Today’s Q and A is with Lachesis Publishing author Teri Barnett. Teri has written several romances for Lachesis including the historical paranormal Pagan Fire, the paranormal romance Shadow Dreams and the time travel historical Through the Mists of Time. Her romances are infused with the magical and the supernatural.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?
I pretty much stumbled into writing, which is still surprising to me since it’s become such a large part of who I am. I was in the 9th grade and had forgotten to write a poem for my English class. So, I quickly scribbled one on a piece of paper as I was rushing to my seat. Received an ‘A’ and the teacher’s praise. That’s all it took and I started writing regularly after that – short stories, articles for the school newspaper, etc. I had already established by this time I was going to be an artist and using words to paint a picture became a natural progression for me. I was hooked!
Describe your favourite place to write?
I actually love to write in my office. I know, it sounds boring, doesn’t it? I always feel like I should be out at a coffee shop or sitting in a park, pounding away at my laptop keyboard in the company of others. But none of that works for me – I need quiet when I’m working. So, there I sit, surrounded by reference books, my jewelry making bench, and a bulletin board stuffed with ideas.
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
Way too many things to list LOL . . . suffice to say reference books, sketches, notes, and whatever shiny bauble has caught my attention today (this ranges anywhere from actual shiny mini disco balls to a yoyo to a new set of markers, or any number of random items – I like distractions of my own making).
What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?
In the morning, it has to be a super dark roast coffee with flavored creamer. After that, I love organic ginger tea or a yummy, spicy chai with coconut milk. They keep me going!
What do you love to read?
I know it sounds like a cliché, but romance! I love novella compilations so I can sample several authors at once. But it has to have a paranormal twist to really get my attention. I also love pretty much anything by Janet Evanovich. She’s been a great inspiration as I begin my new venture into contemporary fiction.
What is some good advice you can give to an emerging writer?
I’ve taught writing workshops and have been part of a critique group for over twenty years and I always come back to the same thoughts around writing.
a. If you want to write, then do it. Don’t wait until your kids are grown or you’re retired or you hit the lottery. Life is short. If this is your true calling, the time to start is now.
b. Please don’t assume you’ll be immediately good at writing once you do begin. Brush up on your grammar and sentence structure. Read books on manuscript formatting. Find someone other than your mom to look over your work for honest feedback.
c. Work to summarize your story in two-three sentences. This creates your ‘elevator pitch’ and helps you focus on the overall theme as you write.
d. I’ve learned over the years that children’s books are a fabulous resource for historical research. They take the interesting bits and distill them down. I have an entire shelf filled with them and always start there!
e. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I think it bears repeating – writing is a business. Be professional.
What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?
Actually, I start thinking about the next one. . . . while I’m doing a happy dance.
You have two historical/ time travel romances and one paranormal romance with Lachesis Publishing – tell us about them.
The first book Lachesis published of mine was Through the Mists of Time. Holding that first copy in my hands after years of submissions/rejections was one of the best feelings! I’ve always been fascinated with Pompeii and archeology so took the opportunity to combine both into a love story. While researching, I discovered the discrimination women with disabilities faced during the Victorian era, so decided Valerie should have a cane and a permanent limp as the result of a childhood accident. This set up a back story of her believing she’s unlovable which opened the door for her ancient Pompeiian love, Christos, to prove her wrong. One of the great things about this book is it hit the Kindle bestseller list last year in both the romance and time travel categories!
Shadow Dreams came next and I can tell you seeing your work in print never gets old. This story of Bethany and Conner came to me as I pondered the idea of traveling between planes of existence . . . which is what these two do, venturing between the Old West and P’aran, Bethany’s home. Toss in an evil priestess who is stealing the children of Bethany’s village and the discovery of earth artifacts in P’aran, and you have a mystery the two must solve before Bethany loses her own daughter.
My latest with Lachesis Publishing is Pagan Fire. No time or inter-dimensional travel here, just a straight up paranormal historical romance. After witnessing the murder of her parents, Maere is taken from her village and hidden away in a convent until she – and her power – come of age. Her uncle believes he’s keeping her for himself, but he didn’t count on her childhood betrothed Dylan or the interference of the goddess Morrigu.
What do you love about writing historical romance?
I like to joke that I’m revisiting my past lives with each historical romance novel I write. I really enjoy looking back through history and envisioning how people lived and loved. Being an artist, I’m very visual by nature, which I believe supports my writing process. Research is key to a good story and if you read my earlier blog piece on writing, you already know how much I enjoy that aspect of writing. Before starting a book, I’ll go through as many on the time period as I can find, searching out the odd kernels of information. I look to discover random facts and incorporate them into my stories in interesting ways.
What are you working on next?
I’ve decided to take a turn with my writing and leave history behind for the moment. My latest WIP is a contemporary paranormal set Up North in Michigan, centering on the adversarial relationship of Maggie and Connor and her Fairy Godmother. It’s been a lot of fun to write and I’m looking at creating a series based on the town and all the cantankerous, larger than life Fairy Godmothers!