Pepper Basham talks with Carrie about her ideal date, the challenges of writing multiple genres, and her favorite fictional heroes.
Carrie: Your debut series – Penned In Time – is a trilogy of historical romances set during WW1. You also have a contemporary romance releasing in the spring. How difficult is it to balance both genres?
Pepper: Well, I’ve always thought of stories in different genres, so I’m guessing it’s just a way God’s made my …eclectic brain J For example, one of my first ‘longer’ stories I wrote in 10th grade was a mystery, romance, fantasy, historical. At least now I’m separating my passions into more ‘digestible’ genres J
Carrie: A Twist of Faith, your spring release, is full of such great humor as well as romance! In your opinion, how important is humor to romance (both in real life and in fiction)?
Pepper: Vital. In my opinion, a healthy sense of humor gives some levity to the trials of life and draws people closer through the ‘medicine’ of laughter. Being able to laugh at ourselves diffuses pride and also creates a closeness and approachability between people, which is one of the reasons why one of the first scenes in A Twist of Faith where the hero and heroine really connect, is through laughter. It has a beautiful and gentle ability to break down barriers.
Carrie: Reese Mitchell, the hero in A Twist of Faith, had me going in search of my nearest fainting couch on a frequent basis. Besides Reese, of course, which contemporary heroes are YOUR favorites?
Pepper: In MY heroes? Definitely Wes Harrison from Just the Way You Are (a novel which is yet-to-be published). In others books? Adrien in Siri Mitchell’s novel, Kissing Adrien…oh la la, Ty Porter in Becky Wade’s novel Meant to Be Mine, and Lucas Wright in Denise Hunter’s amazing novel, The Convenient Groom. (there are so many more, but these are among the top J
Carrie: How much of “you” is reflected in your contemporary heroines?
Pepper: Oh goodness gracious! It depends on the heroine, but I know there is some of me in everyone. Eisley Barrett from my yet-to-be published novel, Just the Way You Are, is a lot like me in her humor (I hope) and insecurities. Catherine, from The Thorn Keeper, may have the least of me in her. I think there are many aspects of Ashleigh, from The Thorn Bearer, that hold my characteristics – internalize conflict, desire to serve others, etc.
Carrie: What does the element of faith add to the contemporary romance genre?
Pepper: Reality. If we truly believe what we say we believe, it should also organically weave in the everpresent hope that Christianity provides and promises to a world of broken, misguided, hurting, and lost people. Our faith not only can provide answers to the ‘big’ questions of purpose and plan, but it also gives a guide to life, a pulse of mercy, a power to love the most unloveable, to forgive the unforgiveable, and through it all show that grace is the most powerful possession on earth. It cultivates an ability to reach beyond the threads of pain, heartbreak, betrayal, destruction, and loss to see another world, another future, and an amazing love.
Isn’t that attractive? Hopeful? Shouldn’t it be? Our world is in desperate need of seeing it functionally played out instead of only mentioned from the T.V. stations, slurred on the news, and degraded in the culture, because our faith, real Christianity, is hope…hope with nail-pierced hands and unimaginable love.
Carrie: What is your idea of the perfect date?
Pepper: (You mean without involving crazy amounts of money or a trip to England, right?) Oh OH!!! Well, I’m hoping my hubs is planning it for me this week!! Are you ready for this? My PERFECT date would be going to The Biltmore House early in the morning for a relaxed house tour, a visit to the gift shop for a present (usually Edwardian jewelry or a hat), lunch at one of the restaurants on site, a slow drive (or walk) on the grounds, a stop by the bookstore (or any bookstore with leisure to peruse the pleasures of print-on-page) and end it with a visit to The Chocolate Factory.