|Trish Doller, photo by John Cohen|
Trish Doller is the author of the new young adult novel Start Here. Her other books include Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine. She lives in Fort Myers, Florida.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Start Here, and for your characters Willa and Taylor?
A: I was looking for photos of the Bahamas for a different project when I stumbled on the website of two young women--lifelong best friends--who'd spent two years traveling America's Great Loop together.
I read their entire blog in a single sitting and I started thinking about the kind of stresses a friendship might sustain in a situation like that. Which then made me wonder what it would be like if the people on the trip were not-so-great friends.
That led me to friendship trios and how there's always one friend who is the glue that holds the trio together. What if the glue is gone? Will the other two friends stay friends? Let's put them on a boat and find out!
In this particular story, all three girls (and their parents) are amalgamations of people I have known; girls my daughter knew when she was young. I grew up in Sandusky and my kids spent their childhoods there, so there are aspects of our lives in both Willa and Taylor. It's a very personal book for me.
Q: What do you think the book says about friendship?
A: Friendship is complicated. It can be incredibly painful. And even the best friendships don't always last forever. But the right friend at the right time can change you and help you become the person you're meant to be.
Q: How did you decide on the locations Willa and Taylor would visit on their trip?
A: I started by planning the route they would sail from Sandusky to Key West. Once I knew which waterways they'd be traveling, I looked for interesting things along the way. Not every stop can be high-profile and exciting, but some of the quieter places are the places they learn something about themselves.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: I've always thought it was very odd that when a teenager graduates from high school, we expect them to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I'm 52 and I'm still not even sure!
So I hope readers will see themselves in Willa's and Taylor's struggles to figure out what they want...and realize that they don't need to know right now.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: At the moment I'm drafting an adult romance as well as world-building and character-sketching for a YA Viking Age fantasy heavily inspired by Norse mythology.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I've got a few other irons in the fire, so if anyone wants to be among the first to hear any upcoming good news, you can subscribe to my tiny letter.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Trish Doller.