Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice's love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she's not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at www.tricehickman.com.
BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The motivation to write, TROUBLEMAKER (which is the fourth book in the Unexpected Love Series) was inspired by the characters from, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. I had to finish telling the story of these complicated, vibrant people who have given readers so much enjoyment throughout the series. Some of the things that happen in this book are also inspired by real life. This family saga explores the many facets of love, heartache, betrayal, and addiction, which are all things I've personally witnessed in my own family. I hope readers will take away a spiritual lesson from this book-that love and forgiveness can mend whatever is broken.
BPM: What motivated you to become an indie author?
I initially self-published my first book, UNEXPECTED INTERRUPTIONS, because every agent and publisher I submitted my manuscript to turned it down. I knew that if I wanted my story to be published and widely read, I would have to take control and do it myself. Self-publishing was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was a great learning experience and the insight I gained taught me so much about how the publishing industry works. Although I'm now signed with a publishing company, I still utilize many of the same grassroots marketing and promoting techniques I used when I was self-published.
BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
I believe my upbringing and life experiences have directly impacted the subjects about which I write. Most people write what they're familiar with. I grew up in a small, Southern town, and my writing is starting to reflect that more and more.
BPM: Do you write full-time? Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
I've been writing full-time since 2007, which is a real blessing. I make every effort to write each day, even if I'm only re-writing what I've already written; I consider that writing. Sometimes it's hard to write every day though, because there are so many other things a writer has to do, like market, promote, and sell our books. That part of publishing can be more challenging and time-consuming than actually writing. I've found that my most productive and creative writing takes place at night and during the wee hours of the morning. I'm a nighthawk and that helps.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? Why?
My ideas for my books come from a combination of real life experiences, insight, and my vivid imagination. I love coming up with interesting twists on ordinary situations. I think that's how most things unfold in real life. My books are definitely character driven and the characters carry the plot of the story based on their actions. I create a detailed biography for each one of my characters so that I know them inside and out, which also allow me to write in their voice and not my own.
BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My current novel TROUBLEMAKER, takes readers on a fast-paced ride with the Small family during the course of a weekend trip that reveals hidden secrets, betrayal, blackmail, and an addiction that threatens to tear them apart. I believe one of the things that sets TROUBLEMAKER apart from many other books in the women's contemporary fiction genre, is the setting. Most storylines in the genre are set against the backdrop of big cities and even exotic locales overseas. This book is set in a small, sleepy Southern town that has a personality all its own.
As one who hails from a small town in the South I can attest first-hand that the juiciest twists and most salacious scandals take place in small towns...'cause folks don't have much to do but cause or get into trouble! My books are available in paperback as well as ebook, and some are also available in audio.
BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
My main characters are beautifully flawed women and men who are searching for what we all ultimately want, which is love, happiness, and peace of mind. They are good people who sometime make bad choices, but in doing so they always search for the best way of recovery, as that's what life is about. I believe the beauty of what makes my characters special is that they genuinely care about the larger world and have a deep love for humanity.
BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
One issue that the family in TROUBLEMAKER deals with is the struggle of addiction, and in particular, substance abuse. Christian, who is Victoria's and Ted's son, is struggling with drug addiction. He's a functioning addict, and while he presents a nice looking package on the outside, he's torn up on the inside. I don't know one single family that hasn't been affected by addiction of some kind, or know of someone who is struggling with it. I provide information in the back of the book that lists resources people can contact for help.
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The topics discussed in TROUBLEMAKER range from infidelity, to blackmail, to dealing with addiction. The primary topic or theme of this story that I believe readers will take away from the book is the ability to love unconditionally and forgive with an open heart.
BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers?
I always want readers to feel as though they were entertained while reading my books and when they finish, I want them to have gained a new or different understanding of how to look at life from with a broader view that dispels stereotypes. I love meeting new readers and I'm constantly seeking ways to grow my audience by utilizing social media and good ol' fashion face-to-face hellos. I love attending book club meetings and literary events where I can meet people up close and personal. There's nothing like the personal touch!
BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
Success for me as a published author means developing a literary career that will give readers enjoyment for decades to come. When I hear readers say that they enjoyed my books so much that they read them over and over, or that they can't wait to introduce my work to their daughter, or niece, or friend, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction and lets me know that my work will live on. That's an awesome feeling!
BPM: Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this story to life?
My biggest challenge in bringing this story to life was finding the time to write it. Writing a book requires discipline, daily commitment, and hours upon hours of uninterrupted time. Many days I didn't leave the house, phone calls didn't get returned, and errands were not done because I had to write. Exercising focused discipline is the only way you're going to complete a book. When you have a busy life filled with activities that can easily distract you, it can be challenging to find the time to write each day. I had to prioritize and develop a writing schedule that allowed me to divide my time between living my life and writing my book. Balance is necessary.
BPM: What are your expectations for this series of books?
I would like to see this series become a #1 Book Club designated read across the country, and eventually make it to the big screen. The nuances of family dynamics, race relations, and class stratification all make for interesting discussion and jaw-dropping drama that I'm sure readers and audiences will enjoy. Also, I throw in a little steamy romance that adds spice to my stories.
Books by Trice Hickman