First interview

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