It’s Author Wednesday time, and with great pleasure I welcome back Staci Troilo to talk about her latest release Type and Cross, women’s mainstream fiction.
Staci, it’s great to have you back. Your last book, Mystery, Ink: Mystery Heir was obviously a mystery, and now you’ve written a book in a different genre. Tell us about the new book.
Type and Cross is a mainstream novel about a dysfunctional family and the trials they undergo when a tragedy reveals secrets and unleashes turmoil that threatens to destroy a career, a marriage, and a family.
That’s my favorite type of book to both read and write. The title is unique. I can’t wait to find out how it relates to the story. How did you choose the title?
For a while, the working title for the novel was Blood Ties. Blood is an important theme in the book, and “Ties” worked in the family relationships nicely. But a little research revealed that title had already been used. And while I know titles aren’t copyrighted, I didn’t want to take an already existing title. After thinking for a long time and running ideas by friends, I chose Type and Cross. It still worked with the blood theme, and if people really want to read into things, “type” can refer to the type of people involved and “cross” can refer to people crossing each other. Those symbols aren’t really important, weren’t even intentional, but they’re a happy accident. Now that the book is out, I’m really happy with the title.
That’s interesting how it evolved. I agree that I want my titles to be unique–to stand out. I think Type and Cross certainly does that. Everyone always wants to know about the writer’s process. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published novel?
That’s kind of a trick question. This idea came to me more than ten years ago, but I never worked on it. About one year ago, my (then) agent asked me if I wrote in any genre other than romance. I thought of this one and got to work. The first chapter came slowly (I later cut it entirely—it was basically all backstory), but then the words flowed. The rest of the book only took a few months to write. Editing, however, took at least that long. At first, I wondered if my editor was just being picky, but when I read my final draft, I knew she had been spot-on with her advice to me.
It’s sometimes hard to see the progress and the process when you’re in the middle of it. It sounds as if you have a fantastic editor. Is the book traditionally or self-published? Why did you choose one over the other?
Type and Cross is published by Foyle Press, an imprint of Oghma Creative Media. Oghma offers strong editing (see above), fabulous design, and marketing support. It was a no-brainer for me. Had I done the work myself, my cover wouldn’t be this good, the layout inside would be dull, the writing wouldn’t be quite as polished, and I wouldn’t have marketing help. I mean, I could have paid a premium for all these things, but that would defeat the purpose of self-publishing. And, because I went with a traditional publisher, my book is available to a broader spectrum of purchasers. I’m in the publisher’s catalogue, so my novel is shown to prospective booksellers across the country.
That’s wonderful, Staci. You’ve found a good way to do it. Editing, design, and marketing are difficult for many Indie Authors. Tell us about the message you want to convey through this novel.
Type and Cross delves into what makes a family—blood or bonds. It’s the classic “nature versus nurture” debate, just explored in a different way.
What is the best thing someone could say about Type and Cross?
That it will stick with them for a while.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
My husband once got results from a blood test that we didn’t expect. It turned out that the lab sent him erroneous information, but by then I had already started researching blood. The idea was born. And then it took on a life of its own.
The research started for completely different reasons, but then your curiosity took over! That’s great. Besides that initial research, what else did you need to learn about the subject matter?
I had to understand blood types, how they combined, how transfusions worked. I looked into medical oddities. And, most importantly, I had some people in the medical field review the details, one of whom is a doctor (thank you, Dr. Aaron Lane), who gave me invaluable information about procedures and dialogue.
Who or what is the antagonist? Did you enjoy creating this character?
The protagonists don’t even realize there’s an antagonist until near the end. This character is fully developed in my mind, and I’ll explore more facets of this person’s personality in book two. Instead, the protagonists spend most of the novel battling their situations, and sometimes even each other. This interplay between the two was so much fun to write. These people were so dysfunctional, and my relationship with my husband couldn’t be more different from theirs.
That’s good. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.
It made me cry when I wrote it. It still makes me cry when I read it. And my editor told me she needed many tissues when she got to that point. It’s already a moving scene, and its power is compounded by the implications for the family. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I can’t say much without giving it away.
I understand. I’ll let you know when I come to that part! What else do you want readers to know about your book?
I just hope every reader comes away from reading this thinking about their own relationships—and what they can do to improve them. These people start out in what they’d both define as a comfortable marriage. It’s anything but, and the issues that crop up expose their lie. They have monumental problems to overcome. Most of us will never go through similar experiences, so we have far less work to do to make our relationships stronger. Put I hope we’re all willing to put in the work. We all deserve to be happy.
Thanks for stopping by today, Staci. Type and Cross is next up in my reading queue, and my review will follow shortly. It sounds just like the type of book I love to read.
About Staci: Staci Troilo grew up knowing family is paramount. She spent time with extended family daily, not just on holidays or weekends. Because of those close knit familial bonds, every day was full of love and laughter, food and fun. Life has taken her one thousand miles away from that extended family, but those ties remain. And so do the traditions, which she now shares with her husband, son, and daughter… even her two dogs. And through her fiction, she shares the importance of relationships with you. Mystery or suspense, romance or mainstream—in her stories, family is paramount.
How to find Staci Troilo