Writer At Play

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A Talk with Trisha Sugarek

By Raphael Moran

Characters1Here at Indyfest, we try to put the spotlight on some of the most unique voices in the indy publishing universe. Trisha Sugarek is one of those voices. With four decades worth of writing credits to her name, she has a huge diverse line of works on her resume, ranging from plays to mysteries to children’s books. She’s done it all by herself and has been blazing through the publishing world. She also runs a successful website dedicated to the art of writing. Plus, she’s interviewed some of the biggest names in the publishing industry. I had a chance to pick her brain a little to find out about her success in self-publishing, and all matter of other things.

IM: What are some of your major hardships in self publishing?

TS: No major hardships. I have complete artistic control with content and the cover artwork. Exposure is difficult when my true crime mysteries (for example) are competing with a half-million other mysteries. Social media can be the best marketing tool in an author’s toolbox. Self-publishing used to be a dirty word. Now it’s a respectable way to publish; so much so that some traditional publishing houses are building divisions within their company to offer self-publishing.

IM: Do you have a literary agent, and if not, have you ever submitted to one?

Sugarek2TS: I got off that hamster wheel years ago. Everywhere a writer goes they hear: Agent: Got a publisher? Then we’re not interested but good luck.  Publisher: Got an agent, submit through them. No unsolicited manuscripts but good luck.

IM: How do you go about marketing your book? Do you go to book conventions to promote?

TS: In the past, I have held book signings and sold out. I have gone to book festivals too. I know many authors do attend many conventions, but it’s just not for me. I can accomplish the same thing on the internet and social media.

IM: You have interviewed many writers on your website. Who were some of your favorite writers to interview?

TS: It would have to be Dean Koontz and Sue Grafton. The most amusing is the recent interview with co-authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross (July’s authors). They are wonderfully strange and very funny.  

IM: What is your favorite type of genre to write, and what is your favorite to read?

TS: My favorite genre to write has been chick lit, and I have written three novels about women. And my second favorite to write is my true crime series The World of Murder. My favorite to read are real stories about real people and some fiction based on English history.

IM: Do you sometimes base your characters on people in your real life or are they totally made up?

Sugarek3TS:  I have written many stories about my mother and her six sisters as they were growing up and becoming young women. My mother, because she was a business owner and flapper during the roaring ’20s (Wild Violets), and my aunt, because she ran away to Alaska in the early 1900s and stayed for 30 years (Song of the Yukon). 

IM: Here’s the dreaded question. Out of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and is there one you didn’t like? If so, did you ever go back to change it?

TS: If I can only choose one, it would have to be Women Outside the Walls. I created three women who are representational of all the women who wait while their husbands are incarcerated. I can’t say there is one I don’t like. I’m committed from day one to a story I want to write.


IM: How do you come up with a new story idea? What influences you? For some it’s a dream or just something they saw during the day. Others can get it with just a random thought.  What are yours? 

TS:  Ninety-five percent of my stories have come to me. I have not searched them out. The women (The Guyer Girls) in my family (see above) were so powerful for the time in which they lived, but also flawed, making them wonderful characters to develop. All my books are based on real family stories, passed down.

Women Outside the Walls came to me as I sat in a state prison, waiting to visit a convicted murderer. I was surrounded by wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters, visiting their men in prison. My true crime series started as a ten-minute play for the classroom. Five books later, after the urging of fans and friends, it blossomed into a series: The World of Murder.

Well, there was one dreamCheets the Elf came to me at three in the morning and, with his large feet on my back, insisted that I get up and write about him and his friends in the Fabled Forest. I objected, “I don’t write children’s books!” Four plays and four storybooks later, Cheets still isn’t satisfied.

IM: What are some of your upcoming titles?

TS: (Beneath) The Bridge of Murder, Book 6 in the World of Murder series. Someone is killing the homeless in NYC and detectives O’Roarke and Garcia have no suspects. Two murder cops, seek out killers in New York City. The first five books of the series involve the art world, backstage on Broadway, the seedy side of strip clubs, behind the scenes of the Catholic church, and the twists and turns of the Food Network and its stars.

Song of the Yukon is my saga novel. Half-written and marinating at the moment. A young female musician runs away to Alaska in the 1920s to write her music. She homesteads some land up the Yukon River and lives there for the next thirty years, building her cabin, hunting moose, falling in love, surviving a blizzard, and raising her children.

IM: Both of those books sound very intriguing. You can find all of Trisha’s books on Amazon. And be sure to visit her website, where she writes, twice weekly, about her craft and interviews some of the best writers on the planet every month. 

Visit:  www.writeratplay.com

‘The Taste of Murder’, Book 5: The World of Murder 

NOW AVAILABLE!!  The Creative Writer’s Journal




Learn more about our interviewer at: Raphael Moran

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