Today I had the great opportunity to chat to talented author Terri Meeker. Born in Wyoming, she has made her home in the Pacific NW. She's loved history since childhood and has been fortunate to live in lots of places with fascinating pasts, including: Washington DC, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, Albuquerque, Missouri and Mons, Belgium. She's an ex-history teacher, a mom, a Whedonite, a gamer and a ginormous nerd. She also loves to write. Check out my Q&A with Terri below:
1. In your novels history is a vital element of the storylines. What is it about the past that calls to you?
I fell in love with history when I was 12 because of a cool teacher. He showed me that people in the past weren't just dusty old memories. They lived vibrant, conflicted lives. exactly like you and I. The same passions. The same heartbreaks. When I was in college, I studied to become a History teacher. I did my student teaching in Mons, Belgium - the site of a famous World War I battle, which couldn't have been more exciting. After this I taught at the secondary level for a few years. I tend to approach certain times and historical figures like people treat a fandom. I get a historical 'crush' on a person and will gobble up dozens of books about them. My poor family (and anyone I run into) will get to hear about whatever it is I'm currently obsessing about. This became slightly awkward when I enthused about Victorian chastity devices to my daughter's new boyfriend.
2. Not Quite Darcy is my personal favourite of your books so far as I am a huge Austen fan and love that time period. Have you a favourite time period? And if so why?
Haha, excellent question! And thank you for your kind words about 'Not Quite Darcy.' For some reason, all my books seem to take place within a relatively short window of time. 1870-1915. I like the Victorian Age a lot. I think we tend to romanticize that time, but the reality was a lot grittier (and more interesting). I'd rather read (or tell) a story based in actual history than a Disneyfied version of it. That is the driving force in all my stories. Stories about dashing Lords and dazzling countesses are fine, but maids and mama's boys have new stories to tell - and I could always relate to them a lot better.
3. As a writer, who has influenced you in your career? And as a reader, who is your go-to author for a guaranteed good read?
As a writer - not to get too wordy, but three people have done the most. Joss Whedon (who inspired me to start writing in the first place), my husband Mike (who pushed me to try to get published) and my editor, Holly Atkinson (who taught me about the publishing world and is a wonderful friend). As far as reading? I'm so boring that way! When I read it's rarely fiction now! I read a lot of research books - usually source material. So that means that I spend a lot of time with 'A Ladies Guide to Household Staff' written in 1840 (oh, the racism and sexism!). Or military handbooks from the Great War. My favorite romance author is Laura Kinsale. Her book, "Flowers from the Storm" is amazing. Its about a guy who's had a stroke and the Quaker woman who tends to him. He can't even really speak throughout the story. I love tales that try to do something completely different like that.
4. While some authors plot everything out before they begin their novels, others sit down and just start typing. Which type of writer are you - a plotter or a pantser?
Is there such a thing as EXTREME plotter? That would be me. I crash and burn, hard, when I try to pants. I have to know how it ends before I begin. I have to know the lessons the characters are going to learn. My outline before I begin is about 7-8K. I also must have files on all the other aspects of the story that I might need. For instance, with Billy the Kid, I filled files with info about horses, guns, Pat Garrett, fun slang, maps - as well as character sheets. To say nothing of the notes I took on all the biographies I'd read about him. I should lighten up! :D
5. You have three compelling books released so far - Not Quite Darcy, Angel of the Somme, and Dancing with Billy the Kid. What future treasures have you got in store for us?
I am working on two at the same time. I've never done that before! I have a book in which Nellie Bly (the founder of investigative reporting) time travels from 1889 to modern New York City. Her guide is a computer nerd with Aspergers. I am rewriting this one (again) and so in the meanwhile, I'm working on a contemporary, which I hope to have complete before Christmas. It's about a struggling romance writer named Ivy who is fixing up the old family home when three of her book characters come to life. Their efforts to 'fix' things for their creator turn Ivy's life upside down, but in a good way. I'm really excited about this one. The way the characters have taken charge of their once fictional lives bubbles with positive energy. :) Hope you'll like it!
Thanks again to Terri for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with me today. I can't wait for your next book! For more information on Terri and to buy her novels, here are the links:
Website - terrimeeker.com
Twitter - twitter.com/ActualTerri
Facebook - www.facebook.com/authorterrimeeker/?fref=ts
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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