Today the spotlight is on Trish Milburn, fellow Bandita, American Title IV finalist, talented multi-genre author, and all-around great gal! This is the final weekend for voting in the second round of the American Title contest, so please click on the side button and visit the Romantic Times site to see if Trish can earn your vote!
In the meantime, here’s a little more about Trish:
KJ: Congrats on making it to the top eight in the ATIV contest. As the runner-up in the ATIII contest, I have some idea of how much effort goes into encouraging voting. It's not easy to approach strangers asking for votes (think politicians!) and sharing information about the contest and your novel. Do you have any heart-warming/funny/frustrating tales to share from your travels thus far?
TM: A story ran in the weekly newspaper in the town where I grew up. When I was up there the next week, I kept running into people who mentioned seeing the article. I haven't lived there in eighteen years, so it was a little surreal and sweet at the same time. A classmate from high school who I haven't seen since then e-mailed me, and another friend that I haven't seen since college reconnected. It's certainly given me a taste of what self-promotion will be like when I have books come out.
KJ: You have recently sold YA novels as well as contemporary romances to Harlequin American. OUT OF SIGHT is a paranormal story and you've also been a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category of the Golden Heart. Diverse doesn't begin to cover your writing scope. Is there a particular genre that's your favorite? Do you write more than one book at a time? Please tell us about your writing process and how you manage to juggle all these genres.
TM: I'm lucky in that I write quickly. In the many years that led up to my selling, I tried several different sub-genres to see what was the best fit and because I just happened to have ideas that fell within those sub-genres. I like to mix it up a little so that I never get bored. I can honestly say I like lots of different types of stories. I'm really enjoying the resurgence of the YA market, and I've read some excellent YA in the past couple of years. I've always loved paranormal stories, whether in books, movies or TV shows—everything from Stephenie Meyer's paranormal YA stories to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And who can resist just a sweet romance where a guy and gal find true love and live happily ever after? I know the reading public often poo-poos romance, but who out there doesn't hope to find that special someone to love and be loved by?
I typically don't write more than one book at once, but I'm often working on various stages of different books at the same time -- writing one, brainstorming another, editing another. For instance, I'm currently writing a YA novel, but I just finished revisions on my first Harlequin American, and I'm beginning to work with my YA editor on ideas for a second YA. I don't really keep track of how many hours I put in a day, but it's quite a few. I typically work about three hours in the morning, then take an hour break to do e-mail, errands, terribly exciting things like cleaning the house, then go back and work two to three more hours before another break to do e-mail, cook dinner, talk to the hubby when he comes home from work. I often work another hour or two at night.Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more—depends on what deadlines I'm trying to meet.
KJ: OUT OF SIGHT. Great title. How did it come into being? Do you usually title your novels before you start them or do they come to you during the course of the novel?
TM: Actually, when this story came to me, it was supposed to be the first of at least two novels with the same characters, and I'd planned to have them all have titles that start with "Out of...". OUT OF SIGHT ties in to the fact that the heroine can make herself invisible. Sometimes titles come to me as I'm brainstorming a story. For some reason, those are often the easiest to write. It's like the title gives birth to the story. I sometimes think up titles for which I don't even have a story yet. I just write them on a slip of paper and put them in my story-ideas folder in hopes a story will form someday to match the title.
KJ: I admire how much time and effort you give to RWA. Can you tell us about your various volunteering positions and discuss why these commitments are so important to you?
TM: Right now, I'm the Region 3 director for RWA. Last term, I served as the PRO Liaison to the board. Prior to this national service, I held every position in my chapter except vice president at some point. I've gotten a lot from RWA and my chapter, so I've always felt I should give back in any way I could. Organizations are only as good as the members make them.
KJ: You wrote for many years before becoming published. What one piece of advice would you give unpubbed writers to keep them at their keyboards?
TM: Every day you stick with it, you're one day closer to realizing your dream. It sounds incredibly cheesy, but it's the honest truth. The longer I worked at it, the more I had invested (time, effort, money). So the longer I was at it, the more I wanted to stick with it (even on the days it was incredibly tempting to chuck it all). I will forever preach the perseverance gospel to fellow writers.
KJ: If you could cast OUT OF SIGHT with Hollywood actors, who would star in the film?
TM: Eric Bana and Michelle Ryan (who plays the new BionicWoman).
KJ: Thanks for joining us today, Trish! We wish you all the best and hope to see OUT OF SIGHT make the next round. For more information about Trish and her writing, please visit http://www.trishmilburn.com/