Friday, February 11, 2011

Author Interview: Rebecca Talley

My friend Rebecca Talley recently published a new book, a novel entitled The Upside of Down. Rebecca is a busy LDS wife, mother, writing instructor, and author of several books, including a children's picture book, Grasshopper Pie, and two novels for LDS readers, Heaven Scent, and Altared Plans. She and her family live in Colorado.

Let's chat with Rebecca.

I'm so glad you're visiting on my blog today, Rebecca. We've been friends for several years, and I admire all the good you're doing for writers. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Santa Barbara, California. My younger sister and I were raised in Santa Barbara by our maternal grandparents. I spent countless hours playing at the beach. I loved swimming in the ocean, collecting shells, and digging in the sand. One of my favorite memories is riding my pony along the shore with the surf spraying my feet. I still love the moist sea air.

While I was a teenager, I performed as a flamenco dancer in parades and on stage for the Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebration that occurs every August in Santa Barbara. I played basketball in high school and was named "Most Inspirational Player." After graduating from high school, I attended Brigham Young University (BYU). I had a hard time adjusting to the snow and cold winters in Provo, Utah, but I had the time of my life living in Deseret Towers, Centennial Apartments, and Riviera Apartments.

While attending BYU, I met my sweetheart, Del, who was born and raised in a rural area of Colorado. We were married in 1985, after my junior year. We have been happily married for over 25 years and are the parents of 10 wonderfully creative and multi-talented children. We live in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, cats, a spoiled horse, and a herd of goats. It took me a bit to adjust to the rural lifestyle after growing up in southern CA, but I love living in the country.

I love big families! I come from one myself. When did you start writing?
I started making books when I was a kid. I loved to write in high school, and I graduated from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, but I put writing aside when I got married and started having babies. I decided to get serious about it again in the mid-90s when the internet suddenly opened up a whole new world for me. I met other writers, took classes online, and read all I could about writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

What do you like to do besides writing?
Eat chocolate, ice cream, peanut M&Ms. I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, but I only get to do that once a year or so. I also love to dance to disco music. I’ve recently started doing Zumba, a kind of Latin dancing/exercise program—lots of hip shaking. I love to go on dates with my husband and I love to play with my kids. I’ve also started making jewelry and flower barrettes with my kids.

Your newest novel, The Upside of Down, was released in January. What was the inspiration for this novel?
While I was watching the new version of the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, I thought it would be fun to write a similar story set in an LDS household. Since I have a large family, I drew from many of my own experiences to create my characters and establish the storyline. I had lots of fun writing it, especially as I relived some of the funny things that have happened in our family.

Let's take a look at the back cover text from The Upside of Down:

“Hmmm,” the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, “What does that mean?”
“You do know you’re pregnant, right?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “Excuse me?”
“You’re pregnant.”
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. “I’m what?”

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise—she’s going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn’t what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.
Although there are similarities in this book to your life and family, is it an autobiographical novel?
Not at all. I wanted to show readers that no matter who we are, none of us is spiritually invincible. We all need to rely on the Lord, in good times and in bad. No matter how desperate a situation may seem, the Lord can lighten our load if we’ll turn to Him. The atonement is for all of us. And, even in the midst of trials, we can have peace.

Your character Natalie's life is turned upside down with her unexpected pregnancy, but the novel's title has a double meaning. You have a child with Down Syndrome, and you wanted to shed light on and create understanding about that experience, right?
Yes. I hope people will learn something from my book about Down syndrome and realize that underneath it all, we’re all children of God and we all deserve love and respect, no matter our chromosome count.

Where can we purchase The Upside of Down?

Amazon carries it and it should arrive in LDS bookstores soon.

It's been delightful to have you as my guest today, Rebecca.
Thank you so much for the interview.

You can learn more about Rebecca at her website,, and her blogs, and


  1. This sounds like a fantastic book!

  2. Thank you, Marsha, I appreciate your support!

  3. Nice to learn more about Rebecca like a flamenco dancer? Awesome!

  4. Rebecca, I know I haven't been to your blog recently, but I'd love to read a post about your dates with your hubby! : )

    Great interview!


I welcome your comments.

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