Presented by SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS
The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS column on Mondays and Wednesdays is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website showcasing books from a variety of fiction genres, with an emphasis on interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better.
Today, we look at TRIPLICITY.
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About the Book
by J. Mercer
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: January 2019
One week on an Alaskan cruise, three teens, and an endless trail of lies.
Enter a series of thefts on board and they all fall under scrutiny. Though Navy acts a proper preacher’s daughter, she did end up with someone else’s purse in her hands, and Jesse knows way more than he should about what’s gone missing. Isaiah, however, is the one with motive—enough money and he could get back to his ranch. Each holds a piece of the truth, but exposing the thief could damn them all. They must navigate through the lies they’ve told, choose between standing together or saving themselves, and decide if innocence is worth facing their ugliest secrets.
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
I’ve always loved language and words, but looking back to when I started writing in middle school, I can’t really remember why or what prompted me. A story probably, I do remember that first story, which is often how it goes… that a story or character or theme comes to you and nags at you until you explore it a bit.
What genres do you prefer to write in?
Young adult always feels a little more hopeful than adult, and as a reader, I find the voices in young adult to be more unique, more like a person jumping off a page to talk to me rather than a narrator telling me a story. But genre, specifically, I guess I’d say contemporary. There’s a real grittiness there that you can’t always reach as easily in fantasy. And inside contemporary, I’m going to say coming-of-age. Real life, real people, real relationships that can feel sticky and wrong and right at the same time. I hope people read my novels and feel like they’re not alone – that their frustrations with whoever and whatever in their life are universal – and I hope that makes them feel a little better when they put the book down.
Are there any authors you prefer to read and why?
Laurie Halse Anderson, talking of real grittiness. If she doesn’t get to the heart of a person and scrape the plot for truth, I don’t know who does. E. Lockhart is always a safe bet, and Laini Taylor (who writes fantasy) is a genius. Taylor might be my only auto-buy author, actually, that’s how brilliant I think she is.
How did you make the move into being a published author?
I dusted off an old manuscript of mine shortly before my 40th birthday and was surprised how clean and ready it was, so on a whim, published it as a gift to myself. It was so much fun, having the autonomy and making the decisions and keeping what was mine all mine, that I haven’t stopped since.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
So many things. Almost everything. The brainstorming is essentially just playing and can almost make you feel guilty because it’s so much fun, drafting can give you a high, and the revising can feel like you finally figured out the answer to life.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Ha! Same answer: So many things. Almost everything. The brainstorming can feel like it’s never going to fit together enough to make a real thing, the drafting can feel like pulling teeth, and the revising can feel like it will never end.
Do you have any tips for writers who find themselves experiencing writer’s block?
BE KIND TO YOURSELF. If you have writer’s block because you’re push push pushing, or because your life is banging at you from every direction, take a moment to breathe, reset, and refill your creative juices. I find when I have writer’s block, it’s usually because my brain needs a break. Pushing a fatigued brain often makes writer’s block worse, but reading, or whatever you know will rejuvenate you, can fix that up sometimes quicker than you’d think. If that’s not what your problem is, perhaps you need to go back to the brainstorming and planning. Those phases are where you collect the tools to keep your drafting moving. The middle of my novels are where I experience writer’s block the most, and I’ve learned now that I always need to stop there, take a step back, and rehash out where things should go next.
What advice would you give to people that want to enter the field?
Be patient with yourself, your craft, and your story! It all takes time to percolate and grow, and pushing it won’t get you there any faster, unfortunately. That first and second novel, maybe even the third – go into them thinking that they’re your education. Just as with any job, you need to take the time to learn. If you think of it as the next huge thing, I fear you’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment. Most people don’t start out a new job thinking they already know enough to run the company, but often writers put this kind of expectation on early drafts of their first novel. If that works out for you, then much applause and congratulations, but we’re often hard on ourselves, and I think this can be a big part of it.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want them to feel connected to humanity. I want them to see someone or something in my characters that makes them feel like we’re all sharing a common human experience. And I hope that if they’re struggling with something, it makes them feel less alone and better about their situation, same as you would when you vent to a friend and they agree that they’ve been there too. There’s great relief in remembering that pain and fear and hurt are common human experiences, and a freedom comes from that which you don’t get when isolated in a box.
Is there anything else about you that you think readers might find interesting?
Usually when people find out that I own a couple of dog daycares, there’s a lot of interest and follow-up questions involved. Yes, daycare. Not overnight boarding. It’s more a thing now, but when my husband and I were super young and opened them, everyone thought we were just plain crazy 😉
About the Author
J Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to UW Madison for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband—though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases.
For updates and news, you can find her on Facebook, but she’s more often on Instagram, talking about what she’s reading and other bookish things. Go there for book recommendations, reading-inspired writing tips, or even to read along. If you prefer everything delivered directly to your inbox, click here to get on the email list.
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