Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Today's Mystery Author Guest: Terri L. Austin

As promised yesterday, fellow mystery author Terri L. Austin is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post.

The photo above is the cover for Terri's first published mystery novel, Diners Dives and Dead Ends, which is being released today. Yes, today! As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out.

With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me!

Below are Terri's answers to my interview questions. Please leave a comment for her, and if you have a question of your own for her, ask it!

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing and when did you start?

 First of all, thanks for having me, Beth.  And hello to all your readers.

I always wanted to write.  I would jot down little stories or ideas and even attempted a couple of manuscripts.  Then someone told me about NaNoWriMo and it clicked.  I was determined to write and edit a mystery novel.  And Diners, Dives and Dead Ends is the result!

2. What tools and process do you use to “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?

I figure it out as I go along.  Usually by the end of the first draft, I have a handle on the characters and what they’re about.  I don’t outline beforehand.  That takes the fun out of it for me.  I’m more a by the seat of my pants type of gal.

3. In the age-old question of character versus plot, which one do you think is most important in a murder mystery and which one do you emphasize in your writing? Why?

Definitely character.  Since I’m writing about an amateur sleuth, Rose Strickland, it’s all about how Rose finds clues and navigates through her world.  If I were writing procedural, then plot would probably come out on top.

4. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?

When you’re trying to get your work out there, you face rejection.  It’s hard, but it’s not personal.  You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on working.  I have daily and weekly goals that help keep me focused.  My advice—just keep writing.

5. What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

Well, my kiddos just moved out of the house, so I’m not on mom duty anymore.  And yes, I celebrated with margaritas.  I usually work 8-10 hour days.  My husband works from home as well, so we meet up for breakfast and coffee breaks.

6. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

Write.  Every day.  Even if it’s only a few hundred words, get in the habit of doing it every day.  And don’t think you’re going to be perfect, because you aren’t.  Don’t go back and rewrite the first chapter a million times, just keep moving forward.  Like a shark.  A big writing shark.

7. Now here’s a zinger. Tell us something about yourself that you have not revealed in another interview yet. Something as simple as your favorite TV show or food will do.

My favorite TV show of all time is La Femme Nikita.  The original one, with Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis.  Can’t get enough of it.

8. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

I’m working on the next Rose Strickland mystery.  There’s much ado in Huntingford and more mysteries for Rose to solve.

9. Is there anything else you would like to tell my blog readers?

Warning:  Diners, Dives and Dead Ends is a traditional mystery that contains quirky humor, off-the-wall characters, and a dash of spicy language.  Be prepared for fun read.

If your book club is interested in Diners, Dives and Dead Ends, I’m available to talk with you and there are questions in the back of the book.  Contact me at my website. Also, I’m having a drawing at the end of my blog tour.  Leave a comment with your email address along the way, and I’ll enter you to win one of three copies of my book.  Continental US only.  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Thank you, Beth!

Thanks, Terri! Now, who has a comment or question for her? 


Larissa Reinhart said...

Great interview! I loved learning more about Terri. I've actually read DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS and it is hilarious. Love the characters and mysteries and can't wait to read more in the series.

Terri L. Austin said...

Thanks, Larissa! I appreciate your kind words! And the interview was fun!

Misty Dietz said...

Hi Terri - I'm so excited for your release! I am inspired by your 8-10 hour days! OMG. I can't imagine. How do you do that? All at once or do you write a few hours in the morning and then more in the evening? Do you change up your schedule and where you write? How did you manage writing when your kids were still at home? (my dilemma) :)

Susan M. Boyer said...

Hi Beth and Terri! Great interview!! I love learning more about how other authors work. I confess I lucked out and scored an ARC of Diners, Dives, and Deadends. It's such a fun read!! I'm so looking forward to the next Rose Strickland book. Keep writing, Terri--just like that shark. We need more Rose. :)

Terri L. Austin said...

Thanks, Susan! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Misty, I had a hard time writing when my kids were young. But once my son left for school, and my daughter could drive, it was game on. Small children and writing mothers are like oil and water. Bribery sometimes works. And I usually write all day long--then when my dh gets off work, we grab dinner.

Renaissance Women said...

Teri, you are an inspiration. How long after NaNoWriMo did it take you to get to your final version? The book sounds like a great and fun read. Thank you for sharing with us.

Diane Kratz said...

Loved the interview Terri! Congrats on the release! I can't wait to read the next one.

Terri L. Austin said...

Thanks, Renaissance Women! It took a few months to get to the final version after Nano. I learned something with every revision.

bobbi chukran said...

I enjoyed the interview. Anybody who celebrates with margaritas is all right with me! LOL. Congrats on the publication of your new book. I hope you sell millions! Happy trails, bobbi c.

Mary Marvella said...

Fascinating interview. I like "elderly" secondary characters who are "real characters"!

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. Keep 'em coming!

Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri L. Austin said...

Thanks, Bobbi and Mary! Thanks for all the wonderful comments and thank you, Beth!

Dru said...

Love the interview. I've read Diners, Dive & Dead Ends and it's a great read, full of fun times.

Jake said...

Another smashing interview. Looking forward to following along.