Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Rabindranath Tagore

Tell us about your life and your struggles.

My struggles? Oh, I’m not sure I want to start an interview off with a negative. We all have struggles, my readers included. I write the stories I do to escape reality for a while and hopefully allow my readers to do the same. Although I will say, having faced my own mortality and been a hair’s breadth from financial ruin, there isn’t much that fazes me now. And the upside of going through all that and making it out the other side is I know just how strong I am. When life throws me a curve ball (which it seems to with alarming regularity) I may stumble, may take a couple of days hiding away inside myself, but then I get up and keep going because faced with the choice of sink or swim, I choose to swim − figuratively at least.

How passionate are you about writing?

On a scale of one to ten? I’d say, nineteen! Seriously though, surely every author is passionate about their writing or why write? Writing novels isn’t something I do just to pass the time; it’s something I need to do. I could no more not write than not breathe.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a writer?

English was always my best subject at school and I’ve always loved to make up stories in my head so I’ve been ‘writing’ a long time. If you mean actually publishing what I write, well that would be about twelve years. I’ve had a comedy play performed at The Bush theatre in London, England and several of my poems have been published in anthologies. What inspired me to write? If you mean in general, well that is my love of the written word. If you mean the novels I currently write? That would be my discovery of erotic romance and the realisation this is the genre I should be writing.

How did you get the idea for your first book?

The hero is the central figure in my books it all starts with him. So when I decided to write Beguiled, the first of my Frost Trilogy books, I just thought of my perfect man and wrote him. Of course there’s no such thing as perfect (even in a BBF) and my characters and storylines are always realistic. I want my readers to feel this could actually happen to them. So Nick Frost has flaws, but they’re due to his traumatic back story.

While choosing a name for your character, what aspects do you consider that determines what you finally call them?

Originally Frost Trilogy was going to be called Fire and Ice. I read somewhere online that Nicholas means fire, hence the surname, Frost. Then I discovered Nick doesn’t mean fire at all, but I loved his name so Nick Frost he stayed. Besides, the name felt right. Although born in England, Nick Frost’s best friend in Frost Trilogy and the hero in Torn has an Irish father, so he needed an Irish name, and I love the name Aiden. Plus the female lead in Torn is Jen. With her name having only one syllable, his name needed to have two. You see, it’s also about how the names of the H/h sound together. Aiden’s character is very different to Nick’s, he’s the calming influence. Their surnames reflect this difference, albeit the opposites of their characters: Frost and Byrne. I wanted my hero in God’s Gift to have a posh-sounding English name even though he’s from a lower middle class family. This is because his parents would have wanted to give him a name that has class. Names for the lead characters have to roll off the tongue (even though you’re only reading them in your head) so should be kept reasonably short (one or two syllables) because they appear so often. Of course I broke this rule with Sebastian, but it fits him and still works. That’s the thing; it’s more about feeling the name for me. The more I think about my central characters the more developed they become in my head and their names just come to me. Although as I said; the names of the H/h have to work together. For secondary characters I look through a couple of online lists of names and find one that feels like a good fit with their personality, social class and financial status.

Do authors in general and you in particular plan series beforehand or do they just happen?

There are three types of author: Planner, Panster and a combination of the two, a Planster. I am definitely a planner, especially when writing a series. Surely you have to know where you’re heading at the end of the third book if it’s a trilogy and even more so if the series is longer. How else are you going to avoid plot holes or writing yourself into a corner in an earlier book? Despite things occurring to me as I wrote − my own little ‘a-ha’ moments that fit naturally into and helped develop the story − I knew exactly where Nick and Mia were heading because I knew his traumatic back story beforehand and how that affected their relationship, which is, after all, the story. In Beguiled, I set things up and plant little hints of what’s going to happen further into their story. You have to lead the reader and keep their interest throughout a series. It’s okay to have unanswered questions at the end of book one of a trilogy (you should do) and to have more questions in book two. Yes, some readers are frustrated when book two of a trilogy ends on a cliffie (as In too Deep does) while others love it, but this is what will make them want to read to the end. But you must answer all those questions by the end and if you’ve planned your story that’s easily done.

How do you choose which stories to tell?

I don’t really. They choose me. There you go, that’s a nicely vague answer isn’t it? LOL I’ve already said why I wrote Frost Trilogy. I wrote Torn (about the best friends of FT’s H/h) because if I hadn’t I would have been lynched! I specifically wrote their interactions in Frost Trilogy with a spin-off in mind, just in case readers wanted to read about Aiden and Jen in their own book − you see, planning. Of course, when it came time to actually write their story I had to think long and hard about what it was. Aiden isn’t a tortured soul like Nick. He doesn’t have a traumatic past. So the plot of their story was much simpler and told in just one book. Torn can be read as a standalone, but I also had to tie it in with Frost Trilogy because their story starts two-thirds of the way through book three, Letting Go. And, even though Nick and Mia feature in Torn, I had to be careful not to giveaway anything important to readers who hadn’t yet read Frost Trilogy. Whilst at least one of my main characters will always be English (because I am), that doesn’t mean all my books have to be set in England. Plus I wanted God’s Gift to be a little different to the usual Alpha Male Player falling in love and becoming a one-woman man, type story. Sebastian may think he’s got the business world by the throat and found his perfect woman in Gina, but his story reflects how life can change in a heart beat.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Doesn’t every writer at some point? The trick is not to let the worry of not being able to write consume you and keep faith in yourself. The words will come.

Do you have a “reader” in mind while writing?

I’ve read that you should write with a particular reader in mind, but I don’t. I think that’s too limiting. I believe you have to write the story you want to write, the story that pleases you. As the author you are the ultimate reader. You have to live, breathe and love your story. That old adage of one man’s meat is never truer than about books. What one reader loves another hates. You can’t please everyone, but you must please yourself. Find your voice, your style and stick to it. Write what you love and others will love it too.

Who is the first person to read the first draft of your books?

There is no single person. Plus I don’t write a ‘first draft’. I edit as I go. I’m a perfectionist and can’t move on until I’m happy (well as happy as I’m ever going to be) with that sentence, that paragraph, that page etc. The upside is, baring minor tweaks when I read through it a couple of times, once I reach the end, the book is finished. It makes writing a slow process, but at least I don’t go through the major editing hell that some authors do. Without wishing to sound arrogant or ‘up-myself’, I don’t have beta readers either. Although I do have someone proofread to check for typos.

How do you get reviews? Which was the best review you ever got?

Oh reviews are the bane of my life − in that, even though I know people have loved my book (because they’ve told me) they don’t leave a review. I did bite the bullet with God’s Gift 1 and send out some ARCs to bloggers to review. I should do this more, but my insecurities won’t let me. I may not get as many as other authors, but I have been lucky to get mainly 4 and 5 star reviews for all my books. It’s hard to pick just one as the ‘best’, but any review that compliments the writing is always a joy to receive: “God’s Gift is an erotic romance, but Terri and her fantastic writing gives it an edge that other books in this genre are lacking. She simply has a way with words, giving this book class and finesse mixed with the downright dirty.” Despite all the hot sex, ultimately I write love stories and I love this review of Frost Trilogy because it really does say it all and it’s exactly what I want the reader to feel: “Will have you yearning for a love like theirs”.

What does the word “story” signifies for you?

It’s a journey. Through facing and overcoming challenges or their own demons, the main character grows emotionally, becoming the person they were meant to be.

Do you think an author should be bound by Genre?

I don’t think an author should be bound by anything other than their own imagination. And any author worth the title of writer has an endless supply of that.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m always working on something − I’m an author. LOL Currently I’m writing the conclusion of Sebastian and Gina’s story, God’s Gift 2: Saving Sebastian.

Do you have a special time or place for writing?

No. I write whenever and for as long as I can. This sometimes means pulling an ‘all-nighter’ when the words are really flowing.

How do you promote your work? How will QuotesRain help you in your book promotion and sales, would you like to refer this platform to your author friends?

I am the Queen of teasers (I know some readers have read my books because they’ve seen the teasers on Facebook), but I’m rubbish at marketing and promoting my work. This is why I’m so pleased to find Quotesrain and the opportunity to get my work in front of lots more potential readers.

Would you like to share something with your readers and fans?

I’m not sure what kind of ‘something’ you want me to share. I love Aussies, (I’ve worked with lots of them) but could never visit Australia because when it comes to creepy crawlies I’m a complete wuss − and theirs can kill you. Want to see me go into girlie-mode, feet off the floor as I squirm in terror? Put me in the same room as a spider! And I haven’t got Nick to deal with them as Mia has in Letting Go.