It’s Ya Summer continues now with the wonderful, talented author, Trish Marie Dawson! Author of The Station Series. Book 4: Dying to Know is currently out.
I am so blessed she agreed to do this. Thanks, Trish!
The Write Web: Hi, Trish! It is so nice to finally pick your brain about The Station series and writing in general. It is such an interesting novel dealing with romance and the afterlife, and so much more- where did the concept originate?
Trish Marie Dawson: Hi Erica, thanks for having me! Working on the Station books have been quite an adventure to write; I’m happy you’ve enjoyed Piper’s story so far.
Most of my books start from a combination of strange dreams and life experiences, and the same is true for the first Station book, Dying to Forget.
TWW: What really grabbed my attention is the very first chapter when Piper is with a guy and he harms her…How difficult was it to write that scene?
TMD: The beginning of DtF is hard to read for most people, but it’s a sad fact that sexual assault is a real problem for our youth. As are the other issues brought up in the series like bullying and of course, suicide.
I don’t think mental health is discussed nearly enough, nor the topics brought up after Piper naively drinks from that red cup. Those scenes were very difficult to write, but unfortunately, they happen to others like Piper every day.
My hope though, is that readers will take away something positive from the read, which is also heavy on humor.
TWW: After reading Dying to Forget, I had to buy the second book immediately! Piper seems to be the “Every Girl” type who experiences a lot in high school, including tragedy. But the book does focus on some serious issues: Rape, suicide, cyber bullying…What kind of research if any did you have to do for this work?
TMD: There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Dying to Forget, so it’s a good thing that the second is out there and ready to read! lol Research on the topic of suicide and assault is pretty depressing, which I did online, and chatting with others, on top of my own life experiences.
A staggering amount of teens and young adults are depressed, or suffer from clinical depression, which is something that shouldn’t be taboo, but is. Since I write about the subject, I wanted to make sure I did my homework and got the stories right.
Yes, I cried. A lot. I still do, even for the fictional characters I created and tortured, but the upside is that people can heal with the right support system. I want readers to know they are never alone.
TWW: I am beyond excited for the next books in this series! But for those who have not read the book, how would you describe the series in one or two sentences?
TMD: I can’t wait to hear back from you after you’ve continued reading! Please let me know what you think. 🙂 Piper Willow is an ordinary girl who dies the summer after she graduates from high school, but wakes up in an extraordinary afterlife place called the Station. She’s offered the chance to make amends for her choices by helping others in need, but not without a price.
I like to tell people that though this story addresses some heavy issues, I want them to walk away from it with a little more hope than they may have had before.
TWW: I have to admit. I am a Sloan fan(swoon much?). It takes incredible talent to write the way you did when Piper was in Sloan’s mind. It felt real. Was the twist in the end of Book 1, intentional?(wink, wink)
TMD: I love Sloan Nash! He’s a sexy, yet damaged young man that I think most of us just want to see heal and move on to be a happy person. The ending of the story was intentional and necessary for both characters, but really all of the characters have a reason for being in the books. I won’t say more, because you know…spoilers!
TWW: I read on your website you were inspired after reading Stephen King’s The Stand, which is a powerful movie/book by the way. What other writers influence you and who are your favorite authors?
TMD: Oh, Stephen King. He’s a master storyteller and I love his classic work. Most of what I read in the 90’s was a combination of King and Koontz books, so I do love the darker arts.
I’m not really a horror writer myself, so it’s funny that most of what I write now is primarily YA or Dystopian. lol I think everything I’ve ever read has made an impact on my own writing, and writing something unique in your own voice can be hard, but I try my best to do so.
I’m an avid reader, so I know what it’s like to pick up a book and put it down because you feel as if it’s already been done before. The afterlife is nothing new in the book world, of course. But I created the Station out of my mind and put it together over four books sort of like a puzzle. I’m proud of that, and love when I hear from readers that they’ve not read anything quite like it.
Since publishing my first book, I made it a point to start reading outside my normal favorite genres, which means I don’t have a favorite author anymore, but several. And, being an Indie, I try and read as much of my writer friends’ works as I can.
TWW: What is your writing routine like? And are you a morning or night writer?
TMD: Writing routine, what’s that? LOL Just kidding. Kinda. After I research a book and begin the actual writing process, I need to do so with relative quiet and little interruptions. But I’m married with two kids and three dogs and a cat that thinks he’s a dog, which means my house is never quiet.
If it weren’t for early bedtimes, headphones and lots of wine and chocolate, I wouldn’t be able to finish one paragraph. Once I’m in the groove though, when I write doesn’t matter. I finished the fourth Station book (Dying to Know) at a Starbucks just shy of closing time, but if morning time works, and I’m left alone long enough to finish a thought, I’ll do my best to knock out some serious wordage till life intervenes.
TWW: The Station Series deal with more than just “earthly” issues. Since none of us living folk know about the afterlife, we rely on stories, movies, others accounts and sometimes our beliefs intermingle with it. I will not ask your beliefs about the afterlife, but what do you hope audiences take away from these books?
TMD: One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story. I’ve had readers send me messages thanking me for the Station, because now they imagine their child, a victim of suicide, out there somewhere helping others. Obviously, the Station is a fictional place, but for some readers, it’s very real.
For this story, there is no need to bring any religion into the plot, which was intentional. I want everyone to be able to read it and form their own opinions and thoughts, regardless of what they do or do not believe in. We are all energy, of course, so even for the hardcore Athiest, I think they can read through Piper’s journey fulfilled. There’s no harm is walking away from a story asking, ‘What if?’
One of the most amazing things about reading is how each reader creates their own interpretation of the story.
TWW: Which character was most fun to write? The least?
TMD: All my babies are fun to write, but some are definitely harder than others. Piper Willow is a complex and beautiful mess. Bringing her full circle through the last four books was a challenge, so I’d say that writing her took the most work.
But the toughest characters to write are the children, though brief in the stories, because their tales are the saddest and most gut-wrenching. A close second would be Andurush, or ‘Rush’; a character that shows up later in the series, because you know, he’s not human. I’ll say nothing more about him. There’ll be spoilers. 😉
TWW: Quick. What comes to mind when I say “Before”?
TMD: Before ‘bed’. Because soon my kids will need to go to bed and I’m sure they’ve not yet brushed their teeth or done anything else they need to do beforehand. lol
TWW: For writers out there who wish to be published, what advice would you give them?
TMD: My initial advice for prospective authors would be to do their research about the writing and publishing industry before choosing which route to go. I’m self-published, which is different from being signed with a traditional publishing house.
Essentially, I’m my own boss, which means I’m also responsible for all the work! lol There are pros and cons with both ways. More advice would be to start sharing their work with their friends and family NOW and learning how to take constructive criticism and feedback before releasing a full book to the public, so they have a great plot, greater characters, and fantastic editing. With those things, they will find a group of readers eager for more.
Finally, writing is a creative process, different for each of us. I tell my readers that writing is for me, but publishing is for them.
It’s my dream job, but not often ‘easy’, and can be isolating. A support system of friends, beta readers and other writers can help greatly with success. 😉
Conclusion: I am so happy Trish Marie Dawson took the time to answer my questions. If you have not read her books, I will put links at the bottom of this post and I encourage you to comment here and share on your networks as well.
Books in The Station Series
Dying to Forget(Station Series, #1)-FREE on Amazon Kindle
Dying to Remember(Station Series, #2)
Dying to Return(Station Series, #3)
Dying to Know(Station Series, #4)
*Grab the Station Series bundle!
Go to Trish Marie Dawson’s site to learn more about her other books and more!