Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On My Blog: Trina Sotira author of IN HER SKIN

I'm pleased to have Trina Sotira, author of IN HER SKIN here with me today. Trina's not only an amazing author, she's a wonderful friend and critique partner. I had the pleasure of reading parts of this story as Trina wrote it and seeing both this novel and Tirzah grow into their own skin.

In Her Skin
By Trina Sotira

Tirzah would do anything to cover up her girl body: duct taping her chest, dressing like a guy at the skate park, even changing her name. But two things are holding her back from transitioning into an all-male body: her best friend Heidi and a full-ride soccer scholarship. And when Heidi's family disapproves of Tirzah's transition into Troy, Heidi disappears. 

College instructor and former television journalist Trina Sotira challenges religious, gender, and social boundaries in this fast-paced adventure filled with love, friendship, and self-discovery.

Please help me welcome Trina! 

Cherie: Tell us about your novel, In Her Skin, in your own words.
Trina: In Her Skin faced a tough time in the publishing marketplace after mainstream publishers told my former agent the book would see lower sales because it wouldn’t appeal to a broad audience. The prediction is offensive to our young society. Their response can be interpreted as we (young adults and those identifying as forever-young-adults) don’t want to read books about transgendered teens or Muslims. We have few books in the teen market about different cultures—and not enough about LGBT characters. In Her Skin is a coming-of-age story about an everyday teen who happens to be trapped in the wrong skin.  The main character just so happens to be in love with her Muslim best friend. Love is pretty mainstream, isn’t it?  

Cherie: It definitely is! What is your writing process like?  
Trina: I cheat on the rest of my life to write, and the reward is pure pleasure. Often times, I write on notepads or in my phone, transferring notes later. I write in my head first; then I finish the story on my laptop.

Cherie: You can always tell when a writer lives in a house by the number of notepads lying around! Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Trina: My friend struggled in the wrong skin through junior high and high school. The pain I witnessed and joy I saw once she transitioned to a male had to be captured in writing. Some people still do not understand the struggles transgendered teens and children face daily. This book offers glimpses of the pain as boundaries are pushed.

Cherie: Sounds like a lot of this book comes from the heart. What was your favorite (or most difficult) chapter to write?
Trina: After my former agent wanted me to cut Heidi out of the book early on, I suffered through revising the chapter when Troy doesn’t go to Heidi’s house. Originally, he went. Originally, he was not that strong.

Cherie: Can you share with us something about Troy that we don’t learn about him from reading the book?
Trina: Deep inside, Troy would still give up everything to be with Heidi.

Cherie: Love can do that to a person. What are you working on now?
Trina: I’m finishing an urban middle-grade novel and writing an essay for a women’s anthology on life shifts. I’m always working on new projects for my college students.

 Cherie: Sounds like you're quite busy! Now that we know about your book and you as a writer, I have some fun questions for you. Try to answer in five words or less: 

Who are you drawn to the good guy or the bad guy?   I like the super-intelligent, awkward underdog.

Guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?  Tubs of chocolate frosting and toothpaste to cover post-binge pimples.

Favorite place to write?  Next to my dog Gracey Sprinkles.

Who is your mentor or hero?  Dr. Sean Shesgreen, my pair of wings from NIU. Heroes: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jane Addams, Kate Chopin, and Aphra Behn.

Are there any types of books you don’t read?  I avoid genres that rhyme with loft-corn.

Thanks for being here with me today, Trina!

Purchase In Her Skin today:


  1. I enjoyed the Q&A session. Getting a chance to see some of the background for this story is a bit heart wrenching. Wishing this book as much success as possible :-)

  2. Love the gorgeous cover and interesting premise! Thanks for sharing, Cherie!

    1. I love the premise, too! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. love the book cover, likes the wall paintings