A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Tricia Mills, Author of Winter Longing!

Dying to know more about your favorite authors? Well, you've come to the right place! Ten Tantalizing Questions is designed not only to showcase exciting books on the horizon, but to also provide a glimpse into the interesting personalities of the authors behind them.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Winter Longing is a story about love, loss, healing and second chances. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and perhaps share with us a favorite line, scene or passage?

Winter Craig finally gets up the nerve and tells her long-time friend Spencer that she likes him as more than a friend. The best part? Spencer likes her as more than a friend too. With the perfect boy to love and be loved by, she begins her senior year at her small Alaska school and indulges in the dream of becoming a costume designer for the movie industry. Life is perfect — until tragedy strikes. Winter’s perfect life turns upside down as she deals with an unbearable loss, doubts about her future, a best friend whose home life is getting worse by the day, and unexpected feelings for an unexpected boy.

It's really difficult to pick a favorite line, scene or passage. It all works together to tell the story.

Do you remember the first words you ever wrote for Winter Longing and are they still in the novel today?

Wow, I've never been asked this question before. The book has gone through a few sets of revisions, but I think what I wrote first is probably still in there, just in a different spot. We changed where the book opened.

What was your inspiration for Winter Longing -- can you give us any insight into that first spark that helped form the idea for the novel?In addition, can you tell us about how it changed since your initial rough draft?

I've always been fascinated with Alaska, and I want to take a long vacation there sometime to really explore all its natural beauty and culture. I grew up in a really small town where, as a teenager, I felt nothing ever happened. I wondered how much more isolated it must feel like to grow up in a small town in rural Alaska. But I figured teens there would still face some of the same classic teen issues -- liking someone and wondering if they liked you back, trouble with parents, popularity or lack thereof, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life.

Initially, I had written the book where we see Spencer, Winter's friend and first boyfriend, but now we only see him in flashbacks at the beginning of each chapter. I didn't know how it would work, but I think it ends up being more powerful.

If you had to attach a musical score to your novel, what songs do you imagine playing during prominent scenes?

I actually reference some songs in the book, ones that Winter listens to a lot, especially when she's dealing with the loss of Spencer. In particular, there are the songs "Breath" and "So Cold", the lyrics of which really fit with the story.

If Winter Longing was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

I actually usually have pictures of actors, models or someone I've seen in a magazine that I use to create the my characters. For Winter, I'd chosen Shiri Appleby during her younger, Roswell days. For Spencer, actor Oliver James. For Jesse, the boy who helps Winter through her sorrow, actor Ben Barnes. For Lindsay, Winter's best friend, actress Q'orianka Kilcher. And for Caleb, Lindsay's love interest, actor William Moseley. If a movie was really made (and that would be beyond awesome), they'd probably have to cast different actors, probably younger.

What do you love most about the main characters of Winter Longing?

They're real. They're dealing with a lot of tough issues, and it doesn't matter if they're well off or poor, popular or not -- they all have something tough they've gone through or are currently finding their way through.

If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

Wow, there are so many -- Hermione Granger, Katsa from Kristin Cashore's Graceling, Suze from Meg Cabot's Mediator series. But I think I'll go with Alice Cullen. She's fun, cute, powerful, a good friend, and I'm a big Jasper fan. :) I even dressed as Alice at Dragon*Con last year.

What were you like as a teen? Were there any books in particular that were your favorite?

Bookish, unsure of myself, not popular, a good student. Sometimes I wish I could take the person I am now and plant her back in high school because I know I'd be much more confident and be able to deal with situations differently. But I expect a lot of people feel the same way about themselves as they get older. I read a good bit of romance and classic books like Gone with the Wind. The teen fiction market today is so much more varied and vibrant. The teen fiction market in the '80s was pretty thin. I would have read today's teen books like crazy if I'd had access to them then.

What types of feedback do you receive from readers? Is there one comment in particular that has really affected you?

I get occasional e-mails and posts on my Twitter feed. I got one handwritten note from a reader who said that my first teen novel, Heartbreak River, spoke to her because she felt like she was going through a lot of the things my heroine, Alex, did. And I got a glowing review on Winter Longing from a teen book blogger that had me glowing for days. She said the book touched her and changed her, and that is the most awesome thing for an author to hear.

What can we look forward to from you next? Any new projects or upcoming series in the works?

I've just submitted revisions on a paranormal trilogy that I'm really excited about. We're hoping to find a publishing home for it soon so I can share it with readers.

Young Adult Books
by Tricia Mills

Adult Books
by Tricia Mills aka Trish Milburn

Tricia Mills grew up in Kentucky and got her degree in print journalism. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, a marketing assistant, and a magazine managing editor, and she now freelance writes and edits full time. She and her husband live in Tennessee.
To learn more about Tricia Mills, visit her Official Website
Purchase Winter Longing at Amazon.com.


Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

She went to Dragon Con :) How cool! She sounds like she is way down to earth and fun :)

Nomes said...

I love the questions you asked. I have this one coming to me now :) I love Heartbreak River (great characters and a plot that went places I didn't expect, plus i read it in one day - I love books that I lose myself in like that). Cant wait to read this one :)