By CARYN RUPERT
Daily Record/Sunday News
If no one interrupts her, 60-year-old Manchester Township author Gerry Trust can sit down at her computer and write from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. without any breaks. While she might put on some of her favorite music, (she prefers heavy metal from the ’70s) eventually she tunes it out and everything in her mind becomes the characters and what they’re doing.
“Today there are a lot of fan fiction websites where people take their favorite literary characters and write their own stories,” Trust said. “I was doing fan fiction before those sites existed.”
When she was in elementary school, she would think about the characters from her favorite TV shows before she went to bed. Then, she would dream up new stories to tell her friends at school the next day.
Trust had put some of her stories on paper, but considered writing to be just a hobby. Then, after suffering an injury in her adult years that left her with neck and shoulder pain, she decided to write full-time. Unlike a conventional job, writing allows Trust to adapt her workday if she’s in too much pain.
In 2001, after writing a manuscript and having it rejected by several publishing houses, Trust joined the Romance Writers of America. She learned how to write query letters to publishing houses and how to format a manuscript.
In 2011, following a number of rejections, Trust self-published “Love on the Edge of Tomorrow,” a young-adult sci-fi romance.
Part of the novel takes place on far-away Cambria, a planet to which humanity flees after Earth is no longer livable. The other part takes place on Earth in the 1970s, where 19-year-old Alexandra Marshall lives.
“I wanted to do something different that wasn’t ordinary time travel,” Trust said.
Alexandra is spirited away to Cambria, in 3149, while on a horseback ride. There, she learns she’s the rightful queen of Cambria. She had been sent back in time, to Earth, to escape a political scheme. As Alex unravels her fate, two suitors, Amatheon and Lorcan, vie for her affections. Amatheon’s interest is genuine; Lorcan’s, who covets her power, is not.
Trust’s story contains political and environmental themes. The Keepers of Knowledge, comprised of scientists and scholars, force their environmentally conscious beliefs on the colonists. The Keepers maintain order through censorship and control of the farming class. A rebel group, the DETRA, forms to try to uncover the Keepers’ secrets and re-establish a democracy. The rebels want the right to own weapons and other personal liberties reinstated.
“There has to be a balance between individual liberties and rigid societies that dictate what you can buy,” Trust said.
She thinks a lot about the controversy surrounding environmental consciousness in American society.
“I would love to see non-polluting, affordable technology, but there can be too much control,” she said.
Trust chose to set her heroine in the 1970s because she didn’t want a heroine that was too attached to modern technology.
“I had a hard time picturing a girl from 2012 with her iPhone and iPad having any fun in Cambria,” Trust said. “I wanted (my heroine) to have questions in her mind about restrictions in technology, but not be dependent on technology.”
Trust has five children, all grown, between 30 and 40 years old. Three of her daughters and her son helped her reformat the manuscript for “Love On The Edge Of Tomorrow” and self-publish the book. Trust used SmashWords, a software that helps manuscripts be compatible for Kindle and Nook.
“The more computer-savvy you are, the easier it is to self-publish,” Trust said. “The biggest drawback to being self-published is not being edited by a professional editor. We all start out not knowing what we’re doing, but you learn by being professionally edited.”
Trust hired an editor from a website suggested to her. She wanted more feedback on her work, but she said the editor she hired “moved a lot of commas” and wouldn’t explain how to correct errors in her sentence structure.
Trust has received several requests to write a sequel to “Love On The Edge Of Tomorrow.”
“I’d like to see it as a movie,” Trust said. “Structurally, it’s set up to be a film.”
Trust also has a few other manuscripts she’s working on. One, which has been through about 12 rewrites, Trust said, is somewhat of a grown-up “Alice in Wonderland” story about a girl on a quest for the key to turning the world into a paradise. Trust said it reads like a soap opera, but it has allegorical characters from mythology.
Her other manuscripts are romance novels that she has developed since joining Romance Writers of America.
Trust said digital publishing has taken off in the past five to six years, and major publishing houses are now moving more into digital formats.
“I’m going to keep writing and hope to get published in a more traditional manner,” Trust said.
Name: Gerry Trust
Lives in: Manchester Township
Family: Married; five children
Occupation: Full-time writer
Hobbies: Reading, playing music, enjoying a beer on her patio with her husband and her 2-year-old Springer Spaniel
Online: “Love on the Edge of Tomorrow” is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
More: Read a Q&A with Gerry Trust on a blog run by a fellow Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers member, Gerri Bowen.