Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Get Out of The Way and Let The Story Be Told: Author Interview with Teresa Slack
Wow, my first book took forever to write. The story percolated
on my mind for years. It evolved in my head for years until I finally
came up with something to coalesce the whole thing. I have always been
fascinated by small town scandals. I want to know the story behind the
story. What really happened. Streams of Mercy is about a young woman who discovers on the day of her dad's funeral he was once suspected in the
disappearance of an old girlfriend.
What inspired you to write that first novel?
I love mysteries, cold cases, missing persons, and most of all, scandals. The idea came from that fascination.
How many rewrites did you do on it?
As for how many rewrites, it was a lot. Over time, I've become more efficient and don't have to work so hard.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Creating characters is a blast for me. It's probably my favorite part. I also love dialog. I love letting my characters say things I don't have the nerve to say. I'm non-confrontational, so I live vicariously through my characters. It's a hoot.
I suppose the hardest part is just sitting down and writing when
the story won't cooperate. Sometimes I don't want to do it. It's work.
The story doesn't always come together. I sometimes agonize over one
paragraph. I have to make myself keep going. But nothing worth having
comes easy. You have to force yourself to work for what you want,
whether writing or anything else.
When someone tells me writing must be easy for me. I always get a big laugh out of that one. Believe me, it's not easy. But it's wonderful when readers think the words just go together like butter on toast. That means
they're seeing the story instead of me. That's what every writer wants;
to get out of the way and let the story be told.
We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it? Rejection never ends in this business. Even after 18 books, some readers won't like what I write. I try not to watch my sales rankings too closely or read my reviews. They can ruin your day. I know you've heard: What's Your Why? Why do you do what you do? As long as I keep in mind why I write, what I want to accomplish, how I strive to entertain and encourage readers through clean, wholesome Christian fiction, I can keep going, even in the face of rejection.
What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
Friendships and encouragement from readers & other authors. Especially in the Christian industry, other authors are quick to help out a colleague. I've made some wonderful friends in the industry.
What frustrated you the most?
Feeling overwhelmed. You get so much conflicting information about what works in reaching readers. Such as:placing ads, when to release new books, and how to break in to a marketable niche. Just when you think you have success, the system changes and you feel like you have to start all over.
I have written for a traditional publisher, but now I write under Grace Arbor Press, which is my own imprint. The industry has just changed so quickly in the last few years, I feel like the best way for me to keep up is to release under my own imprint. But I miss the team you have with a traditional publisher. It's hard doing most of it yourself. It's a whole new learning curve, but I like the control. I like making my own schedule. Most of all, I like writing what I want when I want.
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
Writing a book is the easy part. Letting the world know you wrote a book
is a job that never ends.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Wow, I've received so much great advice. What really sticks out is something I heard on the radio by country music singer, Toby Keith. He said you can't tell a writer to write better. You can only tell a writer to write more. It's how you get better at anything. If I ever need brain surgery, I don't want the surgeon who just stepped out of medical school. I want the one who's done it for years. You get better by doing. There's no other way.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
If you have a story to tell, you must tell it. Once you're gone, your voice is
silenced forever. Over the years, I've had so many people tell me about
a story they've had in their heads for years. I always tell them to stop
talking about it and write it down. Yes, I know it's hard. It's overwhelming and scary. We only have one chance in this life. We are obligated to make the most of it.
What is the next book coming out?
I am currently working on A Hero for Ellie: Book 5 of The Willow Wood Brides series. I hope to have it out in September, with Book 6 close behind.
A Wedding for Felicity: Book 4 of the series came out July 24, and is
doing very well. I love all the books in the series, but Felicity was
the one that came the easiest for me. I don't know why. If I did, I
would replicate the process for every book from now on.
Beautiful and outgoing Felicity Trego has been too busy taking care of
the orphans of Willow Wood, Idaho to wonder about the odd stipulation in
her father’s will that forbids his daughters from marrying.
When her sister Belinda suffers an injury, Felicity is put in charge of
running Trego Leatherworks, the family's factory. She's not ready for
the position. She doesn’t have Belinda’s business acumen or ruthless
drive. Felicity needs all the help she can get so she won't let her
sister & the whole town down.
Ned Yates moves to Willow Wood to practice law at his uncle’s firm. An
orphan himself, he admires Felicity’s compassion for the orphaned
children of Willow Wood. However, rumors about the lovely Trego sister
suggest Felicity isn’t as charming and guileless as she appears. Too
many people depend on Felicity for her to give up her inheritance for
love. But she can't deny her growing attraction for Ned. Will she risk
it all to follow her heart?
Ah there’s the dilemma. Do you follow your heart or heed your responsibility? Sounds like an interesting read. If you’d like to learn more about this book or any of her other ones, here ae some links to get you started.
A Promise for Josie: A Willow Wood Brides Prequel is a free download to newsletter subscribers. https://teresaslack.com/contact/