Terri Reed grew up in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. To entertain herself, she created stories in her head and when she put those stories to paper her teachers in grade school, high school and college encouraged her imagination. Living in Italy as an exchange student whetted her appetite for travel and modeling in New York, Chicago and San Francisco gave her a love for the big city, as well. From a young age she attended church but it wasn’t until her thirties that she really understood the meaning of a faith filled life. Now living in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children, and an array of critters, she feels blessed to be able to share her stories and her faith with the world. Terri loves writing for Steeple Hill Love Inspired and Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense.
If you want a chance to win a free copy of Her Christmas Protector, please post a comment below.
Beth: Tell us about your life, where you grew up, your interests and hobbies.
Terri: I was born in South Lake Tahoe and then moved to where my parents grew up, Sonora, California. I was a gymnast all through high school. I went off to college and then started modeling. I met my husband in college and we will be celebrating our twentieth anniversary in May. I love to read, garden (especially my roses) and I love dogs. We have two and are thinking about getting a third. I also love children and have two and take care of several others.
Beth: Tell us about your writing journey. Did you always want to be a writer?
Terri: In seventh grade I declared that one day I would write a book. In high school and college my teachers encouraged my writing. When my mother in law learned I wanted to be a writer she bought me a simple word processor and said now write. So I started. Then I stopped for about five years and then when I became pregnant with my first child I started writing again. That was fourteen years ago. It took ten years to sell my first book.
Terri: Through RWA I have been influenced by so many wonderful writers, I don’t know if I could list them all here. Every workshop I go to I always come away with something new. I don’t believe anyone can stop learning.
Beth: What is your favorite movie? Favorite book?
Terri: My favorite movie…well, I have so many favorites. Sound of Music, South Pacific, FAME, Footloose, Flashdance, Kate and Leopold, Ever After. The list could go on forever.
Favorite book…again, so many. The SkyPirate by Justine Dare, Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Someone to Watch Over Me by Kasey Michaels, Alone by Lisa Gardner, The Sinner by Tess Gerritson. Again the list could go on. I read all genres of Romance and Suspense/Thrillers.
Beth: Can you share about your newest release?
Terri: My November release titled, Giving Thanks for Baby is part of a continuity series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired. This book was emotionally hard for me to write. The heroines mother has Alzheimer’s. My own grandmother suffered the disease before she died, as did her three sisters. Also, in this book I dealt with some other touchy issues that I really struggled to present in a way that would be uplifting yet real. This book received 4 stars from Romantic Times Magazine and a very nice review.
My upcoming December Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense book, Her Christmas Protector, went through several alliterations before being published. This book also has received 4 stars from Romantic Times Magazine.
Beth: What is your creative process for writing your suspense novels?
Terri: The creative process is very fluid for me. I approach each book differently, depending on the type of suspense. When I plot for suspense, I look at the events as steps that build upward toward a major event, then more steps that rise toward the climactic scene that will put the characters on the path down to the resolution. Escalation is key, both in the plot and the emotional growth/reactions of the characters.
Beth: Do you have any advice for those of us hoping to write for LI’s suspense line?
Terri: That’s a hard question to answer without a trite response. One thing I would suggest is reading/studying suspense books outside the inspirational genre and outside the romance genre.
Beth: Do you tend to see the same Christian themes in your books and what are they?
Terri: There are recurring themes in my books. Forgiveness of oneself, others and of God. Acknowledging and accepting God’s sovereignty. Trusting God.
Beth: What does your typical day look like?
Terri: I write for four to six hours most days. Some days less, some days more depending on what else is going on and where in my deadlines I am. I try not to write when the kids and my husband are home. Family time is very scared to me.
Beth: What do you believe is the most important thing an author can do to catch an editor’s eye?
Terri: Again, hard not to give trite answers. Go to conferences to network. Make your writing as flawless as possible. Know your craft. Never give up. Believe in yourself. Protect the work.
Beth: What would you say was the toughest part of the writing craft for you to learn? Any tips for others who struggle with this same element?
Terri: When I started to seriously pursue writing, I realized I knew nothing. English classes did not prepare me for writing fiction, especially romance. I love Dwight Swains’ book Techniques of the Selling Writer. I have read this book so many times over the years and every time I find something more to help me with my craft.
Beth: Any marketing tips?
Terri: You know this is my weakest point. I just want to write. I have joined with several other LI suspense authors for a blogspot @ www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com
I do have a shoutlife page that I don’t update enough. I joined the Love Inspired Authors website www.loveinspiredauthors.com I don’t have my own website. Someday maybe I will, but for now, I just want to write. Steeple Hill has some wonderful promotional items for their authors so I do take advantage of that. I have joined with other authors to do postcards and bookmarks. I’ve done flyers for my books. But mostly, the best promotional/market thing any writer can do is keep writing.
Beth: Closing thoughts you’d like to share?
Writing isn’t an easy calling and publication doesn’t make it any easier. Accept your writing process and run with it. Pray before you sit down to write and always remember where your blessings (the words) come from.
Thanks Terri for a great interview. I hope you’ll join me again!!
Terri is giving away one of her books so don’t forget to post a comment to be eligible to win. You can visit her websites: http://www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com and http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com/
Virginia Smith is joining me for an interview at the end of this week.