Friday, August 23, 2019

Interview with award-winning novelist p.m.terrell

Novelist p.m.terrell joins me today. We’re chatting about her new romantic suspense ghost story, April in the Back of Beyond.

During her virtual book tour, p.m. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 23 books in multiple genres, including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional, non-fiction and children’s books.

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.

A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely, who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN).

She was the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.

Welcome, p.m. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Writer Hayley Hunter has arrived in Ireland to complete a book on Irish history. When she discovers the old carriage house she is renting is haunted, she is determined to uncover the truth behind the burned ruins of a nearby manor house and the abandoned British barracks it overlooks. With the assistance of Shay Macgregor, an Irish historian, her quest will take her to 1919 and the Irish War for Independence, exposing the murders of two young men and why their mother, April Crutchley, refuses to leave the back of beyond even in death. With a budding romance and the opportunity to begin life anew, Hayley finds her own life is now in jeopardy as she gets closer to a truth the villagers have long sought to bury.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired when I came across the true story of two murdered brothers in 1919 Ireland. Their mother, in particular, captured my imagination. She had been present and had tried to save their lives but failed, and it affected her for the rest of her life. I changed the location, names and certain facts surrounding the event as I wrote April in the Back of Beyond, because descendants of both the killers and the victims are still alive. When writer Hayley Hunter arrives in Ireland, it is early April. She soon discovers the carriage house she has rented is haunted by the ghost of April Crutchley, whose spirit will not leave the back of beyond—a remote area of Ireland—even in death. She is determined to discover what happened in the ruins beside the cottage, ruins that overlook abandoned British barracks. But the past and the present will collide when she uncovers things the villagers have long sought to keep hidden.

Excerpt from April in the Back of Beyond:
I could not hear the cattle though we continued to approach. I saw a head dodge this way or that, could envision their mouths opening in snorts or grunts. Two dogs came into the picture as though there were curtains on either side, appearing from behind the veils to join the cattle on center stage. They ducked and darted, their heads held low, ever on the watch for a strayed cow and yet the yips and barks I should have heard were lost in the winds that blew through here a hundred years ago.

The road stopped and yet Shay continued to press forward, the terrain becoming steeper and rockier as we drew ever closer. I was panting now and my forehead was covered in perspiration and yet I knew I could not turn back. I had to remain with Shay. I longed to ask why we were moving steadily toward the ruins, or what he hoped we could possibly accomplish there, but the words were frozen on my lips.

The air grew icy but there was no wind, as if time itself was suspended.

Then the herd parted to reveal two young men, boys really; and they were looking at us.

Shay stopped and I was so mesmerized that I started past him but he reached out to grab my arm. I have no idea what amount of force he might have used because in that instant, I barely registered his hand upon me. I only knew my feet had stopped and I was staring uphill at two boys that stared back at me.

Their baggy pants were dark, their shirts light, but I could see the giant tree that stood behind them. My brain slowly registered that I could see it because I was looking through them; the combination of their light and dark clothing was casting the tree into curious shadows. I knew they were looking at us though I could not see their facial features, but rather judged their stance from the position of their bodies. Their faces glowed eerily, the outlines blurry. They grew even hazier as I realized they were beginning to run.

In an instant the cattle dispersed in a panic, rushing down the hill toward the pasture from whence they’d come while the two boys raced upward in the opposite direction toward the house. They reached the open doorway almost at the same time, catapulting over the threshold. As they stepped inside the walls, everything vanished: the boys, the dogs and the cattle were gone. All that was left were the skeletal ruins, dark and forbidding against a sky filled with ominous clouds.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am writing The Struggle for Independence, about a woman named Independence Mather who comes to the conclusion that she has created the perfect life with the wrong man. It is 1916 in Ireland, rebellion is brewing, and she is caught between the British loyalist she is married to and the Irish rebel she truly loves.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Though I began writing novels around 1967, I first began to think of myself as a writer in 1984 when I was asked by a publisher, Scott-Foresman, to write computer textbooks. It would take almost 20 more years for my first novel to be published, but I hope I’ve made up for being a late bloomer in the books that have been published since.

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 find that I write best if I begin early in the day, and by early afternoon I’ve written much of my daily quota. I am a slow writer by design; I like to have the scenes marinate in my mind so all five senses are engaged. I can almost always tell when a writer has rushed through a book because scenes are more superficial and less immersing. I work on my manuscript six days a week, researching, writing and editing until it’s polished enough to send to the publisher. Then their editors make their recommendations for additional edits.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I dream everything I write. I trained myself years ago to think of my main characters and the point in the story I am currently writing just before I fall asleep, and when I awaken I almost always have the next scene in my mind as though I have been there and lived it. Then it’s a matter of getting it all down before I lose it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had two vocations in mind: a teacher and a writer. When I was younger, I enjoyed pretending I was a teacher, with a child-size chalkboard and my dolls lined up as students. As I grew older and discovered the joys of writing, I wanted more than anything to be a published author. My life took a series of twists and turns as I first fell into the computer field, founded and operated two computer corporations, but I eventually returned to my love of stories.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Reviews are extremely important to authors. Just as I go to online retailers like amazon to research items I buy, many readers turn to reviews before making the decision to purchase a book. Whoever you are reading, whatever book it is, you can do a world of good by placing a review on amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble or other online retailers.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you for having me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

My family loves reading so hearing about another great book I appreciate. Thanks for sharing and also for the giveaway.

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Friday, thanks for sharing the great post!

Bea LaRocca said...

Happy Friday! Out of all of the books that you have written, do you have a personal favorite?

p. m. terrell said...

Thank you for hosting me! James, Victoria and Bea, thank you for following the tour. Bea, I think my favorite is always the last book I've written. With each book, I become so involved with the characters and plot that I have a close affinity to it. Having said that, I do like these the best: April in the Back of Beyond, A Thin Slice of Heaven, Dylan's Song, The Tempest Murders and The White Devil of Dublin.