Jim: Hi, R.M. Parrish, and welcome to the Champagne blog site and author interview forum. Authors all have good reasons for their pseudonyms, and I respect your choice, but can you share with Champagne authors and friends the name behind the initials?
R.M: Hello, Jim, thanks to you and the Champagne blog for inviting me here today. I work as an actress under the name Robyne Parrish, so I chose R.M. to differentiate myself from… well… myself, as it were.
Jim: I do want to ask about the acting side of your life, but first, let’s talk books. Tell us about your writing and particularly your upcoming Champagne Books title.
R.M: I generally write romance for Young Adults. My new title with Champagne, Love, Savannah is my first go at novel for adults. It is a historical romance that’s mostly in keeping with my YA stuff, but I do have one YA book that is contemporary romance. My debut novel Robbie Lee and the Wilds of Houston Valley was released 2007, and has received some very good reviews. It is a historical fiction novel based on the life of my grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression. The story has been compared to Little House On the Prairie, by Laura Wilder, if you like that sort of story telling. I grew up on it and love it.
Jim: Everyone was something else before becoming a writer and author. Now’s the time to tell us about your day job.
R.M: Well, as I admitted earlier, I am an actress. I have been in the theatre since I was five years old, so, for over thirty years! Jim, did you trick me into revealing my age? Just kidding – actually, I have never been afraid to admit my age. I think women get better with age, like good wine. People in general do, really.
Anyway, theatre is the thing I have always wanted to excel at. Writing, on the other hand, has always just been a part of who I am. I kept a diary since I could write, and have been writing stories and poetry since I was a child – like most writers it was my way of expressing myself and maybe getting rid of some extra stress and energy! I am also a teacher, currently enrolled in a Masters program for theatre and pedagogy, which means teaching at the college level. This fall will be my second year teaching freshman at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jim: If we may return to books, I find that most writers are avid readers. If that applies to you, what do you read when you find time in your apparently very busy schedule?
R.M: I try to read the type of book I want to tackle next as a writer. Lately that is medieval romance! I also try to read books by my peers, other authors from my publishing house. I want to support other writers when I can. I read a lot for school as well… a lot of plays especially. I have very little time to read outside of this. Additionally I’m finishing a Masters program in Psychology fall, on line, so you can imagine my reading list is rather long!
I can tell you some of my favorite books as a girl (I love YA books and books for children): At the Back of the North Wind – by George McDonald (my absolute number one favorite book), The Wizard of Oz series, (all of them of course), ANYTHING Sherlock Holmes by Sir Author Conan Doyle, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I am a big fan of Anne of Green Gables books as well and of course, Little House.
Jim: We know that Little House made it as a big success on the little screen, but what big screen movies do you count among your favorites? Did they evolve from any of your favorite books?
R.M: The Wizard of Oz is far and away my favorite movie on the big screen. So yes, this did evolve from my love for Frank L Baum or maybe it was the other way around. In fact, I think I saw the film before I read the book.
Jim: Champagne authors are placed all over the world; where do we put the R.M. Parrish map pin? If you were to relocate that pin, where would you punch it in?
R.M: I grew up in the South, in the Carolinas, both North and South, but I live between New York City and Pittsburgh right now. My husband lives in New York in our apartment there. I wanted to live in NYC my entire life, for as long as I could remember and of course, that is where you go to act!
Jim: Is there any place else in the world you’d like to travel, or even possibly live?
R.M.: I spent a summer in London, studying at the Royal National Theatre. I would not mind living there for a time, but not forever. I would like to retire in the South eventually, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Jim: As a writer, what sort of support do you have from family? Tell us about your family—husband, children, dogs and cats—not necessarily in that order.
R.M: My husband is extremely supportive. He designs games for the IPHONE, or apps as they are called. He’s the visionary. He has his own company www.canned-bananas.com He started out as a visual artist and he is very talented. No kids yet, but five birds!! I know – it is a lot! Three parakeets and two finches. Their names are Monkey, Banana, Jack, Dash and Snow.
Jim: Okay, enough about books and stages and films and birds. Tell us something about R.M. that we really don’t need to know. Who is R.M. Parrish when not behind the keyboard or not in front of the camera?
R.M: I am a crazy workaholic; a total addict. I cannot stop working and always have tons of stuff going on. I am very driven, but I am a late bloomer. I have learned to be patient with myself over the years. Things don’t come easily to me. I have to work for them. I am an entrepreneur much like my father and grandfather.
Jim: Anything else?
R.M: Hmmmm, I guess a good secret is I am an introvert although I appear to be an extravert. And I LOVE Michael Jackson.
Jim: Thank you so much, R.M., for revealing yourself to us here briefly. Our members and readers just may wish to contact you personally, or professionally; can they get in touch with you privately?
R.M: www.RobyneParrish.com/books and Robbie.Wilds@yahoo.com Feel free to leave messages there or firstname.lastname@example.org Look to my site for excerpts, blurbs, and reviews for my upcoming and latest releases. I am also on Facebook and MySpace! Facebook.com/R.M.Parrishbooks
Jim, thanks so much for this opportunity to let Champagne authors and friends know who I am. I look forward to knowing them all as well.
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Interview contributed by Jim Woods, author of Champagne Books Assassination Safari, Parting Shot and Gunshot Echoes.