Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Trish Milburn!

I worked as a journalist before becoming a full-time author. I still do occasional freelance jobs, but I dedicate most of my time to writing books now. I’m a two-time Golden Heart winner and have published four books with Harlequin American with three more due out in the first half of 2012, two young adult books (under the name Tricia Mills) with Razorbill, and three self-published titles. I have three young adult titles coming out next year under my own name from Bell Bridge Books.

Did you ever want to quit writing? Why or why not?

Oh, heck yeah. I’ve told this story many times. I had in 2007 what I called my Summer of Buffy. I’d hit the 10-year mark for trying to get published and got really down thinking that my Golden Heart finals were the best I was ever going to do. I couldn’t make myself write and ended up lying on the couch all summer watching all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, all five seasons of Angel and the first season of Supernatural. But something happened while I was watching all that TV. I got an idea for a young adult story and ended up writing the first draft in 17 days. It took me a while to sell that story, but Coven is the first in my trilogy coming out next year, debuting in February. It wasn’t the first story I sold, but it’s what kept me going. A year after the Summer of Buffy, I sold my first two books to Razorbill. Three months later, I sold my first two romances to Harlequin American. So I’m a big believer in perseverance now, even when it’s really, really hard to keep going.

What are your writing career goals? (i.e. to write 2 books a year? To hit the NY Bestsellers List? To sell 100 books a month?)
I think we all might have that New York Times Bestsellers List. I want to have at least three releases a year, and I’d love to eventually see at least one of my YA books turned into a movie. I plan to keep up with my three-prong business plan – books with large publishers, smaller publishers and self-publishing. I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket, and I tend to write different types of stories. I’d also love to make enough that my husband could quit his job. He’s supported me throughout the years when I wasn’t selling, and it’d be nice if he could have the free time and energy to indulge the pursuits he likes. 

Have you truly mastered grammar and sentence structure? Do you feel 100% confident about every comma in your book?
Nobody’s ever going to catch everything. No matter how many times I proof a book, there’s always going to be some little something I need to change. I think all writers experience this. That said I’m pretty confident in the cleanliness of my books. My work at newspapers and magazines helped hone my copy editing skills, and I’ve done freelance copy edit work for other authors and a local publisher.

How many pages do you think you could write in one day if you had zero interruptions from 8 AM to 8 PM?
The most I’ve ever written in a day was between 25 and 30 pages. I find that my pace is fastest when I start and declines as the day goes on and my brain tires. I do best when I write a few pages, then take a break for exercise or chores, then write some more. I’m more productive in writing spurts of about half an hour at a time.

How do you think (take a guess) writers like Nora Roberts write so many books in a year?
They view it as a full-time job and treat it as such. If you have a regular day job where someone else pays you, you can’t say, “I don’t feel like going to work today. I think I’ll stay home and watch TV or go shopping.” Too much of that and you’re out of a job. Why would writing be any different?

What would be easier for you to write, a sex scene or a murder scene?

Hmm, would depend on the book. I’ve written both types and sometimes they flow easily, and sometimes they’re like pulling teeth.

Any advice for new writers just getting started?
Stick with it, even when the going gets tough. And never stop improving your craft. Writing is a crowded marketplace, and with the industry changing so much and so quickly the quality of the writing is really what is going to make you stand out and be successful.

Thank you, Trish! If you would like to learn more about Trish Milburn, visit the following sites:
Find Trish on Twitter: @TrishMilburn  


Theresa Ragan said...

Trish, thanks for being my very first victim...I mean, interview! I'm so excited to have you here today, but I'm not very good at Blogger and I tried to link Out of Sight to Amazon, but it doesn't work for me! I've done it a million times with other books, etc., but it won't work, so I give up! I'll try again later.

I love what you said about wanting to be able to support your husband for a while. I feel exactly the same way. I would love to take some of the pressure off of my husband. I think he would love it too!

And the most you've written is 25 to 30 pages in a day!!! What?! You slacker. Ha! Just kidding. That's amazing.

Thanks again, Trish. I'm hoping and wishing that all of your dreams come true.

Bev Pettersen said...

Really enjoyed the interview and grinned at the Buffy reference. So watching TV can be inspirational --good to know! Your publishing platform sounds so well rounded, Trish. Best of luck. Hope your husband can stay home soon.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

LOL! Glad to be your first victim, er, interview. :)

Now that 25-30 pages a day is far from normal. A comfortable pace for me is 10-12 pages a day. I fairly often push for 15, which is what I'm going to have to be doing between now and Feb. 1. I have two books due that day as well as revisions on another due in January. Eek!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hi, Bev! Thanks for stopping by. I really am a firm believer in TV being a source of inspiration. After all, they are stories written by writers, same as us. And I often exercise while watching TV which helps with the fitness and keeping the brain active.

Norah Wilson said...

Trish, it's always an inspiration to read your interviews! And as a fellow TV lover, I really love your Summer of Buffy story. When I need to fill the well, that's what I do - watch TV compulsively and read books. Now, if I could just bring myself to exercise while I do it....

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hi, Norah. Thanks for stopping by. In addition to TV, one thing I find inspirational is going to the movies. Despite TiVo and Netflix, I still love the experience of sitting in a theater and watching a movie on the big screen.

Bron said...

Hi Trish - I love your books. Nice to hear about your life. I was more of an Angel fan rather than Buffy.

25-30 pages in a day - inspirational

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hi, Bron. Thanks so much for the compliment. I really appreciate it.

I liked the early seasons of Angel better than the later ones. My favorites though are the first three seasons of Buffy.

cidney swanson said...

Trish, Great stuff.
Theresa, I haven't been by for awhile, but this was a great post to show up for. Great questions!

Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Cidney! Long time no see, although I do see you over on the kindle boards and I've been to your site. I think I tried to comment a couple of times. You have some of the best covers ever! Ripple and Chameleon. I hope everything is going great for you.

I just started doing interviews so that I have something fun to share inbetween Sales Update Posts. I'm already filled up through January!

Thanks so much for coming by to say "Hi!"

Linda Andrews said...

I, too, love the summer of Buffy comment. I'll be keeping an eye out for the books those three shows inspired.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hi, Cidney. Wow, Theresa is right. Those covers are lovely. I was reading your blurb for Rippler (which I just bought) and had a Twilight Zone moment. My newest book, Out of Sight, is about a woman who can make herself invisible. Great minds think alike. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Linda, thanks for commenting. The books, as they're scheduled now, are:

Coven -- February
Magick -- May
Bane -- September

Tori Scott said...

Trish, I enjoyed your interview. I think you're totally right about Nora and other prolific authors treating writing like a job. Before we're published, I think we tend to treat writing like a hobby, something we dabble in for fun. But until we start making enough to write full-time, it's hard to put in 8 hours a day on writing. Having a goal of x number of pages per day and sticking with it helps.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hi, Tori. Thanks for stopping by.

It is hard to devote that amount of time before we're published. I do, however, think it's good training for when we are. Even if we don't spend 8 hours a day doing actual writing, we can use a big chunk for that and use the rest for writing-related activities (writing blog posts, posting to social media, creating workshops to give at conferences and chapter meetings, career planning, updating website, brainstorming, etc.).

Caroline said...

Hi, Trish! I'm late to the party but have been running full tilt trying to catch up with everything. Congrats on your successes! You’re an inspirations as always.

Loved the interview!

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