Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you today, Trish Doller! Trish is the author of Something Like Normal and she has generously agreed to answering all of my insane questions today! Let’s give her a warm welcome, shall we!?
Trish, may I ask where it is you got the idea for Something Like Normal?
Trish: Back in 2003, I was working as a reporter for my hometown newspaper and was assigned to interview a Marine home on leave after being deployed to Iraq. When I met him, it struck me how young he was and that he'd experienced a lot for a nineteen-year-old...sleeping in the desert with a rock for a pillow, wearing a special uniform to protect against chemical weapons (which also meant not showering for a month), and having to kill someone. I found that out because I plowed right ahead and asked. Only later did I learn that it's not always something Marines want to talk about. In any case, he stuck with me for a long time and I remembered him when I started writing Travis.
Did you need to do much research for this book? (because there were some CRAZY details in there!)
Trish: I did quite a bit of research. I read books on war, Afghanistan, the Marine Corps, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos--most of which were shot by the Marines themselves--of Marines in combat and goofing around, downloaded a ton of pictures that I used as reference, and printed up dozens of articles about the 3rd Battalion/6th Marines, who were in Afghanistan while I was writing. Also, I joined an online forum for Marines, where I was able to ask questions about the Marine Corps and Afghanistan.
Pretend real quick we’re filming the MOVIE for Something Like Normal (swoooon!) who would play your ideal Travis and Harper?
Trish: There is a stuntman named Riley Harper who looks almost exactly like the Travis in my head. I don't know if he acts, but he'd be my first choice. If not, I think Bobby Campo would be a great Travis. As for Harper, Brie Larson is the only actress I've ever pictured.
So when you are not writing, what can we expect to find you doing?
Trish: Well, I have a day job, so you'd find me working in a Very Large Bookstore in the teen/kids department. I also spend a bit of time in the Florida Keys, and I'll be taking diving lessons in August, so look for me underwater!
What is your every day must have? (Mine is coffee, I’m an addict!)
Trish: I need a Coke (or Pepsi) in the morning to get me jumpstarted. And I have to spend some time on tumblr every day or I go through withdrawal.
What do you enjoy reading, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Trish: I like reading YA best, and my favorites include Melina Marchetta, Kirsty Eagar, and Cath Crowley. I recently did a book swap with Kirsty and I totally fangirled out when I received a signed copy of her book, Raw Blue, which is probably my favorite YA novel. I also love Neil Gaiman, Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, and Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl series.
What do you have in store for us next? We are WAITING on more! (And I for one, can’t wait!)
Trish: My next book is called ALL THAT WAS LOST and hopefully I will have something official to say about it soon. What I can tell you is that it's about a seventeen-year-old girl named Callie, who returns to her home in Tarpon Springs, Florida, after being away for a long time. That's very vague, but it includes Greek culture, sponge diving, and a very hot guy.
You brought a very realistic feel to the life of a Marine, and what it is they experience; do you have personal experience with the Marines?
Trish: Aside from the Marine I interviewed back in 2003, I didn't really know any Marines. But I've gotten to know quite a few via the forum I mentioned, including the Marine to whom the book is dedicated. He was a huge help in answering questions about Afghanistan--because he is a member of the 3/6 Marines--and his real life experience as a bomb dog handler directly inspired a part of Something Like Normal.
Your writing is amazing, and having a male lead in YA is very rare! Was there ever a point when you were not going to write Something Like Normal from Travis’ perspective? (or even switch narrators)
Trish: Thank you! The book I originally started writing was going to be about a girl who was an outcast after having been branded a "slut" when she was younger. Travis was meant to be the boy who trashed her reputation, now grown up and kind of an outcast himself after being wounded in Afghanistan. Her story stalled out, so I attempted to write from both perspectives. When Travis took up residence in my head, he made it very clear it was his story, not hers, so I switched to his perspective and never looked back. And while some of her story carried over into Harper's life, the original main character never made it into the final book.
You’re on an island, right. You can only bring three things, what do you bring?
Trish: I suppose it would be cheating to bring a boat, right? So I'll bring a fishing pole, a book (probably Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman), and my husband. (And I'll hope he thinks to bring a boat.)
TRISH, thank you SO SO much for being here today! As a thank you to our readers, I am going to be giving away a copy of Something Like Normal! I hope you will come back soon Trish, it was a pleasure having you!
Trish: The pleasure was mine. I'd love to visit again, and good luck to everyone who enters!
Seriously, Something Like Normal made me cry, made me happy, and then it made me want to dive right in and help Travis! If you haven't pick it up! Or enter to win a copy below!
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