Today on Make-believe Mondays, I am pleased to introduce my friend from RWAonline, Terri Garey. Terri writes paranormal romance for Avon.
Terri, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Terri: The book I’m working on now is a quirky contemporary paranormal entitled IF YOU GOT IT, HAUNT IT. It’s the third in a series for Avon Books (DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY will be released in July 2007, and WHERE THE GHOULS ARE in April 2008) about a hip young woman named Nicki Styx who dies and returns to life with the ability to see and hear spirits. If becoming a reluctant ‘ghoulfriend’ to the dead isn’t enough to turn the pink streaks in Nicki’s hair to white, she has a vintage clothing store to run and secrets to keep from the emergency room hottie who’s doing some ‘digging’ of his own. It’s dark humor with a Southern slant - the angst of a young woman on the edge, a healthy dash of sex and voodoo, a sprinkling of spookiness.
Debra: Ooh, that sounds spooky and intriguing. I can't wait to read it!
Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?
Terri: I used to be a very ‘left-brained’ person - I worked in the computer field, which is one of logic. I considered myself one of the least ‘creative’ people out there, until my husband pointed out the beauty of my garden, the cheerful needlepoints I’d framed and given to loved ones, the dried flower arrangements and seasonal wreaths I’d made for our home, even the colors I’d painted the walls and the way I arranged the furniture. My current favorite hobby is making beaded jewelry; necklaces, earrings, bracelets. Creativity is all around us - we need to recognize it within ourselves and nurture it, whatever the medium. Some people are fabulous cooks (I’m terrible at it, though I haven’t given anyone food poisoning yet , others paint, play an instrument, sculpt, or knit. Find something you like to do and keep doing it.
Debra: I'm always impressed by the many ways authors find to use their creativity. When nurtured, it explodes into everything they touch.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Terri: Oh, absolutely. It’s usually somewhere in the first chapter - how can I make my characters come alive for the reader if they’re not alive for me? Nicki Styx is a bit of a smart-aleck, and often surprises me with what she says and does… I wish I could be as ‘cool’ and witty in real life as she is! My agent said to me recently, “She’s really alive in your head, isn’t she?” As weird as that may seem, she was right.
Debra: Don't you you love it when they talk back to you? That's when surprising things happen. What a wild ride writing can be.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Terri: Being female, I guess I should say Judy Blume or Georgette Heyer, but it was actually Charles Dickens in DAVID COPPERFIELD. I remember reading that book over and over, and I still love a good, old-fashioned historical. As a paranormal author, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t influenced by Edgar Allen Poe - THE TELLTALE HEART and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM still amaze me with their ability to give the reader the shivers. And let’s not forget that it was a woman, Mary Shelley, who wrote the classic, FRANKENSTEIN.
Debra: Dickens is also one of my favorites, even today. So much so that I spent a summer reading biographies of him. He used to speak to his characters and also performed his stories, taking the part of each character. No wonder his characters seem so alive. And Poe, there's no one else quite like him. Hurray for Mary Shelley for showing the boys how it is done.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Terri: Dreams are important,but I think it’s the ‘waking’ ones that really count. That dream of becoming a writer? Don’t give it up. That dream of making the New York Times bestseller list? Don’t give it up. Imagine yourself receiving a Lifetime Achievement award. Imagine yourself churning out bestsellers while still in your pajamas. Imagine yourself at the Hollywood premiere of the movie they just made from one of your books.
Imagine. Dream. Then do what you can to make those dreams a reality.
Debra: I couldn't have said it better.
Terri, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers
You can visit Terri at www.tgarey.com or www.tgarey.blogspot.com