Monday, May 14, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Trisha Haddad
Trisha Haddad is a writer living in southern California. Her passions include reading and writing (of course!), international travel, visiting museums, afternoons spent at the library, and hanging out with her soulmate and their son. She is the author of Best of Luck Elsewhere and Nihon Nights (written with Monica Haddad).
How did you start out your writing career?
My grandmother was a writer so it writing was always a part of my life. Some grandmothers teach their granddaughters to cook or garden; my Nana taught me how to harness my daydreams in writing. After years of little stories, I wrote my first full novel at 17, then another at 19, and another at 22 (these are hiding in file drawers until I get the nerve to edit them). Best of Luck Elsewhere was my first published novel, which I finished in my mid-20s, and then Nihon Nights a couple years later which I wrote with my younger sister, Monica.
What did you learn while writing this book?
With Best of Luck, I learned the value of planning. I'd written maybe 100 pages when I realized the person I thought was the murderer did not have it in them. I'd been writing blind, discovering who it might be along with the reader. So I had to step back think through the whole story, and then go back and do a major edit of what I had. With Nihon Nights, I learned that as much as I disliked group projects in school, collaborating with my sister was a whole lot of fun!
What did you hope to accomplish with the books?
I love getting lost in a story, so I hope the books entertain readers. I'm also passionate about travel, and that is always a relevant part of my books which I hope helps a reader escape too-- to Santorini or Nagoya or Kauai or San Diego or wherever the character goes.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The plot for sure on both. For example, with Nihon Nights, Monica and went back and forth trying to peg Abigail and London. We figured out Abigail pretty quick, but evidently we have different opinions on what makes a guy hot so it took a while for London, though we both sure like the guy that Genesis Press got for the cover!
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I've worked in publishing for all my of professional life since college, so much of it has been familiar. What I wasn't expecting was how much promotion is needed. I tend to be really shy, so agreeing to a book talk or a signing makes me nervous for weeks beforehand.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
That's easy! I love writing. I dislike in-person promotion. Just can't get over that shyness.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. The process of finding the right publisher takes a while. 2. Regardless of how shy or private you are, an author has to also be a marketing/publicity person for their books. 3. No matter how busy you get, there's always a bit of time to write. It might mean skipping some TV shows or stealing away to a park bench on your lunch break with a notepad, but there is always tiny bits of time.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
DO find someone who you trust to read and critique your work. DON'T check Facebook if you are planning to write directly after (that thing is a time-suck and you may run out of time to write).
Tell us something few know about you?
I've kept a journals consistently since my 8th birthday. I have a large box full of old journals, around 40 of them! Someday my kids or grandkids are going to get a good chuckle out of my junior high school angst, and what a know-it-all I was in college, and how head-over-heels I was when I met the man I eventually married.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Read (of course!), travel (anything from a weekend trip up the coast to several weeks overseas... it is all good!), and spend time with my husband and kiddo.
Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Name your top five favorite books of all time.
Martin Eden, by Jack London
Hunger, by Knut Hamsun
The Promise of Light, by Paul Watkins
Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer, by CS Lewis
Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks (I actually just finished reading this, so I probably should give it more time to be sure I still feel this way, but it was absolutely fantastic. So, as of today, and as of this interview, it makes the list!)
Who was the first author you ever met?
My grandmother. In my first career-job out of college I worked at a literary agency, so I also met lots of authors I'd read and looked up to and that was a lot of fun.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
On a spiritual side, I know for sure that there is a God.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Sure! I finished the manuscript a few months ago, and it is titled Deep Green. The main character, Leah, prefers the adventure and romance of books, but during a cruise a terrorist attack leaves her adrift in a sparse lifeboat with several strangers. Environmental activist Blue McCree impresses her immediately with his knowledge of literature and philosophy. While she doesn’t quite agree with his “deep environmentalism,” his passion is enticing. Just as thrilling though is strong, dark Musir. He is slow to speak, translating his thoughts from Arabic to English, but his chivalry and beauty captivate Leah’s curiosity.
It’s after the darkest night, when an injured lifeboat passenger dies, that hope returns--land! Then it’s one danger after another as the group must find a way to survive.
But there are secrets that the survivors hold deep: a past full of sorrow for one, and connection to the terrorists from the ship for another. The truth will blow apart any semblance of civility and test Leah’s preconceived notions of just how far dedication can go before it crosses over into fanaticism.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My website is the best way, TrishaHaddad.com. I'll write back to anyone using the "Contact" feature.
Abigail Dennis has spent the last five years in exotic Japan, working her way up the ranks at English World. While the school has fallen into a financial crisis, Abigail trusts they will pull through. That is, until golden-curled London Crane arrives from Maui, hired to teach without any warning about the economic issues. Despite their immediate attraction, the relationship is strained with London’s cynicism and Abigail’s corporate loyalty.
Suddenly, English World’s CEO is missing. Rumors fly. London is impressed with the way Abigail protects her staff and, as the two explore temples, festivals, and each other, passion deepens.
Will the new love they’ve found survive the economic turmoil and criminal suspicions that surround them? Will Abigail survive at all?
Best of Luck Elsewhere
Eliza Tahan, assistant editor at J Press, worries she might become the target of a disgruntled author after her boss is murdered and a form rejection letter is found on the scene, and she’s suddenly the next target.
Toss in a tragic family history, an tumultuous present, and Eliza can barely hold her life together at a level of normalcy. She's certainly not equipped to be solving murders.
But when the Editor of the local newspaper becomes more than just a professional acquaintance, their growing passion urges Eliza to overcome her past and her passivity to find the author-turned-murderer before she is pegged with the crime or, worse yet, before she or someone she loves becomes the next victim.
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