Friday, December 5, 2008
Well today I have a special treat for everyone of my faithful readers out there. I have recently been contact with an author that I've recently met online through the wonderfully free Romance Writers United organization. You can get their badge on the right sidebar for you blog if you want to support the organization get new members. Well back on topic Terisa Wilcox saw that I did author interviews and book reviews which I'm guessing got her interested so she contacted me, which I'm honored. I hope to be getting a chance to review her first novel Timeless Mist, which is a time travel historical book to come out Fall 2009. Keep on visiting the blog or sign up for the newsletter on the left or even visit the new official website to find out when the review will be posted. Below is my interview with new romance author Terisa Wilcox:

* * * * *

Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life?

Terisa Wilcox: In 2000. I was home schooling my three children and they had reached the point where they were learning more on their own. I needed something to fill my time in between lessons. I'd wanted to be an author since the fifth grade, I was an avid reader, especially of romances, always had a book going, sometimes two or three, and my husband always said I was an incurable romantic. The transition to writing romance was logical.

Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?

Terisa: I wasn't sure. I toyed with a couple of genres at first. I read historicals set in Ireland or England. After attempting a couple of those, I read A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland, and was hooked on time travels from then on. I decided that's what I really wanted to write.

Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?

Terisa: The first fiction I ever wrote was in the fifth grade. I don't even remember the name of it now, but I do remember that I won the contest my teacher had going and got to read my story to the kindergarten classes. That was very exciting for me. Unfortunately, I don't have it any more.

Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novel and did it take you a long time to gather that research?

Terisa: Research does take a long time. I don't think it ever stops. First, I had to research how to write. I know, that sounds funny, but it's true. When I started my first manuscript, I thought it would be easy. I figured I'd have it written in no time and ta-da, I'd be an author. Then, as I started reading articles about writing, I realized how wrong I was. There's an awful lot to learn about the writing process that most people don't even realize. Because my novel is a Time Travel, I also had to research the MacGregor Clan as well as the time period, the 17th century, the customs of the time etc. So, yes, research can be a very long process, but also very needful.

Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your first novel Timeless Mist?

Terisa: The concept for Timeless Mist was born when I began doing some genealogy research about my grandparents and that side of my family, which is the name I write under. I discovered that Wilcox was actually one of the names used by the MacGregor's during the proscription, when King James VI made it illegal for them to use their own name. The Campbell's encouraged this and pursued the MacGregor's the hardest after it was done. That led to wondering what would happen if a Campbell from the 21st century was whisked back in time to 1603, right after the King's edict, and ended up on MacGregor land. Hence, Timeless Mist was begun.

Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novel?

Terisa: For my first MS, I didn't really have a process at all. I started two MS’s before Timeless Mist, that are still stuck in a drawer waiting to be used as shelf paper, (LOL). I was recently informed by a couple of characters from my first MS that they didn't like being set aside and would like to have their stories written. For Timeless Mist, I got more a process down. I swore I was allergic to outlining, (grin), but I had to find some way to over come that or I'd be stuck forever on the middle of the book. I found an article about writing a synopsis. It listed ten questions to answer. Once I answered them, which was easier to do than I thought it would be, it was like a weight was lifted. I wrote the rest of Timeless Mist in a little over two months. The new novel I'm working on, Between Now and Then, is going much smoother. I answered those ten questions before I even started writing. So that's become my process. I get the idea, answer the questions and the story is off and running.

Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?

Terisa: I like writing a series best. That's what I love reading too. Timeless Mist is the beginning of the MacGregor series, although it and the rest will be stand alone books as well. There's no particular order to read them in, but characters from one book may show up in the others.

Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?

Terisa: I consider myself very blessed in this because Timeless Mist was accepted so quickly. I sent out my query letter to three agents first. I received rejections from them all. Then, on a whim, I decided what the heck, I'll send it to a publisher just to see what happens. I did some research on publishers, what they wanted, what kind of MS’s they were looking for, whether they were accepting new authors and how long it would take for them to read it and answer me, the whole long list. I decided to go for a small press publisher. They didn't take as long to answer as some of the bigger publishing houses and I just wanted to get my foot in the door so to speak. So, I got my synopsis, my query letter and my sample pages all polished and ready and sent them off to Lisa Rene Smith at L&L Dreamspell. A couple of days later, Lisa e-mailed me requesting the full MS. That itself was very exciting. Then I sat back and prayed a lot waiting for an answer. I started my next novel, and a couple of weeks later was offered a contract.

Phoebe: How did you feel knowing that your first novel will finally be published soon?

Terisa: Whoo Hoo!! (LOL) The feeling is indescribable. A mixture of excitement and anticipation as well as a bit of nervousness, praying it will do well when it's released.

Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?

Terisa: Who says I'm not insane? LOL. It's a balance and can be a juggling act at times. Last year my husband and I decided to move to Florida from Massachusetts. My oldest son and his wife had just had a baby and they decided to come with us. My other two children decided they were coming as well. We all live in the same house, which is wonderful, but can make for some creative scheduling at times. Especially as I am designated babysitter for my grandson, who's almost two. I have two to three days a week where I write for most of the day. I have an office and my husband is a great help in seeing I'm not disturbed when I'm writing. My children all know that my writing is my job and pretty much treat it that way. They've all known for quite some time that I wanted to write, to make being an author my career and a very supportive and respectful of my writing time. As I said, it can be a juggling act, where the kids all work outside the home and some days I only get in a few hours of writing, but we make it work.

Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing?

Terisa: To relax I can usually be found reading by the pool or in the spa, (I love Florida, lol.) I like to spend time with my husband and my kids. Sitting still with nothing to occupy my hands and mind has never been easy for me. Even when I'm watching T.V., I have a book in my hand. I multi-task a lot. I find it relaxing to be physical after sitting and writing for a long period, so I will usually swim or play with my grandson. Anything to put my thoughts on something other than my writing for a short time. Although it's always there, I try to take time to unwind from it.

Phoebe: Do you have any hobbies?

Terisa: I have so many hobbies, I don't know where to begin LOL. I like to crochet, read, I love to cook, even if I have to throw my husband out of the kitchen to do it, swim. My hobbies I do to relax.

Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?

Terisa: Don't give up and don't get discouraged. Whatever else happens, whether your novel gets published or not, finish it. Sometimes the process can take forever. You'll have days where you can't think of a single thing to write, you have no thoughts and your characters aren't cooperating. Don't stress over it, don't let it discourage you. Relax and do something else. Work on your synopsis or query letter, or do something completely different. Go for a walk, read a good book, anything. Don't feel guilty about taking a day off. It helps rejuvenate your thoughts. I once had my hero and heroine, Kristianna and Iain, take off on a picnic and refuse to come back for almost two weeks. When I stopped stressing over it and went on a cooking campaign, I went back and they were waiting for me. I know, it sounds crazy, but your characters come to life in a way. They each have their own personalities. You have to listen to them and if they aren't talking, you may need to take a bit of time to just relax. Then, when you come back to it, you may end up pleasantly surprised by how easy it comes together again.

Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?

Terisa: Write what you love. Fall in love with your characters and let them speak to you. And show, don't tell. If you find it difficult to do this, write in first person. You can change it later, but it's a great way to show instead of tell. Research everything. Not just things pertinent to your novel, but the process of writing as well. It's not as easy as most people think. As far as promotion and marketing tips, ask me after Timeless Mist is released. I may have an answer to that one then. LOL


  1. Great interview! I live in FL, hopefully you'll stop in our area! Good luck, Cindy

  2. Great interview Phoebe, I might even be converted to Romance novels one day myself, for reading of course. If I write them it will have to be under a pseudonym.

    Bernard J Rossi
    Author - Room 22 & Arlington Reef

  3. Thanks Cindy and Bernard for stopping by the blog. I hope that you consider trying to read some romance novels and you can do that by checking out some of the books I've reviewed.


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