I always like hearing about other writers, their processes, and their lives outside of writing. I figure you do, too! Teri M. Brown, author of Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, shared a bit of her time and her adventures with me recently.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Yes! Seriously, it does both. I find the writing very exciting and when I am through for the day, I often talk over everything with my husband. However, after a long session at the computer, I sleep hard for the first several hours.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Real life. I work best when I can escape from the house and my office. Put me on the beach, or at a writer’s retreat, or even at my mom’s house when she’s gone away for a week, and I’ll get more accomplished than I can at home. Why? When I’m gone, things like dishes, laundry, meal prep, and taking the dog out don’t get in my way. I can focus entirely on writing. At the Weymouth Writers-in-Residence, I am able to write 50,000 to 70,000 words in one week!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid. Just get the story out of your head. The more you write, the easier it will be.
What books do you currently have in the works?
I currently have four novels in various stages of completeness, an inspirational non-fiction based on my trip across the US on a tandem bicycle, and three children’s books waiting for an audience.
How did you get started writing?
I began writing my first novel in 2017. I had a story line in my head but had been afraid to put it on paper. I went to a one-week writers-in-residence during NaNoWriMo and completed 50,000 words. That particular manuscript hasn’t gone anywhere. I will have to do a lot of rewriting if it ever does because I couldn’t give my main character any flaws. I loved her too much! I was also about to separate from an emotionally abusive husband, and I think I needed my character to be strong and capable and unbreakable. My second manuscript has some of the same problems, though I was getting the hang of it. Both of those manuscripts are contemporary, character-driven fiction. My third manuscript, An Enemy Like Me, is historical fiction that I would like to release after Sunflowers Beneath the Snow. It is loosely based on my grandfather who is of German descent and fought in WWII in the US Army in Germany. My fifth manuscript is Sunflowers Beneath the Snow. I decided to release it now because it is timely – the Russians are amassing on the Ukrainian border once again, which is a pivotal point in the plot of the book when it happened 2014. I have another partially finished manuscript that has a fantasy lean to it, but my father died while I was writing it. Every time I try to go back to it, I just can’t seem to find the words. And I have a dystopian fiction idea and a humor spoof about menopause in my head.
What advice can you give to writers & aspiring writers?
Write. Write. Write. The only way to get better at your craft is to do it. Don’t wait until you have gotten a degree, taken enough classes, read enough books. Just start writing. Your first stuff will likely be crap, but that’s okay. Everyone starts there. Very few people write the Great American Novel the first time they pick up a pen.
Born in Athens, Greece as an Air Force brat, Teri M Brown came into this world with an imagination full of stories to tell. She now calls the North Carolina coast home, and the peaceful nature of the sea has been a great source of inspiration for her creativity.
Not letting 2020 get the best of her, Teri chose to go on an adventure that changed her outlook on life. She and her husband, Bruce, rode a tandem bicycle across the United States from Astoria, Oregon to Washington DC, successfully raising money for Toys for Tots. She learned she is stronger than she realized and capable of anything she sets her mind to.
Teri is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author who loves word games, reading, bumming on the beach, taking photos, singing in the shower, hunting for bargains, ballroom dancing, playing bridge, and mentoring others.
Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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