Today I am pleased to have as our guest Trisha Faye. Trisha is an amazing writer, who is versatile and prolific. All of her works are obviously “labors of love”.
Considering that she is a friend of several former Foxes, I feel that she is long overdue for a visit, and I am glad to be the one to bring her in. I think that everyone will find her diverse and fascinating.
We’ll delve into her body of works and discuss her new release.
You certainly hit many points close to my heart: true stories of good people, some recipes, antique kitchenware, textiles, rescue cats, plus good-hearted fiction and the healing of hearts. You are a diverse person; glad to know another woman of my complex states of mind! With our shared birthday, June 20th, we put some credence to astrology: Gemini on the Cancer Cusp are walking contradictions, aren’t we?
I was really excited to discover that we have the same birthday, Tonette! Yes, it was delightful to find out that I’m not the only one that likes to spin off in several different directions at once. Sometimes when I meet a new writer, I end up chuckling to myself because one of the typical first questions is, “What genre do you write?” What? I only get to pick one? Impossible for many of us, but especially for us Gemini on the Cancer cusp creatures.
You grew up and went to college in California, east of LA, and now you live near Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. I’ve moved several times most of the way across country, too. How did a move like that affect your writing?
I don’t think the move itself affected my write as much as my current phase of life did. That’s the year I turned 50 and my boys were grown and living their own lives, one in Arizona and one stationed in Japan. I had more time available to research, write, and chase leads down rabbit holes. Packing lunches, PTA meetings, and Little League games were now behind me and I could spend my evenings camped in front of a lap top.
I wanted to talk about your fiction before we got into your true-life stories, but I find them almost impossible to separate: the Vintage Daze Short Stories, the Growing Wings series, the Second Chance series, plus the stand-alones like Fat and Sassy and Wash on Mondays. Although you spin (!) great tales, most are based on real people who inspired you, and real textiles. Am I correct?
Yes, even the fictional tales are based somewhat around real people or real items. Most of the Vintage Daze Short Stories begin with a vintage item from the past. An old postcard. A turn of the century book with a name written on the flyleaf. An embroidered tablecloth. An old photograph. I think of the people behind these items. I try to imagine a woman that might have sat doing her needlework at night, her sewing basket tucked safely by her side. What were her hopes and dreams? How did she fill her days? What was her life like? And the story starts growing from there.
What in specific lead you to the times of The Vintage Daze Short Stories?
I often joke that I don’t waste my money in bars or on cigarettes. But bookstores or antique stores? That’s where I could spend with abandon! One of the first items that became the star of a short story was a primitive box-type spinning wheel that I got in an antique store in California. With its crude design and square headed nails, I pictured a husband lovingly creating this so his wife could spin and weave and create the fabric to clothe her family. Where did they come from? What happened that they’re no longer here, but the spinning wheel survives and lives on? What sorrows did she face? What joys filled her heart? And from that, I can’t look at these vintage items the same anymore. It’s like they all carry a hidden tale with them and I try to tap into ‘what could have been’.
Trisha, I just loved reading about your finding of quilt blocks from 1934 and your tenaciously vast research to find their origins [Memories on Muslin] and of the “Dear Arlie” postcards; truly incredible stories! (Everyone knows how I appreciate writers doing their homework.) How often do you find that you really need to research your stories? Or did the research come first, then the stories followed?
On these two books the story was definitely there before the research. About 15 years ago I found the quilt squares for sale in a yard sale in Palm Springs. You know they came home with me! It took me several years before I could start researching the names on the squares. At first when I tried I was unsuccessful. But several years and a move later, a 1925 census for Athelstan, Iowa was now online which contained many of the names from the squares.
The postcards – I’ve carried those around with me since high school. I grew up next door to two elderly ladies, Bea and Pauline, They died when I was in high school and I got to pick some things from the household to remember them by. Old photos and postcards – that’s what I wanted, even way back then.
The research followed as I began to write the story of these items from the past.
I do have to share that one of my greatest joys was in 2014 when I was able to visit Athelstan, Iowa, where the set of 1934 quilt squares came from. I donated the squares to the Taylor County Historical Museum and they had a Quilt Tea to greet me. I met so many descendants of the women and young girls that stitched these squares in 1934 and am still friends with many of them. A piece of my heart now resides in this southern part of the state where I’ve only been once.
Tell me about Herb Store Favorites. Do you have an herb store? (I have not gotten to that one yet, but I am a major Foodie.)
In California, from 1999-2002, I had an herb and garden store, Olde Thyme Gardens. A very tiny place. I’d never had any retail experience prior to opening the store, so the little place didn’t last too long. I hosted three herb fairs in town and had a baking contest at one or two of them. We also had several baking contests in the store. The recipes in the book are from those events. The store is long gone, but I still adore herbs – growing them and using them.
Honestly, every one of your books and series deserve their own interview, and I am hard pressed to choose which questions to ask you. How did you get involved with Trail Angel Mama?
My sister and her husband lived in the mountains of Wrightwood, California, near the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). She had been looking for a way to be of service, hopefully to the homeless. When she and hubby were hiking one day, as they left the PCT and gave a hiker a ride into town. He asked about where the laundromat was, but Wrightwood didn’t have one. One the way home, my sister got to thinking – she had a washer and drier. She could offer them to hikers in need of some clean clothes. And in a sense they were homeless at the moment – at least for the few months on the trail. When she started hosting hikers in their home for overnight stays, she was enjoying it so much she started taking notes and we worked together on Trail Angel Mama. They were trail angels for five years before they moved to Utah earlier this year.
You are featured in the Keller Writers Association Anthology, from your local library. Please tell us more about the group.
Keller Writers’ Association is one of the writing groups that I attend. Four years ago, our current president Clover Autrey had the idea to produce an anthology of the group’s works. We’ve continued the tradition. Since I was president in 2018, I produced that year’s book and put it up on Amazon. It was our third anthology. At the end of this year, we’ll have our fourth annual anthology published.
You have put together many other anthologies of other people’s experiences along with your own, such as In Celebration of Sisters, In Celebrations of Mothers, Fat and Sassy, Grandma Jones’ Kitchen, A Second Chance and more. How many have involved you how do you find the people whose stories you add to yours?
Real life facets make their way into all of my books, in some fashion. If not me, then it was someone I know, or another real life person that inspired me. One book, A Second Chance, although written in a fictionalized manner, was taken from a real life event. I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest in October 2010 and my heart stopped beating. On an airplane before landing in San Francisco. I didn’t want to write the book as a true memoir, but used how the experience changed my life and my perception to create Jenny’s fictional tale.
There are so many fascinating people in this world. The more I look for them, the more I find. Some books, such as Fat and Sassy or Grandma Jones’ Kitchen, were inspired by my own Grandma Jones and the story of her life. For the anthologies – In Celebration of Sister, In Celebration of Mothers, and both Mothers of Angels books, I put out a call for submissions to collect the stories and poems that were shared.
On to your new release, the “Mothers of Angels 2” anthology. I cannot think of a harder subject, nor can I offer you more heartfelt condolences. Please tell us what lead you to publish the first, and now the second, volume of this “living and loving after the death of a child” series. (Can you foresee more?)
In 2004 we lost my stepson, who had just turned 23 years old. Doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in August, and three days after Christmas he was gone. Many years later, after I began writing, I wanted to tell his story, but didn’t feel I had enough for a whole book. When I discovered that a co-worker had lost her young son, and knowing that a friend had lost her young son years before, it dawned on me that I could publish an anthology using the stories of the many, many mothers dealing with grief. Mothers of Angels was born.
But more stories were out there and unfortunately, more are being added every day. With this in mind, Mothers of Angels 2 was born. More stories, more poems from mothers and fathers, friends and family dealing with the loss of a child. Children never born, children that died much too young, children that were adults – but are still are children. How did others handle the grief? How did they learn to live with a new normal? This second anthology also includes some rituals to use for grieving and healing. Mothers of Angels 2 releases on October 21st.
Yes, there will be more. I foresee at least three volumes, possibly five. They take some time to collect stories and format, so they’ll come about a year and a half apart.
Trisha, I wish you, all of the contributors and all of your readers peace in heart and soul.
Thank you for joining us today, Trisha Faye.
Please tell our readers how they can learn more about your work.
BIO: Trisha Faye writes about people, places, and items from the past – when she can tear herself away from researching, which is her favorite activity. But, in true Gemini fashion, she also enjoys writing magazine articles, children’s stories, inspirational pieces, and she’s currently reading through submissions for her fourth anthology. When not settled in front of a computer screen, she plays with a house full of rescue cats or digs in the garden.
Trisha is a past-Secretary and past-President of Keller Writers’ Association. She gives presentations and holds writing workshops at local libraries and for local writing groups and conferences. She is published in Quilter’s World, Country Magazine, Good Old Days, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Women’s World and in other national and regional publications.
You can find her here:
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