Q & A with Trish Marie Dawson

Every Friday I am going to try and to sit down with a different author for a Q & A session. I was lucky enough to snag the wonderful Trish Dawson for a few moments as my first victim 🙂
What would your bio say?
Short version: Vegetarian, Animal Rights Advocate, Tree Hugger, Wife & HS Mom to 2. When I’m not working out, I’m lost in a book, or writing one. 😉
Long Version: Trish was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where she lives now with her family and pets. She’s been writing short stories and poetry since high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, Trish began her first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. When Trish isn’t writing, she’s homeschooling her amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever she can get her hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, Trish holds a special place in her heart for animal rights and dashes into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from her mini-lab/cocker spaniel mixed dog, Zoey…who is always getting into some sort of trouble.
When did you start writing and why?
Oh…I think I started writing creatively just after I became a double digit, but formally? I had a great 10th grade English teacher…Mr. Kirk. He told me to never stop writing and I didn’t. I let the fact that life was busy and stressful keep me from being productive with it until just last year. I’m working on my third and fourth books. Amazing what can happen in a year, isn’t it? 🙂
If you are a parent how does being a parent affect your writing and writing habits? Or does it?
I have two children, both under ten years old so they effect EVERYTHING I do, not just writing! lol They are my biggest writing distractions, but also my biggest writing inspirations. I was having a conversation with my daughter once some time last year about how I wanted to one day write a book. You know what she told me? “Then why don’t you do it, Mom?” We are always telling our kids to reach for the stars…it was time for me to practice what I preach!
Who is your favorite author and why?
This is a super easy question for me to answer: Stephen King. Why? I read my first King book, It, when I was 12. And though I am scarred for life when it comes to gutters, I couldn’t get enough of it. No matter what he writes, I get sucked in. The man has an imagination that is just out of this world.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
I’ve already accomplished it! My goal with my first book was to just see it finished. The next goal became simply publishing it. Now I’m blessed to get positive feedback from friends, or friends of friends, or mom’s of friends of friends of friends. lol Anything more is just icing on the cake.
Traditional or Self publishing? Why?
I chose to self publish because I was impatient. I didn’t want a publishing house to hold my book for a year or more, after making me tweak the heck out of the story. I’m not knocking traditional publishing…because their job is to make your work the best it can be, but I love being in charge of each step. It makes me feel more connected to the book.
Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing.
Oh, give me a second. A giggling fit is threatening to overcome me. Okay…I can continue now. I am a new published Author but I have learned a tremendous amount from other Indie friends and research. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m still very much fastened into the front seat of the roller coaster, riding out the highs and lows with a manic grin stretched across my face. I’m sure the journey is slightly different for everyone but the most rewarding part for me has to be the people I have met in the Indie Author community. Like you, Miss Allison!
Tell us about your books.
I have two published books available. They are very different from each other. The first is called I Hope You Find Me, and is an Urban Fantasy with a Paranormal twist. The main character, Riley, is left alone in San Diego after a global viral outbreak has killed everyone she knows. The book is about the human elements of being a parent and losing your family, moving on and fighting to survive. And there are ghosts that just won’t leave. This is Volume 1 of the Find Me series.
The second book I wrote is a Young Adult Fantasy called Dying To Forget, which explores the possibility of an after-life for people who are given the chance to return to Earth as the subconscious for someone who needs an extra voice in their head. It’s Volume 1 of The Station series.
I’m working on the second books for both of these right now.
What inspired you to write these books?
 They both came from dreams. I am a lucid dreamer and my dreams are vivid and stick around. Some just won’t leave me alone, like a toe nail fungus or something. Last year some creative switch in my brain just flipped and I put my dreams to paper…or to the computer, and I Hope You Find Mewas born. Dying To Forget happened the same way, I woke up from a dream and knew it would be a story I would have to tell.
Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?
I’m a woman, and both of my main characters are women. I believe that a woman can be just as strong as a man…if not more so in some circumstances, yet my characters are realistically flawed. I think any mother out there could relate very well to Riley, from I Hope You Find Me, since she is a parent and suffers with the guilt of surviving her children and moving on. And Piper from Dying To Forget…well, she is hopefully relatable to a wide age range of people that have been depressed or suffered the loss of a loved one. I love them both, they are like my fictional sisters.
Do your books have a soundtrack?
Oh, heck yeah! Both do in my mind. I devote a new music play list for each of my writing projects, but I couldn’t possibly list it all here.
I think the Find Me series would do well with Civil Twilight’s,Letters From The Sky as a good intro song and Punching In A Dream by The Naked And Famous would have to be in there.
As for The Station series…hmmm…The Funeral by Band Of Horses is the first thing that sticks out and Jessie J’s Who You Are.
Music feeds my writing soul. I could not write without my tunes.
A big thank you to Trish for taking the time out to spend with us! 
You can find Trish on Facebook and on her blog!
You can find her books;
EBooks On Amazon
Print at CreateSpace (Click on the books for a direct link to their pages on Createspace)

Why Aren’t EBooks Free?

Many times I hear people ask that. They think that based on the fact that there isn’t a physical book there shouldn’t be a cost. After all a few megabytes of information cant cost that much –can it?

One of the things I have learned in my journey to being a published author is that there is a whole lot more to it than what shows up on the page at the end of the day.

There are so many hidden costs that you might not even think about! Editing costs anywhere from 2 to 5 cents per word. Making an average novel of  77,000 words over $1,700.00 to edit at minimum. At the worst you cant afford a have your neighbour down the road have a once over and buy them dinner. Still money laid out.

Cover. This one can go a few different ways. You could lay out money and have a professional do it, do it yourself or have a friend do it for you.  Either way somewhere you are going to end up spending money be it on professional fees, rights for the graphic elements or dinner again. Somewhere money will be spent.

Marketing. Yes! Surely given the wide world of the internet this has got to be free ….right? NOPE. At least not all of it for me. I spend money on my website purely on the URL alone. I am lucky the good people over at WordPress host it for me. One day I hope to out grow their “free” website and have to pay for the next one up. Oh! Have you seen the posters, business cards and other fun stuff I have with my name and/or book cover on it? I bought those too. You are right. I probably didnt have to buy them. But it makes my job marketing so much easier. In this day and age you need a way to stand out from the pack.

Booths. Everyone loves a book show or festival. They are great arent they? Well they are also expensive to an author just starting out.  Great wonderful invaluable exposure but painful on the pocketbook.

Those are what I have run into myself personally. I am sure there are other fees which the small publishing house I work with has taken care of for me. That doesn’t even include the cost of the “man hours” spent writing the book itself. Needless to say the costs are there for us newbies, they are needs not wants. Needs if we want to create a good name for ourselves that is.

Those of you out there who are lucky enough to get your hands on a really great, well edited and beautiful ebook for free I want you to take a brief moment and thank the wonderful author who gave you that present.

Short: All In A Days Work

Under-paid! You Bet! 1000 words or less! Enjoy!

Twenty…forty…sixty…eighty —a loud bang interrupted my counting. I looked up from the stack of bills in my hands in time to see three large men walk through the front door to the shop.
I can’t tell you why they had caught my attention more than any other customer would. I work in a motorcycle shop so I get to see my fair share of oddities. I see everything from the old men who want to relive their glory days to the young jocks with biceps so huge they are never able to find a jacket that will fit them. Even though we deal mostly in racing bikes we get the occasional biker walk in that looks like the poster child for the Hells Angels.
It was probably a good thing that my sixth sense tingled because it more than likely saved my life and that of the guys I work with.
I heard the door to the garage in the back of our shop bang and then loud voices yelling. Was it just an irate customer? The loud crash that came from the back lead me to think that there was more to this than just an irate customer.
I had seen my fair share of them as well. My boss isn’t the customer service guru he pretends to be.
The whole situation seemed so surreal to me. I slowly inched my chair away from my desk, watching the guy by the front door. I slid under my desk trying not to make a sound as I went.
Another crash came from the back and the door to the garage banged open again. I could hear my boss and the two mechanics that were in the garage at the time all trying to talk at once.
“Shut up. I’m the one who is in charge here now and you all are going to do exactly what I say. You do what I say and no one needs to get hurt. Understand?” A gruff voice commanded.
I took a deep breath and tried to slow the rapid beating of my heart. It was something like out of a movie.
My mind raced trying to sort out what would be the next logical step for me to take. As obviously the guys were not going to be of any help in the matter.
There was phone on my desk. I had to call someone and get the word out that things were going horribly wrong at the shop.
I reached up, felt around until I found the edge of the phone and pulled it slowly forward towards the edge of the desk, silently cursing at the sound the rubber feet were making.
“Well now what do we have here?” I had been concentrating so hard on moving the phone that I didn’t hear the approach of one of them men.
The next thing I knew I was being forcefully dragged out from under my desk and violently shoved out into the middle of the showroom floor.
“Look who we found hiding under a desk in one of the back offices.”
“Looks like we might have a little more fun than we bargained for eh boys?” the man with the gruff voice said as he sneered at me.
The guys I work with were sitting on the floor, hands bound, with their backs against the front counter. My boss looked up at me and I could see just by the look on his face that he knew he was helpless to stop anything that they were going to do.
I would have to find my own way out of the situation.
My mind set on what I had to do I don’t think I stopped to think about what I was doing.
I dropped to the ground and kicked out catching one of the men in the side of the knee. I rolled quickly behind a rack of leather jackets and pushed myself to my feet charging into the garage. I could hear the men cursing over the bang of the door. I grabbed one of the wrenches as I ducked behind a work bench. It wasn’t much but it was certainly better than nothing at all.
I heard the door to the garage open up and then swing shut again.
I sat there holding my breath listening for any sound that might tell me what might be on the other side of the work bench.
I heard a sound that I recognized, the sound of a gun being cocked.
I took a deep breath, turned and tried to peer through the workbench to see if I could see anything. He was there maybe six feet away from where I was crouched. His back was to me. Gripping the wrench firmly I quickly rose to my feet prepared to throw it.
I wish I had of seen the guy walking in my direction, but given the circumstances I still managed to pull my arm back and clobber him over the head with my wrench before throwing it at the other guy, catching him hard he turned around to see what had happened to his friend.
My heart raced I bent to pick up the gun that had clattered to the ground when I hit them with the wrench.
I slid up to the door to the showroom listening for any sign of life from the other side.
I heard nothing.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I rushed out of the garage gun pointed out straight ahead of me.
The guy was standing there unarmed. He obviously was waiting on the two others to come back with me in tow.
I calmly walked up to him and smacked him across the face with the butt of the gun and he went down in a heap.
The guys looked up at me in shock.
“What? Its just all in a days work.” I said as I started cutting them loose.

Why did I write a bunch of books?

I don’t know that there is one distinct reason that I wrote a bunch of books other than the fact that the voices in my head told me their stories and forced me to share them with the general public.

Joking aside however my journey to being a published author wasn’t as straight forward as that statement would make it seem.

I started out writing detective stories when I was twelve years old. I loved making the good guys win and the bad guys get caught by their own buffoonery.  I did however create a main character who’s life had been modeled after my own young life in that she had been through a lot and bore a lot of emotional and physical scars as a result.

I was quite proud of her really. That much I do remember.  I was proud because she did something I hoped I would be able to do one day. Overcome the demons of my past and make of myself something that people could be proud of. She was what I hoped I would grow up to be.

I remember one day taking my story in to school to show my eighth grade English teacher. It was a few notebooks long and from what I can remember had a full plot, so a beginning, middle and an ending. My teacher hated it. For whatever reason she told me it wasn’t believable at all, that no one could possibly go through all that my main character had and still come out the way I depicted her.

Believing that I had once again failed I didn’t write again for a good number of years.

It wasn’t until my best friend and I were out one night sitting on the patio at our favorite coffee shop and she asked me what was one thing I had always wanted to do but had never done yet.  For reasons I can not explain I answered write a book.

It was in March or April of 2006 that I started writing again. My first full novel, Sacrifice of Innocence, was born out of that conversation. The next few years I poured out more and more novels ( There are 10 so far in this series). Writing is now as natural to me as breathing and drinking coffee. It is also a need just like breathing and drinking coffee is to me. I don’t know that I could ever not write again really and truly.

For the record, my main character this time around, is just like me, been through the wars and has the battle scars to prove it. But he also knows that its those battle scars that make him the man he is today. Just like I know the scars I bear make me the writer I am today.

So why did you write a book? Where does your inspiration come from?

Short: The Client

Guilty? As Charged! 1000 words or less! Enjoy!

The man was guilty. There was no doubt about it in her mind. She knew her client had done what the prosecutors said he had done. The look in her client’s eyes had told her all she had needed to know when she had asked the question of him on their first meeting.
She shivered as she thought back to the conversation. It had been in one of the city jail’s bleak interview rooms. Her client was an older man, in his mid fifties with charcoal grey hair and piercing blue eyes. He had been waiting for at the small table in the middle of the room. His hands were cuffed and chained to the table top. His legs were in irons and chained to the floor.
“So are you guilty?” She had asked and watched his reaction. She always made it a habit to ask her clients of their guilt or innocence. It managed to give her a starting ground on which to build their defense. They all thought they were not guilty and each and every one of them that she had met over the years had told her the same thing. They were not guilty.
To some of her client’s credit there were some who were definitely not guilty of the crimes that they had been accused of. They had simply been caught up in something that they had no business being involved in, in the first place. Then there were of course the guilty ones, who just didn’t want to admit that they were indeed guilty of the crimes charged to them. And there were more still whose guilt was unknown. Those were the hardest of cases for her.
Some would think that they wouldn’t be as hard, but they are. Not knowing was worse than knowing one way or the other.
He had said nothing when she had asked him. He had simply sat there smiling at her.
She then had begun to read to him the charges. As she had she had watched from the corner of her eye to see his reaction.
What she had seen then had made her stomach turn.
With every count he had licked his lips. At every victims name he had grinned. His eyes were alive and sparkling with a gleam that could only be described as evil. He however said nothing which only served to make his reaction more vile.
It was as if he was enjoying the obvious fruits of his labour.
She had had to force herself to keep reading the charges as it was what was customary and expected. There was well over one hundred charges, and over fifty victims. Those were the ones that they had found.
How she was going to be able to defend a man such as this she had no idea. She hated her bosses at the firm for having put her in such a position. But she had drawn the short straw on this one and had been sent to deal with the man before her.
Once they were done reading out the charges they would have to go over each and every one of them and he was going to have to explain.
She found the room hot as she continued to read. She felt the man’s hot gaze on her as she bent over the pages. She did not want to look up. She did not want to see the look on his face as he stared at her.
She came to the last name on the list and that’s when he finally spoke for the first time since she had sat down.
“Wait.” His voice was as smooth as silk. Low and sultry.
If she had been anywhere else she would have thought it was sexy. But here it only served to make her skin crawl.
“Yes?” She said finally looking up at him again.
“That last one? That was not mine.” He said and he smiled at her.

Special Announcement!! (Book Signing Event)

For those of you in the Greater Toronto Area (or heck anyone who lives in Southern Ontario!) be sure to stop by The Word on the Street book festival September 23, 2012 from 11am to 6pm and meet me! I will be autographing soft cover books at my humble booth in the market place.

Note: Those of you who have already purchased the special limited edition hard covers, there was a problem with the printer that caused a major delay, and they are just now starting to head north. I am hoping that I will have some if not all of them up here in time for the show, however never fear they are on their way!

Where Do You Go To Reconnect?

I just finished off the final camping trip with my kids this week and I am finding myself quite creatively recharged. I have spent a quarter of my summer living out of a tent and a duffle bag. The inside of my van has so much sand in it Im thinking of building a sandcastle with it all. And the brain is recharged and firing all thrusters in perfect harmony.

For me getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city tends to get my creative juices flowing especially if they have been stagnant for a while. Which in more recent months they havent quite been that bad off but the urge to write was generally over-shadowed by the need to take care of everything else under the sun. It is the hardest part for me being a writer and a mother. But if I can get that reset every so often then I can somehow keep the thoughts fresh and give myself the creative energy needed to write.

Not eveyone gets their creativity flowing the same way. I know some authors have certian places in public (like coffee shops or libraries) that they go to on a regular basis to get their creative energy going. Others still have a place in their house that is set up just right for their writing.

Where do you go to reconnect with your muse and get things rolling again?