Friday, August 22, 2014

Interview Friday with Teri Harman



Teri Harman is an author and book geek. Her books include BLOOD MOON, and the upcoming BLACK MOON, STORM MOON and A PAINTED LIFE. She also writes a book column for ksl.com, and contributes regular book segments to Studio 5, Utah’s #1 lifestyle show.  Join in the magic and chaos at teriharman.com


What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?
Religious devotion to schedules, routines, and calendars. My priorities are always taking care of my family, taking care of myself, and writing. Other things –like folding laundry – can slip. Who cares if we all pull our underwear and jammies from a basket instead of folded from a drawer? We also make sure to take time to be together on weekends – outings, movies, dinners, etc.

How long have you been writing?
It may sound a little cliché, but always. I was born a writer and storyteller, like many of us are. The first story I remember writing (and still have) was when I was four years old. I dictated it to my mom, who typed it on her electric typewriter. It was about a cow.


What inspired you to write your book (if this is a personal story about you, please share about the decision to open up about your life)?
Funny enough, a Halloween party. Every year I throw a witch-themed party for the women in my family. In 2010, I found a killer location: The Fairfield Schoolhouse at Camp Floyd State Park, Utah. It’s one hundred years old and has great atmosphere. With this amazing location, I needed the party to match, so I started doing some casual research into witches to get ideas for décor, games, food, etc. I stumbled on an off-shot of Wicca – Natural Magic – and was fascinated. I kept reading and finally my husband suggested I write a book.


What is a typical writing day like for you?
Most days I write after I get the kids to school (two of my three are now full-time in school) for a couple hours. Then I exercise and make lunch. After a shower, it’s back to writing until it’s time to pick up the kids. If I’m on deadline or have tons to do I will also write after dinner or after bedtime. Some days this works really well and I get a lot done. Other days, I’m lucky to get in an hour. I’ve learned to be flexible, but disciplined. That what you have to do to be a writer-mom.

Is your family supportive of your writing?
Very. I couldn’t do all I do without my husband and our mothers. They help me have time to write and babysit when I’m off doing book-things. My extended family is also great at attending my launch parties and spreading the word to friends about my books.

Can you share with us a little about your current book(s)?
The sequel to my first book, BLACK MOON is out September 16, 2014. I’m so excited about it because it was a struggle to write, but also a triumph. It’s dark and twisted and lots of magical fun. Kirkus Reviews called it, ‘unusual and absorbing.’
I’m still working on the third book in the Moonlight Trilogy, STORM MOON. But before that one comes out, I have a stand-alone gothic romance A PAINTED LIFE coming out next spring. It’s about a girl in a painting who is alive.

What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book(s)?
Every book is a little different. The trilogy has been tough; it’s hard to keep a story fresh, interesting, and surprising for three whole books. Staying true to the story and characters is also a challenge.

What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally?
At its heart, I wanted the Moonlight Trilogy to be about a couple learning to love each other and staying strong despite hardship.

If this is a work of fiction, what character is most like you?
The thing about fiction is you are every character. There are parts of me in Willa, Simon, and even the villains, Archard and Bartholomew. That’s what is fun and hard about writing fiction.

Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
I do have another gothic romance in the early stages. All I will say is that it involves typewriters magically typing love letters.

What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?
Be patient with the process. Every part of it will most likely take longer than you want it to. Also, make your kids part of the process. Talk to them about your writing – you can also ask them for ideas when you’re stuck.

What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?
Authentic, compelling flawed characters.
A creative story you can’t turn away from, which usually means a good balance of conflict and triumph.
Elegant writing.

What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours? (answer only if your book is fiction)
They have to be REAL. Emotions are not logical and we often feel every side of something. They have to have a past – characters don’t start on page one. They have to have flaws and strengths. Lastly, they have to grow during the story.

What do you feel as parents we need to do to help our children see success?
I think it’s important that kids understand that success requires hard work – lots of it. It doesn’t just happen. Sometimes it takes years and years. And we fail a lot too. Most people give up too easily. I want my kids to push through the hard stuff, keep going. Success is never easy.

Have you received any awards for your writing?
I won a short story contest a couple years ago for a story called “The Wheel of Wasted Souls,” which is on my website.
Also, BLACK MOON got a glowing Kirkus review, which almost feels like an award J

Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing?
Instagram: @teriharman
Twitter: @TeriHarman, https://twitter.com/TeriHarman


Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?
Make writing a priority. It’s easy to let life steal away the time and energy you need. Protect it. Writing is sanity – even if doing it is actually chaos. Patience, persistence, hard work.

Thank you so much!
   
 Teri Harman will be one of many Featured Guest Authors at the 2014 St. George Book Festival. Come see all the fun and informative events we have planned at http://stgeorgebookfestival.org

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