing is very different from working with a publisher. I had ultimate control and could override anything I wanted to -- although that didn't happen a lot, as BJ Rowley, who did the book for me, has been on my wavelength through the whole thing and we automatically agreed on just about everything. However, I did pay for the printing, which wasn't cheap, and all the marketing is being done by me. I would self-publish again if I had a story that needed to be told, like this one, but I would prefer to go through a traditional publisher. They have the marketing capability, they have the dollars to publish the book, and they have more influence in the market than I do.

This book deals with polygamy. How did you feel about it before you started your research and how did those feelings change after writing the book?
I've never been terribly crazy about polygamy, but then, I didn't really understand it until I began to put this book together. I didn't know what I was going to say when I got to that part of the book, but when I got there, the words just came and I knew what I was supposed to write. I now "get" why polygamy had to exist at that time. And I'm still perfectly delighted that I don't have to live it myself.

Tell us about your other books.
My first book is called "Nothing to Regret" and deals with the Japanese internment camps during World War II. We get a little espionage in there, too -- it's quite fun. My second book is also set during World War II but this time, our setting is Germany. Both these novels are LDS historical fiction.

How long have you been writing?
Well, I've been writing since I was five, but I started writing anything good in 1999. That's when I started "Nothing to Regret" and realized that I really could do this, rather than just dreaming I could.

What are you working on next?

I just finished a comedy/mystery and I'm plotting out the sequel. I'm so excited about these new characters -- they're members of a Relief Society presidency who decide to solve crime. I can't wait to see what journeys they'll take me on next.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorites growing up were L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Gene Stratton-Porter, and the like. Nowadays, I enjoy Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, Dorothy Gilman, Juliet Marillier, Leif Enger -- I like gentle stories and cozy mysteries.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
The most important thing I can tell you is to learn how to take criticism. Show your work to people you trust, and listen to what they say. They won't be 100% right all the time--you'll need to learn to sift out valuable advice from the overall critique. But you've got to be willing to make changes, when they make sense for the story. Don't be so in love with every little detail that you end up refusing to change anything.

Thanks, Tristi!
To purchase this book, visit Tristi's webpage.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I loved this book! And while it does mention polygamy, this plays a small part of the story, which really is about the pioneering efforts of the Saints.

I can't wait to find out more about Tristi's comedy/mystery. It sounds like it could be fun.


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