It feels like the longest time since I've done a giveaway so I am super happy to include a giveaway in this author interview. A while ago you may remember that I reviewed Pieces of Sky in a round up of children and YA fiction I've been reading.
I also had the opportunity to interview Trinity Doyle and I leapt at the opportunity, having really enjoyed the book. It is really nice to be able to connect with an author whose work you have enjoyed and ask them questions. I hope you enjoy the questions I posed.
I sent through the following questions to Trinity and these were her responses:
How has Pieces of Sky changed from the very first sentence you wrote to the finished book you now have?
I think the easiest way to answer this is to say how it hasn’t changed. Well, Lucy, Evan, Steffi and Cam are still there. Pieces of Sky underwent extensive rewrites as I, essentially, learnt to write. It always began from the same place: fear of the water, but spun out in so many different directions. With each draft I felt it getting closer to the actual story but I had to sacrifice a lot to end up with the final book.
Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
No! I love them all. Last time I answered this question I said Steffi but this time I’ll go with Cam. Cam was the big brother I always wanted and I cruelly took away from Lucy. I love stories where an absent character still has so much weight, and I hoped I achieved this here. Cam, to me, is a bottomless well—a place where I can just keep falling. He’s a fantastic muddle of contradictions from the leader to the layabout to the obsessive. He’s the kind of person you don’t think values anything but in truth values things fiercely. I wish everyone could’ve known him.
What is your favourite line/s from the book?
*fetches book* This is one of my favourite moments…
The Sunbird hits the freeway and it’s just us and the road for the next four hours. The day is hot and we drive with the windows down, the wind whipping in at us, and the stereo up. Despite the heat, Evan’s wearing jeans—black jeans and a dark green T-shirt—but he’s kicked off his shoes, bare feet on the pedals.
I stick my feet on the dash and lean back in my seat. I get a surge of something: freedom, independence, growing up—it sings in my bones.
Which character gave you the most difficulty to capture in words?
Alix. Alix was a side character I had no idea what to do with. She started off as Steffi’s friend but was too similar to her, so I made her a swimmer but then I couldn’t work out why she was friends with Steffi. Then I made her Lucy’s friend and a swimmer and she began to make sense to me. Once she felt real the story just seemed to jump into this other more realistic space.
You have had a lot of different jobs, how have they influenced you as a writer?
This is a tough one! I think in my different creative endeavours I’ve always been hunting for my voice, something that felt true to me. Many things I’ve done felt like an imitation of something else. I always had the hope that through exploring different styles I’d find mine but when that didn’t happen I struggled to continue. Writing is the closest I’ve come so far.
What book do you wish you had written? or What book do you read again and again?
I reread a bunch of books this year and one of the standouts was Hunting and Gathering by Anna Galvada. The story is essentially about a bunch of lonely people finding each other and becoming a family—and I just love that. I finished it and thought I want to do that! And that’s pretty much what I’m trying to accomplish in my current project.
Can you share a standout moment for you in the process of writing Pieces of Sky?
When I was trying to figure Evan out. I was listening to the radio at work and Polaris by Jimmy Eat World came on. I stopped whatever I was doing and just sat there because that song was him. Even though it was nothing to do with him—and he has mixed feelings about Jimmy Eat World—he was just completely in it. I listened to that track on repeat for a long time after that.
At what point of the process did you start to think that the published book would become a reality? Do you call yourself a writer when people ask you what you do, when did you start doing that?
I always hoped for this story to be published but it didn’t start looking like it could actually happen until I’d gotten to the querying agent stage—that’s when I believed I had something publishable.
I read an interview with a writer, can’t recall who, where they said to stop calling yourself an aspiring writer, if you write then you’re a writer. I tried to own it after that. It’s something that’s very personal for me though so I struggle to talk about it, I tend to crack a few jokes then turn the conversation back on them.
As a writer and an aspiring writer what were the things that kept/keep you going on the days when it feels like an impossible dream?
Other writers. I’ve been lucky to have found some wonderful writing partners and we all just care about each other’s work so much. Having someone else take what you’re doing seriously is a massive motivator.
What practise has most influenced the development of your own unique voice as a writer?
Good writing is all about honesty and honesty of self is the hardest thing to put on the page. Something that’s laughable but I think had a great baring on my writing was the years I spent on livejournal. In what I call my vague emo poetry I was learning to name what I was feeling and to put those feelings into a public space. That practice meant that I was a lot closer to my emotional self when I came to my manuscript and I’d already dealt, to a degree, with that fear of being seen.
I loved reading these answers, I would love to sit down and have a face to face talk to Trinity! Thanks so much Trinity for answering these questions, your humility as an author and person really shine through and I look forward to reading your next book.
If you enjoy YA fiction I'm sure this will be a book you will like. If you want a chance to win your own copy (NZ and Aus readers only, sorry) then please leave a comment below - how about you tell me: a favourite line from a book, the title you'd chose for a book if you wrote one or what you are reading at the moment.
Entries close Monday 6th of July and I'll email the winner after that.
love you more than a parcel in the post xxx