*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Guest Post by Jill Meengs, Author of "Trigger"

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Trigger by Jill Meengs
Published by Booktrope
January 27, 2015
Genre: Spy Thriller
Jordan Shaw knows the only way to stop the man hunting her is to kill him. She also knows the other men who came after her are dead, some of their blood is on her hands, and she wouldn’t have survived this long without the help of the intriguing and secretive Chase Hudson. Even though she isn’t sure she can trust Chase, she believes she needs him to discover the truth.
Two days before, life was pretty good as she backpacked around Europe with her best friend. Now, everything has changed and she may not even live through the night. What started as a summer trip of self-discovery has become a dangerous journey across three countries as Jordan is forced into a world few know exist and even fewer survive. A clandestine international organization that will let nothing stand in their way has put a price on her head. Despite all the uncertainty, there are two things that she is absolutely sure of; she has one chance to out-maneuver a world class killer, and she has to make that move right now.

What inspired me to write Trigger:

My husband Chad has always said that I should write a book. He kept bringing it up and getting very little reaction from me until he decided to offer me a bribe.  For the price of a nice flat screen for the bedroom and a shopping spree, I agreed to give writing a book a solid effort.  
The first step in this process was to sit down and put together an outline. I sat down with several goals, one was to write a book that I actually wanted to read. Second, I wanted the main character be a strong woman that others could look up to, relate to, and who was perfectly capable of turning around and saving the leading man, even if she needed to be saved herself a time or two. Finally, I wanted to use my experiences while traveling in my writing. I have been to every location in Trigger and some of the content is based on things that actually happened to me.
Once I had what I considered a viable story I spent two to three hours writing every night.  This was after a full eight hour day of work and two hours of commuting. My husband was usually sitting right next to me working on his computer as well. More than two years, and over 100,000 words later the rough manuscript was complete. 

While self-editing for the next three years I spent a considerable amount of time sending out queries to literary agents and learning to deal with rejection. I even started the sequel, but progress on it has been slow since my focus was on publishing Trigger. Eventually, my sister-in-law introduced me to published poet and creative writing teacher, Ann Staley.  Ann generously helped me edit Trigger and introduced me to own publisher, Booktrope. In June of 2014, over 5 years after starting to brainstorm ideas for a book, I received an offer from Booktrope to publish Trigger.  Approximately six months later I was holding a hard copy of Trigger in my hand.

Advice for new writers:

My best advice for a new writer is the same advice that I felt was the most valuable when I was writing Trigger: write what you want to read.  Along with that there is also: write what you know.  These two concepts are vital because you will be writing, reading, and editing this manuscript A LOT, so you need to not only enjoy writing, you need to enjoy what it is you are writing, because you are going to be living and breathing it throughout this process.  

Writing what you know and what you want to read also helps you keep your enthusiasm when you are tired, have writer’s block, or are getting rejected by publishers & literary agents.  

Most importantly, if you are passionate and knowledgeable about something that will come through in your writing and it will make it more believable and more interesting.   

Finally, you have to be persistent.  Writing a book, editing it, and getting it published is a process that can take years and you have to commit considerable time and energy to it.  Don’t let yourself get down and don’t ever give up because if you want it bad enough and work hard enough you will get what you want.

The best part about writing a book:  

Is sharing something that I love to read and that I am excited about with other people.  I love to hear what their thoughts are, what they enjoyed about it and how it made them feel.  I also enjoy it when people say that they couldn’t put it down!

I like to talk about the writing process and what it was like putting Trigger together.  How I had to learn how to write, how to edit and then how to submit the book for publication.  A lot of people don’t know or have never thought about how to write a book or what it takes to get a book published so it is interesting to see their reaction to how difficult and time consuming it can be.

It is also fun to see how thrilled people are for me and this accomplishment and how much they want to read the book and to talk to me about it.  Writing and trying to get the book published has been something I have been immersed in for a while now so to get a fresh perspective on it and to see people be so excited about a book being published makes me feel good and helps validate all of the hard work that it took to get Trigger published.

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