Monday, September 23, 2013

Meet Terry Lee author of Saving Grace

Terry Lee

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Characters begin circling in my mind. At some point I pull out my “Character Development Sketch” which is a list I put together to define my characters (looks, likes, dislikes, weaknesses, occupation, marital status and lately…what were high school years like?) My writing seems to be turning trans generational …by that I mean, what happened in one’s formative high school years…how does it affect the character today?

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?
Just yesterday I scheduled two events for the middle of October with an old friend who lives in New Braunfels, TX. She’s a retired English teacher and now on the board of the library in New Braunfels. She absolutely knows EVERYONE in this town and said, she’s gotten a lot of bragging rights mileage out of saying she knows me. Made me smileJ 

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
Professor Dumbledore at Hogwarts Academy, hands down.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
Although I’m a character driven writer, I seem to at least need to be pointed in a direction before I start to write.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
My volunteer work with Houston Hospice was a strong contributor to the story of Saving Gracie. Although not an active volunteer at this point, I do crochet baby blankets and make no-sew fleece lap throws for the children in Houston Hospice.

What was the inspiration for your book?
Saving Gracie: losing my mom to lung cancer in 1987 on Easter Sunday, my experience at Houston Hospice as a volunteer, movies (Always, Chances Are, Defending Your Life, Ghost, Heart and Souls, etc. ) All of these movies have to do with someone dying on this physical plane and picking up on “the other side.”

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Saving Gracie – not a problem, I did it myself
Partly Sunny – way more difficult which I believe to be my fault…I involved too many people in the decision-making

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
This is easy because I devise storyboards for all my characters. In Saving Gracie, the mother is Betty White and the daughter is Debra Messing. In Partly Sunny, Darcy is Emma Stone (as she played in The Help) and Ms. Viola is Shirley Maclaine.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing. I know this is an over-used expression, but I can find a ton of “chores” to take care of before I sit down to write. Writing (for me) needs to be bumped up the priority list.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Teachers Aid in Deaf Education Program in Cy Fair ISD; Substance Abuse Counselor; Massage Therapist; Houston Hospice Volunteer

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?
Had a less than favorable experience with the first critique group I joined. Learned quickly many people do not understand the difference between critique and criticism…

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
Too many to name. I like authors who are able to write not only with a sense of humor but also some depth to their stories.

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?
Everywhere in the house. One week a year I travel to our time share in the Hill Country of Texas and spend an entire week writing…
Last fall, I retired my massage table and transformed my treatment room in my house to my office.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I find value in both. While I would be terrible distraught if the print books ever disappeared, I also enjoy the ease of ebooks.

What's in the works for you?
Started book #3 this week. Have my characters in my head and am in the process of filling out my own Character Development Sketches which gives them a history and most importantly…a personality.


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