I read and reviewed author Terry Tyler’s novel Tipping Point in the spring of of 2018. I loved the story and her writing. That is why she is one of my favorite authors and has earned a position on my Author Spotlight page! Please see her interview and upcoming work below.
1. What inspired you to write a book?
My love of reading, I suppose – I first wrote a novel 25 years ago, so it’s hard to remember! I used to make up characters even as a child, though, and, later, stories. When I wrote my first novel I’d decided on the characters I wanted to write about, and how they would interact, and I made a plan, but the plot developed as I wrote. This is still what happens now; I always make a plan, but it changes as I go along. Once I put fingers to keys―that’s when the ideas start to flow.
2. What does your typical writing day look like?
I wish all days could be writing days but, alas, this is not possible. When it is, I sit down at my laptop first thing, do my emails, blog comments and Twitter, then open the document. I usually go over what I wrote the day before; it’s my ‘warm up’. I’ll stay at my desk for hours, with breaks for any essential domestic stuff. Before I log off, I write notes for what comes next. That’s if I’m on a first draft; if the novel is at the rewrites stage, I make a note of which page I finish at. I stop when I know I am no longer working at my best, or sometimes I just have a quick nap, then carry on. Oh yes, and once a week I make a huge vegetable curry and dole it out into one helping-sized containers so I can just shove one in the microwave at lunch time; easier than having to stop to make a sandwich, even!
3. Do you have a favorite book you have written?
Not one book, but my most recent four novels and one collection of short stories: the Project Renova series. As you know, Leonard, it’s set in the UK, a few years into the future, and is about a pandemic that ends life as we know it. And I’m starting to really enjoy writing the book I’m currently working on, at last; I always find it hard to settle into a new one. It’s dystopian in genre, set in the not too distant future, again (about 2032), but is completely different from the Project Renova series. It gets pretty scary and sinister, but there’s no immediate collapse of society; it’s more the distant gathering of storm clouds getting darker and darker, than waking up to a hurricane! The main character is a blogger. 😉
4. What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
- Don’t rush to publish; it’s always worth spending that extra week on another rewrite, if you’re not sure about some aspects.
- Always get your novel professionally proofread.
- Show it to someone you are sure can assess it objectively, before you publish/send it to a publisher/agent.
- Write as a reader; don’t be self-indulgent―think what aspects of a book keep YOU turning the pages.
- Read a lot, and observe structure; what works for you and what doesn’t. Learn from other writers, but don’t try to emulate them.
5. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
Only Twitter, and yes, I love to hear from readers!
5. How do you handle literary criticism?
By considering if the critic has a point! I have a BRUTAL final test reader, and it’s not always easy to hear that something doesn’t work, but I’ve learned to see this as an opportunity to make the book better, before it hits the virtual shelves. With reviews, if more than one person make the same negative point, it might mean that it’s something I need to look at. I’ve learned not to get depressed by subjective criticism, though; a character that some detest, others will love. One reader may think that chapter of backstory added essential insight, another that it slowed the pace down unnecessarily. You will never please everyone.
The most important lesson to learn about bad reviews? Those who write them are not necessarily ‘trolls’ or ‘trying to bring you down’; they just don’t like what they read, and are entitled to express their opinion about it. Alas, they are not obliged to do so constructively. If you publish/advertise your work on a site that allows comment, you must be prepared for this.
6. Please describe your writing space.
A chair, and a desk, on which I have my laptop, a fan, a lamp, coasters for cups and glasses, and paper and pen. It’s in the corner of a room, and has sheets of A4 paper with notes about whatever I am currently writing, blu-tacked to the wall.
7. Who is your own favorite author? Dead or alive.
I can’t possibly name just one. Here are a few: Gemma Lawrence, Deborah Swift, John Krakauer, Keith Blackmore, Philippa Gregory, Dylan J Morgan, Douglas Kennedy, John Boyne, Carol Hedges, Susan Howatch, P J O’Rourke, Kate L Mary, Norah Lofts, Bill Bryson, Emily Barr, Kate Atkinson.
8. What is the most helpful thing to you in this industry?
Twitter/book bloggers, without a doubt; without Twitter I would not have met so many lovely book bloggers who have become readers of mine, who have been kind enough to feature me, and, of course, who have introduced me to so many good books. If you put in the time to develop your place in the reader/writer community, Twitter is a marvellous way of spreading the word about what you do. Every day I see so many posts about every aspect of the industry, and non-book stuff that’s right up my street, too; funny one-liners, art and wonderful photography. I don’t read any news sites; I just log onto Twitter each morning. It rocks.
9. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words…what would they be?
My first reaction was ‘Not Dead Yet’. One of the frustrating things about being of ‘a certain age’ is not having enough time left in which to learn about everything I’m interested in, read the hundreds of book I want to read, and write all those stored in my TBW (to be written) list. Oh, those wasted years…. but if I hadn’t wasted them so spectacularly, what would I write about?!
My latest book, soon to be published (and may even be so by the time this feature is on your blog) is Legacy, the final book of the Project Renova series. The other books had a time span of just two and a half years; Legacy zooms ahead a century, then goes backwards, as the descendants of the characters in Tipping Point, Lindisfarne, UK2 and Patient Zero link up with the stories of their ancestors. It’s about how the actions of the past affect the future, and how those who have passed remain alive within the minds of the living―and I hope it is a thrilling and compelling story, too!
Thank you so much, Leonard, for inviting me to your blog, for loving Tipping Point, and for all that you do to help writers. Like Twitter, you rock 🙂
Terry Tyler is the author of eighteen books on Amazon, and sees indie/self-publishing as a creative choice. She has two blogs; on one which she writes about writing, TV, and anything else that pops into her head, and the other is for book reviews. She is an avid reader, and is a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. She is a vegan, and loves the countryside, Netflix and her husband, with whom she lives in the north east of England.
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