Readers, the book today is written by a Christian friend, who is not writing for Christian publishers. The story deals with some hard subjects, but the story has a Christian worldview.
Welcome, Terri. By the way, I love your cover. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is almost always some trait of my own in my lead characters, whether those characters are male or female. It may only be a small trait, but there’s usually something. More likely, though, is for me to write traits that I WISH I had. Like being very athletic. I’m not. But I wish that I was. And I could be, but it seems like it takes an awful lot of effort.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Huh. I’m not a terribly quirky person. Or at least, I think I’m not. My friends might have a different story. I think if I had to say the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done, it would be that I’m a terrible eavesdropper. I’ve been known to shush conversations and change where I’m sitting just to overhear another conversation. It’s not that I’m that nosey…I just get bits and pieces from what other people say and how they interact. The rhythm of conversation is important in what I do. So I pay attention. What people DON’T say is equally important, though, so while I’m listening in, I’m always trying to figure out what’s not being said.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I suppose it was when I was about 12, as a military brat stationed at
as it’s called, is an enclosed installation. You can’t go off the two small
areas that make up the base. So there is a limit to the amount of activity that
is available to the kids who are there. School, fishing, swimming. Not much
more than that. After I read through the library, I started writing my own
stories, which included writing plays for the other kids in my housing area to
put on. We had a great time with it. And while there were no major revelations
about wanting to be a writer at the time, that’s the earliest I remember
writing anything for other people. Guantanamo Bay,
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My “brain-candy” is suspense. I love something that keeps me reading until the wee hours of the morning, praying the hero or heroine will make it through without losing too much, even though I know I have to get up soon.
Beyond that, I read just about everything I can get my hands on. Even cereal boxes. I love to read. I wasn’t kidding when I said I read through the library while we were stationed at Gitmo. I also read through the library while we were stationed in
, and the library at my
middle school, and at my high-school. I read non-fiction, crime fiction,
historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, chic-lit, regular lit (whatever
they’re calling that now), and anything else that strikes my fancy. If the
story looks engaging, I’ll read it. Iceland
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I don’t. I’m a complete nut job, I just don’t think anyone has realized it yet!
Okay. Jokes aside, I pray a lot. Sometimes the only thing I can do is turn it over to God and let Him deal with it. And while He’s handling those things, I manage the small things, like schedules and work and bills by making lists (lots of lists), using four different calendars, and leaving myself notes all over the place. It probably sounds a lot like disorganized chaos, but the truth is, I have a good system most of the time. I do forget or get off center once in a while, though, and when that happens I just breath-deep, pray, regroup, and keep moving forward.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I usually choose the names based on the area in which the books take place. For example, with the Biloxi series (for which Book 1 – Biloxi Sunrise, is out and Book 2 –Biloxi Blues is in writing) I use names that are common in Southern Mississippi, and sometimes I’ll draw names from nearby areas. For example, Jack Roe is name based on Robicheaux, a very common name in the area. It’s shortened, which is common for people with Cajun names. And Kate’s last name, Giveans is also common in the area. In Biloxi Blues, there’s a new character Caleb Castille. Castille is a common name in
, where Caleb is from. New Orleans
Once in a while, you’ll find the name of a real person or two in my books. There’s a story behind that. In writing Biloxi Sunrise, I was discussing the plot for the second book (Biloxi Blues) with my daughter and her friends. They essentially plotted the entire book for me, but asked me to use their names and chose which characters they wanted to be. One of those characters also appears in Biloxi Sunrise. She started as a walk-on and developed into an integral part of the plot.
On discussing that with some of my own friends, they all want to be written into books as well. So, I tossed out the sketch I had in mind for Book 3 –
Heat. They helped me finish plotting it out, and chose which characters
they want to be. It’s going to be interesting, because bits of their own lives
will come into play in the books. It’s a cool way to include the people you
care about in what you do. Biloxi
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Oh, this is a difficult question. I can answer this on a number of levels. My children are probably my greatest and most prideful accomplishment. They’re great kids, and we have great fun together. I owe a lot of who I am to them, because they make me a better person every day!
On a career level, I’m simply proud of the fact that I am pursuing a career in something that I love, and I’ve been successful at it. I’ve made a living as a writer for a number of years now. I’ve written loads of books, articles, training courses, etc. And it’s given me the time I need to be here for my kids when they need me.
On a spiritual level, I’m most proud of the fact that I eventually started listening to the voices in my head that said I couldn’t do all this alone. I gave my heart to Christ, and now I have His help and His eternity. What could be better than that?
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dog (a large breed) that belonged to a loving family. I love dogs. And the thing I love the most about dogs is their unconditional love. It doesn’t matter how grumpy you are, they always have a tail wag and a sloppy wet kiss for you. I want to be that way. I want to be the person (or animal) that can love unconditionally.
What is your favorite food?
Food. =) Seriously, there isn’t much I won’t eat. But if I could have anything that I wanted? That would be a pastry of some type. I love pastries. Cakes, cookies, donuts, Danishes. If it’s a baked, sweet food, I’m there. I’m pretty sure I was a pastry chef in another life.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Writing is hard work! Sometimes so hard that I just wanted to give up. I mean, you put in long, lonely hours at the keyboard to have someone whom you’ve never met tear your writing apart and tell you how they think you should do it differently. It requires lots of research, lots of quiet time, and lots of effort sitting in front a screen that isn’t going to fill itself. It’s draining!
But if you want to be a writer, you have two choices. Write or don’t. I’ll admit to having time when I didn’t. I’ve tried a few times to put it down and walk away. I’d get a “regular” job, and be okay for a little while. But then I would find myself writing all kinds of things. Super short stories on napkins. Or sneaking a notebook into my desk to jot ideas, thoughts, or notes into when no one was looking.
I couldn’t quit. Instead, I’ve decided that now and then I need a break. I subscribe to the ‘write every day’ theory. But I also think that part of writing is NOT writing. It’s taking a mental health day (or even week) once in a while to allow your brain to catch up to your fingers and to reload on your creative energy. These days, I know if I’m feeling like quitting that it’s a temporary thing and I simply need to recharge. I can push through that to a stopping point, then I take a little time off. In the end, I’m always a better writer for it.
Tell us about the featured book.
Biloxi Sunrise is my debut novel. It’s out in digital format, and as the name implies, it’s set in
It’s the story of a pair of special investigators that are trying to solve a series of murders taking place on the coast. The problem is, their personal lives are getting in the way. Both have secrets from the past they are keeping from the other, and those secrets could very well get one or both of them killed. They have to work through their pasts in order to catch the killer.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Jack Roe pulled the unmarked silver police cruiser onto Highway 90 and pressed the accelerator to the floorboard. He flipped on the blue lights mounted in the grill of the car, but decided the early morning traffic wasn’t heavy enough to warrant using the siren. Might as well let folks sleep if they can. The car reached eighty miles an hour, and he eased his foot off the gas pedal and cruised past the casinos and dark, empty beaches.
The miles between his condo at The Ocean Club and
sped by. His mind whirled around the conversation with his sister just a few
minutes before. All she said was meet her at the hospital as soon as possible.
Now, he hurtled across the Coast waffling between anger and worry. Gulfport Memorial Hospital
Leslie was always more dramatic than necessary, and Jack had made many trips similar to this one. Usually, her daughter, Lisa, had some minor ailment which convinced Leslie the seventeen year old was dying. But something felt different tonight—maybe the tone of Leslie’s voice, or her refusal to elaborate. The situation made Jack’s stomach churn and tighten.
The sight of the now familiar detour signs pointed Jack toward the hospital. Five years after Hurricane Katrina, the damage from the storm was still evident in the construction of new houses and road work that changed existing routes. His tires squealed, and the car rocked as he made the turn too fast. Jack regained control, drawing from his experience racing across uneven terrain while stationed in
, and then floored the
accelerator again. Afghanistan
The car flew up the short road, and bounced hard over the railroad tracks. Two turns and red light later, the hospital loomed above the street, four floors of dimly lit windows staring at him. Jack swung the car into the parking lot and screeched to a stop in a spot reserved for police officers.
Through the windshield, he saw Leslie in the light bleeding through the thick glass doors of the emergency room. Her head drooped like a wilted flower around which a halo of smoke undulated.
“Leslie?” He got out of the car and pushed the door closed.
Her head jerked up, and without speaking, she dropped the cigarette and ran to him. Her momentum sent Jack back a step as he wrapped his thick arms around her small frame. In the protective circle of his arms, he felt her jaws moving against his chest, but her words were choked by sobs. Had he been in this situation with any other woman, Jack would have been awkward, searching for words to comfort her. But with Leslie this was commonplace. She had something go very wrong in her life at least once a month, sometimes more often. Most usually, it was a mess of her own making.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m all over the place! Here’s a list of the ways you can reach me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JerriLedfordGoogle+: gplus.to.JerriLynn
Thank you, Jerri, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Biloxi Sunrise (The Biloxi Series) - Kindle (Right now the book is very affordable.)
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