Friday, 4 March 2016

INTERVIEW: Perri Birney

Flurries Unlimited (FU) was lucky enough to have a quick chat with philanthropist and author, Perri Birney (PB) about her word and various altruistic activities.  This is what we discussed:

FU:  You currently have two books out, each in a different genre. What inspired you to take that approach?

PB: The novels both have many similar themes even though PURE VISION is an action/adventure for adults and my other novel, TARA THUNDERBOLT, is meant for children and young adults and delves into the realm of fantasy and magic. They’re both adventures that carry the protagonists into a mysterious world that empowers them to face their fears, take on their nemesis, and make an impact on the world. What I like about going across the age lines is that the predominant message of both novels gets to span a far wider audience.

FU: They say that every character has some of the author in him/her.  Which of your characters is most like you?  In what way? 

PB: In PURE VISION, Maggie is the character that’s most like me. She’s both analytical and intuitive. She believes in being an idealist since the greatest people in history have proven you can’t get anywhere without a dream. I have to admit that there are traits in Maggie that I’m still working on in myself. Maggie doesn’t really care what others think of her. She’s courageous and willing to be herself even if it means she’s not going to be approved of. I aspire to be more like her in that respect.

FU:  In addition to being an author, you also seem to be heavily involved in philanthropic efforts. Tell us a bit about your PURE VISION FOUNDATION, how it got started and how you manage to keep it going while writing at the same time? 

PB: My husband Lawrence and I both believe in the power of books to illuminate minds and change lives. A couple of years ago, Lawrence was working as an electrician and doing a job in a New York State prison facility. At the time, we felt that the people incarcerated could find inspiration and perhaps some direction through spiritual books. That’s when we started the  Pure Vision Foundation which aims to provide materials that encourage both inner and outer peace. Our first initiative, The Thomas Merton Prison Project, provides interfaith books that promote spiritual and emotional growth. We also recently started a Children’s Book Project which encourages a love of reading while introducing kids and young adults to contemporary issues. The project focuses on social issues such as bullying and peer pressure as well as on environmental concerns.

Right now, I’m juggling the writing and foundation work. Actually one seems to feed the other. When I actively see how much reading enriches lives and how appreciative people are to receive books that awaken the best in them, it motivates me in my own efforts to create stories that people find enlightening and entertaining.

FU:  Your CONSCIOUS KIDS imprint sounds exciting. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

PB: I started the CONSCIOUS KIDS imprint because I believe it’s important to help kids become more aware of the world by exposing them to real-life issues, but doing so in an empowering and fun way. Our recent publication, TARA THUNDERBOLT and the Sky Dancer Cat, is the first in a series meant to do just that. The series will focus on children as heroes who create positive changes in their environment. Teachers and parents can also use the books to engage children and young adults in current affairs and help them realize that you’re never too young to change the world.

FU:  So what else is on the horizon?  What are your new projects? When is your next new release?

PB: I’m working on the second book in the TARA THUNDERBOLT series. It’s exciting to receive encouraging responses from kids who have read the first book and relate to the idea that they’re already empowered. Tara is a girl hero that kids enjoy. Boys as well as girls like how she faces bullies, wants to protect the environment, and is willing to stand up for people no matter where they’re from or how different they are. Right now the projected release date for the new book is early summer of 2016.

FU: Sounds fabulous.  Thank you so much for chatting with us.

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