Welcome, Terri. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Every character a writer writes, if they are doing their job well, is a piece of themselves. It may be a piece they embrace, a piece they hate, a piece they ignore, or a piece they strive to actualize, but every character comes from within the writer. Even when we blatantly borrow from people we know or other characters from movies, books, TV shows, or plays, the fact that we choose those particular people instead of others to borrow from is driven by our own characteristics.
Of course, some things are closer to the surface than others. Most of my protagonists are middle-aged women, who are usually academics. I have a few novels in the works that are different though in that regard. I've got a boy genius in one of my books, who is just bursting at the seams to grow up and isn't well understood by his peers. I can sort of relate as a kid who was tagged with being gifted which did nothing for my prospects at school.
Sometimes, though, you can get too close to home. There are times I'm in tears with my characters when dealing with shared traumas.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I'm not sure I've done too many quirky things. At least not big ones. Make a silly face or something. One time my sister goaded me into following a guy home in the car. That wouldn't be to quirky if we were 17, but we were both in our 40s at the time. And I followed from in front, two blocks away so he wouldn't know.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I'm not sure there was any huge revelation. I did start writing my first novel at 11. It was a story about a guy living in the 21st Century, whose Grandfather from the 20th Century and Grandson from the 22nd Century both show up in his house on the same weekend. I think I had just watched the Time Machine on TV.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
It's quite a huge range. I read books of theology and philosophy, science, history (mostly ancient, but some as late as the Enlightenment), science fiction, sword and sorcery, and cozy mysteries. I also like to read books about writing and current trends in society, particularly as they relate to technology.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Well, I can't run any more. Between bad knees, a bad back, and asthma, I had to learn to stop running. The world would still be there when I got there. I purposely pace myself. I set timers and rarely work more than 20-30 minutes at a stretch without taking a break. When I ignore the timer, I pay for it later and end up getting less done because I've worn myself out.
I also play casual games like you find on Facebook. They are mindless, silly things, but they are relaxing.
I also use a timer in my office when I’m writing. I get up and walk back and forth in the house several times every 30 minutes. And I have played computer games to take a break, but they hurt the arthritis in my right shoulder now. How do you choose your characters’ names?
More or less randomly. Seriously, I get a decent name and forget about it. I'm not going to obsess over their names. Now, with my science fiction and fantasy, I do have some things about the names that come from the world I've created. In the Dark Side of the Moon world of 2201, ease of travel has broken down a lot of barriers. So there are a lot of mixed ethnicities. I have characters like Juan McCalister, Kevin Hiyachi, and Carmalita Avidesian. Also many of the young people on the moon take their lunar heritage very seriously and choose names like Moonbeam or Crater.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Probably getting my first masters degree. I worked very hard on the thesis and was told at the end of everything, that any one of the three sections of the thesis would have been enough for the degree.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Really? I am what I am. Okay, maybe a Vulcan. Oh, I guess you mean real animals. None I can think of.
What is your favorite food?
Steak cooked by me in the pressure cooker with potatoes and onions.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I'm not sure. I think when I was young (like junior high) I was ashamed of reading the Writers Digest, Writer and other books on writing not to mention Scientific American, Science Illustrated, etc. instead of the comic books the other kids were reading. But that was more of a social thing.
I really didn't have many serious roadblocks. But I've been taking writing classes since 7th grade so a lot of that sort of thing was preempted by my education. We would spend fifteen minutes every day at the start of class from 7th through 12th grades writing. It became like breathing. I learned better techniques and improved, but I never felt there was anything actually standing in my way. I may have self-esteem issues about my appearance, my social standing, my general worth in the world, but not about my academics or my writing. Those were things I learned in very positive ways at a young age. The other's not so much.
Tell us about the featured book.
Fangs for the Memories is the third book in my Dark Side of the Moon Mystery series. It is a standalone volume. However, characters from the previous books continue to develop as does the romance between the two main characters.
When wealthy playboy Dexter Harrington the Third is found laying in the entry hall of his upscale apartment in Collins Township on the Moon wearing red contact lenses, prosthetic fangs, and a cape with a stake through his heart, the local police knew they were out of their depth. So they called in Carolyn Masters, history professor and former FBI profiler and Michael Cheravik, former Dallas PD homicide detective and criminology professor.
Along with Mike's students, the pair begin an investigation that leads through the seamy world of vampire play and the even seamier world of Old Money family rivalries. While just trying to solve Dexter's murder, they stumble upon a terrorist plot being coordinated by some of the most respected families on the moon. But who is really responsible for Dexter's death and why?
Please give us the first page of the book.
When the maid found Dexter Harrington the third laying on the floor wearing a black cape, she was not surprised. The red eyes didn't surprise her either. However, she was taken aback by the stake through his heart.
Being a sensible woman from old Scottish stock, she didn’t scream. She just called the police and decided to take the day off.
Kenneth Hiachi recorded this duly in his report, called the coroner, and then called his old criminology professor Michael Cheravik. Meanwhile, I was sleeping peacefully after an all-night grading session.
“Good Morning, Dr. C. Wakey Wakey!”
“What is it Mags?” While I found the housekeeper program a friendlier version of my household management system than the default English butler, I wished she would just sleep late some mornings.
“It’s Dr. Mike on the com. He needs to talk to you. He’s such a nice man. When are you going to marry that boy?”
“And when are you going to keep your nose out of other people’s business?”
“Can’t help it. That’s just how I’m programmed.”
“Okay, patch the audio into this room. I’m in no condition to be seen on screen.”
“Gotcha. Here she is, Dr. Mike.”
“Thanks, Mags. Your friend sure did a great job on your HMS. I should have him come over and do mine.”
“Michael Cheravik, it’s 0530 in the morning. I really hope you did not call to get a programmer referral.”
“Nah. We gotta case. It’s over in Collins.”
“Mike, I’m a history teacher and not a cop.”
“Yeah, Yeah! Well anyway, you won’t believe this. The guy was dressed up like a vampire with a stake through his heart.”
As much as I hated Mike ignoring me, I had to admit I was intrigued.
“Apparently, our vic was one of those modern day vampires. They dress up in capes and fake fangs, sit around drinking tomato juice and occasionally cutting themselves and licking the blood off the wound.”
“Historically, vampire play goes back to the late twentieth century when a series of books came out written from the vampire’s point of view.” As usual, while trying to think of something to say, I retreated to teaching to get my thoughts together.
“Maybe. Mostly, I think they are looking for something and not finding it in our modern culture. I guess you already booked us on the next tube to Collins.”
“Yep, I have our tickets right here. Meet you at 0700 at tube terminal five. We’ll have breakfast on the train. I sent the kids out a couple of hours ago when I got the call. They should have everything printed and holographed by the time we get there. We’ll go directly to the crime scene. We’ll meet the ME and security counselor there. She’s coming in from Aldrin. Mine accident, four were killed.”
“Not a good day for her. Not much better for us. See you at seven.”
Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wordmastercommunications
They can also follow on twitter at http://www.facebook.com/terrimainMy website is at http://wordmasterbooks.businesscatalyst.com
Thank you, Terri, for sharing your new book with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Fangs for the Memories: A Dark Side of the Moon Mystery (Dark Side of the Moon Mysteries)
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