Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Interview with suspense author P.M. Terrell

Today's guest is multipublished suspense novelist P.M. Terrell. She's doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish. Today, we get to learn a bit about her newest novel,Vicki’s Key and about an organization she co-founded to battle illiteracy.

There's also a giveaway! For (US/Canadian) commentors who leave an e-mail address, you'll be entered to win a gift basket from the real town of Lumberton, where Vicki's adventure takes place. So leave your e-mail addy with your comment, and to increase your chances of winning visit other tour stops and comment there.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 17 books, including River Passage, which won the 2010 Best Fiction & Drama Award and Vicki’s Key, a 2012 International Book Awards finalist and 2012 USA Best Book Awards nominee. Also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation ( whose slogan is “Buy a Book and Stop a Crook” and which raises money to increase literacy.

Welcome, P.M. Please tell us about your current release.
In Vicki’s Key, Vicki Boyd is a psychic spy who decides to leave the CIA after a botched mission. She takes a summer job assisting an elderly woman but when she arrives, she finds that Laurel Maguire has suffered a stroke and is confined to a third floor bedroom in an old, rambling house. And her nephew Dylan has arrived from Ireland to care for her. Vicki quickly falls in love with the charming Dylan Maguire. But when the house comes alive with secrets long hidden, she finds that everything is not as it seems. And when the CIA find her for “one last mission”, she finds that her past and her future are about to collide—in murder.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been asked for a long time to write a series but I wanted to make sure I would not be resorting to a predictable formula. When I discovered recently declassified information about the CIA’s and Defense Department’s psychic spy programs, I knew that was what I needed. By having a main character as a psychic spy, it allows me to place her missions anywhere in the world. She can even travel back and forth through time. The possibilities are endless. And I discovered while writing the book that other characters captured my readers’ imagination and attention, so the series will have about five main characters. Depending on the plot, one character may come more to the forefront than the others.

Vicki continued into the bathroom and groggily brushed her teeth. Grabbing a washcloth and splashing water over her face, she leaned into the sink to soak up the cool water as it poured from the tap.

She turned off the tap and tried to fully awaken as the water dripped off her face. Rising, she reached for the hand towel along the wall, catching a glimpse of her profile in the bathroom mirror.

Her eyes caught a shadow rippling in the mirror and she froze, her arm suspended in mid-air as she watched the shadowy figure undulating against the shower curtain just behind her. It was thin—far thinner than a human being; perhaps only four feet tall and just inches wide. Yet, two arms extended past the body, moving jerkily like a creature walking and yet it remained fixed in the center of the tub. The torso parted into two legs that were stick-like and lurching.

Then the shadow stopped and turned toward her, as though just realizing she was watching. The head emerged from the body like a person jutting his neck forward, growing as it neared the shower curtain. It swelled in a black intensity while two pits where eyes should have been grew more prominent.

She whipped around to face the shower curtain, her heart pounding, and her breath shallow.
There was nothing there.

She swung back toward the mirror. Her own face stared back at her, her eyes wide and chest heaving. The curtain hung behind her, motionless.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The next book in the series is Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, in which the Irishman, Dylan Maguire, returns to work for the CIA. In his first mission, he must interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it’s clear she had help from within the CIA’s own ranks. With Vicki’s help, Dylan captures her again. Now he must find out what she knows and why some in our government want her dead while others are willing to risk all to help her. And when he finds out Brenda’s true identity, his mission has just become very personal.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing in the 4th grade and when I walked across the stage to receive an award I won for a writing contest at the age of 9, I knew that’s what I wanted to be! But Life has a way of throwing things into it that we didn’t expect so I fell into the computer industry, where my specialty became white collar computer crime and computer intelligence. I began writing books about the use of computers in the 1980s. But I decided in 1999 that I had always wanted to write suspense so I began to concentrate on leaving the computer industry behind and writing full-time.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have been writing full-time since 2002. I generally spend my mornings answering e-mails and doing research for my books. Then I spend my afternoons and evenings writing. I follow this routine 6 days a week and often 7 days a week. It helps that I have definite due dates for each of my upcoming books (usually 2 or 3 are in various stages of production at a time) and I know if I don’t make my deadlines, it throws a lot of people off schedule. I always marvel at the perception some people have of writers and how they only write when inspiration strikes them! I work harder at this career than I’ve ever worked in my life.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always dream every scene before I write it. I trained myself to think about the next part of my book before I go to bed, especially if there is some element that is lacking that I know I will need to address. By morning, it’s all there. As a result, I never have writer’s block.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was 9 years old. Before that, I wanted to be a teacher. I have, fortunately, been able to do both. I’ve taught writing classes and classes about the publishing industry and the way it works. But my real love has always been writing.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I also co-founded The Book ‘Em Foundation to raise awareness of the link between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. We have an annual event called Book ‘Em North Carolina the last Saturday in February in which we bring together more than 75 authors, publishers, literary agents, and book promoters. The event is free and open to the public and includes a writer’s conference and book fair. For each book sold at the event, the authors or publishers agree to donate at least 40% to literacy campaigns in the area. Our next event is February 23, 2013 and our website is We have New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe headlining the event along with Hollywood producer Chuck Williams, who will be discussing how books are made into movies. I hope your readers will join us!

Thanks, P.M.!

Readers, don't forget about the giveaway! For (US/Canadian) commentors who leave an e-mail address, you'll be entered to win a gift basket from the real town of Lumberton, where Vicki's adventure takes place. So leave your e-mail addy with your comment, and to increase your chances of winning visit other tour stops and comment there.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting pm today.

Anonymous said...

Another great interview for you on your blog tour Trish! It's a great chance for other people to get know you and your wonderful writing. Lisa, I highly recommend ALL of Trish's mystery/suspense/thrillers - Vicki's Key is certainly one of her best but they are all great reads!

Pam Kimmell, Writer

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks so much for having me today! And Pam, thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I am so glad you enjoyed Vicki's Key and all my books so much. I am a great admirer of your work so an endorsement from you means a great deal!
I'll be checking back in throughout the day and will be happy to answer any questions visitors might have for me.

Lisa Haselton said...

Happy to host, P.M. and thanks for the recommendation Pam! My TBR pile is always increasing in height and width. :)

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview and excerpt. Vicki's Key is now on my list of books to read.

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks so much for adding Vicki's Key to your list, Ingeborg! I hope you enjoy it.
Lisa, I really appreciate you having me today. It's been great fun. I'll check back in awhile. :)

David Pereda said...

Excellent interview and thrilling excerpt, Trish. You have written another exciting and thought-provoking novel.

bn100 said...

Very nice excerpt and interview.