Today on the blog I have the honor of hosting the lovely Trish Doller, who's debut novel Something Like Normal comes out on June 19th. You can see my review here and now let's get onto the interview. Trish's answers are smaller.
First off, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me. I know that you must be very busy.
Thanks for thinking of me!
Let’s start off with the basics, what tattoo describes your book best? (pictures are okay).
If you can tear your eyes away from his abs (I know! It's difficult!) he's got a Marine Corps EGA--eagle, globe, and anchor--tattooed on his chest. That's what it's all about.
Now I know that you have a tattoo or two, if you could get a tattoo of a quote from your book what would it be? What about a tattoo that just describes you in general?
I've actually thought about getting a tattoo of a quote from SLN and I've had an impossible time trying to narrow down a quote. But for a tattoo in general, I've decided my next will be a pair of Elvis Costello glasses with the words "everyday I write the book" behind them. The words that pass through the lenses will be magnified. If that makes sense. It does to me. Anyway, yeah. That.
Your book is from a Travis’ point of view all the way through the book, was it hard to write the whole book that way or was it easier? Will we ever get to see anything from Harper’s point of view?
Once I got into Travis' headspace, it was not difficult to write him at all. Or maybe he got into my headspace, because it felt like I was carrying him around in my brain all the time. Either way, he had things to say and demanded I write them down. As for Harper, I do have a short piece from her POV that I will likely share after SLN comes out--probably in a secret content portion of my website. I'll let you know when that happens.
I’m sure you know what my favorite scene is, what’s your favorite scene? Or quote?
My favorite scene is, was, and probably always will be the scene in which Charlie talks about how he became a Marine and the ways his mother tried to discourage it. It's no secret that Charlie is dead when the book begins, so I tried really hard to give dimension to the person he was, and I think that scene kind of captures that. And it's funny. My favorite quote (but I doubt I'd get a tattoo of it) is from that scene:
"My mom––the only parent on the planet to try and talk her kid into doing drugs to keep him out of the Marines."
What about a song or an album that you listened to while you were writing or revising?
I am a playlist maker. Generally when I'm writing, I'll start selecting songs that reflect what's happening in the book, or the mood, or the way I'm feeling when I write, and compile them into a writing playlist. By the time I'm finished, certain songs will have risen to the top as most representative of the book and those end up on the final playlist.
You can see the playlist here.
You write contemporary novels but it seems that the big money is really in paranormal. What do you think about that? Have you ever thought about writing a paranormal novel?
Paranormal offers readers an escape, letting them put themselves in the shoes of an ordinary main character who discovers she (or he) is more powerful and beautiful and, in my cases, desired by more than one boy. I can totally see the appeal of spending an afternoon in that kind of world! But I feel as if readers are doing themselves a disservice when they limit their literary diets to just one genre. There are some brilliant contemporary writers out there like Steve Brezenoff, A.S. King, and Blythe Woolston who are doing some really innovative things and I think their voices deserve to be heard. As for me, I'd probably write a paranormal novel if I had one in me, but I don't. I might have a sci-fi novel in me, though. We'll see...
What about your next novel, can you tell us anything about it? Or even give us a little teaser?
My current project is called ALL THAT WAS LOST. And while I'm not prepared to give away too much about the premise, I can tell you that the main character is a seventeen-year-old girl named Callie and it is set in a Florida town called Tarpon Springs, where there is a significant Greek population. Greek culture plays a role in the book, as does sponge diving, which is a trade still practiced in Tarpon Springs. That's a little vague, I know, so let me distract you with this little excerpt:
She looks worse than the last time I saw her. The dark roots of her hair are bleeding into the platinum and the fairy lights deepen the bruise-colored half-circles beneath her eyes. Her signature red lips are too present on her washed-out face. I wrap my arms around her, but she feels different to me. Slight and insubstantial, an autumn leaf that could whirl away in the breeze. And she doesn’t hug me back.
Your book is about marines, why marines?
I was a newspaper reporter back in 2003, when the first Marines were coming home from their first deployments to Iraq, and I was assigned to interview a young Marine home for the holiday. When I met him, it struck me how young he was, and that he'd seen and done things his high school classmates would never experience. That moment kind of filed itself away in my brain and surfaced when I started thinking about Travis.
You also had your main character fight in the Afghan war, are you afraid that this might turn people off of reading your book if they don’t approve of the war?
I worked very hard to keep politics out of the book and focus on one Marine's true-to-life experience dealing with war and its aftermath, so I hope readers will come away with a greater understanding of that, rather than feeling as if they've been propagandized.
There are also some scenes that might cause a stir because of content, are you worried about that at all?
I think there will be people who are bothered by the language or the mature content, but I told Travis's story the way it demanded to be told. He's a nineteen year old Marine. That's the warning label right there that SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL might be best suited for older teens.
You work as a bookseller; does that allow you a special behind the scenes look at any part of being an author? Did that make it easier or harder to get your book published?
Being a bookseller really didn't play much of a role in my getting published. I had to write, query, revise, just like everyone else. I am fortunate that because I work for B&N, my book will be in many of the stores, so there's that...and ARCs. I'm pretty much auto-approved everywhere.
Being an author can be a fulltime job, but you have to take a break every once and a while, what do you do in your down time?
I don't have a lot of down time, but when I need an escape, I'll go down to our boat in the Florida Keys and just chill for a few days. And I'll be getting my diving certification this summer.
You’re part of a group of 2012 YA debuts called The Apocalypsies, what books would you recommend we look out for in the coming year (no, you can’t pick your own)?
There are so many great Apocalypsies titles, but I think one I'm really excited to read is MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
And last but not least, and arguably the most important question of all, Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Not gonna lie, I am not a fan at all. But if forced at gunpoint, I'd have to say Team Jacob. Edward just creeps me out.
Now, I don't have any swag to give away, but beccause I love this book so much I'm going to give a copy to one of you guys! All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecoper below. The giveaway will be international, and will end on June 30th.