If you missed my reviews last week of Terry's books, where were you?! No, but really, if you missed them, then you can find them a few posts down and I think the reviews are worth a look.
Terry lives in the North of England and has written four books so far, You Wish, Nobody's Fault, The Other Side & the upcoming Dream On. Let's see what she had to say for herself. Read on...
Can you tell us your favourite character in each of your books and why?
In You Wish – Ruth’s husband Matt. Gypsy-ish to look at, kind and funny. I kind of fancied Mel the builder, too. But I loved writing about Sarah best.
In Nobody’s Fault – Adrienne. Out of all my female characters she’s the one with whom I identify most. She’s the only one I’ve ever done in the first person; it just felt right.
In The Other Side – Ben. An individual, not a crowd follower, and doesn’t care what people think of him.
You hinted that there was a common thread running through your novels. Are you able to give us a clue?
Not a common thread in the novels themselves. But in the titles, apart from You Wish. The next one, Dream On, follows this, and is the most obvious example.
Your novels are very up-to-date in the way they highlight social networking. Do you see yourself continuing to use social networking in future books and if so, do you think you will have to continue to update your knowledge of it? Eg Tumblr, Pinterest etc, Google+?
The reason the theme of social networking is a major component of two of my novels (it doesn’t feature in The Other Side) is because it was necessary for the plot and characters; for instance girls like Petra and Jenna in You Wish live on Facebook. The circumstances of Sharon in Nobody’s Fault were exactly those that would have led her to internet dating and using Facebook to find a social life. I couldn’t have written about those women’s lives without including their use of social networks as it would have been unrealistic in this day and age; girls like Petra woo guys they fancy on Facebook, end of! Dream On (out in September/October!) starts in 2007 – the band in the story makes a profile on MySpace Music, as most unsigned bands did at the time. I don’t know anyone who uses Tumblr etc (I don’t even know what they are, really!), so I think it’s unlikely I would find them necessary for a plot. I don’t set out to write about online social networking as such; I write about real life, that’s all – and the real life of ordinary people today often includes these things. Having said that, a few years ago I thought it might be fun to write a novel that centred around a fake MySpace profile, but in the end the story (Nobody’s Fault) became about so much more.
Where did the idea for the magic stone come from in You Wish?
I’m sorry, I really don’t know! The idea was about making wishes on something, but it actually being your own will that makes the wish come true – it needn’t have been a stone, it could have been anything, really!
You will soon be releasing a new novel. Can you tell us a bit about this? Is it in the same vein as your other works?
Dream On is about Dave Bentley, a 32 year old head in the clouds sort of guy who wants to be a rock star – it’s about him and his band. It’s also about the struggles of Janice, who is the mother of his son – and Ariel, who is the woman Dave loves. Then there is Melodie, who just wants to be ‘a celebrity’….it features a TV talent show, which was great fun to write about – and even a small spot on Jeremy Kyle..!
It’s in the same vein in that it’s about people in an ordinary English town in more or less the present day, and in that it’s about the relationships between men and women, friends, etc. There aren’t huge hard-to-guess twists like in The Other Side – but there are unanswered questions that become resolved as the story goes on, as I couldn’t imagine writing a novel without those. It’s more straightforward – although there are three main characters and the novel alternates between different points of view, I haven’t done separate chapters for each character this time. Also, aside from a little bit of back story for each of the main characters at the beginning, it doesn’t jump back and forth in time, but just takes place over a period of about nine months, with a final chapter a year later. I wanted to do more of an ‘easy read’ after the complexity of The Other Side – not just for the readers’ sake; I wanted to do an ‘easier write’, too!! It’s funnier, much more light in some ways, but there’s a fair bit of serious stuff, life and relationships being a serious business. I’ve enjoyed writing it even more than I did Nobody’s Fault.
Your novels tend to deal with the very real relationships between family members, friends and lovers. Which do you prefer to write?
No particular preference. Friends and lovers more than family, I think.
You have written and published three novels so far, (soon to be four) which was the most important to you and why?
All equally in different ways. You Wish because it was my first one after a writing break of ten years, Nobody’s Fault because it’s my favourite, I think, and The Other Side because it’s such an unusual concept and I thought that if I could pull it off I’d have done something pretty cool!
With the complexity of your novels, do you ever have issues with continuity errors ? Are you constantly flicking back and forth when writing to ensure you are still on track?
A bit, but I’ve got a good memory for detail and quite an organised mind, and I’m forever writing things down (like, “Dave – 32 in 2007 > 16 in 1991”). Also, I revise and revise all the time, and work out very carefully the time lines of each thread. The Other Side was very, very hard to get spot on, I have to say!
Of all the scenes you have written, which is your all-time favourite and why?
I loved writing Adrienne’s breakdown in Nobody’s Fault. Don’t know why; because her behaviour was so extreme, maybe. Loved doing Sarah’s job interview when she was out of her head, in You Wish. And Katya’s come-uppance and some of the dreadful things she said, in The Other Side. I do love a good come-uppance - yes, and I like writing about extreme behaviour, too.
What scene from a book or a movie do you wish you had written?
I don’t really think like that. I just enjoy them. There are so many, many brilliant scenes I’ve read/watched that I couldn’t begin to choose one.
Are there any autobiographical elements in your books which you would be willing to share with us?
Loads, but I’m not willing to share them, ha ha! Oh, okay, then, here’s one: in the last chapter of Nobody’s Fault, Patrick tells Adrienne the reason why his wine bar is called Room 416. That’s something that really happened to me.
Your novels are classed as romantic suspense. Do you intend to continue writing only in this genre, or do you see a departure from that at any time? If so, what would you like to write?
I don’t know how I got that tag. I don’t class them as anything, though I suppose I had to pick some words when I put them on Amazon, and those choices have labelled them thus. I don’t write in any ‘genre’ in particular. I just write the way I write, I don’t think about what boxes other people might want to put my books into, as I don’t think they can be fitted into one, particularly; which is sometimes a difficulty, I have to say. For instance, it would be so much easier if I could say that I wrote ‘YA paranormal’ or ‘chick lit’. I don’t intend anything, really; I just wait until I have the next good idea. But fear not, I’m not about to write a dystopian sci-fi erotic comedy western, or anything. I suppose Dream On might be described as ‘bloke lit’. There, I’ve created a genre all of my own!
You are a mistress of creating suspense, reeling the reader in. When you write, do you already have these plot twists mapped out in advance, or do they come to you whilst you are writing?
I always work out the whole story first, but I add to it as I go along, thinking of better ways to execute plots, & sub plots to include, so that it will be more enjoyable to read. To be truthful, I don’t think about the mechanics of it very much!
Who are your literary influences?
Haven’t got any. I’ve been asked this a few times and I’ve thought and thought about it, but I really haven’t. There are loads of writers I adore, admire, respect, etc etc, but none have influenced me, in particular, I don’t think.
Who is your Rupert Penry Jones? You mean which actors do I most fancy? Bryan Cranston and Michael Chiklis. And Robert de Niro when he was younger, but not too much younger. Dominic West is a bit of a hunk, too.
Star sign – Leo
Are you typical or not of your sign? Yes
Favourite song lyric “If you do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got – could that be nothing?” – Shut Up And Dance by Aerosmith
Favourite alcoholic drink. Pinot Grigio/Jack Daniels/Vodka & tonic. Not all together, obviously
Favourite quote I quite like this, by the wonderful Bill Bryson: “As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you.' And I always used to think, 'So?”
Three people you’d like to invite to dinner and why? Michael Chiklis, Bryan Cranston and Sean Bean. One for starters, one for main course, and one for dessert.
Fave TV programme Breaking Bad, The Shield, The Apprentice (UK), Game of Thrones, true crime stuff.
Fave piece of music/song Far too many to list
Fave book of all time Ditto the above
Tell us something about yourself we could never guess – I’m absolutely brilliant at Spider Solitaire. Well, it comes with being a writer, doesn’t it?
At this point, I should just point out, I have absolutely no idea what Spider Solitaire is, but thanks Terry for taking the time to talk to me today. Wishing you every success with Dream On and your writing career, Sooz
Terry's books are available to buy via the following links -
You can track Terry's progress on her blog - she tends to blog about a lot of non-writing related stuff too, basically when she's in ranty mode! So, fun to read!
You can also connect with her on Twitter - @terrytyler4
Tune in next week for a very special book review. I was the first person to read it, not even the author's mum had read it yet and if I am not mistaken my review goes live on PUBLICATION DAY!