Friday, May 8, 2009

A SPECIAL VISIT FROM TRISH MILBURN



Petit Fours and Hot Tamales would like to welcome Trish Milburn to our stage today.

Trish Milburn is an eight-time Golden Heart finalist and two-time winner – once for Romantic Suspense and once for Young Adult. She writes YA as Tricia Mills for Razorbill (Heartbreak River, April 2009) and contemporary romance under her real name for Harlequin American (Her Very Own Family, May 2009). She is a former magazine editor, and still puts those editorial skills to use as a freelance copy editor and writer. She has her own blog and is a regular contributor to the Wet Noodle Posse, Romance Bandits, Supernatural Sisters, and Harlequin American group blogs.

In what little spare time she has, she enjoys reading, traveling, watching TV and movies, and hiking.

Trish enjoys “talking” with people, so be sure to check out her website and leave her a message at http://www.trishmilburn.com/

Without wasting any more time, let’s meet Trish.

1) Your Harlequin American Romance entitled Her Very Own Family recently was released. Tell us about it.

Audrey York arrives in tiny Willow Glen, Tennessee, with the aim of starting her life over. She’s leaving behind a fast-paced part of her life that ended in a scandal not of her making but which scarred her nonetheless. The perfect balm for her battered soul presents itself when she buys an old gristmill and undertakes the renovation necessary to turn it into a restaurant. What she doesn’t expect is to befriend an older neighbor who insists on helping her and then fighting the temptation his son presents when he joins the renovation too. While she enjoys her time with Brady Witt and his father, Nelson, she fears that her old life will catch up with her and shatter this new life like it did the old.

2) I understand you’ve sold a sequel to A Firefighter in the Family. When is it due to release?

I don't have a release date yet. In fact, I just turned it in to my editor in late March. I'd love for it to come out later this year, but I suspect it'll be sometime in 2010.

3) Tell us about your new Young Adult entitled; Heartbreak River, which just released in April.

I'm so excited about my launch into YA. I'm a big YA fan. Here's the blurb for the story:

Alexandra Landon once loved running the Grayton River through the Colorado canyons near her home and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life but continuing the family’s river rafting business. But that was before her father died in a rafting accident and she developed a full-fledged fear of drowning. It’s been nearly a year since her father’s death, and the arrival of another summer means Alex has to face the river, the question of whether she can ever recapture her love of rafting, and the return of co-worker and former boyfriend Sean Kenley. One way or the other, this summer is going to change Alex’s life forever.

4) How long does it take you to write a book?

I write pretty quickly, so I'd say that from beginning to end is around 3 months, including revising before the initial turning in of the book. Of course, every book is different.

5) Do you ever have Writer’s Block?

Not really. Some parts are more difficult than others and come more slowly (usually in the middle of a book), but I just keep plugging through.

6) What’s your writing schedule? Do you do a certain number of pages or words each day?

It varies depending on when my deadlines are. Typically, though, I get up about 8 in the morning and am at my computer by 8:30. I spend about half an hour doing e-mail, blogs, reading the news, etc. Then I work until lunchtime, when I fix a quick lunch and plop down to watch something my TiVo has recorded. Then I'm back at work by 1 p.m. or so and work until 5 or 6, when I quit to make dinner, spend time with my husband, watch some TV, do more e-mail/online stuff. If the schedule requires it, I can work a few hours in the evening since I typically stay up until 11 or 12 before going to bed and reading until I get really sleepy. Now, those work hours can encompass actual writing, revising, brainstorming/plotting, promotional work, or whatever needs to be done.

7) How do you promote your books and how much time do you spend promoting your books?

I have no idea how much time because I don't track it, but at least some every day. I have my own blog on my Web site, and I participate in several group blogs (Romance Bandits, Wet Noodle Posse, Supernatural Sisters, Harlequin American and Title Magic). I also spend time on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. I also try to speak at chapter meetings or conferences several times a year and do a few book signings.

8) Okay, Trish, it’s time for a question that all our readers and authors want to know. Do you have a favorite comfort food for those times that you’re experiencing a slow down in the muse or those times that you want to celebrate?

I have a ginormous sweet tooth, so rewarding myself usually involves dessert of some kind -- chocolate cake, a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard from Dairy Queen, lemon pie, pumpkin pie, strawberry pie. Well, you get the idea. :)

9) How did you start writing Young Adult?

Fellow writer Stephanie Rowe, who has written YA as Stephie Davis, encouraged me to try my hand at it. Considering how many teen-centric movies and TV shows I watch and how many YA novels I read, it made sense.

10) What’s the biggest difference between writing adult romance and young adult?

Trying to recapture what it was like to be a teenager when I'm -- gulp -- nearly 20 years removed from it. But I think part of us is always a teenager inside. Those years leave too much of an impression to totally forget those feelings of angst, longing, etc.

11) How long did it take you to be offered your first contract?

From the time I got serious about writing and submitting, 11 years.

12) What kept you going during those years?

Stubbornness. :) Seriously, my writing friends, a supportive husband, and a determination to not give up, though it was often very tempting after repeated rejections.

13) This is a similar question, but on your website it says you’ve written 17 manuscripts before making a sell. How did you stay motivated?

I had put so much time, effort, and money into trying to get published that I couldn't quit. I didn't want it all to have been for nothing.

14) You’ve been on the road in April and now will be traveling in May, June and July. What’s your writing schedule when you’re on the road?

It depends on how I'm traveling (driving or by train) and when I get to my destination. The writing hours are usually curtailed, but I try to get some in. At the very least, I keep up with the online stuff and keeping my e-mail to a manageable level so that it doesn't drown me when I get home.

15) What do you know now about writing or publishing that you wish you had known ten years ago?

How long it was going to take me to get published. :) And that the publishing world is very cyclical. Different genres come and go and come again.

16) Do you have a few words of advice for new or unpublished writers?

Decide how much you want to be published and work your schedule accordingly. If it requires sacrificing other things like TV viewing, going out with friends, etc., then do that. But remember that writing is only one aspect of your life. Balance is key.

17) What are you working on right now?

I'm answering this in early April, and I'm working on revisions for my second YA, Ice and Desire, which is slated to come out in the summer of 2010. By the time this blog runs, I'm sure I'll be working on a rodeo-based book for Harlequin American. It's part of a six-book continuity I'm in with five other authors, and it's set to come out in 2010 as well.

18) Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers that I haven’t asked you?

I really hope you like Heartbreak River. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a quick note via the Contact page on my Web site at www.trishmilburn.com or www.triciamills.com.



Trish, we’d like to thank you for visiting with us today and giving us a chance to get to know you, but I bet some of our readers have questions for you that we didn’t cover. Let’s hear what they have to ask.

Everyone who leaves a comment or asks a question will be entered in a random drawing for a “Surprise Package” that Trish will send to the lucky winner.

TRISH, THANK YOU FOR BEING OUR GUEST TODAY!

26 comments:

Nicki Salcedo said...

Trish, you are a great inspiration.

You mentioned that: "Different genres come and go and come again." Is there a danger in chasing a hot market like YA or vampires just because that's what everyone else is doing?

Can you share your biggest mistake or mistakes over the last 11 years?

Thanks for stopping by PFHT. We love you!

Nicki Salcedo said...

I really look forward to reading your YA!

Tami Brothers said...

Nicki, it is AWESOME!!! I can't say enough nice things about it. You really need to make time to read it (I know, amongst all the other things you have going, but it is definitely worth it!!!).

Trish, I honestly loved your YA book, Heartbreak River. BUT I also LOVED your adult romances. I can't wait for that rodeo based book to come out (I'm a rodeo girl from Wyoming, so anything rodeo catches my eye!).

Thanks at ton for stopping over here today. You are a true friend to all of us and a gem of a writer!!!

Tami Brothers

Cyrano said...

Trish,
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us. I really enjoyed your post today. It gave me the nudge I need to start using my time more wisely.
Nicki had some great questions that I hope you can answer for us. (she always has good questions.)
Have a great Friday,
Tamara

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Trish,

Thank you for guest blogging with us today.

I'm wondering what you've found to be the best way to advertise?
Techy stuff like Blogging, Twittering, Facebook or personal appearances? What gave you the best name recognition?

Thanks again and I can't wait to read Heartbread River.

Sandy Elzie

Debbie Kaufman said...

Trish: Welcome to the PFHT blog! If you look at the daily schedule and the desserts that you mentioned, we could have been separated at birth! Okay, except my writing day usually ends by 3 when I have to start running afternoon carpools.

You have got to be the Queen of Perseverance!

So how did you get into that teenage mindset? And do you white water raft/did you personally research this activity?

Marilyn Baron said...

Trish,

Thanks for blogging with us. I was really inspired by your story and the fact that you refused to give up.

I also enjoyed reading about your writing day and your range of genres.

Can you pinpoint what changed between the time you began submitting manuscripts and receiving rejections and your first sale? Did you do something different that you were aware of, improve some aspect of the writing process or did it just take that long to get noticed?

Was there an aha moment?

I wish you continued success.

Marilyn Baron

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Trish--

Thanks for your post-it gave me hope since I'm eleven years out from my first novel and ridiculously stubborn.

I was thumbing through an old Tennessee Magazine a few months ago, and, lo and behold, what should I see but one of your articles. Do you still write articles? Would you recommend that sort of thing to those of us trying to get published, or do you think it would distract us from our WIPs?

Oh, and I am so with you on Buffy and Angel someday finding HEA. Unfortunately, I don't think Joss Whedon is on board.

Sally

Linsey Lanier said...

Trish,

Thanks for being with us at PFHT today and for sharing your journey. It's encouraging to know that with persistence and patience, a writer can make it.

17 manuscripts. Wow. Do you plan to redo and resubmit any of them? What's your advice about revisiting old manuscripts that didn't sell?

Linsey

penney said...

Hi Trish, thanks for blogging here today I enjoyed reading this, your book sounds good I'll be getting it. Thanks
Penney

Rae Ann Parker said...

Nicki: Thanks for posting a link to Trish's interview on Facebook!

Trish: You are an inspiration to me. I've been writing for almost eight years and can't give up the dream. If I did maybe I could buy more shoes or travel more. :)

I have read Trish's Heartbreak River and it's a fun read!

Carol Burnside said...

Hi, Trish. Welcome to PFHT.

Geez, there are such good questions posed already, I can't think of anything to add right now. However, my shopping list just got longer. :-)

CiCi Barnes said...

Thanks for stopping by, Trish. We appreciate your limited time with us. I see that we pretty much have the same writing schedule. I'm lucky to be able to devote that much time to something I love doing.

I look forward to reading your latest book.

CiCi

Maxine Davis said...

Trish,
I love 'words of wisdom' and you had many. Thanks for taking time to post on PF&Ht. It sounds like you are very busy, but you have the key - write some every day. So, off I go to write.
Thanks.

Margay said...

Hi, Trish, I like the advice you give to new or unpublished authors. Balance is very important with all aspects of your life, but writers tend to forget other aspects of life when they're in the zone (I speak from experience).
Margay

Gannon Carr said...

Hey, Trish! I'm looking forward to reading your YA. I loved A Firefighter in the Family, so I'm sure I'll love the rest!

I can relate to the sweet tooth. A blizzard from DQ sounds fabulous about now. ;)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, everyone, sorry I'm a little late in the day in responding. I took off part of the day to go see Star Trek. LOVED it!

Nicki, I think there is a danger of chasing what's hot, but I think that's more of a problem if you truly don't like whatever that hot market is. For instance, vampires have been big for awhile, and you'll notice that everyone and their dog is writing them. I love vampire stories, but I'm guessing we're either at or near a saturation point. I don't see paranormal waning anytime soon, but we're beginning to see other types of paranormals gain in popularity. Zombies, for instance.

Hmm, biggest mistakes -- I really can't think of anything off the top of my head, though I'm sure I've made plenty.

Thanks for the love. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Tami, seriously, I need to hire you to do my PR. Your praise always makes me smile a mile wide. :)

I don't know for sure yet, but I think the rodeo book will be out sometime next year.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Cyrano/Tamara -- glad you liked the post. Thanks for commenting.

Sandy, it's hard to tell what advertising works. It's such an intangible thing. I do all the social network stuff (Twitter, Facebook) because it's free. :) I do personal appearances because I like meeting people, and I'm hopeful that meeting readers face to face will help build a positive image in their minds. I was just at a reader luncheon this past weekend, and three ladies who had sat at my table last year sought me out to sit with again. That made me feel so good.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Debbie, I don't have to do the carpool thing because I'm one of those who have left the having of kids to others. Though I have to say I'm a pretty cool aunt who buys nice prezzies. :)

As for the teenage mindset, I think there's still a teenager living inside me. I have always loved teen movies, teen TV shows and YA fiction. For a long time though, the YA market was dead, dead, dead. I can't tell you how much I'm loving its resurgence.

And no, I've never been white-water rafting. I can't swim and am scared to death of being on or in the water, though I love being near it. I would love to conquer this fear and learn to swim.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Marilyn, I honestly think that what I experienced is what any writer will experience if she sticks with it. Of course, we are all constantly learning how to improve our craft, even after we're published, but after a certain point though, I think it just comes down to hitting the right editor at the right time with the right project. You know, the planets aligning correctly. :)

One of my favorite quotes is "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity."

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Sally, glad to find another devotee to Buffy and Angel getting together. :)

I still write and copy edit some for The Tennessee Magazine, but that used to be my full-time job until January 2005, when I quit to write full time.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Oops, sent that last post too soon. Sally, I think if one has time and can get stuff freelance published, it stretches your writing muscles in a different way and can bring in a little extra income.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Linsey, actually I'm about to start work revising one of my unsold YA mss in hopes that it can find a home. I have another ms (adult paranormal) that I revised and which my agent is currently shopping.

I think some older mss should just be chalked up to practice, but some can be salvaged. You just have to look at them honestly.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Penney, I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for commenting.

Rae Ann, so glad you enjoyed Heartbreak River!

Carol, I do so love to add to someone's shopping list. :) Of course, I'm always adding to my own too, even though I have nearly a thousand books in my house. I need to freeze time for a year and just read.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

CiCi and Maxine, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your writing.

Margay, we can get so wrapped up in trying to get published that other things suffer, important things. I didn't want that to happen, especially since I have a wonderful husband and I didn't want him to feel forgotten.

Gannon, I must confess I got another DQ Blizzard today, after I left the movie theater.