Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blogoversary Interview & G!ve@way with Author Trish Doller

Hi guys!
Please welcome Trish, the author of Something Like Normal, who is sweet enough to do an interview with me! SLN releases in June, Enter today for a chance to win a pre-order! I absolutely loved it, and I think you guys will too! if you don't win it here, I definitely suggest going out and pre-ordering it! My review will go up the week of the release! :)
When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

(I love a good marine! <3)
Hi Trish! I LOVE your upcoming release, Something Like Normal.  I don't feel like military is something that's covered in YA, and so I was really excited when i found out what SLN was about. Did you start out to write a story about a main character in the military?
I actually started out writing a story about a girl who'd been branded a "slut" after false rumors about her circulated in middle school. Travis was meant to be the boy--now grown, damaged by war, and feeling just as much an outcast as her. Except when I started to examine his life, I realized the story was not hers at all.

How many full-length drafts did you write before you sold SLN?

Actually, SLN sold on partial, which means I wasn't finished writing the book when my publisher offered for it. I'd written several chapters and when I showed it to my agent to see how she felt about a Marine as a young adult main character, she suggested we show it to a few editors. We had interest from two different publishing houses and eventually decided Bloomsbury was a great fit.

(I think that's what you meant by that question, but then I wondered if you were asking if I'd written other manuscripts before SLN. If that's the case, here's the answer to that question, too.)

I've only written one other manuscript besides SLN, a romantic road trip comedy called MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. It was the manuscript I used to query agents. My agent and I actually sold that book, but the publisher canceled it and we weren't quite as successful selling it a second time. In many ways, it was a good thing because I'm not sure I'd have ever written SLN if that book had gotten published.

(I actually did mean the latter question, but both are interesting! :) )

Do you remember the first  book you read that made you fall in love with reading?

When I was probably about five or six, my mom wanted to read a chapter book called B IS FOR BETSY as our bedtime story. Despite not knowing anything about the book, I was convinced it was boring and I didn't want to listen. She made me a deal: she'd read one chapter and if I hated it, she'd stop. Of course, after the first chapter, I was hooked. And since I could read it myself, I realized I didn't have to wait until my next bedtime to finish the story. I devoured that book, all the rest in that series, and pretty much everything I could get my hands on.

What is the most recent book you've read that you absolutely loved?

I've read a lot of good ones lately, but I think the best was Courtney Summers' upcoming book THIS IS NOT A TEST. I knew from the start I'd be hard pressed not to like it because, really? Courtney Summers + zombies = WIN. But it was even better than I expected. She's got such a gift.

Favorite book over all?
I absolutely adore RAW BLUE by Australian YA author Kirsty Eagar. Not only do I love the story, but RAW BLUE has been a kind of roadmap for me on how good writing works.

In Something Like Normal, Travis is definitely a flawed character, but I still really loved him even when I wanted to smack him. Was he a hard character to write?
Travis was surprisingly easy to write. I have a son who is a little older than Travis, so for several years my house had a near-constant flow of teenage boys. I listened to the way they talked (and what they talked about) and watched the way they interacted with each other. So when I started thinking about Travis, I knew he had that "everyguy" quality about him. That he was a guy capable of great insight and great stupidity--at the same time.

I liked how you weaved the effects of PTSD throughout the story, how it (realistically) didn't just go away. Did you have previous experience with someone suffering from PTSD, or was it purely research based?
I had originally intended Travis to be physically wounded, but as I was reading about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I came across a book called SOFT SPOTS: A MARINE'S MEMOIR OF COMBAT AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER by Clint Van Winkle. It was a fascinating inside look at how war affected one Marine and I realized psychological damage can be worse than physical trauma.

While I know that SLN is a stand alone, I still find myself thinking about Travis and Harper. They had such great chemistry! Do you have a hard time letting your characters go, or do you feel like the door kind of closes when you finish your book?
It's been really hard to let go of Travis, because he's been a part of my family for the better part of two years, but I think you do have to close the door in order to move on to the next project. You have to open your mind and heart to the next character who wants to take up residence. At least I do.

Have you ever considered writing a series? (I totally support the idea of more Harper and Travis!- somehow. i don't know. I just do! )
I've been asked this question before and I've had people tell me they want to know what happens next with Travis and Harper. The problem is that books need conflict. I can think of some possible scenarios, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to destroy what I just finished building, you know? I wouldn't rule out a sequel, but at this point there are no plans, no talk, no scribbles on the back of store receipts. I'm working on something new that I really, really love and hope will be my next book.

And lastly, along with so many others, especially bloggers. I am currently working on my own WIP (Contemporary).  Any Advice you'd like to share?
For me, writing is a bit like taking a multiple choice test. You color in the bubble of the answer you think is best. Then you second-guess yourself, furiously erase, and color in a different bubble. When the test comes back, you discover your first answer was correct. Trust your instinct. It's usually correct.

Thanks Trish! :)
 Everyone, don't forget to enter the giveaway for a pre-order of Something Like Normal! :)
(International, anywhere Book Depository ships to!) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Happy Blogoversary! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your celebration!

  2. Awesome interview! It's nice to know a little more about Trish and Something Like Normal. I like what Trish said about observing her son and his friends for her writing, which is probably why Travis is such a realistic teen guy.

    I'm working on something new that I really, really love and hope will be my next book. -> I hope so, too! I'm loving the snippets posted on your Tumblr.

  3. Love Trish! Love this book! Love it ALLLLL! Especially the fact that she chose Raw Blue as her "road map to good writing". I can totally see that in her work.

  4. Thanks for the contest. I've literally been waiting for this book to come out since I first started my blog.

  5. Wow. The more I read about this book, the more I can't wait for it to be released! Great interview, both of you!!!

  6. I SO wanna win this book...thanks for the chance!

  7. Happy Blogoversary! Can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the interview and giveaway! :)

  8. Oh wow, I didn't know that Travis was originally meant to be a side character and not the MAIN character; that says something about how important his story is. :D This interview was great! Thanks to the both of you :)

  9. Loved this interview!! I love learning more about Travis, his story and how it came to be. This is one of my most anticipated books of the year!

  10. Very happy blogoversary! So excited for Something Like Normal, I will definitely be buying if I don't win. I live to hear about the thought processes behind stories, great interview. Thank you for the chance to win!

  11. Very happy blogoversary! Great interview
    good luck all

  12. Happy blogoversary, twin! <3

  13. WOWza! I just discovered you have a whole blogoversary celebration going on here! How wicked awesome!!! :) I really should plan something like that for my own blog, and it's coming up soon, too! :)

    Thanks so much for organizing such a fabulous blogoversary to share the love with your readers - it's really wonderful of you! Happy blogoversary!!!


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XO, Al @ Magnet4Books <3


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