Dragons and Seasons’ Magic talking with Terie Garrison. Discover a whole new world… and a very fun author!
Hi Terie! Welcome on “Veronika asks”. So, would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m Terie Garrison, and, to paraphrase the AA intro, I’m a writer. For some reason I can’t understand, people think the writing life is glamourous. Me, all I do is work, read, write, and look after my house, cats, and garden. But I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. It’s just not exactly exciting…except for inside my head where I get to watch the ‘movies’ of my stories play out as I write them.
If you could describe yourself with three words…
Weird, peculiar, strange. (That’s what people have been calling me all my life, so I might as well roll with the punches.)
Now let’s talk a bit about “AutumnQuest”… How did you get that idea?
In May 2002, I went to a children’s writers conference in Greece. There was an editor there who edits what you might call ‘literary fantasy’–not just sword and sorcery, but books focused on characters. I wanted very much to be published by this editor, but I didn’t have anything suitable for her at the time. A month or so later, I read a notice about another editor looking for series, particularly ones with dragons. Fantasy is my first love, although I’d long abandoned it, both reading and writing. But I’d started reading it again about a year before the Greece conference.Well, all of the above combined…one editor wanting character-driven fantasy, another wanting dragon-related fantasy, my newly reborn love of reading fine fantasy (I think I was on a Robin Hobb kick at the time). Then I bought some crystals at a mind-body-spirit convention (lapis lazuli and fluorite, for those who might be interested), and a few days later, the first line of the book popped into my head: ‘When my brother told me it was a dragon egg, of course I didn’t believe him.’ From there, it was a matter of writing Donavah’s story. And rewriting it and rewriting it and rewriting….And now AutumnQuest is a real live book!
Why do you write fantasy and not another genre?
I don’t work exclusively in the fantasy genre. I have ideas percolating in a variety of genres. I’ve written a sports novel, but it, like most first novels, is stashed away in the bottom drawer not likely to see the light of day again. I’m also working on a mainstream novel dealing with forced marriage. And I have a few more fantasy books in mind, too. And some adventure books. And, well, whatever the muse delivers. As a friend of mine says, ‘Don’t wee on the muse.’
Tell us a bit more about the sequel, “WinterMaejic”…
Like the season of Winter, it is dark and introspective. Donavah goes through some intense ‘learning experiences’, that is, she begins to learn about the power she was born with. I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to say too much more than that.
I suppose there will be four books in the serie. Am I right?
Yes, indeed you are! There are, of course, two further books, one for Spring and one for Summer. These don’t have formal titles yet, but the books carry on the story to its conclusion. All four books reflect the Earth’s life cycles, with the Spring one bursting with life and newness, and the Summer one sorting things out into their bright new patterns.
You said you wanted to write since you were 10. Why?
Other than reading, studying, and doing my homework, I wasn’t really any good at anything as a child, not anything that other kids recognized, anyway. Other kids were funny, or good at sports, or at playing games, or at singing or playing a musical instrument. I was good at reading…oh boy. When my fifth-grade teacher made a BIG deal about some limericks I wrote, it finally clicked: I was good at writing. Since I also loved reading, from that moment on, I knew that I wanted to write things that others could read and enjoy as much as I did the books I read.
You started another series, called “The Book Addicts Club”. What can you tell us about it?
Well, I have to start out by saying that I haven’t sold it yet. It’s for younger kids, say 8- to 11-year-olds, and is about a group of kids who like to read. In the first book, there’s a new kid at school, and the main characters, Marcie and Gina, stumble across his secret. Adventure ensues. There’s an element of fantasy, as each book has a ghost, but the stories are mainly adventure stories.
How do you picture your reader? You know, when you say that “there is somebody reading my book right now…”
I envision a young person who likes reading not only for the story, but also for the actual writing. Story is, of course, the most important thing, but I appreciate fine writing myself and strive for my own to reach toward that ideal. Of course, I picture this reader curled up with my book, engrossed to the exclusion of just about everything else. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?
How do you usually work (when, where…)? What about writer’s block?
For my job, I sit in front of a computer all day writing manuals for software. I can’t bear the thought of going home and spending more hours sitting in front of a computer writing. So I write my first drafts by hand. I bought a lovely fountain pen more than ten years ago, and all of my first drafts since then have been written with this pen. (It also turned me into a collector of modern Waterman pens, but that’s a different story.) Because I write with pen and paper, I can work anywhere: the sofa, the easy chair, in bed, out in the garden, at a park, in the town square. I’ve spent hours sitting at Stonehenge writing, and at lesser-known stone circles, you can actually sit there leaning against the stone while you write. Talk about inspiring!I’ve never had a problem with writer’s block, per se. My big problem is self-discipline–making myself sit down and write. On the other hand, I wonder if what others call ‘writer’s block’ is the same thing I call ‘lack of self-discipline’. I don’t think so, but I wonder sometimes.
What’s the most difficult when writing a novel?
For me, it’s often just making myself sit down and do it. As I said above, I don’t have as much self-discipline as I’d like. Also, because my day job is also writing, I spend a certain amount of my creativity there. Luckily, manuals are technical and so don’t often use up so much of my day’s allotment of creativity as to leave me dry when I get home.
Do you have some piece of advice for aspiring writers?
BIC: Butt In Chair. There’s a cliché that a lot of wannabe writers simply want ‘to have written’, but they don’t want to do the actual writing. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. To me, that’s what separates the wannabes from the real writers: whether they’re actually writing or not. And the only way to actually write is, well, to actually write–to put your rear end in the chair and do it.
Would you like to add something, Terie?
I guess what I’d most like to tell young people is to get comfortable inside your own skin. Be yourself and don’t worry about what others think. That’s hard when you’re a teenager, but I still think it’s a worthwhile goal to strive for.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use it?
Buy something to treat myself–probably more books and candles, and maybe some new bubble bath.
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Read a book. Which pretty much IS what I do on Saturday nights!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Definitely the mountains. I grew up in a beach city and beaches hold no charm for me. I love taking hikes in the trees, especially if I can sit somewhere and write for a bit.
Country or City ?Country. I grew up in the city. I don’t need the hustle and bustle of that; I prefer the slow quietness of the countryside.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?It depends on my mood. I do love period dramas. My favourite is the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.
Shy or Easy-going ?Mostly easy-going. Sometimes stressed and frazzled.
Serious or Funny ?I’d like to say funny, but I’m afraid I’m more serious than I’d care to admit. I used to be one of those very serious teenagers who took every little thing to heart. I’ve tried to lighten up at bit as I’ve gotten older.
Traveler or not ?I enjoy travel, but am naturally a home-body. I moved from Southern California to England in 2000, and I love to explore my adopted country. I usually take one or two week-long trips to a different part of the UK every year.
Sporty or not ?I used to be a long-distance cyclist, but I’ve not done much cycling lately. I do love going out for very long rides, but I’m not in shape for that anymore. And if it has a ball, Terie does NOT play.
The leader in the group or not ?Only reluctantly.
TV show: Star Trek: The Original Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Movie : Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (I cry at the end every single time)
Book : Can’t say just one. Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb–you better shut me up now before it gets out of hand
Music : David Bowie
Food : Spaghetti
City : Hard to say just one. I went to Berlin a few weeks ago for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it.
Favorite place to write : Outdoors in the English countryside, preferably in a place of historical significance, in the sunshine. Unfortunately, this opportunity doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like.
Quote or motto : ‘You must write for children in the way as you do for adults, only better.’ Maksim Gorky
Thank you, Terie!
Terie’s website http://www.teriegarrison.com