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Monday, June 18, 2012

I met Luisa Perkins from afar, several years ago through a now-defunct social networking site. I found her blog and loved getting to know her through her vignettes about life. I find her to be kind, open minded, secure in herself, and quite brilliant. Since meeting her 'online' (how do you say that and not sound creepy?) I met her in person a couple of years ago, she's as classy as ever and through the years since that time I have had the opportunity to work closer with her and truly feel as though we know enough other well enough to call her a good friend. I'm so excited for her book and for the door to a writing career she's walking through right now. And I'm very happy to present this interview we did. Be sure to check out her book, "Dispirited," and get yourself a copy, it's a very well done story and you'll love it!

Tell us about your family.

I am the oldest of a very large, variously blended family, so I tend to be bossy. My husband, Patrick, and I have been married for 22 years, and we are more in love every day. We have six children: Christian, 18; James, 15; Hope, 13; Tess, 11; Daniel, 8; and Anne, 4. We are a very close-knit, adventure-loving group.

What writers would you consider to be your 'mentors'?

Ah, that is a different question than asking who my favorite writers are. Good one. For discipline and dedication: Anthony Trollope and Steven Pressfield. For the rare skill of not taking oneself too seriously: Terry Pratchett and Carrie Fisher. For integrity and balance: Barbara Kingsolver and Anne Lamott.

What best prepared you to take on the life of a writer?

Probably my mission for our church. The daily discipline of getting up day after day and doing something you might or might not want to do right at that moment was fabulous preparation for both motherhood and the writer’s life. Writing is work—joyful work, but work—and my mission taught me how to work.

What were the biggest obstacles you encountered in your writing journey?

My biggest obstacle has always been fear. Fear of failure; fear of success. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of not being able to repeat a past success.

Fear didn’t go away I was published, either; it’s always at the door, right there with doubt and despair. For me, fighting fear takes daily vigilance. I remind myself that perfect love casts out fear, so I pray for charity morning and night.

What is the biggest obstacle you face right now?

Well, I’ve gotten better at fighting back fear. Now my biggest problem is juggling a) marketing Dispirited; b) focusing on the book I’m writing right now; and c) being the best wife and mother I can be.

Is there anything you wish you'd have done differently?

My first novel came out 17 years ago. After it did, I spent a couple of years finishing my bachelor’s degree through BYU’s General Studies program. After that, I assumed I’d start writing again. But all along, I was pretty depressed, and didn’t realize it. I told myself I was going on an extended “maternity leave.” At that point, I had four small children.

I wish I’d recognized my depression/anxiety for what it was much earlier. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (hence my issues with fear), and I’ve learned how to cope with it, but it’s taken awhile. When our fifth child was a baby, I started writing seriously again, and it helped a lot. All that to say—I wish I hadn’t stopped writing for those years in the middle.

Outside of writing, what are your other interests?

I love to cook, and I really love to eat. Knitting and gardening are both passions of mine. I enjoy music of all kinds, from the obscurest classical to the hardest rock and literally everything in between. I love to travel. And I read a ton, as I’m sure most writers do.

In twenty words or less tell us about your book:

Cathy travels to hell and back to rescue her stepbrother, Blake—a ghost haunting his own body without remembering why.

In twenty words or less tell us about your philosophy for life:

Savor every moment, both good and bad. Being right is highly overrated; be kind instead. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

How can you not love this woman? Be sure to check out her BOOK.


Heather B. Moore said...

Love this! And loved DISPIRITED as well.

Angie said...

Great interview! It's good to get to know Luisa better!

Jenna said...

You KNOW I love this woman! Great interview, Josie! You're so awesome!

Christy said...

Oh oh! Can't wait to read Dispirited. Luisa, I love how you pray for charity. I'm going to do so as well!

dmonson said...

Josie, are you the Kilpack I knew in Manhattan 20 years ago? I was acquainted with Luisa then too. This is a terrific interview and it's nice to catch up on Luisa's life. I got Dispirited on Kindle and enjoyed it very much. As I now teach remedial English for middle and high school students, I'm excited to have a new book I think they will really enjoy.

Josi said...

I wish I were the Kilpack who lived in Manhattan--sadly, no. I was born and raised in Utah and didn't get far from home.

CTW said...

I haven't read Dispirted yet. I hope to soon. Thanks for the interview.

Leslie Pugh said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning about Luisa and her intriguing book. Can't wait to read it hopefully this summer!

Saint Holiday said...

Anyone familiar with Luisa's writing knows she possesses deep sensitivities and profound insights. I don't know how someone manages to acquire such connection to ultimate values and truth in this world. As one who has tried and is trying, I know the difficulty involved. I think for Luisa, it is drawn to her through the power of her love. I am acquainted with some who have been blessed by her tenderness of heart. I believe her tender heart and other-oriented personality open the windows of quiet, revelatory experience for her, and it is evident in her writing. She has so much to give, and I am looking forward to more in-depth interviews with her. Thank you for shining the light on her light.

Stephanie Mason said...

Thanks for posting this interview. I especially appreciated reading about Luisa's obstacle...fear. I am just getting started myself with my first book being published this fall and have the same fears. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one. Can we call that vulnerability in numbers? I look forward to reading her book.