Wednesday, March 2, 2016

AMONG THE STACKS: Wendy Terrien


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Wendy.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Wendy Terrien:
I grew up in Salt Lake City, but now I lived in Colorado with my husband, Kevin, and our three rescue dogs, Maggie, Shea, and Boon.  I've lived in Colorado longer than I lived in Utah, and I have family roots in Boulder, so Colorado truly feels like home to me.
            And our dogs are not just dogs - they are our family.  I mentioned they're rescues - that's really important to me.  There are so many great animals in shelters and with rescue groups.  I hope people will consider finding their next pet from a shelter or rescue.  We've had six rescue dogs over the years, and every one has been wonderful, and unique, and special.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Wendy Terrien:
Ooh, let me see if I can come up with five...
  1. As part of a long-time-ago-job, I trained and certified bus drivers to get their commercial drives license.
  2. I'm a bit of a geek - I love technology, and superhero movies, and gadgets.
  3. I have a used car sales license (or at least I used to; maybe it's expired now?  I have no idea).
  4. I sold used cars for only one day.
  5. I have no problem singing, and even dancing, while I'm in my car running errands.  and the music is loud.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Wendy Terrien:
The cover was red, and tattered because it had belonged to one of my parents before it ever got to me.  I spent a lot of time with it, but wow, I cannot remember the title.  I think it may have been a collection of fairy tales.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Wendy Terrien:
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I'm really enjoying it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Wendy Terrien:
For whatever reason, I wrote a lot of stories when I was young, and I did it just because I enjoyed it.  I still have some of those stories tucked in a file.  I let go of the writing thing for a long time - at least the actual, physical writing aspect of it - until a few years ago when a career coach eked the idea out of the deep recesses of my brain, and I started writing again.  I love it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Wendy Terrien:
I love my office.  I have a sit/stand desk that keeps me from being too sedentary, plus the dogs are here and readily available for a snuggle, or to go outside and spend a few minutes in the sunshine.  And of course the kitchen is not too far away.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Wendy Terrien:
No real quirks or processes.  Sometimes it's hard for me to get focused and immerse myself in my writing, and I haven't figured out any secret formula the makes me do that more easily.  But once I get going, it's hard to stop me.  Then I'm thankful that the dogs need to be fed because I come up for air.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Wendy Terrien:
I'd have to go back to that point I made in the last question about getting started.  Sometimes it is HARD to get myself focused and on point.  I don't know why that is, because I love the writing once I get going, but, wow, I can procrastinate on a gold-medal-winning level (if there was such a thing).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Wendy Terrien:
I can tell you some of the books I've loved, which probably means they've inspired my wiring and my writing style in some way.  But I don't see a direct correlation from them to me.  In fact, if any readers out there notice similarities between me and any particular writers, I'd love to hear about it!

But here are some of the books I've loved:
All of Agatha Christie's books
All of the Harry Potter books
Oh, and I've always loved the stories of Greek mythology

There are tons more that I could list, but that's probably enough, lest I bore your readers.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Wendy Terrien:
So many things!  Relatable characters with depth and flaws, a plot with surprising twists and turns, a story that brings a fresh take on storytelling, and lots, lots, lots of editing.  And then more editing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Wendy Terrien:
Characters have to feel real, like someone I might actually meet in the real world.  They can't be perfect - no such person exists.  They need to have flaws, and challenges they're confronting, and authentic emotional reactions.  And when it comes to the protagonist (and even to a degree, the antagonist), they need to have elements of kindness and compassion.  I want to care about them, and like them.  I spend a lot of time thinking about that for my characters to ensure those kinds of qualities are there.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Wendy Terrien:
There's no one character in my writing world that is most like me.  Each of them have elements of things I've experienced, or things I do (like Sadie having a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do), but most are minimal bits or qualities.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Wendy Terrien:
I am turned off by a bad cover, but I also know that covers, like stories, are subjective.  I was very involved in the design of the cover for The Rampart Guards, and I'm happy to say that most of the feedback I've received on it has been positive.  But there are some who have said it's terrible, so go figure.
            I did make an effort to stay away from some of the design choices that can be seen on a lot of YA covers, but again that was my personal choice.  It wasn't because those choices don't make for a great cover.  They just don't appeal to me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Wendy Terrien:
I learned that I wasn't as good of a writer as I thought I was when I started.  I learned that critique groups and editors - and listening to them - are key components to producing a great story.  And I learned that this whole process is a lot more work than I'd ever imagined.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Wendy Terrien:
The opening scene!  I rewrote my original opening scene about 15 times, and then ended up not using it.  I started with a new scene, a new first chapter, and then rewrote that one at least 25 times.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Wendy Terrien:
I love that the book, while fantasy, has unique roots in reality because you can Google all of the creatures mentioned in the book and find information on the internet about them.  So they don't just exist in my head, and they may actually exist in the real world... ;)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Wendy Terrien:
This is a tough question, because I don't have a very good answer.  I tend to believe the title isn't too important, as long as it's not completely misleading, because few people make a decision about a book based on the title alone.  But who knows?  I'd love to hear what your readers think about this question.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Wendy Terrien:
A novel!  I recently wrote a short story for an anthology called Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time, and I found it really challenging.  I wanted to take the characters and the story into deeper and wider directions, but I couldn't.  Keeping things within the parameters of the short story, while still delivering an interesting and compelling story was tough.  And honestly, I was left less satisfied because I had to keep so much of it on the side.  I may have to go back to that story sometime and expand it into a novel, or write the "what happened next" novel that follows the short story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Wendy Terrien:
The stories I've written so far, and that I have envisioned writing, are all in the fantasy genre.  And they technically fall into the category of YA, but I hope they are stories that everyone enjoys.  Ultimately that's what I'm trying to do - write a story that is entertaining and fun for anyone who chooses to read it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Wendy Terrien:
I mentioned that my original chapter one is no longer in the book, but I haven't deleted it.  It sits in a file on my computer in case I ever find a place to use it.  It is, in my humble position, a fun scene with Jason (my protagonist in The Rampart Guards) trying to pull something over on Sadie (his best friend) and Sadie seeing right through it.  It may work somewhere in the future.
            There are also scenes that I imagined I'd be writing, but the book and the characters went a different direction as I wrote, so those scenes never came to be.  I'm amazed at that and love how stories take on a life of their own.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Wendy Terrien:
I mentioned the anthology I'm part of, Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time.  My short story included there is The Fate Stone.  And I'm already working on the next two books in the Jason Lex series.  I expect them to be released, concurrently, in the summer of 2017.  One book will follow Jason, and the other one Sadie, along the same timeline.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Wendy Terrien:
You can find me on my website, my TwitterFacebookInstagram, and I have author pages on Goodreads and Amazon.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Wendy Terrien:
I'll just say thanks so much for the time - I'm delighted to have been invited to spend time on your blog!


About the author:
Wendy Terrien has been writing stories since she was in grade school.  Her debut novel, The Rampart Guards (February 26, 2016), is the first in her intriguing urban fantasy series.
            Inspired by an episode of Bones that suspected a killer to be a fabled chupacabra, Wendy was fascinated and dove into research about cryptozoology - the study of animals that may or may not exist, or cryptids.  Pouring over stories, videos and photographs of creatures others had seen all over the world, Wendy developed her own story to share with middle grade, young adult and grown-up readers.
            Raised in Salt Lake City, Wendy graduated from the University of Utah and soon transplanted to Colorado where she completed her MBA at the University of Denver.  Having applied her marketing expertise to the financial and network security industries, it wasn't until a career coach stepped in that she fully immersed herself in her passion for writing.  Wendy began attending writers' conferences, workshops and retreats.
            She regularly participates in two critique groups and is the Secretary of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and a member of Pikes Peak Writers and the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.  In 2014, she was a finalist in the San Francisco Writer's Contest and, in March, will release a novella in the anthology Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time.
            Wendy lives in Colorado with her husband, Kevin, and their three dogs: Maggie, Shea and Boon.  All three of her dogs are rescues and Wendy is passionate about promoting shelter adoptions.  If you're ever in Colorado, you may even be able to spot her by her "Adopt a Shelter Pet" license plate.

About the books:
After his mom disappears, Jason Lex and his family move to a small town where he has no friends, no fun, no life.  Things get worse when he's chased by weird flying creatures that only he can see - Jason thinks he's losing it.
            But when Jason discovers new information about his family, he's stunned to learn that creatures like Skyfish, Kappa, and the Mongolian Death Worm aren't just stories on the internet - they're real and they live unseen alongside the human race.  May of these creatures naturally emit energy capable of incinerating humans.  An invisible shield keeps these creatures hidden and protects the human race from their threatening force, but someone, or some thing, is trying to destroy it.
            Unsure who he can trust, Jason is drawn into the light to save the people closest to him, and he finds help in surprising places.  Confronted with loss, uncertainty, and a devastating betrayal, Jason must make a gut-wrenching decision:
            Who lives, and who dies.

Praise for The Rampart Guards:
"A delightful novel that delivers a tightly plotted, character driven story.  This paranormal fantasy is not only wildly entertaining, but also undeniably unique.  The cast of authentic and endearing characters is one of the novel's many strengths, along with the brisk pacing, action packed narrative and creation of the novel's fascinating creatures.  Both adult and YA audiences should find this book appealing." ~Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews

"Terrien has created an intriguing world that seamlessly integrates the fantastic with the realistic and is supported by a relatable cast of characters.  This appealing over is sure to find an appreciative audience."  A Five Star Review from Foreword Clarion Reviews

"An intriguing introduction to what promises to be an expansive series.  The Rampart Guards introduces engaging characters, a unique concept and the potential for developing both more fully in future novels." ~Blue Ink Review

Seven Fantasy and Science Fiction authors have twisted time into tales of adventure, mystery, horror, and romance.

A serial killer returns years later
to finish what was started.

A coffee shop offers a respite
for the cursed.

A hangover masks the horrors
of the previous night.

A princess's wedding gift comes
with a price.

A locked apartment door hides a
chilling secret.

A girl wakes up in an asylum and
must survive, and escape.

A young woman must protect the past
to thwart a thief from the future.

All it takes is a second... a minute... an hour... for everything to change.

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