Friday, June 16, 2006

Interview with Travis Thrasher--Part 2

Just a note: I have tried for two days now to load the cover of Admission (after saving it to my computer), and it simply will not post. I've loaded covers before, and it's worked just fine. But I have had some trouble in the past, too. If anyond has an inkling why blogger is so testy, and what to do about, please let me know. Meanwhile, do visit this link at to check out the cover of Travis's latest novel. Also, Travis has a really cool Web site. Visit it just to see the way it's laid out and what it does.

Travis, I know you recently moved to Moody Publishing. Andy McGuire, acquisitions editor, has talked about his philosophy of Christian fiction--how it needs new, wider boundaries; how it doesn't have to have an overt message. Sounds like that philosophy would fit well with your own.

I love working with Andy McGuire. I was already at Moody when he came on board, and I was a little nervous to see whether my view of fiction and his meshed. But we really work well together and share similar thoughts and feelings about Christian fiction. He believes in the power of telling a good story and feels that it doesn't have to always have an overt Christian message. I love that he is allowing me to tell some of the stories I'm telling in the style I'm telling them. I believe that Andy has a good eye and also brings a lot of good ideas to each project. He's a writer and an artist himself, so he understands what it's like to create a work of art. He's building a great fiction program that I'm very excited to be a part of.

As part of that line, are you going to put out books more often? Your previous novels have been spaced at least a year apart, if not two. I always seem to have to wait so long for them. But now I see your next one, Blinded, comes out this fall.

I'd love to have a couple novels published each year, but I'd also like to live to see my next birthday. :) Honestly, this past year has been the busiest year of my life, both from a writing standpoint and also from a work standpoint (as Author Relations Manager). The reality is that I've written close to thirty novels. Some of them were written before my first ever got published, so they're in my closet and probably should stay there. Some of the others, however, are waiting for a home. I'm the sort of writer that has so many ideas floating around in my head that I just have to write them and get them out. Some are better than others, of course. Some require a lot more time before getting published. But when I finish a project, I don't take time off. I dive into another project, regardless of whether it's contracted for or not.

To answer your question, I might start doing a couple a year. It depends. I'm working on a deadline for a novel that will probably come out in January, 2007. But the novel I often tell people is my best one yet is already finished, having worked with my agent on it for the last two and a half years. It might come out in fall of 2007. The sooner, the better. I want people to read that book.

You mentioned your job. Tell us about that.

My role is Senior Author Relations Manager at Tyndale House Publishers. I've been working in author relations for over 12 years (I like to say I started when I was fourteen). My job is to serve as a liason between the publisher and our authors. I've probably worked with over 1,000 authors in that time. I've learned a lot, working with many bestselling Christian authors. My first two books were published by Tyndale, and I was delighted to have my dreams of publication come true. It can be awkward at times having your books published by the same company you work for. It makes more sense having another house publish my novels. Tyndale publishes so many big-name fiction authors, so I get to work alongside them and learn tricks of the trade while having another publisher work on my books. I've enjoyed it so far.

How’d you get the Tyndale job? And while we’re at it, how did you break into being published?

I started writing fiction when I went away to prison on a count of fifty years . . . oh, wait. Sorry, wrong person. Seriously, my third grade teacher encouraged me in my writing, and that was when I decided I wanted to be a writer. So I just wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I wrote my first novel in ninth grade, finishing it all the way through. I always tell aspiring writers to JUST DO IT. Nobody says you have to do it well. But you can write. Anybody can write.

I knew when I graduated college that I wanted to write, but wasn't sure what else I wanted to do. Publishing was something I looked into. I was fortunate when the position of Author Relations Coordinator came up at Tyndale twelve years ago. (I always say they hired me because I looked so desperate!) It was a perfect fit for me and my personality and a perfect stepping stone for my dreams of wanting to be a writer. How awesome is it for a young writer to suddenly befriend and work alongside people like Jerry Jenkins and Francine Rivers? My job at Tyndale was an answer to prayer--God was good enough to put me in a job that has been more than I ever thought it could be. Having published six novels with more coming were further answers to prayer. I'm very fortunate--sometimes I have author angst, wishing Oprah would interview me or wondering when my big homerun might ever happen. Then I get reminded that I've been very blessed to have come this far. I love my day job and want to do both the writing thing and the author relations thing.

My prayer now is to have a thirty-six hour day. Then I'd have more time to do both things I love so much.

One last question. You mentioned your next novel, Blinded. The beginning of that novel is excerpted in the back of Admission. I read it. Um. Wow. How . . . interesting.

I read it again.

Travis, man, you know I love your work, but have you gone totally insane? The excerpt’s in second person.
Second person! Tell me the entire novel isn’t going to be in that POV.

I'm smiling, because I'm not surprised to hear your reaction regarding the second person technique. First off, let me say that yes, the ENTIRE novel is going to be second person. Let me share some of my thought process in this.

Okay, keep talking. I'm speechless anyway.

I've been working on a novel for about three years now (that might be published in the CBA market--it's the best thing I've written, I think) that occasionally veered off in second person. I did this a tiny bit in Gun Lake, if you remember. My agent and I decided to get away from doing that in that novel, but I liked the style and what it does. It does take you away from the character in a unique way. I wanted to write it as though it could be any business man, that this is literally putting YOU the reader in the shoes of what a man thinks and feels. I'll be honest--I just reread the pages of this and I feel it really truly works. Most of the time I'll read something of mine and be like--yuck! But I liked this. The editors and the other people who have read it really liked it. BUT . . . I also know (and I told Andy from Moody this) that there will be people who absolutely hate it. I just told Andy that I didn't do it just for the sake of doing a second person novel. I wanted to show why a man makes the choices he does and to put the reader literally in his shoes for a moment.

No book is perfect, and there will be some books that readers will enjoy more than others. At the very least, I expect Blinded to create a reaction more than my other books--people will either love it or hate it. But hopefully a lot of people will read it.

I will read it. Don’t know if I’ll like it, but I will read it. Thing is, if anyone could pull this off, you can. And trust me—once I’ve read it, we’ll be talking about it here on Forensics and Faith. I will urge all the BGs to read it just to see what you do with the POV. It’ll be an interesting book and a very interesting discussion.

But I gotta say--you’re one brave man, Travis Thrasher.

Final note: Blinded comes out in August of this year, and Isolation (Travis hopes) will be published in January, 2007.


Unknown said...

on the blogger thing. I've been having the same problem for a week or two. What has worked is A. posting it to another blog and lifting the html code (sometimes) and often I have to do that about ten times before it does work. Or opening an old post and adding it there and then editing it back out and posting on the one I actually want. Not an easy answer but it's been working. Blogger ...grrr.

Great interview. Second person. A writer in my area handed me his second person novel and I about swallowed my tongue. The whole thing is written like this I asked? He assured me it was.

Now, this is a publish america deal so ...

I would be curious to read your book just to see if it can be done well. I love it when authors move outside the box.

Illuminating Fiction said...

Yeah, blogspot . . . bit of a pain lately. I needed to edit a post, but everytime I pulled up the post, the post window came up empty so I couldn't see where to do the editing. I've now pulled the post and will repost it later when blogspot decides to like me again.

I've been intrigued by Admission for a while now. I'll have to add it to my must get list.

Great interview folks.

Domino said...

I'm looking forward to Blinded. Intriguing.

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

Second-person? Scary. Especially gender-wise. If it could be any business man - what about female readers? Just a little strange to read something like, "You turn to your wife . . ."

Mary DeMuth said...

Thanks for this great interview! I love hearing about people's roads to publication. Sounds like an excellent read.

Cara Putman said...

What a great interview. I have to admit I hadn't heard about Travis, but now I am really intrigued. Thanks for the insights!

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

LOL..I liked the "...when I went away to prison.." line!

Second person sounds very interesting. I can't wait to see how it comes out.

Gina, a lot of times if you look at the code for the isn't user friendly. If the identifier is too long Blogger will ignore it.

For the pixs Brandilyn wanted, I had to put it in PhotoShop and alter the program it was printed with to something that Blogger would recognize...then it worked!

But then again Blogger may be possessed...LOL!