As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian culture into her fiction. She’s an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical romances, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family and is often lurking around her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her historical debut, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, releases in December.
How to connect with Pepper...
Purchase: The Thorn Bearer
Author Interview | Pepper Basham
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...Well, Emilie, my life’s a pretty crazy place, which usually inspires all sorts of creativity, whether it stems from managing my schedule as a full time SLP with 5 kiddos or trying to manage these new writing deadlines. :) I love hats, chocolate, dressing in costume, and hanging out with my kids.
...I also 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 to writing, but I also believe God planted this desire for story-creating in my heart.
...I have my first ‘long’ story I wrote (and poorly illustrated) when I was 10 years old, and I have to tell you, I just love writing stories. I love seeing how characters are challenged, how they grow and change, and being a part of that ‘creative’ energy!
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...Each of my stories are special to me in different ways, but I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be an unpublished novel called Just the Way You Are. I put all of my favorite things into that novel, mystery, humor, romance, a hilarious heroine, a dashing hero, hilarious kids, The Blue Ridge Mountains, and England!
If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...Easily the most difficult thing has been the marketing aspect. It’s hard to fit it into the many other things of life. Second on that list would be meeting deadlines, but I’m hoping that’s just a part of the learning curve.
Tell us a little bit about your book. Why are did you write it?
...The Thorn Bearer is the first book in the Penned in Time series. It’s a World War 1 era novel about a young woman’s journey of forgiveness for an atrocious pain of her past. The hero and heroine are childhood friends, but the heroine has romantic feelings for the hero….one secret (among a few) she takes with her as the two of them board the ill-fated Lusitania.
...I’m also finishing up book two in this series and LOVE how the heroine has completely rocked my world. She’s become such an amazing character to write.
...I’m also beginning promotions for my first contemporary novel, A Twist of Faith, which is coming out in December! Very excited about it. It’s a modern day version of My Fair Lady set in The Blue Ridge Mountains. Speech-Language Pathologist meets cattle farmer :)
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I really enjoyed the hero in this book…and the heroine’s best friend, Jessica.
...Sam is just a great guy and good friend. I love that he’s flawed but so gentle. Jessica is a spitfire.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...God’s love heals, even when we don’t have answers for all the wounds of this life.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I think it’s difficult to not be inspired by ‘real life’ when writing fiction, and I’m glad of it. I love bringing influences from the ‘real world’ into the imaginary because I think that makes the stories more relatable – whether it is through characteristics of the characters, struggles they face, or challenges they overcome.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I truly hope my stories help people understand God’s love and truths better. Of course, I hope to write an entertaining and interesting story, but at the heart of why I love story is to give ‘hope’…something we all desire at our cores, you know?
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Patience is a necessity…patience, positivity, and perseverance. I pursued publication for 11 years before publication, and I’d been writing my whole life. Being consistent with this dream, enjoying the journey, giving the dream to God’s care are vital to stay the course.
In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
...Homemade applesauce. Easy and delicious.
When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
...A pediatrician, so I could be called Dr. Pepper :)
Thanks so much for being on the blog Pepper! I too love handed-down stories. How exciting that you've also got a contemporary coming out too. Plus you work full time and have 5 kids. I'm in awe ;) I'm right there with you on the homemade applesauce - apples in fall are the BEST! Thanks again and I hope to see you back on the blog soon!