Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Author August: An Interview with Terri Rowe

We have several more authors scheduled for interview this month.  This week, we are lucky to have author Terri Rowe join us.  For those who have emailed to check in on me, I will be posting an update on me this coming Tuesday.  I am still busy juggling the book, the freelance articles, and the family responsibilities, but I feel like things are all headed in the right direction (knock on wood!).  I am also going to be off work (from the day job) for a couple of days next week, and I am hoping to get a decent chunk of time to work more on the novel. 

The Talented Terri Rowe

One of the writers that I have met through my blog who has been incredibly supportive of my one year project is Terri Rowe.  Terri is incredibly talented and is dedicated to pursuing her dream of writing, and I am so grateful to have met her.

1.       What was your favorite book when you were young?  Do you still go back and re-read it?
I had so many favorite books as a child. I loved the All of a Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor-about a family of five Jewish sisters growing up on New York's upper east side-set just prior to, during, after WWI. I loved all the stories about the Melendy family-The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake-by Elizabeth Enright The Prairie School by Lois Lenski. The bunny book was a favorite when I was a small child along with The Monster at the end of the Book. Every summer my mother read us Marion Holland's No Children, No Pets. I actually have a page devoted to Favorite Childhood Books and happiness on Pinterest. I often go back and re-read No Children, No Pets. It has become a family summer tradition. As a gift for my mother-I am writing her the sequel-I give her a chapter at each major holiday throughout the year.

2.       Do you think your early reading habits influenced what you write now?
I think it did influence me a lot. I love to write about families, kids, and mysteries. Those were all things I loved reading about. I was also a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock's the Three Investigators, the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, and Nancy Drew.

3.       What character have you had a “book character crush” on?
I had a pretty large crush on each of the three investigators at one time or another-Pete Crenshaw, Bob Andrews, and especially Jupiter Jones.

4.       Which of your characters do you feel the most kinship with, and why?
I am working on a youth or tween novel. I really identify with Jenna, the protagonist in that story. I also have a screenplay that I have submitted to some contests and really identify with Petra. It seems to be a natural occurrence-to have some of my traits rub off on the characters I am writing about. The reverse is true as well. I want to try to be the type of person that they seem to be as well.

5.       How do you fit writing into your life?  Do you write early in the day? late? whenever you can squeeze it in?
I try to write whenever possible. I like to write early in the day when the rest of the world seems to be peacefully asleep. That is also why I like to write late at night. I am fortunate right now-I have been having layoff time for one week a month. This allows me to do some of my writing during the day. For one glorious week each month I get to pretend that my job and career is the one I have always dreamed of-being a full time writer.

6.       Do you plot out your stories or let your characters drag you on their adventure?
I develop characters and write out some plot points and ideas. I need to have a basic guide to get to where I want to be in telling the story, but I do like to try out different ideas and see where the characters take me.

7.       Where do you get your ideas for stories and characters?  Do your characters tend to come first or the plot line?
I get ideas from people that I meet, from situations I find myself in, from dreams, and from my interpretation of my memories. The characters tend to come as a result of the story ideas or from my need to tell a story about a subject. I am forever writing notes on bits of scrap paper. I did this often over the years while working in the factory on production lines. That type of work affords you time to think. sometimes too much time to think-just not enough time to write.

8.       Tell us a bit about your path to publication!
I happen to follow a page on Facebook that has to do with an NPR contest called Three Minute Fiction. Last year I saw a post on their page about another contest for the MeeGenius Author's Challenge-for storybook authors. I had not had any success writing a story in 600 words or less-but I love writing stories for kids-so I thought I would try the MeeGenius contest. I made it through the first round-which was where the editors decided if you had a viable story and could follow the formatting guidelines they wanted adhered to-then my story was put in with 400 other stories for a popular vote. You sort of had to market and promote yourself through Facebook and other media. I made it to the third round-and my story was paired with a talented artist/graphic designer-and then my story earned a publishing contract from that experience.  It is currently on the top ten list for MeeGenius through iTunes.

9.       What part of writing is hardest for you?
The hardest part of writing for me---is dedicating time to the process and being honest with how much editing I might really need to do on a piece-because that is so time consuming.

10.   What is your currently work in progress about?
I am currently working on three more storybooks that I submitted for consideration for publication, a youth novel, a new screenplay, and I have a screenplay I am trying to shop around. I also have a blog that I try to write for at least half a dozen times a month.

I appreciate Terri's encouragement.  I respect her dedication.  I am so thrilled she agreed to join us and share her experience an enthusiasm.  Check our her story Green Goo, and make a note of her name--I am certain that you will soon see more work by her as you wander through your local bookstore!