Friday, January 11, 2013

Chatting with Author Peggy Bird

Well, friends!  It seems like I’ve been on a month-long hiatus!  And I feel as if I’m still a bit jet-lagged from the holidays…is that a reasonable complaint?  Or am I simply inventing excuses?   *smile*    At any rate, I’m glad to be back. 

We have a special treat today.  I’m excited to be hosting Peggy Bird, a Crimson Romance sister, and a very prolific writer.   Although Peggy and I are only just beginning a friendship, I’ve watched her interactions with other writers for a while now and can honestly say she is a wonderful, tireless cheerleader and a never-ending source of light and inspiration.  I admit I haven’t had a chance to dive into her books yet, but they are definitely on my TBR list!  (If you’ve sampled them, please comment!)

Greetings, Peggy!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  It’s wonderful to host such an experienced writer as yourself!   I know my readers – like me – are anxious to find out a few intimate, intrusive things about you,  such as… what your workspace looks like…?

Actually, I have two desks and at the moment, one is tidy and one a mess.  On the neat one, I have my MacBook and a cup full of pens along with my latest manuscript in two piles—already edited and to-be-edited. So far, so good, right? Take a glance at the other desk that sits at right angles to my smaller one, the one I use when I handwrite. On it I have two iPads, one iPod, a stack of books to be mailed to my Bookmooch buddies, my “to-do” pile (unattended over the holidays, it apparently reproduced and created new baby “to-dos”), and my paper calendar. Oh, and my printer. And the new ink cartridges I just bought. And the box for the new iPad. And the labeler my husband just returned.  This week’s task? Clean it all up, of course.

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who ‘foundered’ a bit over the holly-days.  You’ve helped my spirits already!  Now, let’s see, one MacBook, two iPads, one iPod, and a labeler.  Sounds like you’re a die-hard techie.  I love it!

Can you share a favorite quote?

One of my favorite writing-related quotes is from E. L. Doctorow: “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Brilliant!  (And mighty encouraging, too.)   Peggy, it’s a given that you write Romance, but do you dabble in other genres?  Do you write other things besides novels?

I have written a mystery that got very good rejections from agents and editors and I have a half-finished YA (Young Adult) historical I co-wrote with a writing buddy. Both are buried someplace in my filing cabinet. I have had memoir pieces published in a dozen or more anthologies, stories in several children’s magazines and three plays produced locally, one in a grade school and two as scripts for puppets in the Kids on the Block Awareness program.

Sounds like you are equally at home in many genres.  That’s great!  I’m sure that adds a lot of diversity and range to your work.  And I love the ‘very good rejections’ comment.  Often an acceptance comes right on the heels of an encouraging rejection.   

Tell me, how much of your books are based on real life?

My latest book has a number of elements of my real life. Together Again is the story of Margo Keyes, a woman born and raised in Philadelphia who moves to Portland, Oregon and never wants to leave. We share a birthplace, an addiction to sticky buns from the Reading Terminal Market and a love for Portland and the Columbia River Gorge. That’s where it stops, however. I didn’t marry my childhood friend, am not a lawyer and have never, to the best of my knowledge, met a Russian mobster.

That’s probably a blessing!  What books would you say have influenced your life most?

For my novel writing, two books I read when I was young from an old box of my mother’s books were probably formative—one was Forever Amber, the other was a British romance, The Sun and the Sea. I changed the way I looked at the world after I read Guns, Germs and Steel and The Feminine Mystique. And I’m a great admirer of/believer in Karen Armstrong’s books, particularly A History of God.

What are your current projects? Can you share a little here?

I can just about see the end of my six-book series, Second Chances. The third book, Together Again, will be released on January 14th. The fourth book is under contract with Crimson Romance. Book #5 is in the process of final editing before submission to Crimson (see question re: what’s on your workspace?) The first draft of the final book, number six, is finished. The book I’m editing is Believing Again which is, of course, a romance, but it is also the story of two people who have lost faith—in themselves, in their vocations or their loved ones. When they meet, their attraction calls into question their cynicism about life and love. It may be my favorite of the series. But then, I always say that about the one I’m working on.

You are definitely a brave soul.  A six-book series!  Wow.  Sounds like a project that keeps you hopping!  Thinking back, what do you think was the hardest part of writing your latest book?
I just finished a blog post about how hard the research was for Together Again. The story is set in Philadelphia, where both Margo, the heroine, and I were born, and Portland, where I’ve lived for most of my adult life and where Margo now lives. I know Portland’s quirks and pretensions quite well. But I haven’t lived in Philly for some time. So I did lots of research online. Took me hours. Not because the subjects were arcane or obscure. But because I kept getting sucked into the vortex that is the Internet, bouncing from one shiny object that distracted my attention to another. To justify the time I spent, I’d have to set at least two other books there!

I can so relate!  I always think of the Chip and Dale cartoons…wasn’t it Dale who was always distracted by the shiny, sparkly objects?  That’s definitely a danger in our line of work!  *smile*

I realize you’re a prolific writer.  Have you ever hated something you’ve written?

On a daily basis, some weeks, it goes with the territory. Some days, if I wind up with one decent sentence, I’m lucky. On the other hand, sometimes scenes I delete because I think they suck turn out to be not so bad after all six months down the line and, with a little revision, can be used in something else I’m writing. And I’d bet I’m not the only writer who, at a public reading of his/her work, changes a word or two because he/she realizes how much better it would be if THAT word was just different.

I agree.  I’ve learned not to permanently delete any passages.  It’s best to let everything ‘percolate’!

What was your last Tweet, Peggy?

I have resisted Twitter because I couldn’t handle the idea of Peggy Bird tweeting. However, I finally caved. I’m not as addicted to it as I am to Facebook and Pinterest—yet—but I can feel it coming. My last tweet was to RT (re-tweet) an announcement about Crimson Romance sister Synithia William’s newly released book Worth the Wait.

One of the things I’ve learned is that a truly blessed writer has a great support system.  Who makes up Peggy Bird’s support system?  What do you do when the support isn’t there?

I have the most amazing group of women friends anyone has ever been blessed with. Some of the women I’ve known for decades, others for only a few years. Some I’ve lived next door to, some I’ve worked with, others I’ve met through my art interests. In addition, my husband and I have three adult daughters between us who are as close to me as friends. I have no idea what I’d do without this fabulous group of females. I’m lucky enough never to have had that experience. They can interpret my emails and Facebook posts to know when I need cheering up or a celebration—and they provide it.  They show up for readings, launch parties, birthdays, holidays or just because. We hash over books, problems, music, politics, theater, children, and health on a regular basis, in person, on the phone or electronically.  

That is awesome.  Sounds like you know just exactly how lucky you are! 

Now, Peggy, I have some fun and unusual questions for you. 
Please fill in the blanks: 

If my closest friends could describe me they’d say I was smart and well read.

Don’t be surprised to find me bragging about my perfect grandchildren.

If I had a super power, it would be: the ability to make peace between people and nations.

It’s the simple things that mean the most! A “small” thing that I adore is: chocolate.

Most days I smell like clean clothes.

When I grow up, I’m going to be surprised.

You will never, EVER find me willingly in a grocery store.  Except to buy more chocolate.

I want to send a Shout Out to someone special. My life is more extraordinary because of all the women friends who always have my back.

And finally, for your fans – let’s leave our readers with ways to get in touch…

 Find Peggy Here:

Link to order Together Again       Amazon

Thanks so much for spending time with us Peggy, and for patiently answering our questions.  You’ve been a great sport!  Good luck with your series!   --



  1. Thanks, Robyn, for having me on your oh-so-pretty site! I had fun with both the serious and not-so-serious questions.

  2. And you did great, too! I found most of your answers fascinating! You amaze me. I think I have a new hero!!! *smile* Good luck in every endeavor and especially with your exciting series. I can't wait to dig into them!!! Thanks again for dropping by --

  3. What a great interview, ladies! Robyn, you have such an easy-breezy style. And Peggy, at least one of your desks is clean. I have only one and it is so, so messy. When you are done tidying up yours, would you come over to my house? I have some great chocolate in my pantry. Pretty please? :)

    I can't wait to read Peggy's series! Thank you, ladies.

  4. Deb, I was so embarrassed by having to admit to the mess, I actually did clean it up--by moving the mess to my sewing table, which sees little action these days cause i'm always on the computer. As for your request--the next time I'm in Seattle, I'll think about it--depending on what kind of chocolate you have!

  5. Deborah, you are a sweetheart for stopping by! And it's always a treat to hear from you. Thanks for visiting! Have a groovy weekend --

  6. Great post ladies! Peggy, your desk sounds a lot like mine, although mine also doubles as the kitchen table :) I'm in total awe of you writing a six book series, I would love to do a linked series, but I'm going to have to wait until child no. 3 is at pre-school before I get anything like the time I need. Hope Together Again sells squillions, it sounds fab!

  7. Peggy,
    I have 2 desks, too. They are both a mess. Oh no! lol
    Loved the post. Wishing you many sales!
    -R.T. Wolfe

  8. Great interview Peggy. I can't imagine writing a 6 book series. I just bought book 1 in the series and I look forward to reading it. Good luck with your writing!