Thursday, January 27, 2011


Some days I simply have nothing interesting to say. Ahem. . . . (Sadly . . . you may have already noticed that a time or two.) But fortunately, my writing community provides access to loads of talented and fascinating friends with great personal stories and insights into the craft. Tristi Pinkston, an LDS author with six published novels to her credit, is my guest today.

Newer fans to Tristi's work probably know her best as an author readers can bank on for a thoughtful read peppered with laughs. Pinkston's rapier wit delivered high intensity humor in her last two novels which pivot around matron Ida Mae Babbit and her frequently out of control band of well-intentioned, crime-fighting, Relief Society sisters.

Secret Sisters launched this uncharacteristic yet unforgettable cast, and Dearly Departed, Ms. Pinkston's most recent release, sets Ida Mae off on a rip-roarin' effort to secure your old age. You'll laugh and want to adopt these ladies. Tristi has a knack for creating adorable, endearing characters. She is currently giving away three copies of Dearly Departed in a Goodreads Giveaway.

But despite her gift for humor, Tristi Pinkston's long-standing fans know she began her career writing historical fiction, (Strength to Endure, Nothing to Regret) before venturing off into the area of romantic suspense in her well-recieved 2009 release, Agents in Old Lace.

With such a string of successful novels under her belt, Ms. Pinkston has advice to spare on the craft of writing, but this home-schooling mother of four is also a time-management genius. Think you can't find time to explore your hunger to write? Tristi will show you how. Here's how this busy wife, mother, author describes herself:

"I'm a Cubmaster, an online writing instructor, a freelance editor, a real good ignore-er of housework, and I microwave a mean corn dog. Or rather, I delegate the microwaving of a mean corn dog."

Whew! Got the picture? Feel inspired? Terrific!

Tristi and I were feeling whimsical this week, so we each drew up a few questions we've alway wanted to ask one another. Here is my interview with the delightful Tristi Pinkston.

1. Your name is so darling and perfect as a pen name, and yet it's your real name! So where did your first name come from, and what if your hubby's last name would have been Schnicklefritz? You know, no matter what I pair with "Tristi," it still comes out cute!

My first name—well, this is an interesting story. While my mom was pregnant with me, she was at the grocery store, and overheard a mother call her son “Tristin.” Yep, her son. But my mom thought, “That would be a great girl’s name.” So she came home, informed my dad, and when I was born, I was Tristin. Over time, that got shortened to Tristi. My last name—well, that’s a story too. I didn’t know my husband’s last name when he first asked me out. We were in a single young adult ward together, and we both knew who the other was by first name. When he asked me out, I said yes, and it was only the next day that I realized I had no idea what his last name was. It was kind of awkward on our first date. I tried to work up to it casually. “So, um, what’s your last name?” It was smooth. Very smooth. But pink is my favorite color, so it all worked out. If my husband’s last name had been Schnicklefritz, I probably would have used my maiden name on my books. It would just be better that way. You weren’t expecting such a long answer to your question, were ya?

2. Your "Secret Sister" books are so filled with whimsical women and small-town charm. What do you draw upon to create your characters and settings? Are you from a small town?

These little ladies just popped into my head, fully formed, and so did the town. I had to do very little to bring them to life. If I need a street, poof! It appears in my head. I just sit here and write down everything I see.

3. You've got one of the quickest wits in the biz. Share a tale or two when that gift saved you, or got you into trouble as a child.

I was actually a pretty serious child, and an even more serious teenager. My parents separated when I was thirteen, and I was thrust into an adult role pretty quickly. The grocery shopping and housework fell to me, and I never went through that teenage giggly stage that most girls go through. It wasn’t until my very late teens that I started to loosen up and have some fun.

4. I know your early books were historical fiction, and in fact, you tackled some heavy topics. What genre do you prefer, and do you see yourself returning to that genre again?

I will absolutely return to historical fiction. I love it. But for right now, cozy mysteries are what I need to do. Historical fiction takes so much work and mental dedication, and you really need to be in the right place emotionally to write it. For me, writing a cozy mystery puts me in a place of joy and discovery, and that’s where I need to be for right now.

5. What single book or author most influenced your desire to be an author and tell stories? What was it that touched you?

A single author? You’re limiting me to just one? Ya big meanie! Okay, let’s see. Ann Rinaldi was my inspiration for historical fiction. She has a way of taking a moment in history and bringing it to life. I knew I wanted to do the same thing for my readers. Dee Henderson was my example for romantic suspense with religious elements. That woman can sure tell a story. My cozy mystery mentor … hmmm. Selma Eichler. Ann George. Joanna Fluke. Dorothy Gilman. I know that’s more than one, but I can’t just narrow it down to one. It’s impossible! Ya big meanie.

Thanks, Tristi! You can read more about Tristi and her books on her blog.


  1. Great interview. I love the story about Tristi's name.

  2. Laurie is right when she says you are one of the quickest wits in the biz. Thanks for the interview!