1) What made you start writing?
My elementary school teachers! I was fortunate enough to have teachers who responded well to my creative writing and made me feel good about what I had put down on paper. Of course, when I read those early works now and see how terrible they really were, I realize how overly generous and kind those teachers were. The impact a supportive teacher or adult can have on a child is incredible. As a little girl I loved to read and would often miss the call to dinner because I had disappeared into a faraway world in some book while reading in my bedroom. In second grade my teacher created a book worm that wrapped around the room, made of big paper circles that represented books each student had read. Most of the circles were mine and the teacher put gold stars on my circles for books I had read that were especially difficult or thicker than what everyone else was reading. My goal was to read every book in the library. (Gee, get a life, kid!) I competed on the Speech & Debate team in high school and in college and have always been fascinated with words and the clever use of them. I dated wordsmiths in college. I appreciate good literature much more than I am able to produce it!
2) How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I’ve had dozens of books swirling around in my brain for years. I can think of book ideas faster than I can write them. Many times I’ve had a terrific idea for a book, only later to see it sitting on a shelf in Barnes and Noble, written by someone else who beat me to the punch. I knew some day I’d be an author and so when I was about 9 years old I began collecting famous quotes, stories and ideas into a little box. The box evolved into 18 file cabinets and now I’ve scanned everything into my computer. My first book was published in 2004 by Spring Creek Books. My publisher has been extremely supportive and has published all six of my books with more on the way! It’s really great to find a publisher who wants to help build your writing career rather than just print a single book for you and then move on to other authors.
3) You write non-fiction works. Do you have fiction projects inside you, too?
I’m really a non-fiction kinda girl. I love to become enveloped by a good novel, but I find myself reaching for the non-fiction books more often because I want to learn about so many topics. I’m so impressed with authors who can create entire imaginary worlds in their fiction books. I would love to be able to do that, but that seems really hard to me right now. Non-fiction ideas come much easier into my brain. I’d like to think there is an awesome fiction story hiding inside me, but I think it’s buried underneath many layers of non-fiction books that still have to be uncovered and written first.
4) How do you decide what topics to write about? Does your publisher make suggestions?
I presented a gigantic list of manuscript ideas to my publisher a few years ago and he put them in the order he was interested in publishing them. Timing is everything. Sometimes he’ll bump one of my suggested books for a book he wants me to write. He has a really good feel for the market and so I trust his preference.
5) How do you research your topics?
I love the Internet. There is so much great information to be found there! I also check out a ton of books from my local library, write from my own personal experiences, interview tons of people and send out questionnaires. I like to talk to people to find out what they would want to read and learn about in the subject my book is addressing. I know people buy my books with hard-earned dollars, so I feel a great sense of responsibility to make sure they get their money’s worth! I try to pack in as many ideas as possible so they get the most bang for their buck. Most of the time I write so much that my publisher has to delete a lot in order to keep the page count down to a reasonable price. When that happens, I try to create blogs or web sites where I can give my readers the ideas that didn’t fit inside the book.
6) What type of writing schedule do you have?
I try to write when my kids are in school so that I’m not taking time away from them. I don’t ever want them to resent my writing or feel that it is more important to me than they are. I always keep a notepad with me in my purse, my car and by my bedside so that I’ll be able to pen sudden bursts of inspiration. Ideas will pop into my head at the most random time and simple things I see during the day will trigger thoughts that I want to write down, so it seems I’m always reaching for a pen and paper.
7) How do you handle life interruptions?
Who said I handle them?!
8) What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet?
That “must have” book, the one you see everywhere in all of the stores, the “it” book, the one that inspires, uplifts and changes people’s lives. What is it? I don’t know, but I’m working on it!
9) What things do you like most about writing? Least?
One of the coolest things ever is to hold a finished book that I’ve written in my hand. I love having written probably more than the actual writing itself. I love seeing one of my books on a book shelf in a book store. I enjoy writing when I’m in the “zone”, when words just flow and ideas fill my head all the way down to my typing fingers. I really get a kick out of book signings and talking with people about more ideas. The part I dread is having to run away from the Paparazzi…..just kidding. I don’t like it when I have a deadline and my brain feels dead with no inspiration. I don’t like it when I have a looming deadline and I’m forced to sit and write rather than spend time with my kids.
10) What is your next project?
11) What is your advice for other writers?
Keep writing! If your goal is to get published, then don’t give up. I have piles of rejection letters. Timing is everything. It’s also important to read a lot and become familiar with what’s already out there. Be true to yourself and find your unique voice.
12) Tell us about your new book.
It’s called Parties With A Purpose: Exciting Ideas for Ward Activities. It’s a brainstorm idea book to help LDS ward leaders create meaningful activities that unite the ward. It could easily be used for other religious denominations as well. Chapters include cooking for a crowd, games that help people mix and mingle, decoration ideas, publicity tips, ways to keep kids happy and safe while adults chat, web site resources, and tons of theme and party ideas. It’s a fun book to help get people’s own creative juices flowing. People are so busy nowadays and the world is such a crazy place, that they need to have church activities with more substance so that they leave the event feeling uplifted and strengthened. I try to write books that help members of the church want to be valiant, know how to magnify their callings, build the kingdom, and love living the gospel!
Thank you for the interview, Trina. Where can people find your books?
My web site address is http://www.boicebox.com/ where people can read more about each book and even purchase them at a discount.
Books by Trina Boice:
Sabbath Solutions: More than 350 Ways You Can Worship On The Lord’s Day
Easy Enrichment Ideas: Thinking Outside The Green Gelatin Box
Climbing Family Trees, Whispers Through The Leaves
Bright Ideas for Young Women Leaders
Great Ideas for Activity Days
Parties With A Purpose: Exciting Ideas for Ward Activities