Are you, too, ‘Relatively Romantic’?

Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

My name is Ermintrude Perdy! I’m from Northwestern Pennsylvania, born and raised and still very much attached to. I come from a very large family, all still residing in Northwestern Pennsylvania as well. As a family we’re very creative in many ways. Each person seems to have their own artistic skill, or creative skill, lending to a pretty well-rounded group. We have artists of the painting variety, a few writers, musicians, designers, and even into the technically creative, like engineering both buildings and vehicles.

Though I’m educated in a creative field, it was a technical school that I went to and I don’t have any degrees at all. I tried college after high school and foolishly went into a field that lacked any creative aspects which led me to dislike my college experience to the point of leaving after my first year. I’ve fancied taking some classes in literature or creative writing, but everything I’ve ever written I’ve done so without having had help from classes or without toting about that lovely diploma. This isn’t to say that I won’t pursue something in the future, but at the moment it’s not in my cards.

Not coffee, but TEA! I really can’t get anything done without first having a cup of tea in the morning, and of course when I say cup I mean massive mug filled practically to the brim. I try to temper it by only having one or two regular cups and following that with herbal or caffeine-free varieties. Writers still have to sleep sometimes.

Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?

My very first publication is so far my only publication and I’m very excited about it! Though I love full-length novels and in-depth stories, I’ve found that creating such universes, personally, takes a lot of time. I’ve been writing since I was a teen and still haven’t completed a novel-length manuscript (a decent, well-rounded one).

I decided to turn my attention to the short stories I’ve been writing, either as exercises to try and get my mind going, or to participate in friendly group contests. I’d never considered a short story compilation before, but so many people insisted that the shorts were wonderful and that’s when I got the idea for my “Ermintrude Perdy’s” collections.

The first collection of what I hope will be many is Ermintrude Perdy’s Relatively Romantic Short Stories. And as the title suggests, it is a collection of three of my favorite relatively romantic short stories that I’ve written in the past year.

Why Relatively Romantic? Well, I’ve never been much of a romantic myself, but I do love love. I’m definitely not a hopeless romantic. Each story in the Collection views love a little differently, and not all of them in a sappy, romantic kind of way. I really wanted to show the struggles that a lot of people go through at times, especially young women in this era who are more independent and more focused on being successful and true to themselves.

One such story, “The Bells are Ringing,” I think shows a situation that many people don’t want to acknowledge. The main character, whom in the beginning was very much in love with her fiancé, is essentially being forced to change who she is to suit her partner’s ideal. I think it really shows how some people are so desperate to love and be loved in return that they’re willing to conform to whatever their current partner wants. It is an important aspect of love and romance that is almost taboo, and I wanted very much bring it to light, for myself and others.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

I was inspired by many different things. Most often the lives and happenings of my friends and those close to me (and, I admit, myself) inspire a lot of my work.

“The Bells are Ringing” was inspired by the tellings of many different friends and family members, as well as a situation in my own life, that culminated into one absolutely horrifying nightmare! At least, for me it was horrifying. I couldn’t even get back to sleep after.

“Shores of Ireland” was by far my favorite to write out of the three. It was in part inspired by a movie (even though the only relation to the movie is the fact that it’s in Ireland), and a discussion I had with my mother. She mentioned something about wishing she could take the time to learn how to fix all our broken household appliances, to which I responded in like about how wonderful it would be to take classes in home repair. Thus was born “Shores of Ireland,” the story of a young American woman, heiress to a corporation that specialized in building and restoration, who escapes a terrible situation at home and stumbles upon Danny and his crumbling Irish pub.

This story was the most fun to write because of all the research I put into it. I spent a lot of time looking at maps and getting a good idea of rural areas with a sandy coastline in which the pub could be placed. I also thoroughly enjoyed my search for Irish slang and incorporating it into my story. I’m no expert, but now, should I ever go to Ireland, at least I have a heads up on some terms and phrases I might hear!

“Sketchbooks and Friday Sunsets” is a heap of campy goodness! I have a few friends that are absolute hopeless romantics. Listening to them go on about racing hearts and sweaty palms and how everything just looks brighter and more beautiful when you’re in love really inspired me to write this over exaggerated, campy short story.

How would you best describe your books?

For this book in particular the stories really reflect a lot of real life experiences. Now, obviously, I haven’t run away to Ireland and found a pub to save with my immense fortune (oh! If only!) but the message of the story is still very real. The stories each tackle romance from a different point of view, expressing it in ways that people tend to forget about in favor of sonnets and flowery words, handsome men and swooning women. Not that there’s anything wrong with handsome men, but I’m not the swooning type! I think these stories express romance in an unromantic way. I like that.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

My favorite genre is Fantasy. I love creating my own universes and the people and places in them. For me, fantasy really gets my creativity flowing because of all the possibilities. It’s an endless sort of genre where anything is possible so I can take all the crazy, unrealistic ideas in my noggin and make a world where all of that could very well be the norm.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

Since I write for myself I’m not limited to any one thing. I can write anything I want. I suppose, however, that if I could be good at writing something new, I’d like to be able to write mysteries. They’re so tantalizing and exciting, but I’m just so horrible at keeping secrets!

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

My favorite thing about writing is being able to create anything I want. I love being able to fill my seas with mermaids and my skies with dragons! So often do I have wild and crazy dreams filled with things that couldn’t possibly happen in every-day life. Writing is my way of creating these universes and bringing them to life as much as I can.

My least favorite part of writing…hmm…probably the editing. Sometimes I feel as though it takes me longer to edit the story than it does to actually write it. Then, of course, there’s that horrible writer’s block. Being unable to create that next great chapter in a story is awful and sometimes it lasts for weeks, or even months!

I first knew I wanted to be an author when I was very young, probably about seven. I absolutely loved reading, my mother having taught me very early, and I always had an overactive imagination. I remember one day in the school library, while I was searching for a book I hadn’t read that might catch my interest, when I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a story like this…” Then I figured, if there wasn’t, why don’t I write it myself? I’ve wanted to be an author ever since.

What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I love being able to create my own world and situations and characters to put in them. One of my favorite parts of writing my stories is creating the characters, bringing them to life with their appearances, personalities, and names.

I can get very frustrated with my writing. It’s not always easy to convey exactly what’s going on in my mind and if I don’t write it out just right, then sometimes the events aren’t happening exactly as I’d like them to. Sometimes there’s a lot of deleting and rewriting, and sitting and thinking about the different ways things could be explained. Very frustrating.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

Unfortunately, no. I’ve been meaning to find groups and get involved for awhile now, but I’m always so busy that it’s difficult to find time to attend group meetings and gatherings. I’ve also found that my age makes joining groups difficult. I’m at a point in life where sometimes people don’t always take me seriously because I’m still so young, however, groups with people younger than myself don’t seem to take things very seriously at all. But I’m working on it! It’s always good to have a group of fellow writers.

I haven’t found any writing websites that are particularly useful. Not for writing itself, anyway. There are a few forum sites that I frequent where writers join in and discuss the nuances of creating a well-rounded story, critique work, and help each other through rough spots, but they aren’t specific to writing. I usually just speak to a few people I know outside of the sites.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

When it comes to music for inspiration, I usually listen to songs that have a mood similar to what I’m writing. For instance, a few Irish themed songs and some similar in sound helped lend to the inspiration for “Shores of Ireland.” Sometimes, however, I’ll hear a song that could have nothing to do with the topic but it gets my mind working and helps me along. Very rarely do I write without music playing in the background.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

I don’t, but sometimes I wish I did. I have friends that I can count on for good feedback, but I think having someone who isn’t very familiar with me read and critique my work would be a huge benefit. They’ll tell it to me straight, hopefully in a constructive way, to help me improve. There’s always room for improvement.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

Relatively Romantic is my first publication. I’ve been writing for some time, but haven’t fully completed any novel-length manuscripts. A lot of the short stories I’ve written, I’ve done as writing exercises, to help pull myself out of a block, or to simply try something different. Since I have so many and am quite pleased with them, I decided to start my adventure by self-publishing short story compilations. However, I hope in the future I’ll be good enough to sign with a good publishing house.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

My favorite things about the stories in Relatively Romantic would have to be how different they are. I often find that a lot of romances tend to focus on the woman being a classic “damsel in distress” and her knight in shining armor just appears. While for some that might be the ideal romance, I’m sure there are plenty of women like myself who chuckle at the thought and want nothing more than to hold their own and find someone to simply share that with.

“Shores of Ireland” is the only one that really portrays this. While Danny did help Kendall by giving her a place to stay, she similarly assisted him by repaying his kindness and restoring his pub, bringing her expertise and experience and in the end, her fortune, to save the building he loved so much. I like the idea of the woman occasionally being the Knight in Shining Armor, riding in on her White Horse (or, in Kendall’s case, her inherited Fortune 500 business). The woman can be just as strong as the man and the idea shouldn’t be balked at.

Similarly, I like portraying the nitty-gritty side of things. People will sacrifice a lot of themselves when they think they’re in love and will do just about anything to keep it. In “The Bells are Ringing” I wanted to write about what I see so often in a lot of young women when they think they’re so in love and convince themselves that all the change in the world is okay so long as their love stays with them. Is becoming a completely different person worth it? Kat was losing her identity and allowing her fiancé to mold her into something she wasn’t. In the end, she had to decide if hating herself forever was worth it. I’ve had too many friends experience a love like this to not write about it. Romance isn’t always pretty.

What would you like to tell readers?

I just want to thank everyone for all their time and support. As a new author it means the world to me. Thank you, all!