Interview with Teresa Hubley

What's the story behind your latest book?
I just finished a sequel to the book "Refugee Star Trail." It's called "Outlaw Star Trail." In the first book, survivors of a planetary coup escape in a stolen spaceship and flee, picking up a hitchhiker along the way. After winding up on Earth (imprisoned in Las Vegas), they escape again and stumble into the middle of an undercover operation run by a group of contractors. After another run, they crash on a distant planet that is a forgotten scientific outpost. In time, their old friends the contractors show up again offering a fateful deal. In the next book, "Outlaw Star Trail," old enemies from the first book start to track the survivors down and they must band together with their friends to fight back.

I described the first book as "more space than science and more opera than fiction." The original version was a parody heavily influenced by various comic books and the then-current "Flash Gordon" movie adaptation starring Max Von Sydow. Although toned down, the final version of the book still has its campy moments (let's just say you can't do Vegas without Elvis in the mix somewhere). The sequel features some silliness but still manages to have plenty of action and some poignant moments as well.

My next project is a mystery thriller. The story is set in contemporary America in the high desert where the local county courthouse is devastated by an explosion. Homeland Security swoops in to investigate the incident but local folks, such as the sheriff and county commissioner, are already working to unravel the story,
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My parents were missionaries and we lived in Africa when I was very small. When we got back to the US, we moved a lot, every couple of years, This gave me a chance to experience many different settings and meet a wide variety of people. It also made it difficult to put down roots and work my way into a community. I became a perpetual outsider and observer. That's a great foundation for Anthropology, which became my field of study, but it's a bit rough on social skill development. I have a habit of half listening to chatter around me as a result of my upbringing and vocation and I think that's given me a good ear for dialogue. It probably hasn't helped make me popular though.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I went indie after several frustrating tries at getting published on paper. When I first started submitting books to publishers, I would at least get acknowledgements and even rejection letters. In more recent years, the fashion has become no reply. Since many publishers won't allow simultaneous submission, you can be tied up for months waiting until you are allowed to submit again. Since I was going through the same process at work with papers for professional journals, I found it tiring to deal with the problem at home as well. I also found that agents are even worse at getting back to you. I did a little research before choosing Smashwords as my indie home.
When did you first start writing?
My earliest writing memory outside of class was putting together skits for my own bestie and myself back in fifth grade. The earliest writing of any length that I did was a very sappy epic poem I penned in middle school. I was a habitual writer on the side in high school and wrote my first novella-length piece when I was a senior.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I love classical fiction and often scour Feedbooks for popular items I can add to my e-shelf. I also check out Barnes and Noble's Free Friday deals on their blog and their Nook Book page's Daily Find for newer books. My sister sometimes gifts me books she likes too. She's a Kindle girl so I have to read those on my Nexus tablet on the Kindle app.
What is your writing process?
For a book, I go through five drafts. My first draft is often a mix of electronic and hand written segments that all get put together in a master draft I keep on an external hard drive attached to my laptop in a folder called "Workbench." I also keep a copy of the master in my Dropbox account so I can read and edit it on other devices. My goal for the first draft is to sketch out the story from start to finish. I usually do not have more than a brief paragraph of description to start with if writing from scratch (as opposed to "salvaging" some older material, such as short story serials form my time on Wiritng.com). For the second draft, I read through and add color details (such as descriptions of settings). For the third draft, I use a laserjet to print out a paper copy, which I read and mark up. I sometimes read aloud for this read-through, if only to hear the dialogue spoken. The fourth draft is made by adding my hand-corrections into the master and making any other corrections that seem necessary. The final draft is the outcome of the last read-through and edits. I like to leave some time between draft sessions so I can come at the book with some objectivity. During the time between drafts, I may work on related items such as the book cover. I find covers inspiring to have done early. They underline my commitment to the project and save me a step towards the end.
How do you approach cover design?
I want the cover to speak to the story if possible. I usually start by searching for an image that contains an item related to the story. For example, for "Soleville," which is about a shoe company employee, I looked for images of men's shoes. I may try several concepts and techniques to get the image I want. A typical go-to for me is clip art photos in Office products. I also use my own art. I have also used images from public domain sources such as the National Park Service. I use Photoshop Elements to size the cover image and apply effects. When the base image is ready, I apply the print elements (the title and credit). My goal is to develop a balanced image that draws the eye.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
A top book for me is Charles Dickens' "Hard Times." This book speaks to the importance of developing one's imagination. On the other hand, "Northanger Abbey" illustrates what can happen when you let your imagination run away with you. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is packed with dazzlingly poetic images that are too complex to grasp in their entirety and beauty in one reading. "A Room with a View" carries its theme so completely through the book (the metaphor of the window exemplifying the impact of one's view on the world) that it stands as a shining example. Finally, every few years, I re-read "War and Peace" because its characters are so richly drawn and their lives still speak to our present world so well.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My first e-reader was an I-Pod. In the past two years, I've acquired a Nook Simple Touch, IPhone, Nexus-7, and Dell Mini, all of which I use to read e-books. They all have their strengths but the one I consider my main go-to is the Simple Touch.
Published 2016-03-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Year in Haikus
Price: Free! Words: 6,890. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Biography, Nonfiction » Biography » Literary biography
This poetic diary covers a year in one woman's life through haikus written one per day, regardless of writer's block, catastrophe, and monotony
Outlaw Star Trail
Series: Star Trail, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 69,010. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Her refugee days behind her, Marleta settles into a comfortable life as a celebrity, eclipsed only by her infant son in popularity. Her old pilot friend Nell, however, sees the truth: old enemies are on the hunt and they will not rest until they destroy the ship and crew that gave them the slip. Nell and her new crew hasten to warn the survivors of the Valindi crash before all is lost.
Star Paw
Series: The Hob Scourge Saga, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 64,240. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
In the fourth Hob Scourge book, demons are on the march, encouraged by an impending disaster that threatens the citadel. Sergei and the Grudzori search for a solution but lawyer Zhandarsky spends his time courting darker forces. New family members and blossoming romance bring hope but is it all in vain?
Shoals Court: The Book
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 98,500. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Crime
The novel version of the on-line soap finds a suburban neighborhood beset by murder and organized crime while police and a visiting attorney try to piece the sparse evidence together and catch the villains. Meanwhile, residents contend with growing families, old flames, new crushes, serious illnesses, marriages gone violently sour, and pesky gulls.
Refugee Star Trail
Series: Star Trail, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 68,330. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
When the planetary government of Anubis falls, the royal family doctor, with the help of his nurse and two loyalist friends, smuggles the comatose Princess Marleta out aboard an antique star cruiser. Now they must run for their lives with the usurpers on their heels and a universe filled with spies ahead.
Slip Dancer
Series: The Hob Scourge Saga, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,310. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The 3rd “Hob Scourge” book finds Maxim showing promise of a great talent that he is too young to manage alone. The search for a teacher and a way to shape his talent becomes urgent when Levosta finds a loophole in his treaty with the humans and uses it to plot revenge against newlywed Sergei. The family lawyer’s obsession with removing the demon-struck scar from his head plays into the plot.
Learning to Shine and Other Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,060. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(3.00)
Join six souls at a crossroads in these stories. You’ll meet a woman struggling to come to terms with a criminal relative, a fictional character denying reality, an under-appreciated assistant wondering how much more to take, a man facing a fantastical family secret, a married couple fretting over a potential piece of criminal evidence, and a writer with a strong-willed lead character.
Fire Tongue
Series: The Hob Scourge Saga, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 64,270. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » General
In this sequel to “Charm Speaker,” Sergei’s skill at routing demons creates enemies. Evil Levosta raises an army to crush Sergei. Without full status as an agent of the Grudzori, he must face them alone. Worse yet, Levosta finds the way to kill one of Sergei’s kind and tests it. As a midnight deadline looms, friends and family from the first book rally for him and the search for a strategy is on.
The Road That Leads to You: Four Stories of Love
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 22,640. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
These four accounts of love give us a recovering alcoholic with an old song stuck in his head, a businessman who inherits a partner he never knew he needed, an articulate mechanic determined to speak up for her man, and a bride-to-be struggling to put herself back into her wedding.
Charm Speaker
Series: The Hob Scourge Saga, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 67,940. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Historical » Paranormal
Siblings Sophia and Sergei are about to approach the sinister Black Vole Road where the mysterious Grudzori await, ready to kidnap one of them and open the door to a world where demons and shape shifters threaten. Their ambitious lawyer's plots to seize their estate seem trivial, compared to the dangers of a perilous rescue mission, but can still bring calamity.
Sarah, Serendipitous
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 71,260. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
As an historian, Sarah finds writing the life of a great American house goes smoothly until the present is the topic. Aside from the house's forceful head, Simon, she faces his needy daughter and mysterious business partners. She is tested most by possible love with Simon's moody nephew and balancing her own family's wishes. When painful stories emerge, she must decide her duty.
Four Dark Corners
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,450. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(5.00)
Four stories that poke at the boundaries of what we know as reality and discover forces that are beyond reason and control. In them you will encounter: an innkeeper troubled by the ever-present previous owner, a professor whose promotion comes at a steep price, a married couple whose ingrained habits can only be broken by extremes, and a spirit that speaks through a bell.
The Troughton Line
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,090. Language: English. Published: July 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
Ryder Woodbein might have taken Yvette Bruner to the prom but that was ages ago and he hasn’t dealt with the family since. Now his job prepping the Troughton property for market puts him just over their back fence. There he’ll contend with some scores the Bruner kids want to settle and their father’s desire for a lake view, as well as greedy realtors and ghost-hunting history buffs.
Whispa
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 70,840. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
A mundane farm life is shattered for Pym and his father when they discover a secret policeman, a "Whisperer" or "Whispa," lying unconscious and marked by his special pendant. Soon the farm has other frightening guests and a servant girl, Trilli, goes missing, along with the pendant. Now Pym and his friends must decide whom to trust, while Trilli faces danger in carrying the pendant.
The Orphans' War
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 78,920. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
The heirs to the throne of the elf kingdom Cuore, the twin princelings and their half-blood brother, are ready to prove themselves when war breaks out. Their tense family standoff, however, must subside for a perilous mission to the goblin country. Peace between them is the only hope for the half-blood’s mortally wounded lady-love and the future of Cuore.
Mountain Flower
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,460. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
(2.00)
Wisteria, a spirited and principled motel maid, finds herself battling greedy ranchers and a jealous wench for the honor of her humble father and the love of the wealthy and very eligible Anthony.
Lucky Justice: 3 Crime Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,320. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(5.00)
Lady Justice and Lady Luck duke it out for the fates of 3 parties in search of the Lady “Fortune” in this story collection. In “Luck Be a Lady,” two escaped criminals have it made until they take the wrong turn. In “Let Them Eat Cake,” a hired killer considers one more risky job. In “the Desk Audit,” a team of investigators trails a fraudster ready to reply with force.
Still Life Without You
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,070. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(3.00)
Teen-aged twins, Georgia and Jackson Phillips, spring into action when they find their favorite painting, "Nude Sketch No. 45.," has been stolen from the local museum. A visit to the artist, the heartbroken widower, Jonah Coffey, draws them into the sketch's dark back story and the designs of thieves.
Soleville
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 67,030. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00)
The sudden death of a shoe company CEO changes everything for lowly Cliff, from his humble status on the job to his every-man home life. As if that's not enough, the mysterious letters start coming, accusing him of murder, infidelity, and more. With police closing in, Cliff's only hope is to sort through his long list of suspects and find the culprit first to clear his name.