Friday, June 08, 2007

Teresa Slack's Interview

It's such a privilege to welcome and introduce another writer this month to my blog and to you, my dear readers. I love doing this. First because it's lots of fun to learn about other writers, their achievements, desires, and how their efforts have paid off in books! Secondly, it's a chance for them to get more publicized and that is valuable to a writer!

So, readers, check out Teresa's books--if you haven't already!

Now on to the interview . . .

Caroline: How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

Teresa: Great question, Caroline. At school, I used to walk down the hallways between class scribbling in a notebook. The other kids would say, “Here she comes. Get out of the way.” But I didn’t really think I would make writing a career. Everyone knows there’s no money in it. Christian fiction is an answer to prayer. I can do what I love and share my faith with readers at the same time.

Caroline: What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

Teresa: Right now, I’m all over the board, which I know isn’t necessarily a good thing in building a career. I am currently working on a romance. I’ve written suspense and mysteries as well. I try to incorporate a little romance, a little mystery and a little humor into everything I write.

Caroline: How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

Teresa: When I am working on a first draft, I try to write very quickly with little or no editing. Just get the story down. I strive for a minimum of 4000 words a day. I consider it a good day if I reach 5 or 6. My personal best is over 7000, which I’ve only done 2 or 3 times. If I really focus on the book and plant my rear in my chair, I can write two books a year.

Caroline: What is the spiritual message in your latest book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

Teresa: My hope is that readers will understand that God is on the throne, regardless of our circumstances. Sometimes we think we’ve done everything right, yet our life is still a mess. We even believe that we deserve better. But God is still God. His grace is sufficient to see us through our journey, no matter what we’ve done or failed to do.

Caroline: You recently had another book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

Teresa: The Ultimate Guide to Darcy Carter was published in September, ’06. According to a recent review in Christian Library Journal, reading it was likened to being on vacation. The reviewer even said that like a vacation, the book ended too soon. I loved that analogy. It is a fun read.

Darcy Carter is the author of 20 Ultimate Guide books, earning herself the title of America’s Ultimate Guide Girl. She’s an expert on everything except her own life. When her editor suggests she write, The Ultimate Guide to Finding Mr. Right, she wants no part of it. Why write a book about someone who doesn’t exist? So Darcy flees to NC to research one last ultimate guide book and hopefully find out where the discontentment with her life is coming from.

All my books are available at any bookstore. If one isn’t in stock, just ask and they’ll get it for you. Remember to support your local independent bookseller. If that isn’t possible, you can find the books anywhere online.

Caroline: Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?

Teresa: I find inspiration from everyday things. This may sound morbid but I love cemeteries. I walk my dogs in the one next to my house. As I read the headstones I imagine the story behind each name. I probably get more inspiration over Memorial Day weekend than any other time of the year. Ideas are everywhere. A recurring character from my Jenna’s Creek Series came from a line in an old country music song. Like ideas, I collect names from everywhere. I watch the credits at the ends of movies and read the backs of athletes during sporting events. I’ve even gone through the phone book in moments of desperation.

All writers are egomaniacs, and it is impossible to keep your characters totally separate from yourself. I try to keep my personal habits and quirks out of my characters, but it’s hard. Most of my characters worry about their weight and if they’re going to have a good hair day because that’s usually on my mind and the minds of most women I know.

Caroline: Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?

Teresa: Almost every time I’m working on a book and it isn’t coming along the way I want, I think about quitting. I say to myself, “If I finish this book, I’m never starting another one.” I could spend the rest of my life marketing the books I’ve already written. But if I did that, I know the voices in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. I love writing, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

I am thankful for the online writing groups I belong to. My family and friends are great, and they’ve been supportive from the beginning, but I think only other writers can truly understand what this business is like.

My long-suffering husband is my biggest cheerleader. One Christmas Eve I got a rejection letter in the mail. He has seen enough of those packages to know what it was so he hid it until after Christmas. He knows if he comes home to a crying wife it’s been a bad writing day. If he comes home to a happy wife and frozen pizza for dinner, it’s been a good day.

Caroline: Would you roughly explain how you “chose” (or was chosen) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success of your first one?

Teresa: I found my publisher through an online search for Christian publishers. Finding them was almost a fluke since they really weren’t accepting manuscripts at that time. Every time I send out a ms, I get nervous and anxious all over again. I have more confidence in my writing than in the beginning, but I think it’s a mistake for a writer to ever believe, “I’ve arrived. I can write whatever I want and I know they’ll buy it.” The world is full of excellent writers, many of whom haven’t been published yet. It’s highly competitive, even for published writers. We must keep growing and honing our skills.

Caroline: Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could? Etc.

Teresa: I am a big believer in pet rescue and adoption. I would love to see every pet in America spayed or neutered. It breaks my heart to see a dog tied up in someone’s backyard. That dog wants to be part of the family.

  • I hate paying over $3 for a gallon of gas. Actually I hate paying $2.
  • I love ice cream and Herr’s barbeque potato chips but not together.
  • I love walking into the sanctuary on Sunday morning.
  • Pre-schoolers are my favorite group of people.
  • I love to read.
  • I love to crochet. I’ve tried to teach myself how to knit, but can’t figure it out.
  • I have never been on a cruise but would love to. My first port of call would be Alaska. My husband and I are talking about a side trip to Jackson Hole, WY during the next ICRS in Denver, CO. I would love to go to the Holy Land.
  • I love to sit on a rocky cliff and watch the water crash against the shore, although in southern Ohio, that doesn’t happen often.
  • I love the smell of old books.

Caroline: Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

Teresa: I am currently working on a short romance that will be paired with one by author Molly Noble Bull. We are both hoping to see the book released in ’08. To learn more about me and my books, check out my webpage and read my blog at

Thanks so much for allowing me the chance to meet your readers. I hope to do it again someday.

Wasn't that interesting? Thank you, Teresa, for taking the time to be with us! We wish you the very best. And, hey, you all, Teresa lives within an hour's drive of me.

A couple of things to take note of:

  1. A Father's Day contest begins Tuesday, next week. Look for it!
  2. We've got several guest writer interviewees lined up for the coming months. Watch for them! And read their books. We heartily recommend reading christian fiction!
  3. My writing conference--American Christian Fiction Writers--is coming up in September. Don't forget to say a prayer for me that I'll meet the editor, and agent, that God would have for my writing. Thanks!
  4. Thank you, for your comments, emails, cards, and phone calls! They mean so much--more than I can ever show! Love you all.

Sucess is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchhill

Blessings and have a tremendously wonderful weekend!


sharen said...

This is the upteenth time doing this. It's hard to leave a comment because you have to redo your sign up for google just to post a comment. Here goes again:
Great interview!! But when a writer interviews another writer it has to be good.
She sounds like a person who has perserverved. Her book sounds great.I might go to her blog and check it out.
I read the other book from your previous interview and I couldn't put it down. I think Bob was glad when I was done. Ha But he's going to read it now. We'll see if he can put it down. which reminds me, When are you going to let me finish the book that you left me hanging with??? I'd like to finish reading it, SOON??!! LOL

Caroline said...

LOL. You are such a friend! Only a real friend wants to read an unpublished writer's ms. Soon, I promise (with fingers crossed. Smile)

Donna & Teresa are both great writers. I've only read a little of one of Teresa's books, but it sounds good.

Caroline said...

Hey, you shouldn't have to sign in everytime you comment. check it out. Your name should pop up when you're ready to comment & all you have to do then is clk on publish your comment. Let me know . . .

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