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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 11 May 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

“They say “write what you know.” I’m fortunate to know grace and love pretty well – the grace of a heavenly Father who forgives me without my deserving it, and a love deeper and wider than my vast imagination can comprehend.”

 

“I yearn for connection – as I’m sure many of you do. It’s part of our make-up as human beings. True relationship building takes time and effort.”

 

rem:  Hello, Teresa, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TERESA:  My twin sister and I were born in Honolulu, Hawaii (father was stationed there in the Navy) and raised in Central Florida. I then spent more than ten years in North Carolina attending college and marrying my husband. We now live in North Texas with our daughter and fur baby. I work full time as a director of communications for a large church—a career I’ve enjoyed for about 14 years.

rem:  Remind me to ask for some twin antics… 😉 Tell us three things about yourself.

TERESA:

  1. On paper, I test extremely introverted, though friends would never suspect that based on my outward interactions; I must recharge with quiet alone time.
  2. My home library is pretty lean because, more often than not, I give books away to friends or family once I’ve read them.
  3. I have a master’s degree in editing and publishing but focused on book design, which led me to a career in graphic design as part of church communications. I love it!

 

rem:  Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TERESA:  My favorite coffee drink is an iced caramel macchiato…mmm!

rem:  Caramel—sounds delectable! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

TERESA:  There is currently a pair of my daughter’s socks in my purse. Ah, motherhood!

rem:  LOL Classic motherhood. What’s your favorite recent discovery?

TERESA:  My daughter and I love the show The Zoo on Animal Planet, a behind-the-scenes show about the Bronx Zoo.

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

TERESA:  All. The. Time. It’s my favorite tool to get through life. Ha!

rem:  What is the first thing you notice about people?

TERESA:  Whether they are kind or not. Sometimes it’s in their eyes, and you just know.

rem:  Very true. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

TERESA:  I chose my life verse when I was going through confirmation in sixth grade. I think God knew then that my anxious nature would need it: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God.” Isaiah 41.10.

 

rem:  And that’s what His presence is all about, peace. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

TERESA:  I believe Christian fiction is only different from secular fiction in that it sheds light on the only true conflict resolution: God’s grace and salvation. This can be really subtle, yet poignant in well-written Christian fiction. For me, writing has become my sacred time with God. It’s when I feel the closest to him—like he’s my co-author.

rem:  Ooohhh, I love that—He’s your (our) co-author! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

TERESA:  I guess my pet peeve would be characters who are too perfect or whose lives are hard to relate to. I want to read stories about characters I can see myself and my own struggles in. I am really drawn to stories with a strong sense of place. Setting is really important to helping me experience the story.

rem:  Like mine in the swamp???  wink wink… Which is more important: plot or characters?

TERESA:  I think the two go hand in hand; one can’t survive without the other.

rem:  Seems to be the consensus. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TERESA:  Something else creative. In the past I’ve enjoyed crafts and home decorating.

rem:  Yes, well, home decorating, Interior Designer here—you’re speaking my (other) language! LOL What are you reading right now?

TERESA:  Nothing!  This book launch has taken so much of my time. My pile of books to read is tall!  I particularly can’t wait to open up The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson.

rem:    NO | KIDDING! What do you munch on while you write?

TERESA:  Usually just coffee. If I have snacks around me, I’ll eat too much!

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TERESA:  I started writing Someplace Familiar over three years ago for National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Since then, it’s been through so many rewrites and edits to get to where it is today.

rem:  Ah yes, good ol’ NaNoWriMo! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
TERESA:  Because of my full-time job and motherhood duties, I don’t really have a set routine. But when my husband is off on a weekend, I most enjoy camping out at my local coffee shop. I’ve been known to have a 6+ hours writing marathon when I can find the time. Otherwise, it’s a few hours a night after my daughter goes to bed if I’m not too tired.

rem:  Wait, is a mom ever not tired??? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TERESA:  TIME (see above answer). In an ideal world, I’d love to write full time. Since that’s not my current reality, I am learning to be kinder to myself. I try and focus more on what I can do and not on what I can’t. My number one priority is my daughter and husband, so the writing comes second. I pray a lot about finding contentment in every day, trusting that God is there always.

rem:  And Father honors those priorities. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TERESA:  Creating, for sure!  There are no rules when you’re just writing ideas down. The story feels more alive to me in that phase. Editing can be very satisfying, but it doesn’t feel as organic to me.

rem:  I love the way you said that! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TERESA:  I most enjoy the outlet it gives me to create people and worlds that only exist in my head. I’m also learning how amazing it is when readers are moved by my writing. The best feeling!

rem:  So true! I’m like a little kid when people tell me their (ahem, positive) response to my stories! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TERESA:  Since I’ve decided to self-publish, the hardest thing is having to manage all of the moving parts on my own. It’s overwhelming some times. The easiest part is having a lot of friends who’ve done it before and are more than willing to help. The author community is really incredible!

rem:  I hear tell, though, that trad pubs have to manage much of it on their own anyway… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

TERESA:  I’d tell new writers to not think too much (just write!), read all you can (about the craft of writing and books in your genre), and realize that you’re not alone (all writers have been where you are; reach out if you need help).

rem:  I so love the connections and camaraderie amongst fellow authors. How do you choose your characters’ names?

TERESA:  This is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Sometimes, it is as simple as choosing a name I personally like. Other times, especially with last names, I research common names to the region the book is set in.

rem:  And let’s not forget when they introduce themselves… no name selecting involved. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

TERESA:  No! At least in the case of Someplace Familiar, I really wrote as it came to me. That was a good approach for my first book, but I think for future books I will do a little more outlining so it goes faster.

rem:  Ah, you “pantzed” it! KUDOS Your debut novel comes out the 30th of this month. Tell us about it.

TERESA:  Someplace Familiar is my debut contemporary southern romance novel. Here’s a short description:

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Together they must find a way to survive the destructive pain of their pasts and ultimately discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts.

rem:  Sounds delightful! Can’t wait to read it! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

TERESA:  Laurel Cove is inspired by the small town where my best friend grew up. I fell in love with the place while attending college in the mountains, so it’s been a real treat to introduce readers to a similar quaint and charming town. I think readers will also enjoy the story of renewed hope in love as our main characters work together to restore Gram’s cottage.

rem:  How fun is that! And I love the mountains. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TERESA:  I felt called to write a story of redemption and grace—both grace we can receive freely from God and the grace we can extend to others. Other than that, writing this book was really to prove to myself that I could do it.

rem:  Well done. Please give us the first page of the book.

TERESA:

Not much had changed about Laurel Cove, North Carolina in the ten years since Livy Johnson had last visited. Driving down Main Street, it was every bit as charming and picturesque as she remembered. American flags blew in the breeze in front of old store fronts. Two old men in overalls leaned lazily on the back end of a rusty pick-up, probably shooting the breeze. 

A red traffic light.

Livy’s foot slammed against the brake pad, lurching the car to a stop about a foot into the quiet intersection. The cracking of wood behind her seat could only mean one thing. Her easel had broken. How was she going to get back into painting without the easel she’d used since art school? What a great start to her new beginning.

With no traffic waiting, Livy steered the car left as the light turned. She needed no GPS to find the Laurel Cove Inn, a short, steep climb off Main Street. The car came to a much gentler stop in front of the grand white building sitting at one edge of the town square. Livy’s muscles ached from the five-hour drive from Raleigh as she stepped from the car and stretched her arms toward a cloudless sky. The building was every bit as beautiful as she remembered.

The sight of a man looking down from a second-story window of the inn pricked at her insecurities. A gasp of cold, crisp mountain air stung her throat as her hand rubbed at the heat rising up her neck. Her eyes cut to the hood of her car, its engine still pinging as it cooled. The uneasiness of being watched eclipsed the serenity of her surroundings. She’d come to Laurel Cove to hide from her problems, yet someone had already found her.

Don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t like she was hiding. Plus, everything, and everyone, she remembered of Laurel Cove was good. Curiosity pulled her eyes back to the window. The man’s tall figure filled most of the space between the frame. Flat palm facing out, he nodded in her direction.

 

rem:  Well, I’m right there with her in Laurel Cove, and now m’wanna read the whole thing! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TERESA:  I hope readers see that no love story is perfect and without obstacles, but can be breathtaking and inspiring all the same. Jack nor Livy are perfect; they each struggle with forgiveness, insecurities, trust, etc. I hope readers see themselves in these characters and that they, too, find hope within God’s grace.

rem:  God’s grace indeed, wonderful. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today! And welcome to the world of author hood!

 

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“… if my writing can speak of these sorts of grace and love to others – maybe even you – then what a gift it is, indeed.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Teresa Tysinger, Someplace Familiar

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