Welcome Trisha, thanks for popping along to the blog today. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’m a wife, mother, dreamer… I work at Penn State as an Instructional Production Specialist. I have a son and daughter and am about to become a grandmother! I have bulldogs. I love to go fishing, love to read, love to sit outside on sunny days and watch the clouds roll by. I have the best group of friends that are my support and take me to go to all the scary movies to get my mind off of the real world when needed.
What inspired you to start writing?
You know… it was a literal escape for me. I grew up in a dark, scary household with anger and mental illness hanging in the air. I started to create stories in my head before I could write, places I would rather be, people that would be loving and happy instead of who I was with. When I learned to write, I just started and never stopped. I found such a power, a comfort, in creating worlds for myself where I had control.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I wrote for years and years, and as mentioned above, it was personal. It was an escape. I never wanted to share, because if anyone dared to criticize my worlds, it would have devastated me. But as I got older, and I broke free from that toxic environment, writing became more of a happy place and less of a necessity. It was no longer a lifeline. Still, I was too scared to share. But last year, April 2019, I turned 43 years old, and I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I gave presentations at conferences, tried different foods… but I knew there was something more I needed to do. I started to send out short stories…. And after being published in over 50 publications, I then decided it was time to send out my book manuscript. Talk about total comfort zone abandonment!
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
My book follows Ella as she faces middle age suddenly single, betrayed, but even more devastated that she had not been brave enough to leave sooner, to seek out more than the emptiness settling in her bones. She forces herself to get back out in the world and seek her joys, do things for herself. While fishing, she meets Dennis, an older, handsome man that not only saves her life, but steals her heart. Unfortunately, he has a history, and Ella has to fight to keep her emotions under control and face her own past before she experiences the biggest heartbreak of her life.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I was struggling with a title for this book. And I turned to my friends during one of our many late-night message fests and asked for their help. We brainstormed. I knew I wanted something that communicated the characters’ struggle to break through their own brokenness to find the realness of life, to take chances just to feel alive again. And we came up with Beyond the Surface, which sums it up perfectly.
How did you celebrate publication day?
You know, I spent a long time on the phone with one of my close friends, squealing and happy dancing all through the house… and then I got back to work. My happy place will always be writing. And that’s ultimately how I celebrated.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do. I’m working on a story about a teenage girl pulled from an extremely abusive home life and placed with loving, albeit young and inexperienced relatives. She struggles to overcome her past, to fit in with other kids her age, to let go of the trauma and trust again. And when her cousin takes in his ex-wife’s son after some trouble, she has to learn to navigate her heart.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Oh, let’s see…. Dibs by Allison Martine – such a great romantic read with an amazing, relatable female character.
Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent by Jennifer Anne Gordon. Haunting tale that really grips you.
Educated by Tara Westover Riveting memoir of overcoming and thriving after trauma
What are you reading just now?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Oh, The Outsiders. I was in second grade when I first read it, and it resonated with me. Just how Ponyboy felt, how he dreamed, his fears of the life he was in. I always love re-reading that book.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film?
Hmm, this is an interesting question… let’s see… Maybe one of Elin Hilderbrand’s books. She writes such great, fun reads, it would be cool to see that transferred into a movie.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
My website is www.trishamckee.com
On twitter, I’m wordromancer
My page on Facebook is Trisha McKee, Author
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be?
Buttercup from the Princess Bride