I’d like to introduce you to the ninetieth interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Tricia Drammeh.
Hi, Tricia! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
I began writing about four years ago. The resulting book was published in 2012 by a small press, and since then, I’ve self-published three books in various genres.
Your latest New Adult novel, Better Than Perfect, was released on May 27, 2014. Can you tell us about the book? What is the ‘New Adult’ genre?
Better than Perfect is a contemporary romance/chick-lit novel about a young woman who is coming out of a long depression following the death of her parents. Karlie is ready for adventure, but change is hard for her. She meets the guy of her dreams, but their relationship faces challenges very early on when she takes on temporary responsibility for twin teenage boys while their grandmother is in the hospital.
Better than Perfect fits into the New Adult category, which means it’s intended for audiences between the ages of 18 through about 25. New Adult novels can be any genre from romance to paranormal to literary fiction, but they generally tackle issues facing adults in their early twenties such as juggling college courses, first-time romance, new career struggles, and other problems or concerns younger adults generally deal with.
You have another New Adult novel, The Fifth Circle. Are these two books related? Can you tell us about ‘The Fifth Circle’?
The Fifth Circle is completely unrelated to Better than Perfect. Whereas Better than Perfect is fun with light romance, The Fifth Circle explores mental illness, domestic abuse, and child abuse. It’s categorized as ‘New Adult’ because I wanted to make sure it didn’t get into the hands of any younger teens. Though there are teens who certainly deal with many of the issues explored in The Fifth Circle, as a parent, I wouldn’t want my younger teen reading it, and with my older teens, I’d like to talk with them about these issues before putting this type of book in their hands.
You have also written and published a Young Adult novel, The Séance. We would love to hear about that book, as well.
The Seance wasn’t my first foray into teen paranormal, but it’s my first scary book. It’s about a young teen named Abby who is obsessed with the supernatural. She uses a Ouija board to conduct a seance and quickly discovers the paranormal is not a playground. The demon who is accidentally summoned during the seance creates havoc in her life. There are a few scary scenes in the book and to be quite honest, there were times I scared myself when writing it.
I’ve heard that you are working on two new novels, Sweet Sorrow and Viral. How far along are you? Do you have expected publication dates for those?
Sweet Sorrow is a teen romance that’s at the halfway mark. I wouldn’t expect publication until next spring or summer at the earliest. Viral is a work in progress I haven’t touched in ages. I don’t know when I’ll revisit it, as I’d like to finish Sweet Sorrow first.
Will you give us an excerpt (up to 1500 words) from one of your novels?
The sun is coming up before I finally crash into sleep. When the ringing of the telephone startles me into a sitting position, I struggle for a moment to remember where I am. Three, four, five times, the phone rings, a noise from the past, from a time before cell phones all but obliterated the need for a land line.
Who’s calling this early? How early is it? Maybe it’s the hospital. Oh, my God! Maybe it’s Sharron. I bolt from the sofa. My feet tangle in the blanket, nearly sending me crashing face first into the coffee table. I right myself and skitter to the kitchen, yanking the olive-colored plastic handset from the wall phone. “Hello,” I gasp breathlessly.
“Karlie, honey? Everything okay?”
“Hi, Marita. Everything’s fine,” I lie. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m a little weak, but I’m feeling better. Just worried about my boys. Are they awake yet? Are you coming over to the hospital?”
The clock on the microwave blinks 9:35. I’d overslept and missed my Colonial Lit class. Two days in a row of missed classes. Way to go, Karlie.
“I’ll get them up soon and we’ll be over after breakfast. Have you seen the doctor yet? What’s going on?”
“Doctor Evans was here this morning and wants to run some more tests. I’m supposed to see a heart doctor this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, I’m having an EEG. They think I might have had a small stroke last night…”
My head begins to pound. Tomorrow morning? What does that mean? “When are you coming home?” I ask, interrupting her list of tests and medications.
“That’s one of the things I need to talk to you about,” she replies sounding tremulous. “The doctor said I’ll be here for at least a couple of days. I can’t impose upon you to watch the boys that long. You’ve got a life to live—a job, and school…” she trails off, hesitating. “Have you been able to get in touch with Sharron?”
“Not yet. Her phone isn’t working, but I’ll keep trying.” Then trying to sound casual and non-judgmental, I ask, “When is the last time you talked to her?”
“Hmmm, let’s see. I talked to her when I picked the boys up from the airport. Did I talk to her after that? No. Yes. I might have talked to her once, but it was a while ago.”
Oh my God. Sharron has disappeared off the face of the earth and I’m going to be stuck with the boys forever.
I hyperventilate just thinking about what I’ll do if I have to deal with those twins another day, much less another week…or more. Even if Marita gets out of the hospital tomorrow, that still leaves today to worry about. I’ve already missed two days of school, including today, so I can’t miss any more.
There has to be someone to take these demon children off my hands, but who? Darla? She has a sick husband to care for and isn’t in the best of health. She probably isn’t the best option, but what choice do I have? It’s not like the boys are babies. They’re practically grown. Of course, with the visits from the police and their tendencies to wander off, they probably need more looking after than toddlers.
“Karlie, are you still there?”
“Yes ma’am. Sorry. What were you saying?”
“Darla promised to stop by today before chemo. She said she would take the boys if she was able, but she can’t because she’s having a procedure done on Friday. I was supposed to help her, but now it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to.”
“Well, that can’t be helped,” I say instinctively trying to soothe her while still worrying about my own difficult position.
“Keep trying to get in touch with Sharron.”
“I will. I asked the boys if they could think of any other numbers where she could be reached, but they weren’t any help. I’ll keep trying, though. She’s bound to call to check on the boys eventually.”
“Of course.”She doesn’t sound very sure. I can’t blame her for doubting her daughter. What sort of parent doesn’t call to check on her kids? What kind of parent doesn’t make sure the person responsible for her children has an emergency number? If something happens to one of the boys…
No. I can’t let myself think about that. I have to think positive. In all likelihood, Marita will get out of the hospital in a day or two. Things will be back to normal before too long. How hard can it be to take care of two fourteen-year-old boys? I just have to sit them down and reason with them.
“The boys and I will be there soon,” I assure her. “Do you need anything?”
She rattles off a list of personal items before I hang up. Hopefully she won’t be in the hospital long enough to use all the things she’d asked for. I try calling Sharron’s number again and nearly cry in frustration. Where the heck is she?
My heavy, tired feet trudge up the stairs and down the hallway to the boys’ room. I knock several times before a disheveled twin opens the door.
“Do you want to go see your grandma?”
“In an hour.”
“So am I,” I snap. “I’ll make breakfast.”
“We’ll get ready.”
Food is a useful bargaining tool with the twins, I’ve realized. I’ll have to remember to use their stomachs against them in the future. I go back downstairs and sort through the fridge, pulling out a few items for breakfast. The smell of frying bacon and eggs fills the kitchen and it isn’t long before the boys shuffle down the stairs. They look like zombies—stiff arms, uneven gait, a look of mindless hunger on their faces.
While they feed, I run across the yard to my own house. I’ve never been so happy to see it in my life. I revel in a warm bath and get lost in luxurious, sudsy solitude until my guilt reminds me it’s time to get moving. Marita is waiting.
What draws to writing for young adults? What do you hope they will get from your books?
I love writing for young adults because as the mother of teens, I feel that I can share my YA books with them. The teenage years are so turbulent and confusing, and I don’t know if any adult really recovers from some of the things we face such as bullying, first crushes, friendship drama, and struggling to find our own identity. I think that’s why so many adults revisit their teenage years by writing YA books. I hope teens will be able to identify with my characters, and I hope they realize by reading my books that no matter what issues they’re struggling with, they are not alone. There is always someone else going through the exact same thing.
Do you have a favorite review of one of your books? If so, will you share it with us?
One of my favorite reviews of Better than Perfect is from Jane Dougherty. It really meant a lot to me that she enjoyed the book because I respect her so much as an author, a poet, and a friend. Here’s a brief quote from the review: “This is the feel-good novel par excellence. I loved every minute of it.”
What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?
Strangely enough, I love rewrites. Not the tedious process of proofreading, but the first time I tackle my initial draft and begin making changes. I love adding, deleting, and changing scenes. I love building subplots within the story, and turning my manuscript into a novel.
Do you have a writing routine?
I do not, but I should. I wish I could blame my job, or my kids being home for summer vacation, but I can’t. The truth is, I’ve never been very disciplined. I took almost an entire year off work a while back, and I didn’t do nearly as much writing as I’d hoped. As it turns out, I get more writing done when I am working outside the home. Maybe it’s because I have less time on my hands, so I manage it better.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your books. Thanks!