Thursday, April 16, 2009
Interview with Tricia Mills!
Today we have Tricia Mills, who is the author of the upcoming young adult novel, Heartbreak River.
Who has been the most influential person in your writing career?
That is very difficult to answer because so many people have helped me along the way. Fellow writers, my critique group, my wonderful agent, and my supportive husband.
Are you working on another YA book right now? If yes, are you allowed to tell us anything about it yet?
We're in the final stages of preparing Ice and Desire, my second YA, for publication. It's slotted for a Summer 2010 release.
Here's a bit of a glimpse:
Marissa Craig finally gets up the nerve and tells her long-time friend Spencer that she likes him as more than a friend. The best part? Spencer likes her as more than a friend too. With the perfect boy to love and be loved by, she begins her senior year at her small Alaska school and indulges in the dream of becoming a costume designer for the movie industry. Life is perfect — until tragedy strikes. Marissa’s perfect life turns upside down as she deals with an unbearable loss, doubts about her future, a best friend whose home life is getting worse by the day, and unexpected feelings for an unexpected boy.
Are you the kind of author that has to outline a book, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow kind of author?
I've done it both ways, and my natural preference is to fall somewhere in the middle. In YA, I have to have a pretty extensive, chapter-by-chapter outline approved before I start writing the book.
What was the weirdest time you ever got inspiration?
Fun question. Hmmm...I'm not sure I can think of a weird time. I sometimes get ideas while watching something on TV or a movie, but honestly sometimes I can just be going along doing something terribly exciting like folding laundry and an idea will pop into my head.
What kind of music do you listen to? Do you listen to a special playlist?
I like rock in various forms (hard rock, goth rock, the symphonic rock played by a lot of European bands like Within Temptation), some dance music, and I love soundtracks. My current fave is the one from Twilight, which I've played a gazillion times. I'm a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, so I have three different Buffy soundtracks as well as the one for Angel. Now they need to make one for Supernatural, my favorite show.
How did Heartbreak River change from the first draft to the final draft that will be in stores?
Oh, let me count the ways. :) After I turned in my first version, I got a revision letter that was more than 20 pages. I almost had a stroke until I realized this was normal and that the revisions were actually very detailed and helpful versus vague and not all that helpful. I prefer specificity so I know what they're looking for and how I can provide it. There were some plot changes, but mainly it was deepening the characterizations, working on interactions between the characters and enriching the setting even more so that it becomes a character in and of itself.
What was your inspiration for Heartbreak River?
A few things, actually. One, I was taking a train trip to California and the train passed through Colorado and meandered along the Colorado River for about 200 miles. There were lots of people rafting, which looked like fun (if you can swim and aren't scared of the water). I also love the outdoors and the American West, so I chose the setting of Western Colorado and the backdrop of a river-rafting business. Then I needed a reason for my heroine, Alex, to be afraid of the water if she has this rafting background. So she lost someone she loved to the river. I was able to write about that fear of the water realistically because, alas, I'm hydrophobic myself. It's something I do hope to conquer.
What's your favorite season? Why?
Spring because everything is coming back to life and getting warmer. I am not a fan of winter, so when spring starts showing itself I'm one happy camper. And thanks to allergy medication, I can even breathe in the spring now. :)
What is your advice to teens who want to be authors?
Like with anything else you want to excel at, practice is key. So come up with an idea and write, every day if at all possible. While you're doing that, read writing craft books, attend writing workshops if you can, and learn what you can about the business side of writing. Know that you're more than likely not going to sell the first thing you write. Goodness knows I didn't. I wrote I think 17 or 18 manuscripts before I sold Heartbreak River, and that was with having several years of journalism experience. It can get disheartening, but the only way to succeed is to not give up no matter how long it takes to reach your goals and no matter how many times you're told "no." When you finally get that "yes," it makes all the "no" answers worth it.
Ask yourself a question and answer it. :)
If you could have lunch with three authors, who would they be?
J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and mystery author Dana Stabenow.
Thank you so much Tricia!