Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview Friday with SFC: Families Matter Blog Editor Terri Forehand

This week you get to meet the Stories for Children Publishing Families Matter Blog Editor Terri Forehand. Terri is a pediatric/neonatal critical care nurse and freelance writer. She writes both fiction and nonfiction for children and adults from her rural Indiana home, which she shares with her husband of 28 years and an array of animals including alpacas. 

VS: Terri, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I know being a parent, nurse, the SFC blog editor and a writer can be hard. I find myself asking if I giving my three children enough attention throughout the day. I am sure you have been in my shoes from time to time. So to start here is the first question…How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Terri: I have three grown children- Kevin is 32 and married. Raimie is 30, married with 3 children, and Drew is 25, single, and is a respiratory therapist and paramedic. And being a grandma to Kylie, Edwin, and Wesley is the best.

VS: As a mom, what do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Terri: I try to balance my writing life by saving one of the weekend days for visiting our grown children. I work at the same hospital as my daughter so we see each other more often. I write during the day when my husband is at work, and I work two nights a week which gives me almost everyday to write something.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Terri: I have loved writing since grade school. I have taken many writing classes, including the Institute of Children's Literature and Writing Your Story by The Christian Writers Guild. It was when I took the writers bootcamp with author Suzanne Lieurance a few years ago that I began believing I could write and get published. I love writing stories for kids, but I would like to try Christian fiction too. 

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Terri: I try to write something everyday, but I have to admit that I get sidetracked with keeping up with my blogs, doing research, and working as a nurse full time. Some days I do not get as much accomplished as I would like. 

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?

Terri: My husband is very supportive of my writing. He sometimes wonders how I can ever get anything done with the piles on my desk though. 
VS: What was the first thing you ever had published?
Terri: The first thing that I ever had published was an essay on why I wanted to be a nurse. I received $100.00 for the piece and it was published in the hospital magazine. I have since had two other essays on nursing published in a book done for nurse's week at that same hospital. I have since had articles on several online websites and I submit to article directories on occassion. I have a prayer book on cancer for adults coming out in the spring of 2011 from Dreamwords Publishing, a new publishing company from Valparaiso Indiana. 
I have several stories for kids in my files and one manuscript under review from a publisher. I am hoping to have more ready to submit this coming year. 

I think I love writing for kids because I was and am an avid reader. As a child I read a book or two a week. I think it is so important for kids to develop the habit of reading and enjoying a good book. 

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?

Terri: I think the most difficult part about writing for me is staying focused. I get a story started and then I tend to start another because I have so much going on in my head. I would be more productive if I could polish one story off before letting those other ideas take over. The other part that is difficult for me is the waiting. A writer waits for critiques, waits for responses, waits for and expects rejections, wait...wait...wait. And of course the disappointment with being rejected is sometimes a downer. The trick is to keep writing and submitting and to not dwell on the rejections, but that is sometimes easier said than done.

VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Terri: The best writing advice on many topics related to writing and becoming published has come from Suzanne. Belonging to the Children's Writing Coaching Club and doing the bootcamp has really been helpful in teaching me how to write tighter and become more detailed. And still I have so much to learn.

VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other jobs?

Terri: It is difficult to balance the writing time with my full time neonatal intensive care nursing job. I am on the grief committee and the service committee for our unit and that requires some responsibility. I try to do things that require writing though, so it continues to help me grow as an author. 

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Terri: My current work in progress is a series of ABC books with characters who have an illness. The first book is about a spunky girl with may sound sad, but it is really about the stuff that goes along with the illness in a positive, educational and funny way. Kids have illness and I found as a nurse that there is little outside of encyclopedia information for kids to read and relate to. The second book in the series is about a young boy with sickle cell anemia. It gives facts related to this disease in relation to the characters love of basketball. The books are funny, tearful, and full of facts to explain to kids about diseases that are real. 

VS: Tell us a little about your writing space?

Terri: My work space is a converted front porch off of our living room. I have book shelves, a set of drawers, and a woodburner with windows that look into the woods. We live on 10 acres and I love to look out when I am writing or thinking about writing. I usually have piles of notes or books so it isn't always very neat, but it works for me. 

VS: What would we be surprised to learn about you?

Terri: You might be surprised to know that I had a quilt shop for 2 years, that my husband had to build me a cabin to put all the fabric in where I sew in the summer, and that we have 6 alpacas, 3 horses, 9 dogs, 2 puppies, and 3 cats. It is never boring around here. 

VS: How do you see the future of publishing, both traditional and electronic?

Terri: I know that electronic publishing is here to stay, but I hope that books never ever go out permanently. There is nothing like curling up with a good book and feeling the pages as you turn to see what happens next. Maybe I am old fashioned when it comes to that because I am having a terrible time with the E-reader I got for Christmas. 

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Terri: I think parents who want to write need to read, write everyday, and start a blog or other networking sources. The thing is the networking can also be a distraction from the writing time. Persistence is the key. Just write.

VS: Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?

Terri: I have participated in a few contests. I won a writing course for a post I did for Angela Booth. I won first place for three of my nursing essays, and I won a scholarship for my essay into nursing school. My goal is to write a children's story someday worthy of an award in my lifetime, but we will see. 

VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?
Terri: I try to write to honor God and the values I was blessed to be raised with. I write with my grandchildren in mind always. What would they read, what stories do they like? And then I try to write with honesty. Kids are smart and they know so much more than we give them credit for sometimes, so honest emotions are a key to reaching them. I admire authors that write like that, whether they write for children or adults. One of my favorite authors is Jan Karon. She develops characters that you just want to bring home. I want to write like that.
You can learn more about Terri Forehand at the sites below.

Stories for Children Publishing

Terri Forehand's book

IBSN#: 987-1-4507-2599-6


  1. What a good interview, Mayra! And that is so true, we writers are always in the waiting mood, que lata!
    Terri has such a beautiful writing space, I can imagine the wood burner and the ten acres to look at, how inspiring!

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me today. This was a good day for so many reasons and being her was one. Press release for my prayer book will be out tomorrow. Whoo hoo. Teresa, thanks for stopping by.

  3. Splendid interview of Terri. I've known Terri for several years now and enjoyed getting to know her even better.

    Best wishes,
    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website