THE WRITER’S ALLEY INTERVIEW BLITZ—PEPPER BASHAM
Author Interview – PEPPER BASHAM
“Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus.”
“I wrote my first story when I was a nine year- old, freckled-faced tomboy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Coming from a long line of oral storytellers, weaving a good yarn seemed a typical part of my life.”
rem: Welcome to my blog, Pepper. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
PEPPER : I was raised in Andy Griffith country on the Blue Ridge Mountain line between North Carolina and Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains have always held a special place in my heart and I’m sure these mountains have all kinds of told and untold stories. Now, my family and I live in the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville.
rem: I always did love Mayberry, takes me back to my childhood. My maternal grandmother grew up I West Jefferson, and the farm there was a special place to me. Tell us three things about yourself.
PEPPER : I LOVE my kids!! Pepper is my real name. I’m a Marvel/DC/LOTR/Merlin/Fantasy nerd. J
rem: And I love your name! If you could have any super power what would it be?
PEPPER : The power of healing.
rem: And (ahem) seems your stories reflect that passion in you! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?
PEPPER : TEA! Is that even a question? And I’m southern. SWEET, of course J
rem: Me too on tea. I’ve got enough Britain in me to enjoy it hot, but enough Colorado in me to drink it unsweet. LOL Superman or Batman?
PEPPER : Ugh…I cannot answer this. It’s too much pressure. Superman for his goodness, Batman for his intelligence.
rem: Good non-answer. Vacation: beach or mountains?
PEPPER : Mountains…in SCOTLAND J
rem: Aye! And can I goe with ye? What is your most treasured possession?
PEPPER : My children.
rem: Best.answer.ever. What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?
PEPPER : In a man or woman – I’m going to mention my top three J (I’m terribly indecisive) 1. A generous heart. 2. Kindness 3. A sense of humor
rem: They do kind of go hand in hand, though. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
PEPPER : A weak hero or heroine
rem: Ya, I mean, who roots for a wimpy hero? Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
PEPPER : IMPOSSIBLE to answer!
rem: Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
PEPPER : Laura Frantz, Denise Hunter, Siri Mitchell, Becky Wade…too many to list.
rem: I know right? Which is more important: plot or characters?
PEPPER : Characters! Those are the people we remember.
rem: Like, say, Ashleigh and Sam? Catherine and David maybe? Or Jessica and August? wink wink How long have you been an Alleycat? How did you become an Alleycat?
PEPPER : Well, I was one of the original two to brainstorm The Writer’s Alley – so since it began J
rem: And what a superb brainstorm it was, too. Tell us a little about your writing journey.
PEPPER : Well, I come from a long line of Appalachian storytellers, so I grew up listening to my Granny give oral history back 5 or 6 generations. I think that was one of my early influences, but I do believe it is a God-given desire. I still have my first ‘long’ story I wrote when I was 10 years old.
And since I’ve kind of lived in a little ‘fairytale,’ with a brain-full of stories since then, I finally started writing them down in novel format. It’s been a long journey, but I’ve met some of my favorite people along the way J I started pursuing publication 11 years before I received my first contract – and then I received two within two months. Here’s hoping for many more.
rem: I agree 100%, it is a God given desire and passion. (Psalm 37:4) What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
PEPPER : Right now, my writing space takes place in the middle of the house so that I can keep an eye on my five kids, sneak in a paragraph here and there while I cook supper, clean, or plan for work the next day.
A window is a definite favorite…as well as any tokens from my writing buddies nearby. For example, I have these writing pads and Jane Austen quote book from my crit partner that I keep close. I also have a tendency to find English Breakfast tea or dark chocolate quite inspiring J Oh, and I write late at night, usually every night, for about an hour solid. I also squeeze snippets of writing in throughout the day, but those are only about 10-15 minutes of time.
rem: Classic writer speak! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
PEPPER : Discouragement is my biggest foe, and my discouragement comes, I guess, from looking outside of myself instead of focusing on Jesus. It’s easy to wish for publishers to recognize your stories and snatch them up instead of just keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus’ calling on your heart and writing those stories.
rem: Just don’t stop! Don’t ever stop! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
PEPPER : Hmm…probably creating. I’m not great at editing and that’s why I NEED an editor.
rem: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
PEPPER : I LOVE BRAINSTORMING!!! It’s my favorite part of writing! And one of the most rewarding parts is hearing how my stories have touched readers. Oh my goodness, WHAT a blessing!!
rem: I have so many voices in my head, I brainstorm with myself! BWAHAHAH I do love to bounce ideas around with other writers, though. Shall we have a brainstorming tea party? What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
PEPPER : Time management is the hardest!!! The easiest? Coming up with story ideas J
rem: No, really? With ALL you do, time management? (sorry, couldn’t resist the snark!) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?
PEPPER : Dos:WRITE! Be involved in a writing community. Be teachable.
Donts: Lose sight of WHY you write. I write because God has stories burning in my heart to be told. Stories to bring hope. But sometimes I lose sight of that in the whole comparison game. His calling feeds my creativity. Don’t put too much stock in contest results. Again, be teachable, but remember those are subjective. Don’t try to go on this journey alone. Encouragers are necessary and God-given comrades on the path of publication. They’re invaluable.
rem: Teachable—so many people (not just writers) aren’t, and it shows. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
PEPPER : Ideas come from all sorts of places! A book I’m reading, a conversation I overhear, a true-life situation. Just this week I thought of a new idea based on watching the movie Austenland. My upcoming release, The Thorn Healer, evolved from a book I discovered at a yard sale J
rem: They’re everywhere, aren’t they? As authors we sometimes give our characters one or more of our personal traits. Have you ever taken on a trait of your character that you didn’t have before?
PEPPER : Hmm…you mean like craving raspberries 😉 I’m not sure that I have.
rem: Ya caught me! Yes, I mean like craving raspberries! LOL What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
PEPPER : There is always hope.
rem: Tell us a little bit about StoryCraft.
PEPPER : It’s an opportunity to brainstorm story ideas if you need some help or guidance. Like I said earlier, I love brainstorming – and one of my ‘gifts’, I think, is seeing the big picture of stories – so I want to help others with that.
rem: I might like to be part of that! You are also a speech-language pathologist, working with children with Autism. How did you get interested in that?
PEPPER : I’ve always loved hanging out with kids, but when I was in my first year of work I met a little boy who completely changed my view of Autism. I wrote an article about it here:
rem: Tell us a little bit about Autism and Asperger’s.
PEPPER : Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability which impacts a child’s way of processing the world. Most of the ways you may see Autism displayed in a child is in the way they communicate (or lack of communication) particularly in their social communication. It’s difficult to give a super brief summary because Autism is extremely varied. As the saying goes, when you’ve met one child with autism…you’ve met ONE child with autism. It’s called a spectrum disorder because of the many variants and nuances associated with how it looks in each child. The hallmark characteristics are communication difficulties (both verbally and nonverbally), repetitive/stereotypic behaviors (hand flapping, spinning, etc) and in many cases, sensory issues. Again, it’s such a specialized disorder that it manifests itself differently in different kids – and it can range from a child being nonverbal and mentally disabled to being a happily married father of kiddos.
rem: Anything else you’d like to add?
PEPPER : I LOVE reader engagement. I think it’s one of my best surprises in the ‘published author’ phase so far.
rem: Pepper, we love YOUR engagement! Thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!
“So…now I’m a 38-year old, freckled-faced mommy enjoying life, learning to write, and laughing often. My mom says that I must have a small bit of insanity because I don’t realize how stressed I ought to be.”
Pepper Basham, The Writers Alley, Author Interview, Interview Blitz, Chat Thursday, The Thorn Bearer, The Thorn Keeper, The Thorn Healer, A Twist of Faith, Blue Ridge Mountains, Autism, Story Craft, Brainstorming