Interview with Jessica Verdi (Author of THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME)

Meet Jessica!

jessica-verdi-225x225

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY, and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She loves seltzer, Tabasco sauce, TV, vegetarian soup, flip-flops, tattoos, and her dog. Jessica is also the author of My Life After Now.

Hi Jessica, welcome to Whimsically Yours!! Why did you decide to write this book? More specifically, why did you decide to set it at an anti-gay camp?

When I was toying with ideas for the topic of my second novel, this story really called out to me. I’ve always been fascinated by these so-called conversion camps, places where religious leaders claim they can turn gay kids straight. There is no doubt in my mind that they’re claiming to do the impossible, and that telling LGBTQ kids there’s something wrong with them is nothing short of abuse, but the root behind these camps actually, in a twisted way, stems from a good place. The parents who send their kids to these programs truly believe their children are on the wrong path in life and that they will go to hell if they don’t make a change. These parents are desperate to “save” their kids, in their own misguided way. This is something that has long intrigued me, and a world I knew I wanted to explore in the book.

But it all came together for me when, funnily enough, I was listening to Lady Gaga’s song “Hair.” The chorus of that song goes,

I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am.

And I started thinking about all the kids who aren’t loved for who they are, and that made me so sad. And I knew I had to tell Lexi’s story.
I think you balance the preachy-over religiousness of the camp counselors with also still allowing for Christianity to not be seen as bad or the source of all of Lexi and the other campers’ problems. How did you do this? Was there ever a time you were worried this book would come off as a bad or stereotypical portrayal as Christians as homophobic?

Thank you! Finding that fine line between a biased, educational pamphlet and a book that has no opinion at all is something I always work hard to accomplish in everything I write, because I personally never want to write either of those. So I always try to do two things. 1) Make the characters and situations as layered and relatable as possible, so the reader, no matter who they are, will identify with and root for them, regardless of whether they agree with them or not. 2) Present many sides of the story. I personally don’t agree with these ex-gay programs, but there are characters in the book who have their own reasons for believing in it and wanting it to work. There are also characters, like Matthew, who thinks it’s complete and total B.S. I think if every character has a believable, understandable motivation, the rest will fall into place.

Why did you choose Lexi as your main character? All of the campers in this book seem to have stories that easily could’ve made for a great novel.

That’s a good question, and I guess the only answer I have is that I just really knew her. Not that I didn’t know all my characters incredibly well, but there was something about Lexi’s story that I really related to on a different level—even though we have very different lives. She was special and unique but also so familiar. I hope readers feel that way about her too.

Do you think you’d ever revisit the lives of Lexi or any of the other campers or is this it?

Never say never, right? I love Lexi, Carolyn, Daniel, and Mathew so much, so I’d love to revisit them some day, and see where they end up a few years down the line. But for now I have no specific plans for a sequel. There are so many other characters bouncing around in my head that I’d love to get to know. 🙂

The Great Gatsby is a text that’s central to the plot of the story (it’s also one of my favorite novels). Why The Great Gatsby? Was it always your intention to have passages of the book throughout The Summer I Wasn’t Me?

I’ve always really connected with pop culture, and I feel like I’m always relating things I encounter in my daily life to something that happened in a show or a lyric of a song or whatever. So when I’m writing I like giving the reader the opportunity to, as they’re reading, make connections between my book and something they may already be familiar with, since that’s what I like to do in my own life. Finding links, familiarity, shared experiences.

I love The Great Gatsby, and it seemed to be the perfect parallel for Lexi’s story. I’ve always read that book as a queer text, but there are other similarities between the stories as well. They’re both about trying to change who you are to please the person you love, they both have themes of forbidden love, they’re both about being in a new place, they both take place in the summer. And so I thought it was a good way to illustrate that there is always more than one way to look at something.

What’s your patronus? (Speaking of Harry Potter, I loved Daniel’s bit paralleling HP with Jesus.)

I’m so glad you liked that scene. I love that moment too, when Daniel finally finds a way to stand up for himself a little bit. My patronus is probably an elephant. They’re my favorite animal—so beautiful and smart and loving and gentle.

What is the first story you remember writing?

I was always a big reader growing up, but I didn’t really start writing until I was in my mid-late twenties. The first book I ever wrote was an adult chick lit magical realism story about friendship and music and finding love. 🙂

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?

I have terrible handwriting. Just awful. But luckily I’m a pretty good typer. <–ha, I’m with you there! -P

What was your favorite childhood book/author?

Oh I had so many! One series I read over and over again was Judy Blume’s Fudge series. LOVED it.

What other projects are you working on/any closing words about The Summer I Wasn’t Me, etc…?

I have a book coming out next year called What You Left Behind. It’s my first novel from the point of view of a boy main character. It’s the story of Ryden, a teen boy who got his girlfriend pregnant while she had cancer. She decided to continue with the pregnancy even though it meant stopping her chemo treatments. The story starts a few months after she dies while giving birth, when Ryden is struggling to reconcile the intense guilt he feels with the struggles of being a new dad.

And as for The Summer I Wasn’t Me, on a very basic level, I hope Lexi’s story will help readers to know they are a-ok just the way they are. And if someone is telling you otherwise (whether they’re criticizing your sexuality, your appearance, your disability, your hobbies and interests, or anything else) they’re the ones who have to take a long, hard look at themselves, and maybe start to make some new choices, not you.

Thank you so much for stopping by! My review of the book will be posted Wednesday but in the meantime here’s a bit about it:

image001The Summer I Wasn’t Me
Sourcebooks Fire, April 1, 2014
ISBN 9781402277887
Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen year old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi- she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feeling is harder than she thinks. And when she falls head over heels for Carolyn, one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

In The Summer I Wasn’t Me, Verdi writes with raw honesty and an open heart, asking the hard questions and exploring emotional depths and difficult truths in her character that no YA author has done before.

Praise for The Summer I Wasn’t Me

“A powerful indictment of reparative therapy- a sweet love story- and an unforgettable main character!.”

– Nancy Garden, author of Annie On my Mind

Trust me, you want to read this book. Gave it to my friend, she finished it in a few hours and called me bawling about how beautiful it was 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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BLOOD BOUND Blog Tour: Interview with Author Keshia Swaim

Hello!  Today I’m excited to bring you my interview with author Keshia Swaim for the first stop on the BLOOD BOUND Blog Tour (Spencer Hill Press, October 8, 2013).

Meet Keshia!  Hello, My name is Keshia Swaim, and I am a book addict. I love reading, writing, and talking about anything related to books. 🙂 Blood Bound, my debut novel, follows Brielle Reed as she tries to start college, learn more about her mysterious father, and avoid being pulled into a war between the fae courts.

Hi Keshia, what is your favorite place to write? Anywhere with a door. 🙂 I’m a work-from-home mother, so privacy is a rare and precious gift. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  I have younger four younger siblings & now I’m at college so I definitely get that.

What is the first story you remember writing? The first one I remember was in elementary school. I don’t remember the title, but it was about a tornado (I’m from Oklahoma) that actually repaired instead of destroyed the landscape.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I still don’t, really. I think of myself more as someone who got incredibly lucky. But when I received my ARC of Blood Bound with my name on the cover I started thinking maybe one day I can be a “real” writer.

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received? In college, a professor told be that I was “concise to a fault,” meaning that I didn’t spend enough time explaining the details in my writing. It annoyed me when he said it, but he was right, and it’s still something I struggle with.

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ? I write (great advice!). If a certain scene is bothering me, I’ll skip it entirely and move on. Sometimes I end up deleting entire chapters later, but it’s better than the alternative. If I get stuck and stop, it may take me days to get back to my story line.

Are you a full time writer? Nope. I’m a full-time mommy and a nap-time writer. Eventually I’d like to write more, but right now I’m having too much fun with my babies.  Awww!

What was the publishing process like for you?– I got in with a great company, Spencer Hill Press, and they were really good at walking me through the process, but it’s still been right down nerve-wracking at times. But at the same time, watching my manuscript turn into a real novel has been one of the coolest things in my life.

What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published? Do. Not. Quit. Publishing is hard, slow, and has quite a bit to do with luck, in my opinion. Everyone faces rejection (lots of it) but the only way to get past that is to keep going.

…okay, now for the real fun stuff 😉

Coffee or tea? Both.

Favorite animal? White tigers

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know? My original career plan was to be an archaeologist. I wanted to work in the Middle East. Then I started paying attention to current events and decided that was a bad idea.

If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat? Tolkien. I’d love to get inside his head. The man was a genius. And I’d let him pick the breakfast. Whatever would keep him at the table longest. 🙂

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why? Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. As to why (Other than happily ever after with Mr. Darcy) I Ioved how intelligent and independent she was, in a time where women weren’t supposed to think for themselves. *snaps* to that!

What is your favorite movie(s)? Pride and Prejudice, and Disney’s Aladdin. Random, I know.

If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be? A tiger, I guess. They are majestic, beautiful, and extremely dangerous if you make them mad. 🙂

What is your favorite childhood book and/or author? I’ve always been an obsessive reader, so it’s tough to pick one. But I did go through a huge R.L. Stine phase. I think I read every Goosebumps and Fear Street book ever written

What is the next book you want to write? I’d love to continue Brielle’s story for a while, but I’m also working on some historical fantasy.

Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title? Gah! Titles are the bane of my existence. Hey! maybe that would be the title. 🙂

Last words??? That sounds like I’m about to die, which I hope isn’t true.  Haha, oh no, I’ve never actually thought of it that way…oops!  I hope you enjoy Blood Bound!  And don’t forget to download “Family Ties” the story that inspired my book. And, if you have time, visit me on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, The Book Addict.

Thanks for having me! –Thank you for letting me interview you, Keshia!  It was a great one 🙂  I loved reading Brielle’s story and can’t wait to read the continuations as well as that historical fantasy!!

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of BLOOD BOUND & a swag pack!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Interview with Author Catherine Stine (RUBY’S FIRE Blog Tour)

Good Morning!

As a part of the Ruby’s Fire Blog Tour I’m pleased to bring you my interview with the author of YA Sci-Fi Ruby’s Fire, Catherine Stine (& some info about the book)!

About the Book:
Title: Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine
Series: Fireseed, #2 (however, can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication date:  June 26, 2013
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

If everything about you changes, what remains?

Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?

When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.

Book Links:
About the Author

Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend.

Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
“Ruby’s Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: ” It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved…” ”  -YAs the Word

More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.

Author Links:
Interview with Author

Hi Catherine!  Welcome to my whimsical (hehe) blog.  Can you introduce yourself & your novel?

I write young adult and new adult fiction, and often it’s speculative, because I love to ask myself “What if” questions about the world. My new novel, Ruby’s Fire, deals with subjects young women angst over: how to negotiate one’s sexuality and power, how to escape from an inappropriate and dangerous relationship, why people become addicted to drugs and what kinds of things help them to kick, and how to find true interior beauty. Ruby has trouble with men in the cult she grew up in because she is so beautiful. She is forced to flee, and run to a very unusual boarding school for nomadic teens in a place called Skull’s Wrath. Once there, she goes through major transformations in body and soul.

 What is your favorite place to write?

I have a tiny studio in NYC that I call The Rabbit Hole. It’s cozy and the walls are absolutely plastered with my drawings and photos of people that I’ve chosen who look like my characters. –This sounds awesome (& similar to my Pinterest boards).

What is the first story you remember writing?

In fourth grade I wrote a cute little mystery series and drew ornate book covers for them all. I was very proud of myself.

Haha, oh elementary school.  The first I remember writing was in 3rd grade 🙂  

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In sixth grade, when my teacher Xeroxed a 25-page jungle fantasy story I wrote called A Better World and passed it out to all of my classmates. The attention he paid to me and my writing made me realize that writing was a special craft and I actually had some talent. I think it’s so very crucial to find a mentor who does this for you. Over the years as you grow and change, you may have two or three of them.

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be?

I’d choose Ruby, from my novel Ruby’s Fire because she’s such a strong heroine even though she’s flawed. She’s beautiful and sensitive and knows how to make all kinds of elixirs out of Dragon Lizard venom that do dangerous and wondrous things. And she gets the hottest guy. –Now that’s my kind of heroine!

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?

Don’t over-explain your characters or themes. Don’t state emotions or intentions directly in a story. Your readers are smart—trust them to “read between the lines”.

How do you overcome “writer’s block”? 

I don’t believe in writer’s block! It is important to just sit down in my chair and force myself to write for a certain amount of time. This leads to inspiration, not always the other way around. Also, sometimes it’s good to outline in more detail if you are hazy on a character or plot.  –You make a great point here.  Often it’s just better to not believe and keep focused on your writing.

Are you a full time writer?

I write and teach. I also teach creative writing workshops and courses in writing teen fiction. These two disciplines feed into each other. I love them both.

Coffee or tea?

Three cups of black coffee in the morning and then tea, tea, tea!

Hmm… What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?

I love rock, jazz and R&B, and I’ve seen over 60 concerts. Let’s see, I’ve seen James Brown four times, Jonny Lang three times, John McLaughlin five times, and so, so many others. I’ve hung out with McLaughlin in his dressing room with the crew, and I’ve chatted with Mark Anthony. A bit of a groupie? Yup.

What was the publishing process like for you?

I was first published with Random House (My YA, Refugees). It was exciting and scary, because the first draft was revision on spec. They liked my revision because they offered me a contract afterward. (Wow, that’s amazing…no easy feat, congrats!) I’ve also done work for American Girl, as well as indie publishing my latest YA sci-fi novels, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire. I loved putting together my own dream team for them, including my amazing editor, Elizabeth Law, who worked for Egmont Press, and Jay Montgomery, my awesome cover artist who teaches digital illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design. Each way of publishing has its own strengths.

What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?

Get the novel right first! Don’t even think about sending anything out before it’s a darn good tale with vivid characters and unexpected plot twists. Lots of people are too impatient to publish. Also, don’t give up even if it takes a while.

If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who’d it be and what would you eat?

Chekhov. We’d eat chocolate cake and drink black coffee, but mostly we’d talk about writing.

What are your favorite movies?

Eastern Promises, Taxi Driver, Laurel Canyon, Eight Mile—movies that hit my heart

If you had an animal spirit or Patronus which animal would it be?

A bear? They are tall and noble and can be quite quick when they need to be. They protect their own with ferocity, yet they’re normally peaceful.

What are your favorite childhood books?

In sixth grade, I discovered sci-fi and I fell totally in love with Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and before that The Narnia Chronicles. I have a very active imagination, and there’s nothing more exciting than to craft new worlds, settings, inventions. –These are some of my favorites as well!

 What is the next book you want to write?

I’m revising a YA contemporary psychological horror that pays homage to Dorian Gray, but with a female lead. I hope to have it out in December. –I love the tale of Dorian Gray…what an interesting twist, looking forward to it 🙂

Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title?

That’s a hard one. Girl with Goat, or Fire Witch. Try to figure those out, I dare you!

Last words?

Entertain your readers! That’s the main job of a writer.

Thanks for interviewing me, it was fun!

Catherine Stine

Thank you, Catherine for the wonderful interview!  Entertaining your readers should always be top priority.  Readers, be sure to check out the full tour schedule for excerpts, reviews, and other interviews!  Also don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway 😉  (I know, you can’t view it but you should definitely click the link…it’s a big one!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

It’s Here!!! Release Day: The Super Spies and the Pied Piper

The third book in the Super Spies Series is finally here! Below are the cover, blurb, and an excerpt!

To celebrate this new release the first two books are on sale for $.99! (I’ve posted links to my reviews of them below) It’s a really fun series of friendship, mystery, and adventure you won’t want to miss!

Book Cover

by Lisa Orchard

Book Blurb

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation.Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.”

But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake.

Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Excerpt

Chapter One

“What do you mean you lost them?” Sarah Cole fidgeted as she waited for Agent Gray to answer. I can’t believe it! He lost the only clue to our parents’ location. What is wrong with this picture? Agitated, Sarah shifted in her seat and chewed on her lip. She was uncomfortable in the folding chair and rearranged her petite frame so she wouldn’t feel the cold metal against her bare legs. Shivering, she glanced around the all-too-familiar room.

The gray cement block walls no longer gave her that creepy, closed-in feeling she’d used to get when she first came to the interrogation rooms. She remembered the first time she’d been in that tiny space. It had been the day she’d discovered the Cat Lady’s dead body. Sarah shuddered at the memory and then smiled when she remembered forming the Super Spies and bringing the Cat Lady Killer to justice. Glancing around the room again, she realized she’d been in this room quite a bit these last few weeks, not only during the Cat Lady investigation, but the High School Bomber investigation as well. Shivering again, Sarah rubbed her arms but she really wasn’t cold. Her mind filled with the image of the bomber the Super Spies had helped apprehend just a week earlier.

Wow! Was it just last week?

She tugged at a lock of her honey colored hair, then brushed it away with an impatient hand. She sighed and glanced at her younger sister. Lacey sat beside her with her legs crossed, jiggling her foot at such a rapid rate it seemed like her whole body was electrified. She caught Sarah’s eye and for a moment her eyes glittered like emeralds before she shifted her gaze to Aunt June, who had placed her hand on Lacey’s leg in what appeared to be an attempt to quiet her. Sarah shifted in her chair and sighed again. Are we ever going to find Mom and Dad?

A commotion out in the hall drew everyone’s attention. Sarah leaned forward

and craned her neck to see what was happening.

“Chief, we’ve got an OD!” An officer yelled.

“What?” Chief Johnson yelled as he rushed by. “An OD on what? Give me the details.”

“The parents found their son unconscious in his room this morning, and an empty bottle of prescription medication on his bedside table.”

“What was it?” Chief Johnson asked.

“It’s Myodine.”

“Who makes it?”

“Ah… Piper Drugs.”

“Call Poison Control with the name and manufacturer and ask them what to do about an overdose. Instruct the parents to get their son to the hospital pronto,” Chief Johnson ordered.

“They’ve brought him here.”

“What?” Chief Johnson exclaimed.

The sound of policemen rushing through the hall pulled Sarah and her sister out of their seats. They hurried to the door, unable to stifle their curiosity. Peering down the corridor, Sarah caught a glimpse of a young man sagging between two officers as they desperately tried to keep him on his feet. One officer gently slapped his face while the other officers held him up. The young man blinked and then gagged, puking on the officer in front of him. The rancid stench of fresh vomit filled the air. While plugging her nose, Sarah ducked back inside the interrogation room, followed by her sister. Sarah closed the door, hoping it would keep the smell from penetrating the room.

“Did you hear that, Lace? Piper Drugs! That’s the company Dad works for,” Sarah whispered in her sister’s ear before proceeding back to her seat.

Lacey opened her mouth to speak, but closed it when Agent Gray cleared his throat and motioned for them to sit down.

He continued his conversation as if they hadn’t been interrupted. We were on our way to the location of the ping… but before we got there it disappeared.”

“So, what does that mean? Did you find our parents or what?” Sarah blurted out as she sat down. She stared into Agent Gray’s icy blue eyes, trying to read his mind.

What are some new books you’re excited about reading?

For more information about the wonderful author and her other books check out these links!

Interview with Author, Lisa Orchard – Whimsically Yours

Book Review, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer – Whimsically Yours

Book Review, The Super Spies and the High School Bomber (bk. 2) – Whimsically Yours

Social Media Links:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Where to Buy?

1. The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer ($.99)

2. The Super Spies and the High School Bomber ($.99)

3. The Super Spies and the Pied Piper (links to come)

  • Astraea Press
  • Amazon
  • Barnes and Noble

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Interview with YA Author Terah Edun

Hi Readers –Good Afternoon!!!

Today I have with me Terah Edun author of the YA Epic Fantasy Novel Red Madrassa (review to come later today!).

Hi, I’m Terah!

I’m currently a humanitarian aid worker, so that’s what takes up most of my time and energy. I’m young, starry-eyed and a daydreamer who loves to read. I became an author after writing novels for my best friend and growing frustrated at the lack of strong, young women being published in epic fantasy. *cough* There could be five hundred books a year and I still wouldn’t consider it enough. *end cough*

What is your favorite place to write?

I’m pretty easy to please. I need a quiet environment, a desk and my iPhone. I can’t write outdoors. My favorite place is comfortably ensconced in my apartment with a blanket wrapped around me.

What is the first story you remember writing?

It was a story I submitted for an English Arts project in high school about a girl climbing into a mountain cave and discovering a magic lizard. I still have it and the comments from my teacher written across the top in red. She loved it!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm when I held the print copy of my first book – Red Madrassa.

If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why?

I’d probably love to be Queen Selenay from Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen series. She’s a compassion and loved Queen in Valdemar history.

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?

Keep writing.

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ? 

I take a break, listen to music, watch t.v., do anything else and then come back to the story fresh.

Coffee or tea?

Chai.

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?

I would love to own a Newfoundland and a Bernese Mountain Dog.

What was the publishing process like for you?

A step at a time. As a self-published author I’ve learned everything on my own with the help of a very supportive writing community. Many times I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from each one.

What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?

There are so many ways to get published nowadays – pick what’s best for you and keep moving forward.

If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat?

Barack Obama.

What is your favorite movie(s)?

Air Force One and Mulan are oldies but goodies. I’m really looking forward to the release of Beautiful Creatures though.

If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be…why?

Probably a crafty fox. 😉

What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?

Hands down the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce.

What is the next book you want to write?

My latest book is Sworn to Raise which releases in March 2013. After that I’ll be writing the sequel to Red Madrassa.

Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title?

The girl who tried to have it all and succeeded.

Last words???

I love readers – stop by my website teedun.com

Thanks for joining me today, Terah!  I’m really looking forward to the release of the Beautiful Creatures movie as well:)

–Readers: If you have any questions for Terah feel free to ask them in the comments section below 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC