The Author: Trinity Lemm
Trinity Lemm is from a small town in Illinois. After graduating from high school in 2019, she began attending Western Michigan University to study both business and dance, with plans of maintaining a writing career on the side. When she is not writing, she enjoys dancing, spending time with friends and family, and watching scary movies.
The Book: Forever Burn
Tatum Everley is a freshman at Western Michigan University. Due to an emotionally and psychologically abusive past relationship, Tate struggles from Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has been working on controlling her symptoms and flashbacks, but when she meets Axel Burne at a fraternity party, who is notorious for sleeping around and getting into fights, she tries her best to dodge the bullet. Axel starts to become intrigued by Tate, but she’s better off choosing Lucas— the sweet guy who has been trying to take her out since orientation. But even though Lucas is the better option, Axel keeps reappearing. Tate continues to try to stay away from him, but it starts becoming harder to, and as she gets closer to him, things start to get way out of hand. If Tate wants her happy ending and her sanity intact, then she has to push through the hardships and maintain control over her disorder.
The Review: 3/5 stars!
Trinity Lemm has written a masterful story between the pages of Forever Burn. It is a story that brings the darker side of young love into the light – something that many other books in the genre shy away from.
It leads you through the effects of abusive relationships, and the toll it takes on a person. It shows you the lasting effects of abuse and what it takes to come out the other side.
I will admit that it took me a chapter or two to fully be submerged in the book, but I soon lost track of time, adrift in the story, needing to know more. I loved that Lemm’s main character was flawed; it leads to her being three-dimensional – and super relatable. I found that I cared for Tate; I felt the trauma and felt the doubt and pain as she tried to move on with her life and be a ‘normal’ college girl like her friends. All the while dealing with C-PTSD.
I thought that the support characters in Forever Burn were pretty great too, Axel was by far my favorite. He was what many girls want in a guy – enter a bad boy with a soft side. The way he helps Tate through some pretty dark stuff *SWOON*
I’m interested to see where Lemm takes the story next. Hopefully, we won’t have long to wait!
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
The most surprising thing I discovered while writing my book was my own motivation and dedication. If you know me personally, you know that I tend to procrastinate everything. Whether if it’s doing homework or simple things, like laundry or cleaning, I tend to procrastinate. But when it came to Forever Burn, I was so extremely dedicated to writing. I made sure I met my quota each day, which was to write at least four pages a day. I often went to Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, spending hours there writing. Forever Burn was at the top of my priorities list. I was so dedicated to the characters and finishing the novel that it was all I ever wanted to do.
Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
I feel like in the blurb for Forever Burn, and for your first impression of him, Axel is definitely a bad boy d-bag. And don’t get me wrong, he is most definitely the biggest bad boy on campus, but he’s secretly very sweet and caring.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Tatum and Axel both hold a very special place in my heart. Tatum has a lot of my qualities, and most people that know me personally tend to assume that I based her off of myself, which I guess is partly true. Not only do we both have a quirk for red lipstick, but I have Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from an emotionally abusive relationship as well, which is where the idea originally stemmed from. Axel is also so special to me. I created him to be the perfectly imperfect guy that every girl dreams of. But above his good looks and dragonfly tattoo, he is the exact opposite of Tatum’s past, which is my favorite part about him. These characters mean so much to me. I even have a small dragonfly tattoo with has a red heart next to it on my hip, that I got in honor of Tatum and Axel. They will be part of me, always. Literally and figuratively!
What was the inspiration for the story?
The inspiration for the story stems from my own struggles with Complex-PTSD. I’ve written a more in-depth article about the inspiration behind Forever Burn, which can be found on the blog on my website trinitylemm.com.
What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
The key theme is to highlight the differences between toxic and healthy relationships. I feel as though a lot of romance novels tend to romanticize toxic relationships. This is not something that readers, especially young adults, should be looking up to. These are the relationships that readers will want, the ones that are supposed to be “goals.” When a young reader truly loves a romance book, they will strive to have the same relationship as the one they read about. And why on earth should they strive to have a relationship that’s toxic?
What is the significance of the title?
When it came to the title, I wanted something that represented both Tatum and Axel. Tatum’s last name is Everley. Axel’s last name is Burne. So, I figured using some form of “ever” and some form of “burn” would be a great way to represent them both. So, I came up with Forever Burn, and I was immediately set on it.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
The future of the characters is still in the works! I’m currently working on a sequel, which I plan on entitling Forever Frozen. I am so extremely excited to share this sequel with my readers. I can’t wait for them to read the future and fate of Tatum and Axel!
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?
I faced plenty of challenges while writing this book. There were so many moments where I kind of stopped and thought to myself, “Should I keep doing this? Is it even any good? Will people like it?” But at the end of the day, I knew that I needed to finish and get it into the hands of readers. I knew I had already gone too far to just stop. Another huge challenge I faced was time. While writing Forever Burn, I was juggling so many things at once. School, dance, my friends and family, and my writing career were all piling on top of each other. It took so much dedication and motivation to keep each one balanced, but I somehow managed to do so! I think the highlight of writing the book was the moment I finally finished it. I honestly don’t think I had ever been so proud of myself. From that very moment, it became my most prized possession.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from the people and places around me. I find it easiest to write things that I know, things I’m familiar with. Hence why Forever Burn takes place at Western Michigan and why many of the characters are based off of people I know in real life.
Who is your favorite author, and why?
My favorite author of all-time is Jamie McGuire. I absolutely love her writing style. She always knows exactly how to effectively pull readers in, and to pull at their heart strings. I’ve pretty much read all of her books, and there’s not a single one that I dislike. She’s a very well-rounded writer and I hope to be as successful as her someday.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading the After series by Anna Todd. I’m on the third book, After We Fell. A lot of people began comparing my writing style to Todd’s, and once they started to do so, I knew I had to check out her work! She’s an excellent writer, and it’s so encouraging to be compared to someone as successful as her.
Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Not too long ago, I reread Beautiful Disaster and it is still my favorite book to this day. I love the characters, the vibe, and the story gets me every time. I’d say one of my favorite books from when I was a child would either be The Hunger Games or Divergent. I’ve always been a huge fan of dystopians, and both of those books are total dystopian classics!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me dancing, watching scary movies, or hanging out with friends and family.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
The biggest advice I’d give to a new writer would be to focus on writing for your own sake. Create something beautiful that YOU love, and the rest will follow. How is anyone supposed to love your book if you don’t love it first? And second, finish that manuscript. Nothing else can be done or accomplished until your manuscript is!
How do you handle writer’s block?
I usually handle writer’s block by either reading for a while or giving myself a change in scenery. Reading other people’s work tends to get my writing gears going and gives me motivation to create my own work. Changing my scenery is also very beneficial. It allows me to clear my mind easier and push past my writer’s block.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I believe the most important element to good writing is all about the characters. One of my old English teachers used to always say, “The characters have to be like-able.” And that stuck with me up until this day, because he was absolutely right. Your characters are the ones that the readers are going to get attached to. They’re the ones that readers will continue reading for. If they aren’t relatable in any way or if have a terrible personality, then readers aren’t going to like them. And what person is going to continue reading a book where they hate the characters?
What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?
I believe main characters come first. You can’t create a plot until you know who your characters are, because how do you truly know what actions they’d take or what situations they’d be in if you don’t know their personality, hobbies, or lifestyle?
Describe a typical writing day.
A typical writing day for me is to head over to Barnes & Noble to write. There’s something about being surrounded by books that inspires me to write my own. I usually grab some Starbucks in the café and find a seat, and before I know it, two to three hours have passed!
What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
For me, the most difficult part of writing is finding time. Last year, when I was writing Forever Burn, I had a pretty good system to meet my daily quota. I usually wrote a bit each morning when I woke up, throughout the day if I had free time, and a little before bed. Now, since I’m juggling writing with my schoolwork, job, and sorority, it’s become a bit more difficult.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I do hear from my readers, but I’m always looking to interact more with them! My readers have been so supportive throughout my writing journey so far. Dozens of them have left such kind and positive reviews of Forever Burn. They are my main motivation to continue writing. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
How do you do research for your books?
I didn’t really have to do research for Forever Burn since I was already so familiar with C-PTSD due to my own diagnosis. After I originally got diagnosed last year, I did an extensive amount of research just to become more aware of the disorder and understand my symptoms better. I used a lot of my previous research and my own experiences in Forever Burn.
When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
When writing an emotionally draining scene, I usually listen to music. I find it very helpful, especially when it’s music that reminds me of the scene I’m writing. For example, if I’m writing a sad scene, I’ll play slow or sad music. It sets the vibe for me as I write. When it comes to Tatum and Axel, since I’m so invested in their characters, I tend to feel what they feel while I write very emotional scenes. If they are angry, I’m angry. If they are upset, I’m upset. If they are happy, I’m happy.
How do you handle literary criticism?
When it comes to literary criticism, it can be discouraging at times, but I try my best to take it as a learning experience and to apply any suggestions or corrections to my writing. Since I’m such a new writer, it’s always good to get some harsh criticism at times, because I know it’ll help improve my writing in the long run.
How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
It depends on what genre I’m writing. If I’m writing contemporary, then not much “world building” takes place because I just write as I go, since I’m writing in my own, everyday life/world. For fantasy or sci-fi, it definitely takes a lot longer because you need to create an entire world on your own.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?
Readers can find out more about my book through my social media or my website. I have a Facebook page, Goodreads page, Twitter, and both a writing and personal Instagram account. My website is trinitylemm.com or you can search my name on any of my social media platforms. I am constantly looking to interact more with my readers! I love hearing from them, whether it’s about Forever Burn, other books, or just casually talking about whatever comes to mind. It’s so exciting to get to know my readers better.