Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Terry Lynn Thomas

I’m delighted to be joined by author Terry Lynn Thomas on The Hippo today. 

Photo courtesy of Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches, windy dunes, and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back. 

Now Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in 1930s Britain. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, is released in April 2018.  When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

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Terry’s new book, The Silent Woman, is due for release on April 11th and is available for pre-order now, so let’s find out what it’s about.


Would you sell your secrets?

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

Amazon UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
Amazon US πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

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What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have made so many friends since I started writing in earnest, it’s amazing. Every writer I have ever met has been kind, generous, helpful, and supportive. So I’m going to take this question chronologically. I met Lisa Ricard Claro at a writer’s conference in 2010. We gelled immediately, became fast friends, and worked as critique partners for a while. Our paths have diverged a bit, but we still support each other’s careers, beta read when we are able, and talk each other off the ledge when necessary. 

I met Barbara Davis on an airplane on the way to the RWA conference in 2014. She sat next to me, and like a fool, I asked if she was going to pitch. She was so nice about telling me that she was already published and was doing a signing. We bonded on the plane and hung out a bit at the conference. We’re still friends and she is been forthcoming with advice and information. 

Finally, I have to plug Emma Jameson. Emma is a self-pubbed author who writes best-selling mysteries. When I contemplated self-publishing, she wrote me a lengthy informative email and offered to help in any way she could. 

I feel so grateful for this job and the support is amazing.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated writer/book?
I’m going to have to go with Lisa Ricard Claro’s Fireflies series. They are sweet, southern, and extremely charming. I don’t usually read romance, but I do love Lisa’s writing and I love her books. 

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
When I have a manuscript in progress, I get up at 4:00 a.m. and write until 7:00 a.m. That way I get my word count finished. I have been known to stay in my pyjamas all weekend when working, especially if it’s cold out. 

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
Ah, the chicken or the egg… I think that characters do things and that their actions are what forms plot, thus the two are so enmeshed that they can’t be separated. Developing characters who react to situations differently and putting them together around dramatic events is the essence of good story telling. And it’s interesting because when I start a new book, I always have the log line, the one-sentence synopsis of what is about. Fleshing out the story—for me anyway—is the adding of layers. So while I might have a rough cast of characters, I have to layer what these characters are exposed to and how they handle it. After that, I’ll layer in developmental issues about how they deal with the obstacles I put in front of them, their personal growth, and their ultimate arc. As I said, the chicken or the egg…

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?
Isobel Carlisle in The Silent Woman is a total shrew. She is a domineering, self-righteous egomaniac who gets her power by picking on Cat Carlisle. By way of explanation, Cat married into this moneyed family, so Isobel thinks Cat is a gold digger and finds her wanting in every way. While most of us aren’t in the exact same situation as Cat, we’ve all experienced bullying in some degree. It was interesting to pit Cat against Isobel. I admire Cat’s backbone… 

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (eg in the shower or driving) what do you do?
Full stop. Write it down. I seem to do this when I am really comfortable and am about to slip into sleep.

Describe yourself in five words.
Hard-working, honest, loyal, nerdy, introverted.

Do you have any bad habits?
Do wine and chocolate count? Writers sit a lot, so it’s important to get up and keep moving. When I develop bad habits, I gently chide myself for some responsible self-care.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I love reruns of Columbo, Murder She Wrote, and anything Agatha Christie. 

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You can find out more about Terry, her books and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Terry for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with me today and to wish her lots of luck with The Silent Woman. 😘

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