Blog Tour: Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly

Yesterday, the third and final installment of Stephanie Tromly's hilarious and captivating Trouble trilogy released. I loved this series from page one of Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to interview Stephanie about the series and her characters!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: young adult mystery
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Trouble is a Friend of Mine trilogy
Links: Trouble is a Friend of Mine review (also 4 stars)

Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy.

Digby and Zoe have been skirting around each other for so long that you might think they'd lose their magic if they ever actually hooked up. But never fear--there's all the acerbic wit, steamy chemistry, and sarcastic banter you could possibly hope for.

Now that Digby's back in town he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves breaking into a secret government research facility, paying a drug dealer off with a Bentley, and possibly committing treason. The schemes might be over-the-top but this Breakfast Club cast is irresistibly real as they cope with regular high school stuff from social media shaming to dating your best friend, all with a twist no one will see coming.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won't-they, charismatic crime solving couple you've been waiting for.

Interview with Stephanie Tromly:
Stephanie, I have loved the Trouble trilogy, and I'm so glad to have this opportunity to interview you for Trouble Never Sleeps! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer my questions about your amazing series.

Hello, Mary. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the books and I hope you and your readers enjoy reading my answers to this interview, too.

With a mystery series, where do you even start writing? Did you know the endgame going in or did the story unfurl as you wrote each book?

Great question! I’ve heard different mystery writers talk about their technique and it’s never exactly the same. I also suspect that even for me, the process will differ from project to project so the best I can do is tell you how this particular series played itself out.

I always knew how the Trouble series would end. I had a strong sense of the characters and the ending I imagined for them at the beginning stayed true throughout the three books. You know that Heraclitus (ancient philosopher) theory about character being fate? I found this to be true for Zoe and Digby.

It’s funny how I get asked about the ending so frequently whereas, really, it was the middle of the story that almost killed me. There’s an entire failed second book that went into the shredder.

Along those lines, how do you balance each installment’s individual plot with the overarching series arc?

I’m sorry that I can’t answer this question in a more precise way but it was something like breaking the whole story into a classic three-part structure and then breaking each of those parts into three more parts. I also used the traditional crime novel/noir rule of having not only the A plot but also a not-totally-unrelated B plot. And then, while staying within that very loose structure, I just let the story go and occasionally conducted a gut check to make sure the narrative tempo was still right.

Ultimately, though, my editor had to came in and tell me to speed up/slow down at certain points. I lucked out because my agent put me with an editor who has a great instinct for when to reveal and when to conceal.

Zoe and Digby are both such strong characters. Did you ever consider or try writing the series in dual POV? Why choose Zoe to tell the story, especially since it’s so focused on Digby? And how did you get Digby from completely taking over? He seems like he’d be a complete handful to write!

Yes, it’s true that Digby was difficult to write. He’s so erratic and the essence of his personality is that he’s out of control. Writing him into a story with a tight mystery structure was a lot like drawing a circle with a zillion straight lines. Just for this technical reason, I never wanted to write the story from his point of view. This was my first time writing like this and I was learning on the job so I didn’t want to make the job any harder than it had to be!

Also, while I know that Digby looks like an exciting character, it’s Zoe who’s always been fuller and more distinct in my mind. She’s a more realized person and she isn’t defined by her problems in the same way Digby is. She has real desires and ambitions for her future versus Digby’s single-track obsession with solving the puzzle of his past. For this reason, Zoe’s always been my subject and Digby has, to me, always been the object of her gaze.

One of my favorite aspects of the Trouble trilogy is the snappy dialogue! How do you create such compelling conversation? Do you have any tips for writers looking to jazz up their dialogue?

I honestly just write the dialogue as I hear normal people talk but I suppose I try to make it snappy by cutting out ‘filler’ speech so that the pace is a little faster than real life. My tip would be to reproduce real world speech and then cut, cut, cut until your editor tells you that you’ve taken out too much.

In Trouble is a Friend of Mine, Zoe and Sloane seem to be set up as the classic good girl/mean girl trope, but their relationship grows throughout the series into a complex and genuine friendship. Can you talk about going deeper than the typical girl frenemy story line?

Zoe is frequently forced to be brave in the course of helping Digby but one of the most courageous things I have her do is take the rejection Sloane deals her while continuing to see Sloane as a person who can evolve. Instead of freezing Sloane in place as a mean girl, Zoe allows—and maybe even helps—Sloane to grow into someone better. The two of them aren’t trapped in a conventional good-girl/mean-girl feud because Zoe is strong enough not to dehumanize Sloane just because Sloane dehumanized Zoe.

It’s funny that I get challenged on the realism of the mystery plot sometimes but almost no one takes me to task on how realistic the Zoe-Sloane relationship is…I don’t know many real people who would be that brave.

Purchase Links:

Tour Schedule:
Week One
April 16: Lacy Literacy – Mood board
April 17: Hollywood News Source – Playlist
Infamous mischievous couples through history
April 19: Midnight Biblio Blog – Review
April 20: The Night Owl Book Blog – Review

Week Two
April 23: Magical Reads – Review
April 24: Books Coffee and Repeat – Character Interview
April 25: Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Author Q&A
April 26: The Young Folks – Ten Reasons to Read the Whole Trilogy
April 27: Xpresso Reads – Playlist

About the Author:
Stephanie Tromly was born in Manila, grew up in Hong Kong, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. She is currently on leave from her PhD program in English literature at the University of Toronto and lives in Winnipeg with her husband and young son. Stephanie is the author of the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy.
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