Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Gal's 62 Days of Horror Day 6: AMONG THE STACKS: Wendy Terrien


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Wendy.  Welcome back to The Gal.  Thanks for being a part of The Gal's 62 Days of Horror.  I'm honored to have you here on the sixth day of October.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Wendy Terrien:
I'm an animal/insect/tree hugger, and an especially huge fan of dogs.  I can't imagine life without a dog as part of the family.  I'm also kind of geeky, but don't feel like I can fully claim the geek title because, sadly, I don't know every comic book superhero and which universe they belong in - Marvel or DC.  Which is not to say I don't want to know - I'd love to immerse myself in all things geeky.  But it just hasn't happened for me.  Yet.

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

Wendy Terrien:
  1. I'll pick up spiders with my bare hands and carry them outside.
  2. I have a used car sales license and used it for exactly one day in my career many moons ago.
  3. I'm sort of pescetarian, bordering on vegetarian.
  4. I don't mind having dog hair on my clothes (which people who know me have already figured out and have been too kind to mention...).
  5. I get ever-so-anxious when someone asks me to pick a favorite of any one thing.  I mean like c'mon - one favorite kind of ice cream?  That's impossible.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Wendy Terrien:
It was an old, tattered copy of Aesop's Fables that had been passed along to us from someone in the family.  It had water damage on the cover.  I still remember the wavy surface.

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

Wendy Terrien:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn't expect you to have liked?

Wendy Terrien:
Moby Dick.  Because I don't think anyone really expects to like Moby Dick, do they?  It seems more like "assigned reading" than something one would pick up for enjoyment.  I mean, I didn't even expect to like it, but decided to read it when I went through a "read things I should read" phase.  The first 50ish pages were slow, but after that I loved it.

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

Wendy Terrien:
I started writing stories when I was young.  I have notebooks of stories I hand wrote when I was 8-years-old and older.  Spoiler alert - they are not publish-worthy.  LOL.  I don't remember making any conscious decision about writing, but it must have seemed like a good idea to me or I wouldn't have done it.

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

Wendy Terrien:
I love and appreciate my office.  I have a fireplace, great light with a great view of our yard and the open space behind us, a sit/stand bamboo desk, and snoozing puppies around me (unless it's close to dinner time when I have not-snoozing puppies staring at me until I get up to prepare their meals - so funny).  Plus I have a large monitor, and I can easily have research open alongside what I'm writing.  I miss that when I'm somewhere with only my laptop.

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

Wendy Terrien:
I really don't.  Sometimes I tell myself I must do something before I write or I won't be productive, like sort through a stack of things I might have in my office or something, but that's more of a procrastination thing than a process.  I love writing, and once I'm doing it I'm so happy to be doing it. But actually starting a writing session can be hard sometimes, and I don't understand why.  If anyone has any insight to that, I'd love to hear it.

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

Wendy Terrien:
Whether it's the first scene of a short story or the first chapter of a novel - those are painful to me.  I rewrite the beginning more than any other part of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the most satisfying thing you've written so far?

Wendy Terrien:
The Rampart Guards - my debut novel.  Not only did I finish it (yay!), which was hugely satisfying in its own way, the novel has also been well received, including the honor of a starred review (starred review!) from Kirkus Reviews.  Over. The. Universe.  I. Still. Am.

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 think books I've loved throughout my life have sunk into me and influenced me or inspired me in ways I don't know, so I can't really provide a specific answer.  I can share that a couple of reviews have said my writing reminded them of Madeleine L'Engle, and A Wrinkle in Time is one of my longtime favorites, but I personally can't see a direct correlation between my writing style and hers.  Though it's always harder to see such things from the inside view.

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

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Great characters.  I recently read a short story that, from a pure story perspective, was interesting and well written.  But I disliked the main character so much that I stopped reading.  I didn't want to spend any more time with such an unpleasant person.  Which isa good rule for life, too.

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 can't be self-centered 100% of the time.  And I like to see characters' change as they're impacted by what's happening around them.  In my own stories, I identify the flaws and challenges a character has at the start of the story, and I work with moments t throughout the story to influence, and be influenced by the character's challenges, as well as their internal and external goals.

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

Wendy Terrien:
I've thought about this question before, and I think there are bits of me sprinkled in many different characters as opposed to any one character being that much like me.  I know this kind of sounds like a cop out answer, but alas, it is the truth.

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:
Yes - bad covers are an immediate turn off to me.  There are SO MANY BOOKS to choose from, I won't look at a book that has an unappealing cover.  That being said, covers are subjective, so something that doesn't appeal to me might be fantastic to someone else.
            I was hands-on with the design of the cover for The Rampart Guards as well as the cover for an anthology I'm part of, Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time.  I worked closely with a professional cover designer for both and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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

Wendy Terrien:
As much as writing and being an author is a creative endeavor, it's also a business.  You have to be willing to wear multiple hats and tackle tasks that are not on the list of favorite things to do.

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

Wendy Terrien:
The hardest scene is part of a short story that will be in an anthology to be released in 2017.  I had to establish perspective of a new world in the first few paragraphs, condensing it since it was part of a short story, whereas with a novel I'd have more time.  And that was challenging.  It's another one of those opening scenes that I've written over and over and over.  And I suspect I'll need to work on it even more before it's finally solid.

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

Wendy Terrien:
I love The Rampart Guards because it's tied closely to the world as we know it, but it also opens the door to the idea that the fantastical things described in the book might actually be real...

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

Wendy Terrien:
Like covers, book titles are important.  I don't think you want something too generic.  But again, there are no hard and fast rules for titles, and they are subjective, so as an author, it's impossible to pick a title that will appeal to everyone.
            I went through a lot of titles for The Rampart Guards, and I asked for a lot of opinions from friends and family.  As a title along, The Rampart Guards is maybe kind of intriguing.  But combined with the cover art, I feel like it's a lot more intriguing.  But again, subjective.

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

Wendy Terrien:
NOVEL!  Short stories don't give me the opportunity to fully explore the characters and their journey.  In fact, I'll likely take my short story from Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time, and write a novel-length "sequel" so I can expand upon the world and the subject.  I love the story idea, and the characters, and I believe there is much more yet to be done.

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:
While my stories technically fall into the category of young adult due to the age of the characters, they do appeal to young and old alike.  Kirkus even says that in their review of The Rampart Guards, so I'm not just stating something my family members have said - LOL.  As for takeaways, I have to leave that to the reader.  There are moments about family, and adventure.  Mystery, and friendship.  And personal growth.  Ideally my stories deliver something positive and relatable to the reader.

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:
No surprise since I've already shared my challenges with first chapters/scenes, but there was an entirely different first chapter of The Rampart Guards that is no longer part of the book.  It's actually kind of a fun scene (imho) but after I changed how the story started, it didn't really work anywhere.  I do still have it - I never delete any of the larger chunks I cut - so maybe some iteration of it will show up in the future.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Wendy Terrien:
Immersing myself in the Marvel and DC universes! :)

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

Wendy Terrien:
I mentioned the short story I have coming out next year in a second anthology from Wicked Ink Books.  I really love this story and I hope everyone else does too.
            And I'm working hard (hard!) on two book twos (no, that's not a typo) to follow up The Rampart Guards.  The target release is end of May 2017.  And so far, I'm loving these two stories as well.  Of course I might be a little biased...

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

Wendy Terrien:
Twitter ** Facebook ** Amazon ** Goodreads ** Instagram ** Website

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks again for stopping by, Wendy, and being part of this.  It was great having you here again.
            Before you go, 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:
First, thank you Meghan (spelled the right way) for inviting me to chat.  It's been fun, and you made me think which is always a good thing, though sometimes a painful thing - LOL.
            Second, I do love connecting with readers so please do connect via any of the links above.  And thank you!


About the author:
Wendy Terrien has been writing stories since she was in grade school.  Her debut novel (February 26, 2016) was chosen as one of Kirkus' Indie Books of the Month for April 2016, is a #1 Regional Best Seller and 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 drove into research about cryptozoology - the study of animals that may or may not exist, or crypts.  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 competed 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.  In 2014, she was a finalist in the San Francisco Writer's Contest and in March, will release a novella in the Wicked Ink Books anthology.  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 be able to spot her by her "Adopt a Shelter Pet" license plates.

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.  Many 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 fight 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.

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