Interview with Terri Lee

When did you first start writing?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing. I've always been scribbling away at something; a poem, random thoughts, and journaling. I'm an incessant journal-er. I have stacks of leather bound books I have filled with my mad musings throughout the years. My very first book was written at the age of thirteen. 'Connie Randolph and her Summer Adventure.' Hard to believe it was never published.
But my next serious attempt didn't come until much later in my life, when the story for 'Back to Austen' fell from the cosmos and landed in my lap. It took me by surprise. And it has taken me on one of the greatest adventures of my life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When my characters surprise me. That moment when you are sitting in front of the computer and your fingers are flying over the keys and words that you didn't even know where there, come pouring out. Those are the moments that every writer lives for.
I love the whole process of creating a story from start to finish, and then hearing my readers tell me how the story touched them in some way. It doesn't get much better than that.
What is your writing process?
I'm extremely organized, so that helps. But the story comes to me in whatever fashion it chooses. Sometimes an image flirts with me for a few days and then slowly the character steps out of the shadows and begins to reveal themselves to me, or sometimes they burst on the scene and overwhelm me with everything all at once. Each character is unique, and has their own way of telling me their story. But once I have the story, my need for organization takes over. I plot out the timeline, the chapters and scenes and do my research before I begin writing. Once I'm ready to write, I write like crazy, like a person possessed, and my poor husband pays the price. I'm very methodical in my writing. I find that I cannot move onto the next scene unless I feel that I have left the previous scene in a pretty good place. I can't let it go, thinking I'll come back to it later. Each day when I start fresh, I go back over the previous day's work and edit again. I'm always editing and editing as I go along. I am not one who writes by the seat of their pants. But, that being said, I always leave room for my characters to take a twist or turn on their own. After all, it is THEIR story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Control. Plain and simple. I love the idea of having complete control over my words, my product, my cover and my career, on my time. The Indie publishing world is such a great place to be right now, with new technologies and possibilities opening up every day. It's a lot to keep up with, but I'm loving it.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a very clear image of the cover in my mind almost as soon as my story has completely revealed itself to me. The cover is very important to me, and that is one of the reasons I love the Indie publishing world. I have been lucky to work with a wonderful cover designer, Nicole Spence of and she has practically read my mind, as she brings my dreams to life.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. My book shelves span the gamut from historical biographies to silliness. I love biographies. I clearly remember the first one I ever read; 'Amelia Earhart' and I knew I was destined to be a pilot, until I read 'Florence Nightingale' and realized I was destined to be a nurse. But both of those noble aspirations were pushed to the wayside once I read 'Gone With the Wind' and realized I was, Scarlett O'Hara. Such is the joy of reading. I often have two to three books going at one time. It just depends on my mood, which book I pick up on any given day. I love to be surrounded by books.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the lush wine country of Northern California,surrounded by the beauty of the rolling hills dotted with vineyards and close enough to run to the beach when my soul cried out for peace. Beauty inspires creativity. When I close my eyes, even now, I can bring to mind the very light that infused my days.
As a child in the 60's I was carefree. As a country, we had not yet lost our innocence. Troubles may have been brewing just below the surface, but it was a wonderful time to be a child. I had freedom to explore, freedom to dream and had no reason to believe that my dreams would not come true.
Who are your favorite authors?
Pat Conroy, Jan Karon, Jane Austen,
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Bootlegger's Wife was born from the tales I heard as a child. Words that fell from the kitchen table, a snippet here, an unfinished sentence there. The story that traveled through the years landed in my fertile imagination and I let it fun free.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Simply everything. They are the nameless hearts that I write for. The words are meaningless without someone to read them. I am always conscious of my reader when the words are tumbling onto the page. And I wait with baited breath for the words that come back to me, telling me that they connected with my story. That's what it's all about. This wonderful relationship where the two parties rarely meet, but are connected through the power of storytelling.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on my next project. Even while I'm working on a current project. I can't stop my characters from talking to me. Some of them are rather demanding. Ha ha. I'm thrilled to say my next book will be as different as my first two books have been. I love the fact that my stories have taken me all over the place.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Like most people, my life seems to be a busy mess of work and family. My son is grown with children of his own now, but life doesn't really seem any less hectic. Somehow I find bits of time that I can snatch from my day, and I feed my soul by reading and watching old movies. Nothing is better than a lazy Sunday afternoon. But when I'm in the midst of writing....they are rare indeed.
Published 2014-08-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Back to Austen
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,110. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency
Can a storm change a young woman’s life forever? It certainly can if it causes an accident in time that sends her tumbling back to 1815 England. Kate must bide her time as she searches for an answer to her predicament, while tip toeing through the minefield of Nineteenth Century rules and customs. But will time buy her an opportunity to find love?